The Real Deal New York

A day in the life: Jay Neveloff

The high-profile lawyer ­— a partner at Kramer Levin ­— walks TRD through a typical day, from working out on the elliptical to attending high-priced art auctions

December 01, 2012
By C.J. Hughes

Jay Neveloff

6:30 a.m.  I wake up at 6:30 on those weekdays when I stay in our loft in Greenwich Village. We spend weekends at our house in Westchester and usually drive back in on Monday morning.

7 a.m.  We have a gym in our building, but I prefer to go to the New York Sports Club nearby. I go with my wife, Arlene, and do the elliptical machine, and weights and crunches. I like the elliptical because I can read the New York Times on it. Then I go home, have some orange juice and vitamins. I usually take the F train to work, or a taxi if I’m pressed for time.

8:15 to 9 a.m.  I usually grab something fattening on my way into the office, like a bagel, and eat it at my desk. Then I go through all my e-mails and the papers in my briefcase.

9 a.m. to Noon   I start to map out the day. What clients do I have to call? Is this a deal that should get done? Sometimes I will do that by myself or with one of my colleagues. [There are] 23 lawyers in my real estate practice, but there could be others involved in the deal, like tax experts. I’m a deal junkie. I know everything that is going on in every single one of [my] deals. And I’ve been busy lately: I represented CIM Group in its purchase of 200 Lafayette Street with Jared Kushner for $50 million. I also repped CIM in their purchase of 737 Park Avenue — a condo conversion with Harry Macklowe — a $253 million deal. Other clients include the Carlyle Group, Centerbridge Partners and Fortress Investment Group. I usually have a daily call with Vincent Ponte of Ponte Equities, which owns an incredible amount of real estate in Tribeca.

12:30 to 1:30 p.m.  I try to have lunch. Today, I went to Club 101, a private restaurant at 101 Park Avenue, with Richard Kalikow, president of Manchester Real Estate, and Jim Lawrence, an executive vice president at Valley National Bank. Richard’s cousin, Peter Kalikow, the president of H. J. Kalikow & Company, which built the building, came over and said hello. I had a chicken Caesar salad with water and a cappuccino. My wife says, “No red meat,” [so] I have to back off the burgers. I also saw Marty McLaughlin, a public relations executive I know from work I did with Westbrook Partners a few years ago on the attempted sale of Starrett City, the affordable housing complex in Brooklyn. It was very important to keep the story out of the press — with all due respect — and he helped minimize the coverage.

2 to 6 p.m.  Once my day starts, I’m in gear. One of my favorite clients is my oldest son, David. He’s a very tough client. If I don’t return his phone calls instantly, he calls his mother. He finds [real estate] deals for a very wealthy guy, Daniel Straus, who made his money in health care. David recently brought him a deal to buy six brownstones owned by the Whitney Museum on East 74th Street for $95 million. It probably helped that Bill Maloney, the project director for the new Downtown Whitney, was at David’s bar mitzvah. The brownstones will be unified into a single 12-unit condo. Community Board 8 didn’t like the rooftop additions and rejected the proposal, but we have a great land-use group here, and changed the plan to make it presentable to Landmarks. I also spend part of my days talking to another son, Kevin, a real estate lawyer with Holland & Knight. One of his clients is Marriott. We sometimes talk about concepts, but we are very mindful of potential conflicts.

6:15 to 7:30 p.m.  We are out most weeknights for work events, sometimes more than one. I think these nights out [help] generate leads, but I also enjoy seeing people, and my wife enjoys it. It’s fun. The other night I walked to the Waldorf Astoria, where I met my wife. There was an annual benefit for the Phipps Houses Group, the affordable housing developer. If we don’t have an event, I usually leave the office by 7:30 or so. And we usually don’t go to restaurants; we’ll have a home-cooked meal.

7:30 to 9:15 p.m.  Sometimes there are multiple evening events. For example, after the Waldorf, we went to Sotheby’s, which was having a contemporary art auction. … When you walk through a museum, you don’t ever really know the price of paintings, but at auctions you can see that, wow, a Rothko is worth $50 million! I’ve done work for Sotheby’s, so we were led through the back of the house to the floor of the auction, just in time for the Rothko bidding [it ultimately sold for $75.1 million].

9:15 to 10 p.m.  And then from the auction we went back to the Phipps dinner, though it was mostly over. They were presenting awards. We took the car home at about 10 p.m. Since we didn’t have time for dinner, I made some scrambled eggs.

10:30 to 11:15 p.m.  The TV is usually on, but whether I watch it or not … every 15 minutes, I’ll ask my wife, “What happened?” The shows that Arlene likes are “The Good Wife” and “Homeland.” And we usually watch the lead-in to the news. But then it’s lights out.

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