Daniel is the son of Nathan "Jon" Brodsky, who made a fortune following World War II acquiring and renovating small apartment buildings in the West Village and, later, faded residential hotels like Carteret and the Beaux Arts on East 44th Street. Daniel didn't immediately join the family business. After graduating from NYU's Robert Wagner School of Public Service, he took a job with the Hudson River Valley Commission, the state agency established to coordinate development along the Hudson River. But in 1981, he traded public service for the family business, and has since presided over the company's expansion into Manhattan's luxury construction market, a move his risk-averse father—who had lived through the Depression—had consciously avoided. (Nathan Brodsky passed away in 2006.) Over the course of two decades, Brodsky led the construction of 12 apartment towers in Manhattan—mostly on the West Side—and today his is one of the more prominent real estate development and management firms in town.
The Brodsky Organization's portfolio includes more than 50 Manhattan buildings and about 7,000 apartments. Some of the firm's more prominent buildings include 1 Columbus Place, a 51-story apartment building off Columbus Circle; the South Park Tower at 60th Street between Columbus and Amsterdam Avenues; and the Zebra, a black-and-white-striped building on West 42nd Street occasionally referred to as the ugliest building in the city. Recently, Brodsky developed the upscale condo building 4 West 21st, which was designed by architect Hugh Hardy with interiors by Antony Todd.
Brodsky is active with his alma mater, NYU—he provided one of the gifts that allowed the Wagner school to relocate to the Puck building. A board member of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, American Museum of Natural History, and New York City Ballet, over the years he's also served on the board of just about every private school in Manhattan, including Brearley, Dalton, St. Bernard's, Trinity, and Riverdale.
Brodsky's wife is Estrellita Brodsky, an art historian active with El Museo del Barrio in East Harlem. The couple has three children: Alexander, who is now the company's president, Katy, a law school grad, and Thomas. They live at 895 Park Avenue—in the same building as Andrew Tisch and Daniel Rose—and have a retreat on Lily Pond Lane in East Hampton, not far from Allen Grubman and Carl Icahn.