Although you may think I’m boasting, allow me a bit of nostalgia prompted by the Treasury Department’s unveiling of a new generation of $100 currency.
Sitting on my desk is what is becoming an old “new” $100 note in an inexpensive frame. That piece of paper is covered with the personal signatures of former Secretary of the Treasury Robert Rubin, Former Deputy Secretary Lawrence Summers, former U.S. Treasurer Mary Ellen Withrow (who hated me) and former Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan, among others. Wrote Rubin above his name:
From Ben and me, thank you for a job well done.
And this from “Larry,” as he signed the note:
Thanks for teaching me so much.
Oh, all right, so I am boasting a bit lot, but my last “real” job, which was supposed to be temporary, turned out to be the most demanding, challenging and thus rewarding one of my professional life until then. It was to create and run what became a $26 million international public education campaign to introduce the new $100 (with the big head) in 1996 and ultimately found the Office of Public Education at Treasury, which the new administration left to wither.
The position took me to Russia five times, Kazakhstan three times, Kiev twice, Singapore, Buenos Aires, Hong Kong, Bangkok and Prague, plus cities across the country.
We had focus groups, created a range of informational materials, arranged press events including a live satellite press conference between the U.S. ambassador to Russia and U.S. reporters, and met with corporations, winning their cooperation to advertise the change on countertops (7-11) and printed on their shopping bags (a huge hardware chain, the name of which escapes now).
To say the least, it was a heady experience. But my “temporary” position of one or two years faded away after seven, and there I backed into real estate, giving up my business in D.C. four years later to move “home” to Manhattan and start all over again.
Real estate brokerage is, indeed, a somewhat decidedly less heady experience but, in its own way, no less challenging or rewarding. Helping a client purchase a home has meaning to me, and I have been known to shed a tear at the end of a closing in shared happiness for the new homeowner. But, then, I’m pretty sentimental.
Ironically, a buyer of mine who is awaiting board approval to go through with the purchase of a one-bedroom co-op in Chelsea is a son of one of my former bosses at Treasury, who referred him to me. She was an assistant secretary and possibly the wisest and most supportive supervisors for whom I ever have worked.
Thank you, Darcy Bradbury, and to those readers who have permitted me to indulge myself at such length.
Note: The newsletter that I write and publish on alternate became available at noon today in the link and on my Web site. In it, you’ll find the latest unvarnished news about the local and national housing markets, sales and purchases by celebrities, important research, the mortgage business, and my biting critiques of properties that I visit, among other topics.
Licensed Associate Real Estate Broker
Senior Vice President
Charles Rutenberg Realty
127 E. 56th Street
New York, NY 10022