At the beginning of March 2016 I received a surprising e-mail from the Israeli Building Center, inviting me to join Nadlan in the City, the first Israeli-American real estate conference in NYC. I was immediately caught by the idea and registered promptly. I could not fathom, at the time, the extent to which this initiative could touch both the hearts of all the visiting Israelis as well as the hearts of Israelis and Jews living and working in USA. For a moment there, as we stood in the hall on the tenth floor of Seven World Trade Center building, overlooking the ground zero memorial, designed by Israeli architect Michael Arad, singing our anthem, I was on the brink of bursting into tears. Do not ask me why. I guess it has something to do with the fact that both my parents are holocaust survivors. I should confess that any human unity touches my soul, and when it comes to my own people it is more so.
I have known Eran Rolls, the head of the Israeli Building Center, for some time now, and I have a growing admiration for his ability to elevate others and to invent, day in day out, new ways for connecting people. He is the living proof that unity is worthwhile and within our reach.
The conference took place mainly in the Dream Hotel Downtown Manhattan, a rather unique place that seems to be the home for an ongoing, never ending party, with its loud music and throngs of youngsters streaming in and out at all hours. It got us in the right mood to connect, to open up and just enjoy being with others.
The conference was a great success. The tours arranged by The Israeli Building Center and our local hosts, were fascinating and informative. I joined two of them: a tour of projects by Extell and a tour of projects designed by Eran Chen, founder of ODA office of architecture and interior design. Both tours left me with a taste for more. Extell's skyscraper on 157w57th street took us high up into the sky of Manhattan to experience the luxurious life of the wealthiest people in the world. We first entered an enormous living room space that spread the entire width of the building, overlooking Central Park. The apartment was a masterpiece of fine interior design that was cleverly laid against the tapestry of its breathtaking views of the city.
New York is currently one of the central hubs of new and inspiring contemporary architecture. Strangely enough, I came to realize, through the conference, that some of the protagonists of this scene are Israeli architects that demonstrate incredible maturity and freshness in their work. The most prominent among them is undoubtedly Eran Chen. Eran's tour started in his office, where 75, rather young architects, seemed working in silent dedication on various projects. The place was full of 3D maquettes of work in progress, all of which seemed unique and inspiring. The tour itself was pure joy, as we sailed in our van from one completed and nearly completed building to another, always enjoying the fine taste and delicate touch of Eran's office. The tour concluded in one of Eran's early porjects, The James Hotel, where he invited all of us for a drink at the bar, located on the hotel's roof terrace, overlooking the wonderful cityscape of New York.
Besides the tours, the conference included also networking sessions that offered good opportunities to create new business as well as personal connections.
In conclusion, the conference was a rich and joyful experience and I must admit that I am impatient to sign up for the next one.