2020年1月13日 星期一

N.Y. Today: Faith Hope Consolo's Tale

What you need to know for Monday.

The Real Story of Faith Hope Consolo

It’s Monday.

Weather: Expect a high in the upper 40s, with a mostly sunny day.

Alternate-side parking: In effect until Jan. 20 (Martin Luther King’s Birthday).


Mary Altaffer/Associated Press

Julie Satow reports:

For decades, Faith Hope Consolo was a renowned character in New York’s real estate scene.

She made deals with the Spanish clothing store Zara, Cartier’s landlord on Fifth Avenue and Ivanka Trump’s jewelry boutique.


When Ms. Consolo died in 2018, there were numerous obituaries recounting the remarkable life story that Ms. Consolo had been telling about herself for years.

Then, a childhood friend reached out, and the truth emerged.

Her early life

Ms. Consolo said that she was born in the wealthy enclave of Shaker Heights, Ohio. In reality, she was born in downtown Cleveland.


She said she moved to the idyllic suburb of Westport, Conn., as a young girl. In reality, she grew up on a dead-end street in Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn. Hers was a small house off Coney Island Avenue.

As an adult, her closest friends never knew the truth about her past — not even her business partner of 26 years, Joseph Aquino, who grew up just 10 blocks from her childhood home.

Her real family

Ms. Consolo said her father’s name was John. In fact, his name was Frank. She said he died when she was 2.

She said her father was a real estate executive. He was, in reality, a gambler who spent periods of time incarcerated. He was arrested on charges of armed robbery and assault and battery and was involved in a major heroin racket in 1954. He served time in Alcatraz and at the federal penitentiary in Leavenworth, Kan.

Ms. Consolo said her mother was a child psychiatrist. But she was a hairdresser at Martin’s, a department store in Downtown Brooklyn.

Her spending habits

Ms. Consolo’s success in New York real estate, however, was real. William Rudin, one of the city’s largest developers, said, “She really changed the retail marketplace.” In 2005, she joined the real estate firm Douglas Elliman and was the chairwoman of its retail division.

She was known for spending lavishly: meals at Brasserie in the Seagram Building, and overnight stays at a Four Seasons or a Ritz Carlton.

In 2016, Ms. Consolo’s business partner, Mr. Aquino, sued her and Douglas Elliman over commission payments. Though the lawsuit was eventually dismissed, it did lead to revelations about Ms. Consolo’s spending habits. They included $100 daily makeup sessions and a $60,000 annual travel and entertainment budget.

Her friends explain

I wrote an obituary of Ms. Consolo for The Times. After it was published, one of her childhood friends contacted me. That friend, Elizabeth Anne Tursi, provided information about Ms. Consolo’s early years.

“I really believe that Faith just didn’t want people to know who she was,” Ms. Tursi said.

I began investigating Ms. Consolo’s real story, and shared what I had learned with those who had known Ms. Consolo for years. Some were surprised, some were saddened.

Others, like Esther Muller, a friend and real estate broker, said the lies might have been a necessity. “Faith believed she would not be able to succeed in the world of men if she didn’t have a tough-looking cover-up, so she covered up who she really was,” she said.


Explore news from New York and around the region

The Mini Crossword: Here is today’s puzzle.

What we’re reading

Public housing residents filed about 200,000 bedbug complaints in the past two years. [Daily News]

What’s it like to live in a $10,000-a-month penthouse? [NY1]

Three men stole $3,200 worth of shoes from a store in Brooklyn. [BKLYNER]

Coming up today

Celebrate the fall/winter issue of Epiphany, a biannual literary journal and independent nonprofit, with a reading at Books Are Magic in Brooklyn. 7 p.m. [Free]

“Memories of Murder” screens as part of “The Bong Show: The Films of Bong Joon Ho” at Film at Lincoln Center in Manhattan. 6 p.m. [$15]

Discuss classic and contemporary plays with the Astoria Theater Book Club at the Astoria Bookshop in Queens. 7 p.m. [Free]

— Melissa Guerrero

Events are subject to change, so double-check before heading out. For more events, see the going-out guides from The Times’s culture pages.

And finally: True crime stories

Meeko Gattuso is easy to recognize with his numerous tattoos: the number 36 on his left cheek, the number 12 on his neck and what looks like the New York Yankees logo below his clavicle.

“Authenticity is real big in the entertainment thing now,” Meeko said in an interview.

Indeed, Meeko, a gang member, is acting in the HBO show “Euphoria,” in which he plays a character not unlike himself.

Tomorrow at 8 p.m., Meeko, whose real name is Sean Nitollano, will be onstage but won’t be acting. He and three other men from New York City will perform a one-hour show about their lives before, during and after incarceration. The event, at the Tank on West 36th Street, is called “Feel My Pain.”

One of the men in the show with Meeko is Alejandro “Pirata” Cintron.

Meeko said Mr. Cintron was from “a good family” in Brooklyn and “ended up working for a major drug dealer who had the whole Bronx on smash.”

The second man is Mario “Machete” Perez.

He spent 27 years in prison for a murder he said he did not commit. “He’s not saying he was a choir boy,” Meeko explained. Machete’s penchant for robbing people meant he “was becoming a problem” for his Brooklyn neighbors, Meeko said, so “they set him up for a murder that he didn’t do.”

The third man is Peter Shue.

“He was in the drug game big, heavy,” Meeko said. “He dated Madonna.”

Meeko, for his part, is a member of the gang Latin Kings. He said he was focusing now on building his own acting career, and helping others. “These guys all want to go into the entertainment industry,” he said about the three men he was performing with. “And I know they can do it.”

When I asked what qualities they have that will make them successful in show business, Meeko replied, “The realness.”

It’s Monday — get ready for the show.

Metropolitan Diary: Bleacher creatures

Dear Diary:

It was 1947. Larry Goldberg and I were 13 years old. We lived in Brooklyn, but we were New York Yankees fans.

The World Series that year was a memorable one. The Yankees played the Dodgers, with notables on the field like Joe DiMaggio, Phil Rizzuto, Yogi Berra and, of course, Brooklyn’s Jackie Robinson, in his rookie year and first World Series.

The day of Game 1, Larry and I boarded the F train on Church Avenue at 3 a.m. and headed to Yankee Stadium. I doubt very much if my parents would let me go at that age today. (The subway, by the way, was 5 cents cash then, no tokens.)

When we got to the stadium, we stopped at Nedick’s for a breakfast special: its famous orange drink, a doughnut and a cup of coffee, all for 15 cents.

We waited in line until 10 a.m., when the gates opened. We bought bleacher tickets for $1 and watched the Yankees do their thing, beating the Dodgers, 5-3.

We repeated the adventure for Game 7, and we saw the Yankees win the game and the series. I still have the ticket stubs.

I am curious where Larry Goldberg is today.

— Bruce Funk

New York Today is published weekdays around 6 a.m. You can also find it at nytoday.com.

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