Last week, developer Daniel Brodsky was named the latest chairman of the Metropolitan Museum of Art's storied Board of Trustees. He's a curious choice in many ways, even admitting to the New York Times that he has no favorite piece in the museum's vast collection, nor much interest in art history. So if he's neither an art historian, nor a museographer, nor a connoisseur, what's up with that? Well, Brodsky's rich, what else? He's managing director of the Brodsky Organization, which developed 7,400 apartments in 76 Manhattan buildings, among them 24 Fifth Avenue, Chelsea Enclave, 1 Columbus Place, South Park Tower at 60th Street between Columbus and Amsterdam Avenues, and the Zebra, the black-and-white-striped 42nd Street landmark that cityfile calls "the ugliest building in the city."
Brodsky is obviously smart and generous (he's also on the boards of the New York City Ballet and NYU) but it probably helps that he had a rich father, and is married to a very-well-connected (and probably rich) wife, too. What the announcements of his new gig don't say is that after World War II, his dad Nathan, the son of a Russian tailor, a college dropout, and a war vet, bought up about thirty buildings in Greenwich Village, renovating them and renting apartments for about $50 a month, then segued to residential hotels in the '60s, among them today's 24 Fifth Avenue. By the time he died in 2006, he'd brought his boy Danny into the business and they'd built a dozen apartments towers, mostly on the West Side (though Brodsky himself lives at 895 Park Avenue and on Lily Pond Land in East Hampton). His wife Estrellita is the great-granddaughter of a President of Uruguay. Who needs art smarts when you've got connections like those?