Another recently deceased New Yorker didn\’t even shift a millimetre across the city\’s map in nearly 80 years but still embodied the American dream.
Jack Brod, who died earlier this month at 98, chose to go up rather than across to define his success. The last original tenant of the Empire State Building, Mr Brod spent the years since it opened in 1931 gradually working his way from the seventh floor to the 76th (via the 14th, 15th and 66th) as his business grew and he could afford a better view.
He started as a Depression-era debt collector. When many debtors paid with jewellery, Mr Brod became a jeweller. Stationed in England during the Second World War, he did well from hard-up stately home owners, shipping boat-loads of cut-price antiques back to America.
Mr Brod\’s post-war entrepreneurism, including an engagement ring that "costs you nothing if she dumps you within 60 days", helped push him further up the skyscraper. By the time – reportedly, in 2004 – he was offered the solid gold dental bridge that had popped out of the mouth of a jilted lover who had jumped off the building, he could afford to say no to new business.
Entirely trivial, but fascinating.