President of Warburg Realty Partnership. After starting in the business as a residential agent in 1980, he worked his way up to manager at Albert B. Ashforth. In 1991, he bought a majority stake in the firm’s New York residential arm and renamed it Ashforth Warburg Associates. Twelve years later, he renamed the firm again, this time to Warburg Realty Partnership. Today Warburg has 150 brokers in five Manhattan offices, including one in Harlem, where it was the first large Manhattan firm to open an office.
What is your full name?
Frederick Warburg Peters.
What’s your family history?
I decided to name the firm after my middle name because the Warburgs have a lot of resonance in New York. My great-great-grandfather, Jacob Schiff, was the head of an investment banking firm, Kuhn, Loeb &Co. (It merged with Lehman Brothers in 1977.) He was probably the most significant Jewish investment banker in the city at the turn of the last century. My great-grandparents, Frieda and Felix Warburg, were also big philanthropists in New York, and their house is now the Jewish Museum. My father [C. Brooks Peters] was a New York Times reporter (who was credited with contributing to the Times’ foreign reporting Pulitzer Prize in 1941)
What’s your birth date?
February 9, 1952.
Where did you grow up?
Where do you live?
86th Street and Central Park West. We’ve been in the apartment for 31 years. We bought it two weeks after we got married.
Are you going to stay there forever?
Yes. Feet first, that’s how I’m leaving. People say to me, ‘Isn’t it hard for you not to move when you see so many apartments?’ But the truth is, I look at them and think, ‘Hmm, can we sell this?’
Do you have any other homes?
We own a house in Sharon, Conn. [in Litchfield County].
What’s a weekend like in the country?
Weekends tend to include a lot of reading, at least one trip to the nursery, hours of planting and weeding, and garden tours and house tours.
There’s a fair amount of meal preparation, and we’ll often go to the nearby town on a Saturday or Sunday night for dinner and a movie.
How do you get to work?
I walk through the park every day [to his office at 969 Madison Avenue at 76th Street]. It’s like the best commute you could ask for. I’m a big user of public transportation. Diane [Ramirez, president of Halstead Property] and I leave [REBNY’s ] board of directors meetings, and the cars are lined up outside with all the drivers, and we cross the street and get on the subway.
What restaurants do you frequent?
We go to neighborhood places. [My wife] Alexandra and I have a place we go to all the time on the East Side — E.A.T. [at 1064 Madison Avenue,between 80th and 81st streets]. Not with each other necessarily, but I often run into her there. Another place in the neighborhood of my office I like is Serafina [at 1022 Madison Avenue at 79th Street]. I have a standing date, even though we haven’t done it much lately, with Barbara Fox [president of real estate firm Fox Residential Group] once a month there.
Is your wife OK with that friendship?
As my wife likes to say, ‘I have a career in which I take women alone into apartments.’ She had to make her peace with that long ago.
Do you consider yourself a cynic?
No, actually the opposite. I think often, people’s best quality and their worst quality is the same. And for me, in business, I’d say it is that
I give everyone a million chances.
Are you tough during a job interview?
As an organization, we aren’t great at weeding people out once they’re here, which means that it’s better to not make too many mistakes up front.
What’s the craziest thing one of your brokers has done?
I had a broker who had a kind of breakdown in 2003 [reportedly getting naked, screaming and relieving herself on furniture and in a closet] in the apartment of a client. That’s all I’m going to say because there’s
How do you express anger?
I’m embarrassed to admit there’s probably an annual moment in the office when I scream.
Would you rather be right or happy?
Happy. I feel like in my middle years, which hopefully these are, I am trying to cultivate a more Zen attitude.
How are you doing to do that?
I have done yoga for 15 or 16 years.
Are you a big clothes shopper?
I was an incredible shoe groupie for many years. A year ago, I had this catastrophic break with my ankle, so that’s broken me of my shoe habit. I haven’t been able to wear anything except Merrells or sneakers.
Are you a metrosexual?
I suppose. I don’t quite know what that means.
If you weren’t in real estate, what would you do?
Runan orchestra. Run an opera company. In addition to being a shoe groupie, I’m an opera groupie. That’s just another nail in my metrosexual coffin, isn’t it?