STATES & CITIES: First Avenue, New York

Appropriately, the deal was signed in a nightclub. U.N. delegates would get a glittering skyscraper headquarters along the East River. New York would get U.N.'s prestige and cash. And no one was happier about it all than a jet-propelled real-estate tycoon named William Zeckendorf. He had planned it that way.

A big, paunchy idea man who likes flamboyant ties and flamboyant schemes, Bill Zeckendorf had cornered a section of grimy tenements, abattoirs and garages on Manhattan's East Side. He had planned to demolish them, raise in their place a dream city of...

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