Friday, November 2, 2012


Hurricane Sandy-New York

The construction crane, 75 stories up, on top of the building at 57 Street and 7th Avenue, that has been flapping in the winds like a badly broken wrist, is still there and perhaps has become the premier tourist attraction in New York this week and the early image that spread around the world.  

This week took on new meaning for millions of us New Yorkers.  Hurricane Sandy visited the neighborhood and left a swath of destruction and death, some of it still to be discovered.  The deaths related to Hurricane Sandy keep mounting. Some of the stories are just too sad to write about.  This is serious stuff.  

All of you, no matter where you are in the world, have seen the images of the disaster, the flooding, the fires, the faces of the anguished who have lost everything they have, which, in many cases, includes the loss of love ones.  But the story that didn't get told, because good news doesn't sell papers, is how New Yorkers banded together to help each other make it through.  People offering rooms or beds, for free, to those stranded by the closing of all bridges and tunnel access to Manhattan for only the second time in history (the first being around the September 11 events).  This is truly a special metropolitan area whose residents, unlike the opinion of some who don't live here, are not cold, aloof or arrogant, but are a thoughtful, caring and supportive lot that always rise to the occasion.  

On Wednesday, limited public transportation became available again, although many subway stations are still flooded and closed.  People, needing to get to their jobs, used whatever means they could, many walking across the bridges that connect Manhattan with outer boroughs Queens and Brooklyn, others sharing rides with those driving in to meet the three-person per vehicle minimum.  Last night at about 6:30pm I saw lines of hundreds and hundreds of New Yorkers, waiting patiently for their turn to get on a bus to take them home or at least somewhere closer to home than work.  At 9pm I saw people still lined up and waiting who, would probably not get home until 11 pm or midnight and then will be getting up, about now (5:10am), to go back to the city to their jobs.  

This Sandy was not the same girl that Bruce Springsteen sang about.  The one who 'worked that joint under the boardwalk, she was always the girl you saw boppin' down the beach with the radio." This Sandy destroyed the beach, the boardwalk, houses, boats, and lives. "The Boss" asks Sandy to "love me tonight for I may never see you again."  But the only love that Hurricane Sandy brought was the love that was shared between those who needed help and those who could help.  

When someone needs help, it usually doesn't take much.  Maybe a disaster like this will wake up those feelings in us that will carry forward, when things return to normal, that a good day is one when we can help someone, just that little bit, that will make a difference in their lives.  It's not about giving money, it's about giving time, the most precious thing we have. 

Thanks to many of you who wrote me asking if I was okay.  My apartment, in Long Beach, NY, is right on the beach.  I left on Sunday, just before a mandatory evacuation was ordered and stayed at my go-to hotel, the DaVinci in the city until yesterday.  I thought I'd be able to go home by now.  Last night I crashed on the couch of my son Kevin's Brooklyn pad and, today/tonight, well, who knows, as Long Beach still appears to be without electricity and other services.  

The Grove-Los Angeles
When I was in Los Angeles for the PREA conference, I had a chance to go to lunch with a good friend, real estate development expert Mike Russell at The Grove.  It was my first time. Mike, btw, serves as an expert witness, mediator, arbitrator and development advisor.     The Grove was created and developed by Rick Caruso. It is very cool.  His idea:  "We wanted to design something where people could come hang out just to meet a friend. The minute they do that, when they want to buy something, I guarantee they'll come back.'" Amazing stat: The Grove attracted 18 million visitors in its first year of operation. In the same year, Disneyland drew 19 million visitors! I don't know Caruso but he sounds like a guy I'd like to. 

Susan Hudson-Wilson Memorial Music Spot
11-17-70:  Elton John and his original band (Dee Murray, bass and Nigel Olsson, drums) performed live at a recording studio in New York.  The result was Elton's first live album called 11-17-70 which Elton has often called his best live performance...ever!  Included is an exceptional 18-minute medley which starts with Burn Down the Mission.  YouTube has some exceptional versions of that tune from later years with this one being particularly special (

Real Estate Foresight published a pilot report on China housing prices this week here are a few highlights (you can access the report and become a registered member here []:

  • Overall macro-sentiment points at stabilization in the markets.
  • House prices continue mild rebound month-on-month, up 0.17% but down 1% year-on-year.
  • Sentiment stays stable for property equities and bonds through October

The Felix Consulting Group (FCG):  Update
  • Thanks to the 15 firms who have become clients so far in this first year of operation
  • Clients are investment management firms, commercial real estate service providers, trade associations, conference companies and one technology start-up
  • All are happy with the services they received  (Yippee!) and have offered to be references
  • The services FCG delivered to the 15 clients represent the entire spectrum of management consulting services offered by the firm.
  • Please contact me if you'd like to talk about how one of these services could be helpful to your firm:
  • Presentation Coaching
  • Corporate Strategy Coaching
  • Event Enhancement Services
  • "How to raise institutional capital, 'Soup to Nuts' in one day."
  • "How to..." Workshops:  Eight 45-minute workshops conducted in one day in your office to aide in the personal development of your team members:
  • How to network
  • How to get the most out of attending an industry event
  • How to build your personal brand
  • How to leverage your trade association membership
  • How to be a memorable panelist
  • How to be an effective moderator
  • How to raise your visibility
  • How to get meetings with people who don't know you

On the road....
Nov. 6:  Hartford, CT
Nov. 7:  Washington, DC to speak with students about "Careers in Real Estate:  Connecting the Dots."
Nov. 8-9:  New York to attend, moderate a panel and serve as chair at the PERE Forum

Special Event

What:  Felix Drink Thing.  YBYO (You buy your own) and I provide the famous Joe G pizza.
Where:  Joe G Restaurant, 244 W. 56th (bet. B'way and 8th) and downstairs from the DaVinci Hotel.
When:  November 8 
Time:  Starting at 6:30pm
Hope to see you there...bring an industry friend with you.  The more the merrier.

Nov. 27: Deloitte 2012 RE Industry Update, New York
Nov. 28:  Rockefeller Center Tree Lighting (Thanks to Tishman Speyer for the invite)
Dec. 3-4:  Chicago to moderate a panel at the NAREIM Capital Raising and Investor Relations Council Meeting
Dec. 15-Jan. 3:  Liberia.  Return trip with The MacDella Cooper Foundation to see residence school they opened and the progress in general made in Monrovia since my first trip in 2006.  Will be Santa again for a children's Christmas party. 
Mar. 12-15:  Cannes to attend MIPIM

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