The Real Deal New York

The Closing: Barry Gosin


March 31, 2009
By Candace Taylor


Gosin is the chief executive officer of Newmark Knight Frank, an international real estate services firm with nearly 7,000 employees in 195 offices on six continents. In 1978, Gosin teamed up with partner Jeffrey Gural to purchase Newmark & Company from Gural’s father, Aaron. After years of growth, the company partnered in 2006 with Knight Frank, the United Kingdom’s largest privately owned real estate firm.

Gosin and his partners control a portfolio of over 40 properties totaling in excess of 10 million square feet, including New York City landmarks such as the Flatiron Building (the Italian real estate giant Sorgente Group bought a majority stake in the building earlier this year), the former Ford Building and 55 Wall Street.

What is your full name?

Barry Martin Gosin.

What is your date of birth?

Oct. 2, 1950.

Where did you grow up?

Brooklyn. East Flatbush.

Where do you live now?

I have a home in Upper Westchester, in Chappaqua. And an apartment in Manhattan on Central Park South.

Where do you stay most of the time?

I kind of mix it up. I like having both.

When you stay in Chappaqua, how do you get to work?

I drive in.

What car do you drive?

I drive a GMC Yukon Hybrid. I drive a truck, so I’m doing my part for America.

Do you have kids?

Two girls. One lives in Boston and is married to a doctor at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. And another in Hoboken. She’s a social worker and she’s about to get married in September.

That’s soon. Are you going through a “Father of the Bride” thing?

No, since it’s my second.

What do you like to do on the weekends?

I love to play tennis. I enjoy singing. I like to listen to music and I read.

Do you sing in a choir?

No, it’s more or less in the shower or karaoke or at the piano. Actually, in one of my greatest piano bar experiences, I sang with Yo Yo Ma in Davos [Switzerland]. He was with a group of people singing songs.

Have you ever sung with [Newmark Knight Frank President] Jimmy Kuhn’s band, “Square Feeet”?

I have sung with his band, just a couple of times.

What did you sing?

“Sweet Caroline,” The Eagles, Neil Diamond, Willy Nelson — that’s my genre. But I do like rhythm and blues, and I actually like hip hop. I like guys like Kanye West and Eminem. I like the beat.

What was your first job in real estate?

I worked for a small company, Feder and Company. I was a broker, so I was knocking on doors. We were working on a building owned by Lew Rudin, an office building on 26th and Madison. [After] three years, I rented all the space in the building.

What was your favorite job ever?

I love what I do now. It’s constantly changing. It’s always challenging, and I get to meet incredibly interesting and smart people. I have the opportunity to hire young people and see their careers flourish. I’ve watched them grow up. That gives me great satisfaction.

Do you have a personal mantra that you try to pass on to young brokers at your company?

The most important thing is the client comes first. If your objective is to do the right thing by the people you represent, regardless of what it means for you, then you will have a sustainable career. For those who are focused on the quick deal, their careers will be marginalized.

Do you have a role model or mentor in the real estate business?

Aaron Gural, who recently passed away. He sold me the business. He taught us how to buy real estate. As I said in his eulogy, he taught me three different things: Don’t sign personally, don’t cross collateralize, and if you live long enough, your real estate will be worth a lot of money.

When you play tennis, do you have a favorite partner or someone that you’re really competitive with?

One of them is Steven Simkin, head of the real estate department at [law firm] Paul Weiss, and Bobby Bull. He was the number one player in the East in the ’50s. I play almost every weekend, pretty much, with him.

So you’re pretty competitive in your personal life as well as at work?

That’s what gets your juices going: winning.

Have you ever played tennis on Donald Trump’s tennis courts above Grand Central, which are set to close?

I’ve played there.

How does it measure up?

Not well. The courts are hard and short.

You’re an owner of the Flatiron Building. Do you go to Shake Shack a lot?

At this age, it’s hard for me to eat burgers.

Any other hobbies?

My family is the most important thing. I’ve been married 34 years to Jackie. We went to the same high school. We got together when I came back [to New York] from college [at Indiana University]. We’ve been together 36 years, 34 of them married.

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