We were very sad to hear that Heather Cohane has died peacefully in her sleep in her nursing home in France.
Heather was a very successful niche publisher in New York, not the easiest of habitats for publishers large or small, and a wonderful conversationalist.
We got to know her on our frequent visits to Bouchon, the more down to earth forerunner to Cantinetta Antinori. She was delightfully chatty and never boring, with a great interest in other people – a wonderful conversationalist with no agenda other than the pleasure of talking and listening.
A frequent client, she knew all the waiters and at the end of coffee time or lunch, with great grace, would hand Nico or George her credit card. Everyone knew her PIN.
Quest was born out of necessity after the unexpected death in 1987 of Heather’s husband. Heather had three school-age children. And as with many niche publications, that need gave the magazine its reach and its sparkle. It just had to be good, indeed exceptional.
New York Social Diary writer David Patrick Columbia in his own farewell recounts that Heather hit upon the idea of a magazine to promote high-end Manhattan residential real estate. The editorial would naturally favour stories related to the topic, families and their histories, and Heather was very involved in New York’s social scene.
Very soon after Quest was launched the financial markets were hit by Black Monday and for a while it was an uphill battle to find advertisers.
Not only did Heather endure, she innovated big-time. Brokers were encouraged to illustrate their ads with interior shots of the properties for sale, something that nowadays is taken for granted and is a standard across the sector.
The magazine was bought by Meigher Communications in 1995: “Quest‘s target audience includes both first and second generation readers, those who helped launch the magazine, and those who grew up on it. The magazine showcases New York’s most elegant charities, parties, and families, both past and present.”
Quest became a huge success thanks to Heather’s tenacity, focus, innovation, and… kindliness. We remember her with great fondness.
PHOTOS: Heather with Dominick Dunne, Heather with her son Alexander, Heather as we remember her. First and last photos: Patrick McMullan