The Story of Reviving Manhattan’s Famous Beacon Theater

Road to Becoming Co-Owner with $450,000 Cash

New York, N.Y. In this way the Beacon Theater became a “cultural heritage” property. However, this did not mean the monthly rent was canceled. For sure, the rental payment deadline came every month. And it was so hard to meet. Finally, Mr. Moskovitz, one of the co-owners, said, “I have good news for you, so please come.” When I got there, I surprised me by suggesting I be one of the co-owners.

“In our company arrangement, if even one of the co-owners says ‘No,’ nothing can be done. If you join as even a small part of the ownership group, your opinion will carry great weight. “One of our owners is moving to Israel and wants to sell half of his ownership,” he said. The advance would be $450,000 and I was told to bring cash. I did not have so much on hand and, for the first time, I called in my parents for a favor.

I was often told people thought all my money is from my parents because I was a lady, so ‘why can I do anything?’ This was totally a lie as I had never relied on my family until then.

When I called home to Japan, my aunt agreed to help me. She thought I was doing something positive in New York and went to meet the Japanese bank president. This chairman spoke with their New York branch, which eventually lent me the $450,000, with no interest nor collateral. 

With this cash in hand but without a signed agreement, I went to the Israeli co-owner who had verbally pledged to sell half his ownership rights. He asked me, “How can you trust me with something so important without a receipt or deposit certificate?” 

At this time, I was convinced I had to buy the interest at all costs. I thought that this transaction was “money to create a possibility to listen to my opinion.” So I had just left the money. But then there was a drama. I have never heard such a story! It’s ridiculous to just put a lot of money without taking a sign! My lawyer had quit, saying that. 

I came to the contract signing with a very young lawyer I knew. I was then against President Nixon and was supporting newcomer Jimmy Carter. This young lawyer and I, along with Ted Sorenson’s wife, had opened the first Carter Campaign office in New York City.

This lawyer, fresh behind the ears, had just passed the Bar exam. As we reached the office to sign papers, he was trembling in the elevator. Since I had been told I could become an owner of the Beacon Hotel, I really wanted to exercise that option. The young lawyer was so nervous I di not push for more, but I wonder what would have happened if I had! (Laugh)

(The next issue will be published February 3)

Originally published as Vol. 10 in Weekly Biz, Month xx, 201_; translated by Jim Luce.

See: Dr. Kazuko Hillyer Tatsumura Column in Japan’s Weekly Biz

(ニューヨークビズ!)

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About Dr. Kazuko Hillyer Tatsumura

View all posts by Dr. Kazuko Hillyer Tatsumura
Dr. Kazuko Hillyer Tatsumura
Dr. Kazuko was born into a distinguished old family in Kyoto, Japan, and graduated from Toho conservatory of Music in Tokyo. In 1961 she came to U.S. as a pianist sponsored by the Boston Symphony. She studied at Boston University, New York University, and received her Ph.D. in Oriental Medicine from New York State University and the International Academy of Education in Tokyo. From 1968 to 1992, she promoted cultural exchanges from East to West and vice versa, and became a world famous impresario, producing 2,000 events each year all over the world encompassing over 140 countries. In this connection, in 1972, she went to Dharamsala to find the lost Tibetan Folk Opera, and met His Holiness the Dalai Lama, with whom she remains a lifelong friend. In 1973 and 1991 she arranged and funded personally the tours of the Folk Opera of Tibet to the West. She has received many medals and honors from different countries. Her tireless life long work in Philanthropic field is vast and well known ranging from Save the Beacon Theater, Save the Boat People, Help the Homeless, natural disasters of earthquakes and tsunamis, as well as relief to AIDS and HIV positive children in Africa. She has been a dedicated Board Member to both the J. Luce Foundation and Orphans International for years. Her work focuses on the Tibetan people; Tibetan children remain especially strong in her heart. She raised fund for the new academic building for Manjushree Orphanage in Tawang, India and supported many aspects of the school. See HuffPo pieces entitled Japanese Holistic Healer in NYC to Build School for Tibetan Orphans in India, A Japanese Dinner with Raul Castro’s Daughter, and NYC Gala in Support of Tibetan Orphans Set for January.

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