Skyscraper Dreams:The Great Real Estate Dynasties of New York


“Fascinating history, showing how the city has been molded by the edifice complexes of risk-takers. The stuff of grand comedy.”

Business Week

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“Fascinating history, showing how the city has been molded by the edifice complexes of risk-takers. The stuff of grand comedy.”

Business Week

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Shachtman, coauthor of The Gilded Leaf , contends that skyscraper mania--the compulsion to alter and claim part of the New York City skyline and increasingly costly square feet of property--animates successors to the Astors and Rockefellers, represented by descendants of immigrant builders (Urises, Tishmans, Zeckendorfs et al.). While such people may assuage their oversize ambitions with well-publicized contributions to civic causes, many demonstrate a near-total disregard for the city's structural and social health--and, charges the author, for its real housing needs especially. Though a plethora of character sketches and anecdotes swells the narrative, history buffs and concerned citizens--and scandal- and gossip-lovers--should relish the stories of these dynasties. Despite the present financial crisis, the author predicts, they and New York City will survive. Photos not seen by PW. (Aug.)
Library Journal
The quintessential New York real estate deal took place in 1624 when the Dutch supposedly paid the Indians $24 in trinkets for the island of Manhattan. But what came afterward? In Shachtman's book, we are presented with the famous and infamous real estate tycoons of New York's past and present--from the Astors and the Rockefellers to Harry Helmsley and Donald Trump. Historical anecdotes abound and make for entertaining reading (William Zeckendorf is attributed with saying ``I'd rather be alive at 18% than dead at the prime rate!''), but a lack of footnotes or a bibliography may give the serious researcher pause and readers outside of New York may find this a bit parochial. Appropriate for real estate collections and larger public libraries.-- Richard Drezen, Merrill Lynch Lib., New York
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780595163601
  • Publisher: iUniverse, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 1/8/2001
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 380
  • Sales rank: 567,012
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.85 (d)

Table of Contents

Prologue: Public and Private Ceremonies 3
Part 1 Elements of the Dream
1 The Sixth Sense 29
2 The White City 45
3 Within the Pale 54
Part 2 Reaching for the Sky
4 Converging Streams 77
5 Horizontal to Vertical Monuments 93
6 Fathers and Sons 101
7 Grand Schemes 118
8 Metropolitan Square 137
9 The Hard Years 157
Part 3 Empire Building
10 Making Matches 173
11 Members of the Club 189
12 Learning to Love the Cow 203
13 Sizable and Dubious Pleasures 216
14 The Changing of the Guard 235
Part 4 The City and Its Symbols
15 1166 and All That 257
16 The Shadow of Default 271
17 The Great Leap Forward 294
18 Replacement Costs 314
Epilogue: Waiting for Good Times 329
Acknowledgments 339
Index 341
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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 26, 2006

    Great, Great Book

    Written with clarity and comprehension. This book will fascinate anyone interested in Real Estate, New York, or Immigrant Socio-economic mobility. It is impossible to disregard the positive and inspirational affect this book will have on you. If the book has a 'downside' it would be that it contains no practical real estate insight, except, work hard.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 21, 2006

    Insider's Opinion

    Skyscraper Dreams is a breath of fresh insight into the world of Real Estate and the unmeasurable value of culture. 5-Stars: Horacio F. Moncada, Boca Raton, Florida.

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