Zeckendorf: Revisiting a master builder’s legacy

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From the November issue: As New York City ushers in an era of vast development projects — whether the Freedom Tower, Hudson Yards or massive plans for Manhattan’s East Side — a glance back at the life of developer William Zeckendorf Sr. is proof that there are no new ideas under the sun. Zeckendorf “was absolutely unusual,” said architect I. M. Pei. “It wasn’t the cut-and-dried method of making money in real estate that interested him. I have a feeling, and this is just my opinion, that he wanted to do something unusual.” One of Zeckendorf’s biggest achievements was assembling some 75 parcels of land on the East Side — formerly home to smelly slaughterhouses — into a bundle that eventually became the United Nations.