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erry Swartz, 74, founded the Manhattan real estate finance firm Pergolis Swartz in 1975, after leaving the real estate investment banking specialist Sonnenblick Goldman. Then, in 2011, at an age when many of his peers were retiring in Florida, Swartz launched another new company, the advisory and financial brokerage HKS Capital Partners. HKS secures mezzanine and construction loans, among other financial services, for clients like condominium


J e r r y S wa r t z developer Grasso Holdings and hotel developer the Simon Group. In just two and a half years, HKS has grown from three to 25 people, relocating from a 300-square-foot space at 900 Broadway to its current 127 West 24th Street digs. Swartz is an avid naturalist and an adventurous traveler, and his office walls showcase his various interests — from interior design to dung beetles. B y G uelda V oien

This talking teddy bear is modeled af-

ter Ted, the star of the eponymous 2012 film starring Mark Wahlberg. The bear


comes in two models: G-rated and X-rated. Swartz, a huge fan of the movie, chose the latter. (The specifics of what Ted says are not printable).





Swartz and his second (and current) wife, Maxine, have five

sold the 529 West 42nd Street loft near Times Square he bought

grown children between them. This paperweight was made at age

in 1985. Aside from “very loud New Year’s Eves,” he said he enjoyed

five by Swartz’s now-47-year-old son, David.

living in the then-gritty area.




Swartz’s office is filled with the many artifacts he’s collected in

his travels. He found a goat skull and horns while hiking in Myko-


A model of a silver Bentley Gran Torino, the car that Swartz

owned until he traded it in for a newer version — this time in black.

nos, Greece.


Swartz collects insects, moths and butterflies. He often cap-

tures these creatures himself — he has specimens from Panama, Peru and even the backyard of a home he used to own in upstate New York — and euthanizes them. Then he pins them in the display cases that adorn his office walls. “They don’t live long anyway,” he said, noting that the lifespan of most moths and butterflies is


When Swartz left Sonnenblick Goldman after five years with

the company, he had earned just 21 cents through the firm’s profit-sharing account. After his departure, Sonnenblick mailed him this check for that amount — less than the cost of postage, Swartz recalled.

about two weeks.





Despite the fact that he was raised in Rhode Island, Swartz

moved to Manhattan in 1962 and considers himself a full-fledged

Swartz’s homes have been featured in design magazines such

New Yorker. As such, he’s a fan of New York sports teams. He said

as House Beautiful and New York Spaces. The family currently

he’s loyal to the Giants, for example, despite this year’s abysmal

owns a place in East Hampton, a co-op in the East Village, and a


getaway in Sarasota, Fla., that Swartz says he bought to tempt his children and grandchildren to visit. Unfortunately, it didn’t work —


three of five kids live in California, with comparably sunny weather

served birds’ nests and beehives, cacti from the Arizona desert,

— so the Swartzes recently put the Sarasota property on the market

and dried sea anemones from Morocco. The scale on top is an

for $1.58 million. In another smart real estate deal, Swartz in 2004

antique his mother purchased 60 years ago.

24 November 2013

In this cabinet (at the bottom of the photo), Swartz displays pre-

PHOTOGRAPH OF Jerry Swartz FOR THE REAL DEAL BY Christian Fernandez

Desk of Jerry Swartz