Frederick P. Rose, who died on September 15 at the age of 75, was one of New York's great philanthropists, a worthy modern representative of a tradition that has given Gotham many of the world-class institutions that make it unique. Fred had just restored the New York Public Library's Beaux-Arts main reading room to its original grandeur, and he was close to completing another of his great gifts to the city, the planetarium at the American Museum of Natural History, when he died. A builder, engineer, and real estate tycoon, Fred personally oversaw the work on these projects, in minute detail; I remember the enthusiasm with which he described the construction of the projector for the new planetarium, capable of showing the solar system from within and—which tickled him even more—from without. He was the benefactor of countless New York (and other) institutions, and served with decisiveness and inexhaustible energy on the boards of many, including Lincoln Center, his beloved Yale University, and the Manhattan Institute, City Journal's publisher. The last time I saw him, he spoke with his characteristic enthusiasm about how much he was looking forward to the opening-night party for the planetarium, on New Year's Eve: it would be the party of the decade, he promised, perhaps of the millennium. He will be looking down on it benignantly, from beyond the cosmos.


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