So I'm at Keens Steakhouse for lunch, trying to decide between the $45 Mutton Chop and the $48 Filet Mignon (I ended up choosing the $15 hamburger), when the lawyer one table over, in a dark suit, checked shirt and Burberry plaid tie, begins talking.
"What I can help developers do is make their buildings as big as possible," he said. "I can squeeze as much space out of a property as can be, getting the most money out of it. That's what other guys can't do. They may know to set up a development, but they don't know New York. Things are different here. I know how to get around zoning. I know how to get around the Building Department. People come to me because they know I can do that, and because I don't do anything illegal when I do it. I talk to a lot of architects, and a lot of them are like, 'Oh, I don't want to bother myself with that stuff. I'm just designing my building.' I can't stand that attitude. I can't stand architects who don't want to deal with the practical side of things, the business side of things, who don't want to get their hands dirty."
The man talking did not seem to hear the sound of gnashing teeth coming from the table next to him. Luckily, the busboy cleared away my steak knife before I could do anything rash.
This, I guess, is the sort of person who can afford a $45 Mutton Chop—the kind of man who has to point out that he doesn't do anything illegal. If it were up to him, he'd probably have Keen's torn down due to some zoning loophole, because his developer-client had his eye on the lot.