The Real Deal New York

Barbara Corcoran

By Amir Korangy

What is your name?
Barbara Anne Corcoran.

When is your birthday and what’s your sign?
March 10, 1949. Pisces.

Where did you grow up?
I was born in Teaneck, New Jersey, and grew up in Edgewater.

What is your greatest achievement professionally?
Building the Corcoran Group and all the people that came along for the ride. [Corcoran founded the firm in 1973 and officially left last year.]

What do you think of your old firm under the new management?
They’ve grown tremendously. I never saw it as anything other than a city firm. They’ve grown the Corcoran brand to different cities andstates, and I could’ve never envisioned that.

How much money do you have in your wallet right now?
You are asking me on a bad day, but I have $37 in my wallet right now.

Do you feel rich? Successful?
I’ve always felt successful. I’ve never felt rich and still don’t. But,I guess relative to a lot of people, I am. My family tells me I am rich.

But you are a legitimate millionaire?
I didn’t worry about money when I didn’t have any, and I don’t worry about money when I lose it, because it’s not so important. The only thing important is love, and money makes everything more lovable. Helps out. It takes away the edges.

Since you became rich, what is the most nouveau riche thing you’ve acquired?
I got all new slipcovers for both my house in the city and in the Hamptons.

What has been your biggest contribution to society?
I don’t think I’ve made any contributions to society as a whole. I give a million little donations to a million little people but nothing that you could build a hospital with.

Are there any public buildings, parks or structures bearing your name?
Not a chance. Not a chance.

If you were mayor of New York, what is the first thing you would change?
I would definitely put mature trees on every block and have bike lanes on every avenue.

What’s your idea of the perfect Sunday afternoon?
Sitting on the beach with my 2-month-old daughter Kate in her bucket.

What’s been your greatest disappointment and how did you cope?
The first thing that comes to mind is not being able to have a baby. The seven years of in vitro trying to have my son was very disappointing. I coped with the help of my husband and was fueled by the determination that I wanted to have a baby.

What’s your favorite street in New York?
My favorite street for me is where I am living, because I love my home. And I’ve moved like 20 times. But I guess Fifth Avenue along the park — but, then again, because I live around there.

Who is your consigliere?
My husband of 16 years, Bill.

What’s your biggest pet peeve?
My husband, Bill. He can drive me crazy. He is exactly my opposite.

Will you ever recreate the sort of success you had with the Corcoran Group?
I will because I need to. I just need to be involved in a big creative project. And I need a lot of attention. I probably need a shrink, but instead I’ll build a business.

But you are already on TV, radio and in print.
Yes, but Barbara Corcoran Inc. [television production company started last year] is not as powerful of a brand in that medium as the Corcoran Group brand was in real estate. I have to match that.

Going back to the time when you sold the Corcoran Group, would you still sell?
I would still sell it, because I had accomplished my goal to become the number one firm. After that was done, I was like, “OK, now what do I do?” It was time for a change. I had worked that beat for 30 years, which is long enough. It was almost like raising a family where the kids were mature enough to be on their own.

What time do you get in on Mondays and what time do you leave on Fridays now?
I don’t work in the summers, I just come in for the TV appearances. But, normally, I come in at 9:30 a.m., which is very hard for me. I used to always be at work at 8 a.m.

What do you read every day?
The truth is, nothing. Ever. I never read the papers. I love being unplugged and always have. It makes space for creative thinking and being different from the next guy. Ignorance is bliss.

What gadget can you not live without, besides a cell phone and e-mail?
I can definitely live without my e-mail and cell phone. I don’t even read or answer my own e-mail. The gadget I can’t live without is my DustBuster. I love to be tidy.

How do you size up people when you first meet them?
I have two categories and two sub-categories for everyone. First, if they are good or bad; then, if they are an expander or a container. Expanders want to push out and create bigger things. Containers want to control, and they are both good. One is not less important than the other.

How do you deal with antagonists? Confront or ignore them?
I avoid them. I run from them and hope they go away. I am terrible at confrontation.

Do you prefer to be feared or loved?
Who wants to be feared? I want to be surrounded by people who want to give me kisses.

What was your biggest obstacle on the path to succeeding?
My belief that I had the right to be there.


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