Below the buildings on Park Avenue on Monday, commuters and tourists were greeted by two recently installed portraits of billionaire developer and real-estate tycoon Harry Macklowe and his new wife Patricia Landeau — both large enough to be visible from not one but two out-the-door build-your-own salad lines nearby.
According to the Times, these 24 by 42 foot wide portraits are Macklowe’s “proclamation of love” to his new wife, and a taunt at his ex-wife of 50 years, who originally intended to move into a nearby building after a messy 14-week divorce trial. The grand romantic gesture, however, slightly missed the mark. Macklowe and Landeau’s eyes peer past one another: his into the closest construction site, and her watery eyes gazing lovingly at the luggage store across the street.
From below, passersby exclaimed “It’s him! It’s him!” and “It’s a ‘fuck you’ to his ex-wife!” though several, when approached, scurried away mumbling comments along the lines of “I don’t want to comment. I work in real estate.” According to the television crew posted below the building, “Nobody has anything nice to say about [Macklowe]. He’s a kook.”
Most onlookers willing to risk speaking against the esteemed Mr. Billionaire expressed general disdain and feelings of embarrassment for his wives. “Is it romantic? No, because I think he’s doing it more for himself than for her. He’s doing it as a F.U. to his ex-wife,” said one woman. “It’s your ego if you’ve gotta make your head that big,” said another.
In typical Midtown-businessman fashion, the men checking out the portraits tended to dictate how the women should feel: “If I were his ex-wife, I’d probably be a bit pissed … but I think I’d laugh it off,” said one man. “I think it’s great to have that much money,” said an older version of the same man.
Perhaps the most poignant comment of the day was the one woman who admitted she would have wanted something more: “[Throw her] a lovely cocktail party introducing her to all the who’s who of your world, you know? Buy her a home somewhere! Get her a house in the south of France! There are so many other classy low-key ways that he can probably show his love for her.”