Former Bear Stearns Chairman Ace Greenberg Came Up With The Idea For The New Yorker Pickpocket Profile, Holds Monthly "Gatherings" For The World's Foremost Magicians

Perhaps, some of you thought, that as he pushes 90, former Bear Stearns Chairman and CEO Alan "Ace" Greenberg would slow down a bit, as people his age tend to do. Retiring from his job at JPMorgan seemed unlikely-- he's only 85, after all-- but maybe he'd dial back his time on the magic circuit. Perform old tricks for colleagues, strangers, and friends, rather than new. Just generally not stay up to date on the latest trends in magicianry. Luckily, these baseless assumptions could not be further from the truth. In fact, Ace is sharper than ever, routinely humiliating those half (and even one-sixth) his age while teaching them the ropes in an alley behind JPM HQ. How does he do it? By keeping himself engaged with the upper echelons of the magic community, for whom he hosts a regular salon d'enchantment each month.
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Perhaps, some of you thought, that as he pushes 90, former Bear Stearns Chairman and CEO Alan "Ace" Greenberg would slow down a bit, as people his age tend to do. Retiring from his job at JPMorgan seemed unlikely-- he's only 85, after all-- but maybe he'd dial back his time on the magic circuit. Perform old tricks for colleagues, strangers, and friends, rather than new. Just generally not stay up to date on the latest trends in magicianry. Luckily, these baseless assumptions could not be further from the truth. In fact, Ace is sharper than ever, routinely humiliating those half (and even one-sixth) his age while teaching them the ropes in an alley behind JPM HQ. How does he do it? By keeping himself engaged with the upper echelons of the magic community, for whom he hosts a regular salon d'enchantment each month.

We learned about these conventions of conjuring through an interview with Adam Green, who recently wrote a story for the New Yorker about professional pickpocket Apollo Robbins, based on a tip from the Don of Trading FloorMagic. Sayeth Green:

...the idea of a story about Apollo Robbins came from Ace Greenberg, the former chairman of Bear Stearns, a serious magic aficionado who hosts a monthly gathering at his apartment for the best magicians in New York and those who happen to be in town. Robbins attended one of these evenings, during which he delighted Greenberg by stealing (and returning) his Patek Philippe watch. Greenberg mentioned Robbins to my editor at The New Yorker, Susan Morrison, who thought it sounded up my alley. When I called Greenberg, he said, “I’m telling you, this kid is something else.” He was right.

In related news, this appears to be real (insomuch as any illusion is "real") and vastly underpriced.

How’d you find that pickpocket story, Adam Green? [Nieman]

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