20 August 2012 www.TheRealDeal.com
o f : R i c h ard
or the past 15 years, Richard Wood has been the president of Plaza Construction , a national company headquartered at 1065 Avenue of the Americas in Manhattan. One of the largest construction firms in New York City, Plaza has worked with developers like Rose Associates, Jack Resnick & Sons, the Related Companies, Milstein Properties and SJP Properties. Along with its sister company, Fisher Brothers, Plaza is involved in many of the city’s most high-profile projects, including 11 Times Square and the $1.4 billion Fulton Transit Center planned for Lower Manhattan. But Wood’s office is full of reminders of his pursuits outside of construction. B y G uelda V oien Wood purchased this block of shredded U.S. currency at the Federal Reserve in Lower Manhattan seven or eight years ago, paying “under $10” for the $100,000 worth of bills. He uses it as a doorstop.
At a charity auction, Wood unintentionally ended up with a truck that had appeared on the reality show “American Chopper.” “I was trying to support [the charity] and people weren’t really bidding, so I figured I would jump in … and I got stuck,” Wood explains. He eventually gave the truck to a coworker, but kept this box, which came with it.
This photo, which shows two soldiers helping an injured comrade out of a building, reminds Wood “that we are living a pretty cushy life.”
This plaque signified the 2007 topping out of SJP Properties’ office tower 11 Times Square, which Plaza built with a “core first” technique that had never before been implemented in New York City. Wood is personal friends with SJP’s Steve Pozycki.
This sledgehammer is from the 2003 groundbreaking of the Elevated Acre at 55 Water Street. The public park, which Plaza constructed, is located 40 feet in the air.
PHOTOGRAPH FOR THE REAL DEAL BY CHRIS MARTIN
Wood is a big Yankees fan; this picture of Yankees legends Babe Ruth and Yogi Berra has a certificate of authenticity. Since construction is “full of characters,” Wood says, he “always thought Yogi Berra would have had a field day in the construction industry — his Yogiisms would have been priceless.”
In Wood’s view, the level is not the most important construction tool; in fact, “all you need is a puddle of water” to tell if a space is flat, he says. But this antique level was a gift from a senior manager at Plaza. “It represents, not necessarily quality,” he chuckles, but “the pursuit of quality.”
This anchor is mounted on a piece of wood from the Intrepid, the famed World War II aircraft carrier. It was a gift from the Intrepid museum in recognition of Wood’s charity work with the Fishers, who played a role in bringing the Intrepid to Manhattan.
This piece of aluminum is inscribed with the words Not if we can but when we do, a piece of advice Wood gave an employee who was sent to China to track down a missing shipment of aluminum. The employee gave it to Wood after he secured the shipment.
A set of keys from the Bronx Detention Center, which Plaza demolished to make way for the new Bronx Terminal Market. Wood discovered them about five years ago while touring the site just before demolition. “I opened up a box,” he says, “and it held all the keys to the cells.”
This clock, originally from a bank safe, was given to Wood as a gift by the General Society of Mechanics & Tradesmen. Wood helped the society raise money to renovate its building.
In the military, officers hand out coins to fellow soldiers they want to recognize. Though not a veteran himself, Wood received these coins from veterans he knows through charities. One was given to him by an Iwo Jima survivor.
Published on Jul 31, 2012