Photo: Wikimedia Commons
In 2011, Wall Street lost one of its greatest to brain cancer, billionaire private equity investor Teddy Forstmann.And while Forstmann was a huge public figure — he was a philanthropist who also owned IMG, the biggest sports and modelling talent agency in the world — a lot of his life was quite private.
On the private side of things was the Gulfstream V (G V) jet he got after buying, turning around, and then selling the Gulfstream in the 1990s.
The February issue of Vanity Fair has a long profile of Forstmann’s last days told by a man who spent many of them with him — Rich Cohen, the ghostwriter working on Forstmann’s biography. Forstmann loved to travel, so Cohen ended up spending a lot of time on the Gulfstream going from New York City to Paris, London and beyond.
Here’s what it was like:
We met at a heliport on the west Side of Manhattan. Teddy’s driver carried his bags across the concrete. I followed behind with my own, battered valise, climbing into the passenger cabin of the helicopter as Teddy gave the signal and up we went….
Soon the helicopter set us down on a runway at the Morristown Municipal Airport in New Jersey. Teddy’s plane was waiting, its turbines already spinning, its crew standing in starched uniforms, its jet bridge ascending to technological heaven as the tycoon and his ghost made their way across the tarmac…
Teddy’s plan was all command centre: deep leather chairs, financial journals, and flat-screens. There was a bed, but it was hidden away, disguised…
We landed in Paris as the sun was going down. the city was gold and blue and strung with lights. When you are rich, you do not stand in line to show your passport. Instead, after the G V rolled to a stop, scotch glasses clinking in the tray beside the single malts, a customs official came aboard, greeted us in her beautiful language, gave our documents the once-over, sad, Oui Oui Monsieur Forstmann, and bid us adieu as we moved on to the car, then off through the moody twilit streets.
Pretty boss, right?
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