The best thing I’ve ever done? Well, I’ve created four beautiful children. You mean, other than that?
Yes, it’s true. As a kid, I was making a building with blocks in our playroom. I didn’t have enough. So I asked my younger brother, Robert, if I could borrow some of his. He said, “Okay, but you have to give them back when you’re done.” I used all of my blocks, then all of his blocks, and when I was done I had a great building, which I then glued together. Robert never did get those blocks back.
My father was a builder in Brooklyn and Queens, a very smart businessperson who understood life. He taught me to keep my guard up. The world is a pretty vicious place.
My mom was a wonderful woman who was, in many ways, the opposite of my father. Very relationship oriented, very warm and open and generous to people. So I got different qualities from both. It was a great combination.
My life essentially is one big, fat phone call.
Hold on. Gotta take this one…. Reeeeegis, my man! How you doing?… The best pitcher in baseball going against us tonight. And Roger was great last time, but he’s forty-one. Yeah, I’m going. Definitely. Are you?… Ohhh!… And you can’t get out of it?… Reeeeg! You can’t go see that! You can see that any night. This is a once-in-a-lifetime game. Once in a lifetime! You can’t sit through a Broadway show with the Yankees playing the Red Sox in game seven! Go tomorrow night! Look, I’ll get you a ticket. Reeeeg! Reeeeeeeeeeg! Look, even if you sit home and watch it on television, you’re not gonna go to a Broadway show…. If you change your mind, let me know. I love you, darling. Take care. Be good.
That was Regis.
The most important things in life are your relationships and your health.
For me, business comes easier than relationships.
You need like, you need love, you need trust,
you need sex, you need lots of different things – all of which are very complex.
The most I’ve ever asked the bank for? The job I’m building on the West Side is a $4 billion to $5 billion job.
Work hard to take the gamble out of the gamble.
The work of architecture that’s most impressed me? That I haven’t put up? Well, I’m a big fan of the Empire State Building for a couple of reasons. Number one, I owned the land under the building and sold it recently for a tremendous profit. But I also think it’s a magical building.
The World Trade Center was never appreciated until its death. Now people realize how great it was. There are very mixed views on what to do. If you try to build something bigger, it might become a target. Who’s gonna occupy that space? In another sense, it certainly seems the fitting thing to do – to build something bigger and better than what was there before. Unfortunately, I don’t think what they’re building is going to be as good as what was there.
Going through tough times is a wonderful thing, and everybody should try it. Once.
I was walking down Fifth Avenue with Marla Maples in 1991. This was at the peak of the bad market. Across the street I saw a man in front of Tiffany with a tin cup. I looked at Marla and said, “You know, right now that man is worth $900 million more than I am.”
When I told Marla this, she didn’t run away. Of course, I would have saved a little money if she had.
I had a lot of friends who went bankrupt and you never hear from them again. I worked harder than I’d ever worked getting myself out of it. Now my company is much bigger than it was in the eighties – many times.