New York City has captivated me since I first moved here in 1970.
Like everyone who appreciates the city, I have celebrated its universally acknowledged virtues — the myriad restaurants, the energy, all types of diversity, the stimulation that almost every block offers, the glorious parks, the vast range and high quality of cultural offerings, the climate of creativity along with residents whose intellect can be challenging, whose openness is endearing and whose directness can be refreshing.
I left Manhattan once, in 1995, to undertake a new and rewarding project in Washington, D.C. for the U.S. government. I expected to be away for just a year, but that year stretched into 11 years, the last four of which unexpectedly involved a detour from communications, public education and journalism into what became a thriving real estate business.
But I missed the Big Apple, so I gave up that business to start a new one as a real estate broker in Manhattan. Although returning in 2006 filled me with delight and impressed me with new discoveries, my business never reached the heights that I had achieved in D.C., Maryland and Virginia. Moreover, the practice of real estate here left me yearning for the level of involvement that it requires in the Washington area, where agents and brokers complete contracts themselves, without a lawyer’s participation.
I have felt — and I am sure I will be accused of hyperbole — that all we do in New York is open and close doors. True, we counsel, we negotiate (to a limited extent), we analyze the market and we peddle properties. Yet I have found the demands of the work to be wanting, especially in comparison with D.C. That’s me.
Despite my lackluster income from real estate in New York, I have somehow managed to acquire substantial assets. However, I have in recent years become concerned about the chance that I might outlive them. Continue reading →