The Real Deal New York

For moguls, ’tis the season to be social

Real estate big shots mix and mingle in New York high society

December 01, 2011
By V.L. Hendrickson


From left: Kara and Stephen Ross at a benefit for the Everglades Foundation at the Breakers in Palm Beach; Larry and Klara Silverstein, with their daughter Lisa and son-in-law Tal Kerret, at the New York Philharmonic (credit: Amanda Gordon/Bloomberg News)

The holiday season is upon us, and New York’s society scenesters are busy with glittering galas and luncheons. Real estate moguls are no strangers to these events, and clusters of the industry’s biggest players can be seen at almost every party.

“People from the real estate world really do make a splash,” said Amanda Gordon, the social columnist for Bloomberg News. “The business is all about relationships, so they thrive at events where they can develop relationships that may bear fruit later, or celebrate those [relationships] that have worked out really well for them.”

This year, for example, many real estate moguls are eagerly awaiting a party at the Park Avenue Armory in honor of the Streb dance company’s “Kiss the Air” tour, Gordon said. The event is hosted by Olivia and Adam Flatto of the Georgetown Company, a real estate investment and development firm.

And then there’s the annual Christmas lunch at Doubles, the exclusive private club at the Sherry-Netherland hotel on Fifth Avenue. Luncheon attendees are likely to spot high-society real estate brokers Serena Boardman and Kirk Henckels, as well as Karen LeFrak, wife of developer Richard LeFrak. The LeFraks are well known in philanthropic and social circles in Manhattan, the Hamptons and Palm Beach, along with their sons, Harrison and Jamie.

“The LeFraks are all very social,” noted David Patrick Columbia of the website New York Social Diary.

Also prominent on the city’s social scene are developer Larry Silverstein, 80, and his wife, Klara. The Park Avenue couple not only attend society events, they also invite arts and cultural institutions to hold events in spaces owned by Silverstein Properties. For example, the Brooklyn Children’s Museum held their Brooklyn Kids Awards Gala at 7 World Trade Center last spring. And Silverstein is cochair of this year’s “A Winter’s Evening” real estate and construction industries dinner dance. The event, which will honor SL Green Realty CEO Marc Holliday, raises money for lung cancer research.

Related Companies CEO Stephen Ross is also often seen hobnobbing with hedge-funders and other socialites on the party scene. His wife, Kara, whose jewelry and accessory designs have been featured in magazines like Vogue and Elle, is often on his arm at events at Lincoln Center, where he is a trustee, and the Guggenheim.

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