In our new feature Before They Were Brokers we catch up with New York’s top real estate pros who, in a previous life, did things you would have never guessed. Read on for their fun and quirky stories.
Some follow in their successful family’s footsteps, be it the Trumps, the Zeckendorfs or perhaps, the Rudins or Dursts — but others grow up with thoughts of following a career path that lands them in the field of medicine, education, and quite often — show business. Of course there are the “naturally destined” individuals who spent a good part of their childhood prodigiously playing Monopoly and considered flipping their backyard playhouse at a profit.
Take Robin Lyon-Gardiner, who at the age of 16, saw her first musical and immediately decided to prepare herself for stardom on Broadway. Armed with a B.F.A. in Musical Theater from Syracuse University that included a semester in London to enhance her musical endeavors, it wasn’t long before Robin began snagging roles in some The Great White Way’s most famous musicals on the planet, including the Tony Award-winning “A Chorus Line”.
Robin appeared in the musical until its final performance at New York’s Shubert Theatre on April 28, 1990 after 6,137 performances, playing the role of Tricia. In 2012, she joined 50 “of her fellow performers (including original cast members Priscilla Lopez, Kelly Bishop Scott Allen and Donna Drake) in a tribute to Marvin Hamlisch at the famed Paper Mill Playhouse in Milburn, NJ.
O say can you see…
But Robin’s most notable turn was probably in 1983, when she was called upon to replace someone at the Virginia Slims Tennis Tournament at Madison Square Garden to sing the Star Spangled Banner for the entire series. Immediately impressed, the Garden began routinely requesting Robin to sing the anthem for the New York Knicks, the New York Rangers, the WNBA’s Liberty basketball team along with other events such as middleweight boxing championships. It wasn’t long before Hall of Fame player Patrick Ewing dubbed Robin the Knicks’ lucky charm because whenever she was sang, they never lost during the 1994-95 season. She remained the Knicks’ favorite anthem singer.
Robin also sang the Star Spangled Banner at other important Garden events, the night Michael Jordan, who had come out of early retirement to play for the Chicago Bulls against Knicks. Later she was given the opportunity to sing at Boston’s Fenway Park while touring with Donny Osmond in “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” in the 1990s. And throughout this amazing “side” gig, Robin also found time to sing the anthem at Yankee Stadium and Chicago’s Wrigley Field.
After spending 20 years as a singer, dancer and actress, Robin began her a real estate career with Coldwell Banker. Following that with four years at Brown Harris Stevens, she now is a vice-president and associate broker at Town Residential.
Residing on the Upper West Side for 30 years with her two children, Madison and Michael, Robin is also a “wish granter” for the Starlight Foundation. A bona fide soccer, basketball and tennis mom — Robin vows to Broadway someday.
All images courtesy of Robin Lyon-Gardiner
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