Saturday, June 15, 2013

Felix Family Reunion / 'Hello Herman' / Manhattan Residential Bidding Wars Return / Proud Dad

Felix Family Reunion

Greetings from Black Mountain, North Carolina, the site of this weekend’s Felix Family Reunion! 

From my perspective - in attendance we have:
Two sets of brothers.
Two sons and their wives.
Three grandsons.
One granddaughter.
One nephew and his wife.
One niece once removed.
And five cousins (all under the age of 4).

It’s a very special time to be together. The kids are getting along fabulously, as are the adults. Cooking and cleaning chores have all been divvied up and pre-assigned.  My brother Jay and I are the clean-up crew.

The mountain setting is spectacular although there are multiple warnings about the active bear population in the neighborhood!  Some bears have actually been known to break into garages seeking garbage!

We’re a family that is distributed around the US – San Francisco, Asheville, Manhattan and Brooklyn!  It’s rare for us all to be in the same place.  Our trademark friendly-competitiveness has been evident at Ping Pong, Foosball and Bumper Pool. Unfortunately, my brother Jay beat me in Ping Pong and my son Kevin and I lost in Foosball to his wife, Marissa, and Bri’s wife, Bridget.  But, there is always tonight!

These are special times, to be remembered and savored.   It’s also fabulous to watch the cousins interact for the first time!

 ‘Hello Herman’

I can remember my father telling stories of growing up on the Lower East Side of Manhattan where people from different nationalities were drawn to certain neighboring blocks.  There was a sense of bullying in his descriptions of the street fighting that went on - but that was with bare knuckles, not guns. 

Years ago, Seung-Hui Cho killed 32 people.  He was bullied by fellow high school students who mocked his shyness and the strange way he spoke.  Cho, who was a senior and English major at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University in Blacksburg, killed 32 people in two attacks before taking his own life.

More recently, as I’m sure you’re well aware, there have been too many of these horrific tragedies related to bullying.  I could begin to list them all, but prefer to share with you a more positive movement that is occurring.

Jerry Katell is a real estate developer-turned-producer and actor.   Last weekend he invited me to the premier of his latest venture, Hello Herman, an independent film about a 16-year old boy who kills 42 people in his school.  Jerry is both Executive Producer and has a part in the picture.  It’s an inspiring film about how bullying affected one young man. The movie handles this disturbing subject in a tasteful manner – if you can imagine – and has spawned THE HELLO HERMAN PROJECT, which is raising awareness of the horrible events and psychological damage that result from bullying.  I recommend taking the time to see this film. 

Manhattan Residential Real Estate Bidding Wars Return

In her newsletter, Debra Weiner, Licensed Real Estate Salesperson with Halstead Property in Manhattan, cites content from the firm’s newly introduced “Absorption Report” which substantiates that “Inventory is incredibly low throughout Manhattan and bidding wars are becoming the norm”.

Manhattan residential real estate never suffered as much as other US markets during and following the Global Financial Crisis.  Today it is truly a seller’s market with cash being king.  In one case, I heard a story which I’m sure is regularly repeated:  A couple visits an apartment for sale; later that day they submit a respectable offer; the seller calls them, “Sorry, someone came in after you and offered us more than the asking price…all cash!”  How do you compete with that??

Proud Dad

My older son Brian is Assistant Professor of Music at the University of North Carolina in Asheville. On Wednesday night I was in the audience when he played organ and keyboard bass in a trio.  The performance of jazz standards and some of Bri’s own tunes was at a high level (the sax player is a member of Michael BublĂ©’s touring band!).  In addition to hearing excellent music, something else happened that really moved me. When introduced to a few of my son’s students, each told me individually that Brian was their mentor.  One student was going to transfer schools and, with Brian’s guidance and sincere musical interest in her, decided to stay – a decision she is very happy with. Hearing these students talk about my son that way…well, what better Father’s Day gift can you imagine?

A Worthy Cause

A long-time OTR reader informed me about a special event that I want to share with you.  On June 29 the East End Hospice is hosting  their summer gala

From the invitation: “East End Hospice provides care and comfort for all terminally ill patients, their families and loved ones living on the North and South Forks of Long Island. No one shall be denied care by East End Hospice because of inability to pay.”

Are you looking for a worthy cause?  This event is open to all.

On The Road…

June 24:  Spring Pizza / Drink Thing with a new spirited twist! 
Join fellow commercial real estate folk at:
Joe-G Restaurant
244 W. 56th Street (bet. Broadway and Eighth Avenue)
6 – 9pm
Famous Joe-G pizza on me – drinks on you.
I look forward to seeing you there!

June 25 – 26:  NAREIM Asset Management and Acquisitions – Summer Meeting, Georgetown University, Washington, DC.

Sept. 15 – 17:  NAREIM Executive Officer Fall Meeting, New York, NY

Oct.  23 – 24:  PERE Summit, New York, NY


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