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22 June 2012 www.TheRealDeal.


Russo found this drawing of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg which he later discovered had an inscription written by Pablo Picasso in a house he bought on Fire Island. The former owners mother, a lawyer, had represented the Rosenbergs when they were convicted of passing secrets to the former Soviet Union. Picasso, who was a communist sympathizer, gave this to her as a present, Russo says.





This photo of Russo with Guns N Roses guitarist Slash was taken last year at the National Association of Music Merchants show. The guitar companies invite me because they know I buy guitars, Russo says. At another show earlier this year, he met up with Ben Friedman, president of real estate firm Abacus Capital Group.

This plaque, awarded to an NYPD precinct in 1938, is part of Herricks collection of architectural artifacts, which also includes an original 1913 copper ornament from the Woolworth Building.

This typewriter belonged to Russos uncle, an intelligence officer in the U.S. Army in World War II. This typewriter has traveled through most of the battles in Europe, Russo says.

ennis Russo may be co-head of the real estate department at law firm Herrick, Feinstein which has one of the biggest such practices in the city but hes not your average Ivy League attorney. The son of a firefighter, he went to St. Johns University Law School in Queens, where he grew up. Russo who specializes in workouts, restructurings, joint ventures, acquisitions, dispositions and development projects now oversees a team of more than 50 lawyers. He has a host of high-profile clients, including Hersha Hospitality and Sherwood Equities. Russos team also handled Hershas $104 million purchase of the Hyatt Union Square and Gemini Real Estates development of the new Gem Hotel on 13th Street, which is slated to open later this year. The amateur musician is also a landlord and developer in his own right, owning about 450 residential apartments, mostly in Brooklyn, as well as several small retail properties in the outer boroughs. B y G uelda V oien

This uniform belonged to Russos late father, a longtime firefighter in Brooklyn and Queens. My family is being Irish cops and firemen, Russo says. My father put out all the fires in Brooklyn when it was burning to hell. Great guy not a pencil pusher.

Russo has played guitar for 35 years and says collecting guitars is his passion. He has roughly 150 of them, including guitars previously owned by Peter Frampton and B.B. King. This redwood guitar was custom-made by famed manufacturer Fender Stratocaster using wood from the deck of his Fire Island home.

As a law student in the late 1980s, Russo started renovating NYC brownstones and multifamily buildings with his cousin and childhood friend. This cast-iron gate is from the first building they renovated in Fort Greene, Brooklyn. Today, Russo is on the investment committee at Herrick, one of the few firms where partners actually invest in real estate. The firm currently has interests in about 40 properties.

A photo of Russo riding a dirt bike with client Richard Meilman, of Meilman Properties, in upstate New York last October. He is teaching me how to ride dirt bikes yes, at age 50.

Russo was given this clock when he left Herrick in 1999 for Sonnenschein Nath & Rosenthal. He returned to Herrick in 2003, and took over as the head of the real estate practice last year.