Top Collector Aby Rosen Talks Wining and Dining with the FT

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Aby Rosen. Photo: © 2014 Patrick McMullan Company, Inc.

We were not surprised to learn that top contemporary art collector and Manhattan real estate mogul Aby Rosen—much like his friend, the powerhouse art dealer Larry Gagosian—really enjoys dining at Masa in the Time Warner Center, where the median meal price per-head is a whopping $450. Rosen appears in the most recent issue of the Financial Times magazine “How to Spend It,” with a list of his favorite spots to wine and dine business clients and friends.

Rosen, who is German-born and resides in New York, is the co-founder of privately owned RFR Holding, which has a portfolio of over 100 properties. Rosen, who is the chairman of the New York State Council on the Arts (See What is Collector Aby Rosen Doing as New York’s Arts Council Chairman), has developed a reputation as a sharp-eyed collector and businessman whose steely determination (or extreme stubborness depending on how you view it), has drawn him into high-profile public spats including about whether he should keep a prized Picasso tapestry in the Seagram Building’s famous Four Seasons restaurant as well as his right to display a controversial Damien Hirst public art sculpture at his mansion in Westbury Long Island. (We once personally observed him oust an improperly seated guest from a ticketed chair at a Christie’s evening auction, well after the event had started.)

But we digress! Back to the food and booze. Rosen says wining and dining people “has always been central to my real-estate dealing,” before launching into a lengthy list of the hows and whys of his preferred haunts. After all, it was over lunch at the Four Seasons restaurant that he convinced the former owner his company was the right buyer to acquire the building.

Rosen tells the FT he prefers lunch to dinner because it is more efficient business-wise. He also says that he likes to have “a personal life at the end of the day.”

In London he likes breakfast at Claridge’s, where the “relaxing setting is perfect for listening to pitches and getting a grip on the UK property market.” Lunch “tends to be with gallerist friends including [White Cube Gallery owner] Jay Jopling and Tim Jeffries, usually at traditional places like Wilton’s,” which has “impeccable” service and a non-deafening noise level. He numbers hot spots in Miami, Frankfurt, Tel Aviv, Paris, and Copenhagen.

For “low-key art-world lunches with friends like Larry Gagosian and Damien Hirst, I opt for Joe’s Stone Crab in Miami Beach, where we share platters of oysters and crab claws,” he says. “We don’t bother looking at the menu—the staff know what we like and just bring endless plates, which leaves us to the business at hand.” Rosen says the same goes for Masa, “which just sends out the freshest omakase-style fish, no questions asked.”

We bet he’ll also be adding Gagosian’s new sushi place, Kappo Masa, a recently opened joint venture with his good pal and Masa proprietor Masa Takayama.


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