The Dirt Questionnaire, a regular feature that will appear on the first Tuesday of every month, invites leading figures in real estate, property development, and architecture and design industries to share their thoughts on all things sacred and profane.
Douglas Elliman’s Tom Postilio & Mickey Conlon have been named among the top real estate brokers in the United States by The Wall Street Journal. Partners in business and in life, and internationally renowned for their command of New York City’s real estate market, Tom and Mickey are well-known to television audiences as stars of HGTV’s “Selling New York” and as Page Six TV’s “Billion Dollar Brokers.”
Describe the most beautiful room you’ve ever been in.
Tom Postilio: My mother’s kitchen.
Mickey Conlon: The music room in our Long Island house on an early summer’s day.
What is your favorite architectural style?
TP: 1920’s Mediterranean. We just finished building a home in this style.
MC: Any style that withstands the test of time.
What is your idea of the perfect view?
TP: Water and a front row seat to nature’s creatures.
MC: A summer sunset over Long Island Sound.
Where would you most like to live?
TP: While we love to travel, NYC will always be home.
MC: New York, New York. (Check!)
As a child, which room of the house did you spend the most time in?
TP: The “TV room” with its splendor of its dark wood paneling. It was the 70s!
MC: The living room. That’s where the piano was.
What is the one thing you can’t live without?
What qualities do you appreciate in your friends?
TP: Honesty, loyalty, and the ability to cook a great meal!
MC: Compassion, empathy, loyalty, intelligence, curiosity, and humor.
What is your greatest fear?
TP: Trump being re-elected.
Does social media give people false expectations of life?
TP: When misinformation is being disseminated, it is most certainly creating false expectations. At its best, I’d like to think it gives us something to aspire to.
MC: I think that’s pretty much the textbook definition.
Which three people, living or dead, would you invite to your dinner party?
TP: Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, and Sammy Dais, Jr. Ring-a-ding-ding!
MC: Noel Coward, Oscar Wilde, and Cole Porter. And maybe Marcel Proust, you know, just because…
What aspect of your personality has created the most problems for you in life?
TP: My OCD.
MC: Perfectionism. The cure is the realization that perfection exists in many ways, shapes, and sizes.
Who is your favorite architect?
TP: Addison Mizner.
MC: McKim, Mead & White
Which song always makes you cry?
TP: “It Might Be You”
MC: “Our Time” from Stephen Sondheim’s “Merrily We Roll Along.”
What’s the proper course of action when everything around you is falling apart?
MC: How does one eat an elephant? One bite at a time.
When did you first fall in love?
MC: When I finally gave myself permission to do so.
When was the last time you surprised yourself?
TP: Today. We are navigating an unprecedented moment in our lifetimes, and taking it one day and one problem/solution at a time.
MC: If I haven’t surprised myself today in some way, I have to take a hard look back at where I went wrong.
What is the most challenging thing about aging?
TP: Letting go of the fact that I’m not a kid anymore.
MC: Withering metabolism.
What was desperately important to you when you were young that no longer seems quite so pressing?
TP: Wanting everyone to like me.
MC: Cabbage Patch Kids.
Which movie can you watch over and over again?
TP: “Moonstruck” and “Tootsie.”
MC: Annual viewings have been prescribed for “Auntie Mame,” “Arthur,” “Moonstruck,” and “It’s a Wonderful Life.”
What is your definition of luxury?
TP: Not wanting for anything.
MC: A thing or experience so exquisite that it doesn’t require a brand name or logo to proclaim its luxuriousness.
What is your greatest extravagance?
MC: Self-induced downtime.
What’s the most widely held misconception about money?
TP: That it solves all problems.
MC: That because one has it, they must be smart.
What is your idea of fun?
TP: A summer weekend, our house filled with friends, family, and frozen margaritas.
MC: Turning off my phone. The rest will follow.
What or who is the greatest love of your life?
TP: Mickey, of course!
MC: Tom. Duh!
When and where were you happiest?
TC: Right here, right now. We only have this moment.
MC: I strive every day to live life the best way I know how, and it has brought me infinitely more joy than pain. I don’t believe there’s a “Rosebud” moment.
How would you like to die?
TP: Peacefully, unafraid, and preferably with martini in hand.
MC: Peacefully, on my own terms, and only after I feel I’ve given back more to the world than it has given me. Otherwise, I’ve got to keep going because there’s more work to be done.
Which talent would you most like to have?
TP: The ability to play the piano.
What do you consider your greatest achievement?
TP: Completing the daunting, multi-year process of building of our house.
MC: Relentless optimism.
What’s your idea of an important achievement?
TP: Making lemons into lemonade.
MC: Any act of kindness or heroism that in any way, great or small, makes the world a better place.
What is your most treasured possession?
TP: Our 1927 Steinway player-piano.
Who are your heroes?
TP: Anyone who has overcome great obstacles to achieve something important. Harvey Milk, Rosa Parks, I could go on…
MC: Those who give with no expectation of anything in return.
What is your greatest regret?
TP: Not keeping up my foreign language studies.
What’s the most significant historical event that’s occurred over the course of your life?
TP: The legalization of same-sex marriage.
MC: I’m quite sure we’re living through it in real time.
What’s important to you today?
TP: Staying healthy, both physically and mentally.
MC: To make this day count, and to remain strong enough to make tomorrow better than today.