Friday, September 19, 2014

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NY1 examines the risks and rewards of love in modern times with its week-long series, "21st Century Matchmakers."

21st Century Matchmakers: In NYC, Matchmaking Ranges from Free to Exorbitant

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In Manhattan these days there are a couple of different ways to get fixed up: the classic setup and the far more expensive professional version. As our week-long look at 21st Century Matchmaking continues, Manhattan reporter Jon Weinstein meets a prominent businessman who sets up couples up for free, and a powerhouse professional who makes big bucks off each match.

Larry Silverstein is the real estate titan behind rebuilding much of the World Trade Center Site after September 11. But he's quick to point out that his business card highlights another area of expertise.

"Under my name is 'Matchmaker par excellence, no interview required,'" he says. "On the left-hand side of the card, it says, 'Never a match, always a mensch.' And then of course, on the right side is, 'Over 30 years of trying.'"

Silverstein says he's always on the lookout for young people looking for love. He's been married to his wife for more than 50 years, and he says that's what motivates him to help others – for free – find someone. Call it the classic set-up.

"If I can bring two people together, why not?" he says. "So I will tell you, I've had some success at it. My price is a seat at the head table."

For more formal services, the price is much higher than that. We give you Janis Spindel. Matchmaking isn't a charity project for her. Instead, it's business. Big business. Men pay her $100,000 up front to be matched up, and if the match is successful after a year, they pay another $100,000 on the back end.

So who would pay that money?

"If you're a partner at Goldman Sachs or whatever it is, you're busy and you don't want to waste time on blind dates," Spindel says. "These are not blind dates. These are potential wives."

Spindel's been married for nearly 32 years herself. She says she interviews the men to make sure they're serious and then sends them profiles of potential matches.

"Once I've had a few hours with a man, I can usually sit across the table from him, and within 15 to 40 minutes, I can tell him who he's going to marry," she says.

Despite their differing motivations, both Spindel and Silverstein say there's a certain joy they get out of bringing people together.

"1,012 couples are married because of me, and I've brought more babies into this world than an obstetrician," Spindel says.

"It's a great opportunity to give them a ton of pleasure that they might not otherwise receive," Silverstein says.

Two very different ways of getting setup, with one very simple goal.

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