I got a call from my friend Didi the other day. She was on hercell driving her kids to a concert and wanted to know whether thereal estate kingpin she is acquainted with is going to "lose it all-- it's been all over the papers." Didi was "scared." Shesaid she had just talked to her friend whose husband has made afortune at one of the big surviving investment banks, but isn'texpecting much of a bonus this year. Her friend told her "everyoneis real down in New York" and "no one knows what's going tohappen." Didi's hubby, meanwhile, is making ends meet consultingsince being squeezed out of his big ticket job in a financialmerger -- but job hunting has proved daunting and theirlaissez-faire lifestyle may need to go on hold. She says she wantsto sell her posh house to raise cash, but "whose going to buy rightnow. It's really scary."

I tried to get a word in edgewise. The real estate kingpin wasgoing to get taken down a few notches, I said, but would probablyend up much better off financially than most everyone else despitescrewing up and probably getting bounced. In the end that'sthe benefit of being a kingpin... As far as New York is concerned,I dittoed her friend's comments and suggested she should ease up onher spouse. With the financial industry in severe contraction,finding high pay work is a steep climb these days unless you're aworkout specialist or a bankruptcy attorney... Selling a propertyin the midst of the tailspin doesn't make a lot of sense, Ireminded her, unless you're willing to meet buyers' low ballexpectations. "Look," I told her. "It's time to put away the creditcard" and spend only on essentials. "Put the kids first, " Iadvised. She liked the sentiment "putting the kidsfirst."

Then Didi confided she was depressed and didn't get out of bedthe day before. Actually, she admitted she eventually got up andwent out and bought several expensive pairs of designer shoes. "Itmade me feel better," she said.

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Jonathan D. Miller

A marketing communication strategist who turned to real estate analysis, Jonathan D. Miller is a foremost interpreter of 21st citistate futures – cities and suburbs alike – seen through the lens of lifestyles and market realities. For more than 20 years (1992-2013), Miller authored Emerging Trends in Real Estate, the leading commercial real estate industry outlook report, published annually by PricewaterhouseCoopers and the Urban Land Institute (ULI). He has lectures frequently on trends in real estate, including the future of America's major 24-hour urban centers and sprawling suburbs. He also has been author of ULI’s annual forecasts on infrastructure and its What’s Next? series of forecasts. On a weekly basis, he writes the Trendczar blog for GlobeStreet.com, the real estate news website. Outside his published forecasting work, Miller is a prominent communications/institutional investor-marketing strategist and partner in Miller Ryan LLC, helping corporate clients develop and execute branding and communications programs. He led the re-branding of GMAC Commercial Mortgage to Capmark Financial Group Inc. and he was part of the management team that helped build Equitable Real Estate Investment Management, Inc. (subsequently Lend Lease Real Estate Investments, Inc.) into the leading real estate advisor to pension funds and other real institutional investors. He joined the Equitable Life Assurance Society of the U.S. in 1981, moving to Equitable Real Estate in 1984 as head of Corporate/Marketing Communications. In the 1980's he managed relations for several of the country's most prominent real estate developments including New York's Trump Tower and the Equitable Center. Earlier in his career, Miller was a reporter for Gannett Newspapers. He is a member of the Citistates Group and a board member of NYC Outward Bound Schools and the Center for Employment Opportunities.