Crains NY ran an article about me today: “Nothing Up His Sleeve.” A lovely article, but I want to clarify one fact: though my uncle did meet Houdini, and was inspired by him, he didn’t actually study with the Master himself. He did, however, inspire me to pursue magic as my life’s work. Read on…
January 10, 2010 5:59 AM
Gotham Gigs: Nothing up his sleeve
When a child says he wants to be a magician, few take him seriously. Steve Cohen fell in love with the craft at age 6, when his great-uncle, an amateur magician who studied under Harry Houdini, showed him his tricks. By the time he was 10, Mr. Cohen’s parents were driving him around Westchester County so he could perform at birthday parties—for a fee.
Now, at 39, the so-called Millionaires’ Magician has his own show at the Waldorf Astoria, where he dazzles upscale audiences five times a weekend. His shows sell out months in advance.
In his biggest crowd-pleaser, he asks audience members to name their favorite beverages and then pours each one—from hot chocolate to a frozen margarita—out of a single teapot. To shouts of “Oh, my God,” Mr. Cohen slyly answers, “Just call me Steve.”
Mr. Cohen is flown around the world on private jets to cast spells for A-listers like Warren Buffett, Martha Stewart and the crown prince of Saudi Arabia, who pay him $15,000 to $20,000 a gig. But he has his eye on an even bigger stage these days. “If I could perform for Obama, that would be really exciting,” he says.