Michael Rosen


Michael Rosen grew up at the end of a Vermont dirt road at the bottom of a hill at the end of the 1960s - with a little poetic license. That road ran across a pretty fast river, past a sugar shack, a field with a solitary white horse, up a hill, around and then down to his parents' house.

Michael Rosen

An older, narrower, abandoned road ran through the land, wide enough for a wagon, lined on one side by a stonewall perfectly built. A sheep farm had been there once, a visitor explaining that the stone and earthwork rising to what was like two checker squares touching at their corners was a shelter for sheep to push against during a storm coming from any direction.

Michael's chore was to cut, split and stack the wood they used for winter heat. And build another stone wall. He spent a year on a mountain kibbutz in 1974, learning Hebrew, working in onion fields and wandering where King Saul and Jonathan once had to poorer outcomes.

Michael holds a B.A., summa cum laude, and a M.S. in social anthropology from The University of Pennsylvania, and a MBA, M.A. and Ph.D. from its Wharton School.

In 1983 he came to New York as a junior professor at NYU, and left five years later to develop real estate. He is now a former real estate developer and investor, the former owner and CEO of a Wall Street firm, and the former CEO of a public company destroyed in the events of September 11, 2001. He once established an office in Tel Aviv and did investment banking work in China.

He is the author of Spinning Words, Turning Worlds, an academic collection representing his encounter with an 'ethnography of the center'- the study of cultural orders in the heart of the metropolis. The chapters consider occupational worlds from finance and advertising to the sub-world of drug dealing.

After business left Michael on September 11, 2001, struggling to understand the tragedy all around, he began telling the story of "Rosen Family Extended."

Michael started as a community organizer in 2004, co-founding the East Village Community Coalition and working on landmarking, zoning, alternative transportation, retail store legislation and other neighborhood concerns. He studied Mandarin for years, and now studies Japanese, for years.

His heroes have always been Martin Luther King, Jr., Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel, Mohandes Gandi, Walt Whitman, Hillel, Jesus, Yasunari Kawabata 川端 康成 & Siddhārtha Gautama as Buddha - and Peter Matthiessen can write (Michael left a galley on the front stoop of Mr. Matthiessen's zendo, hoping for a blurb). So too can Matsuo Bashō - 松尾 芭蕉. James Galvin, Micah (the prophet), Matthew (the Apostle).


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