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Theodore W. Kheel, center, with Mike Quill of the Transport Workers Union, left, and Howard Felix, the New York City labor commissioner, in 1961
Photo United Press International
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by Charlie Finch

You couldn't spend your whole life in New York, as I have, without encountering Ted Kheel, who died at 96 on Nov. 12, 2010. He was a bon vivant, who lived for the love of the game, while making piles on the side. Labor mediator, oenophile, representative of Robert Rauschenberg whose work he collected by the yard, Kheel was still feisty enough in his late 80s to turn Christo and Jeanne-Claude's monstrous The Gates into a huge cash cow for his family, who were up to their ears in the project and its ancillary sales.