Robert S. Cook, Jr.

Senior Counsel
Practice Area: Real Estate

Bob Cook practices in the field of land use and zoning in the five boroughs of New York. He has represented private property owners and developers as well as not-for-profit health care, research and educational institutions before the City Planning Commission, Board of Standards and Appeals, Landmarks Preservation Commission, City Council and Local Community Boards, as well as city agencies, including the Departments of Buildings, Environmental Protection, Transportation, Parks and Recreation, and Housing Preservation and Development. He responds to owners’ inquiries about the use and development of their properties and has represented owners in the sale or purchase of development rights.


Yale Law School. LL.B.

Amherst College. B.A. (Cum Laude)


State of New York

Prior Experience

Prior to joining MSF in 2016, Mr. Cook was a partner at Anderson Kill P.C. for 14 years. He started his career in land use and zoning law at Tufo & Zuccotti, which was absorbed by Brown & Wood, where he was a partner, then he became a partner at DeForest & Duer, whose lawyers subsequently joined Anderson Kill, P.C.

Representative Matters

Represented The Rockefeller University in obtaining city approvals for the development of buildings in air rights over the FDR Drive and a bridge over East 63rd Street in Manhattan.

Represented owner of 25-acre property on Staten Island in obtaining City Planning Commission approvals for a residential development on the site.

Represented major hospital in Manhattan in obtaining approvals from City Planning Commission for a new hospital building.

Represented owner in negotiations with City Planning Department to obtain workable zoning changes affecting the development site at 15 Central Park West, Manhattan.

Represented a private school in renewal of a long-term revocable consent from the City for a playground on a platform over the FDR Drive esplanade.

Represented property owner at Landmarks Preservation Commission in connection with conversion of a building from institutional use back to a private residence.

Represented a major bank in variance case for approval of accessory parking in Brooklyn.

Obtained a refund of an application fee of over $100,000 from the Department of Buildings for a not-for-profit developer using tax credit financing.

Represented major religious charity in variance for residence for the elderly in Brooklyn.

Represented nursing home in purchase of land from city and City Planning Commission approval for enlargement of nursing home on that land.

Represented nursing home in connection with approvals required for development of new building in the Bronx.


Super Lawyers, 2012 – 2016

Martindale Hubbell, AV Preeminent Attorney, 2017

America’s Most Honored Top One Percent Professionals, American Registry, 2017


Director and Co-Chair, Zoning Committee, Citizens Housing and Planning Council

Member, then Chair, Committee on Land Use Planning and Zoning, New York City Bar Association (1994 – 2000)

Fellowships: Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts and National Endowment for the Arts, for book, Zoning for Downtown Urban Design (D.C. Heath and Company, 1980)

Appointed to New York State Freshwater Wetlands Appeals Board by Governor Mario Cuomo


“New York City’s ‘Zone Green’ Could benefit Hotel Operators,” Focus, Summer 2012

“Land Use Questions to Ask When Buying or Financing Real Estate”, The Real Estate Finance Journal, Spring 2009

“Finding Clarity on the Legal Definition of what Constitutes a Hotel”, Real Estate Weekly, December 31, 2008

“Building the Big Box in the Big City”, Retail Law Strategist, July 2006(co-author with Harlan T. Greenman)

“Getting in the Zone for Development Rights Transfers”, Real Estate Weekly, December 21, 2005

Mentioned: “Lawyers Who Mold the Shape of a City”, New York Times, February 23, 1996, and “An Engineering and Legal Feat”, New York Times, December 12, 1999