ZECKENDORF--William Jr., 84, died on February 12, 2014 in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Born in Manhattan on October 31, 1929, William Zeckendorf transformed the skyline of New York City and pioneered in changing the urban landscape of the city from Union Square to the Upper West Side. It is with deep love and admiration that we honor the life of our father and celebrate him as our devoted mentor. His brilliance in defining the future for neglected and decaying urban neighborhoods is legendary. When the Upper West Side was far distant from what it is today, William Zeckendorf built The Columbia at West 96th Street and Broadway, a development that undeniably helped to spur a West Side residential renaissance that continues today. He also built some of New York City's finest luxury developments including the Park Belvedere, Vanderbilt and Central Park Place. In midtown, William Zeckendorf built the elegant Four Seasons Hotel, and 4 Columbus Circle, a commercial building that stood alone, long before the successful destination that Columbus Circle has become. Downtown, Union Square could hardly be seen as the vibrant area that it is now. Zeckendorf Towers, envisioned by William Zeckendorf in the 1980's, led the way for the thriving 21st Century commercial and residential neighborhood that Union Square is today. The flourishing Eighth Avenue corridor is due in large measure to what William Zeckendorf saw and accomplished in his development of Worldwide Plaza, well before others followed with new developments now lining the Avenue. Worldwide Plaza was perhaps New York City's first genuine modern mixed use development combining corporate office headquarters with residential, cultural and theater facilities along with a mid-block public plaza. Other major projects included the Ronald Reagan Office Building in Washington, D.C. He was a man of great taste and culture, having served for over 50 years as an esteemed member of the Confrerie des Chevaliers du Tastevin. His passion for the arts and education leave a lasting legacy from New York to Santa Fe. His quarter century of service to Long Island University preceded his deep commitment to philanthropy in his role as Founding Director of the Lensic Performing Arts Center in Santa Fe and his passionate support of The Santa Fe Opera, the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival, Christus St. Vincent Hospital and the College of Santa Fe. William Zeckendorf contributed his great vision to the City of New York and its residents, who benefit enormously every day from his lifetime of achievements. He is survived by his wife, Nancy, his sister Susan Zeckendorf Nicholson, his sons Arthur Zeckendorf and William Lie Zeckendorf and two grandchildren. We are forever thankful and grateful for the wonderful lesson your life has been for us. A memorial service will be held in New York City on March 5th, and on March 29th in Sante Fe, New Mexico. Donations in his memory may be made to the Lensic Performing Arts Center, 211 West San Francisco Street, Santa Fe, New Mexico 87501. Arthur Zeckendorf William Lie Zeckendorf
Published in New York Times on Feb. 18, 2014.