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Chapter 5 – The Move to Manhattan

“The really important thing was that by virtue of this move I became much more familiar with Manhattan.  I began to walk the streets in a way you never do if you just come in to visit or do business.  I got to know all the good properties.”

“I couldn’t believe what I was hearing.  My mother is as much of a rock as my father.  She is totally devoted to my father — they recently celebrated fifty years of marriage.  That’s what I grew up with, and here’s this guy talking about stealing wives. …When I finally did get married, I married a very beautiful woman, but a woman who also happens to be a rock …”

“‘I don’t like lawyers.  I think all they do is delay deals, instead of making deals, and every answer they you is no, and they are always looking to settle instead of fight … I’m just not built that way.  I’d rather fight than fold, because as soon as you fold once, you get the reputation of being a folder.‘”

“If you want to buy something, it’s obviously in your best interest to convince the seller that what he’t got isn’t worth very much.”  

“No one, so far as I know, has ever suggested that Donald Trump and Ed Koch are close personal friends.”

“I’m the first to admit that I am very competitive and that I’ll do nearly anything within legal bounds to win.  Sometimes, part of making a deal is denigrating your competition.”

“[I could build my convention center for $150 million less than the city estimate].  Not surprisingly, that raised some eyebrows and even got us some attention in the press.  But there was scarcely an approving peep from the politicians.  I discovered, for the first time but not the last, that politicians don’t care too much what things cost.  It’s not their money.

Chapter 6 – Grand Hotel: Reviving 42nd Street

“Suddenly it dawned on me why my deals kept coming apart: if you’re going to make a deal of any significance, you have to go to the top.”

“I didn’t take it personally.  They were politicians.  They sensed an issue that might play with the voters and the press, so they jumped on the bandwagon.”

“They’d also invited us to all of their management meetings.  The guy went so far out of his way to solicit our opinions and involve us in the hotel that finally I said, ‘Leave me alone, do whatever you want, just don’t bother me.’  What he did was the perfect ploy, because he got what he wanted not by fighting but by being positive and friendly and solicitous.

“I now have in my will a clause describing the importance of that restrictive covenant, just on the chance that one of my heirs happens not to be that sharp. … The simple fact is that Hyatt would love to build more hotels.  By retaining the right to say yes or no, I own something very valuable.

“I canceled the meeting in order to go to Chicago [for the funeral], and as it turned out, I was never able to make that particular deal.  I have no regrets.  There are some people in your life you just want to pay your respects to, no matter what it involves.

 

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