The Real Deal New York

A day in the life: Joseph Moinian

The CEO of the Moinian Group walks TRD through a typical 24 hours, including Pilates class, conference calls and a power lunch at San Pietro

November 01, 2012
By C.J. Hughes

Joseph Moinian

6:00 to 6:30 a.m.  I wake up between 6:00 and 6:30. I check the New York Post. If there are headlines that I like, I will read the full version later on my iPad in my car. I also like to watch international news when I’m getting ready, like the BBC and Al Jazeera.

 

7:00 a.m.  I only eat breakfast about three times a week, egg whites with maybe some tomato or grilled onions. I also drink a skim latte from Starbucks every day, without sugar, because I like the bitterness. I bring it with me to the office and it stays on my desk until it gets cold. Joe’s entire system is on-the-go.

 

7:30 a.m. If we have a construction project in the works, on some days I’ll head right to the construction site. I’ll arrive at 7:30, like when we were building the W New York Downtown. It’s important that the workers see the owner to create a feeling that we need to get to the end. Other days I go to the gym, the Sports Club/LA on East 61st Street, where I’ve been going for 14 years. I like Pilates classes rather than doing it on my own; I find that I focus better in classes and tend to get off the subject when nobody is watching me. I also own seven buildings next to the gym, so I say hello to my buildings as well. If I don’t go to the gym in the morning, I go in the evening, maybe do boxing or weights with my trainer. I also play tennis on Saturdays and Sundays on Roosevelt Island. I exercise about every day except for Wednesday, when I just stretch in the morning at home. The body gets frozen after a night of sleep, and you need a boost to keep going.

 

8:30 a.m. [On days that I go to the gym,] I get to the office at 8:30. [My schedule the other morning] was pretty typical: I went to a board of governors meeting at REBNY for a few hours. Later, I met with my team about the retail floors at 535-545 Fifth Avenue, which are being combined into a single 84,000-square-foot space. My schedule that day also included checking in with Galleria [one of our buildings] at 115 East 57th Street; I watch it to make sure the tenants are all working together, not crowding the elevator, that sort of thing.

 

NOON Some days I will eat with my son Matthew [a managing director at the Moinian Group] or my son Mitchell [a broker with Cushman & Wakefield] in one of the conference rooms in my office at 530 Fifth Avenue. Once a week, I go to San Pietro on East 54th Street for a lunch with my partners or bankers or somebody I’m doing business with. The food is very good, the atmosphere is very good and the service is impeccable, but you have to be willing to gain 500 calories. I am driven there in a town car, but I like to walk back to the office along Madison to window-shop and enjoy the weather. Though we’ll be moving our offices soon to 3 Columbus Circle, where our 50 employees will be in a 15,000-square-foot space.

 

3:00 p.m. The afternoon is typically when most of my phone calls take place. The other day I had a call with David West [a partner at Goldstein Hill & West Architects] to talk about the design of 605 West 42nd Street [a new 970-unit rental (note: correction appended)].

 

7:00 p.m. The other day me and my wife, Nazee, were at Carnegie Hall for the opening night of the symphony in October. We also recently went to see Barbra Streisand at Barclays Center in Brooklyn. Bruce Ratner did a wonderful job; it’s the nicest multiuse sports stadium that I’ve seen on the East Coast. And I think one thing will lead to another, and this will help revamp Brooklyn. Yes, my BlackBerry was with me, but was it because of my business? I would have to say no. I have five children, and two of them, Morgan and Michaela, still live at home.

 

8:00 p.m. [Even if I sometimes go to events,] I’m usually at the office till 8. That’s except for Friday, the Shabbat, when I leave early; we have people over to our house, sort of like an Italian Sunday dinner. It’s gone on for years. [Meanwhile,] yesterday, I went to an event at the Bank of America building with Mayor Bloomberg to hear about how the construction of the 9-11 Museum had restarted. That was music to my ears. Afterward, I went to Casa Lever, at the Lever House, for dinner with an ex-employee of the company whom I stayed friendly with.

 

9:00 p.m. I don’t really watch TV unless there’s a game on, basketball or football. I will probably get in trouble for saying this, but baseball, I hate! My phone is quiet at night, but you get calls in your head, in a way: “Should I buy this? Should I say yes to this tenant who wants to occupy this space?”

 

11:00 p.m. to 1:00 a.m. I go to bed anywhere between 11 and 1. All I need is five to six hours of sleep — there are better things to do than sleeping.

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