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The monsignor and I sat talking for awhile. I liked
him more and more. He was a wonderful man. About fifteen
minutes later the phone rang and they told him that Joe
Kennedy was playing golf at Palm Beach. He said blithely,
“Get him off the golf links.” My eyes were popping. About
fifteen minutes later Kennedy called up from Palm Beach:
“What's the matter? What's going on?" This monsignor, who
I had just met for the first time, said, “One of our good
young friends is in trouble and needs a building, and we
want you to give him that building across the street from
the Cathedral for what you paid for it.” Well, we could
hear Joe Kennedy fuming over the other end of the phone.
He didn't think that this was a good idea at all.
It turns out that this north wing had been owned by
the Fahnstock family.
You mean the stock brokers?
Yes. The stock brokers.
The entire building had been built by Henry Villard,
the father of Henry Garrison Villard, in 1888. It was
intended for the whole family. He built these four wings.
At that time, it was almost in the country. Just before it
was finished, Villard was wiped out in one of those Wall
Street panics and so the Villards never occupied the
structure. He had to sell the whole thing. It was sold to
four different families. The Reids bought the south wing.
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