New York fashion power player Jennifer Blumin and sons disappear in Bermuda Triangle

New York event space entrepreneur Jennifer Blumin in New York, on Aug 28, 2014.
New York event space entrepreneur Jennifer Blumin in New York, on Aug 28, 2014.PHOTO: NYTIMES

NEW YORK (NYTIMES) - There was no good news on Wednesday (May 17) for the families of four people, including New York event space entrepreneur Jennifer Blumin, who vanished on Monday while flying in a private plane above the Bermuda Triangle.

The pilot was Blumin's boyfriend, Nathan Ulrich, 52, a founder of a scooter company, Xootr.

In addition to Blumin, 40, the passengers were her two sons, Theodore, three, and Phineas, four, whose father was New York architect James Ramsey.

Eric Woodall, a spokesman for the Coast Guard, said that rescue workers continued on Wednesday to collect debris from an MU-2B aircraft that went down about 15 miles east of Eleuthera, the Bahamas.

"There have been no body parts or survivors found," he said.

Over the past 13 years, Blumin, founder and chief executive of Skylight Group, had become a prominent player in the fashion industry, pioneering the practice of taking short-term leases on large, derelict buildings and renting them to clients like Ralph Lauren and Google for parties and fashion shows.

When the landlords were ready to sell, or developers began to build, Blumin would pack her bags and find a new space in yet another soon-to-gentrify neighborhood.

She got her start in the business at Ketchum, the global public relations firm. "It was soul-crushing work," she said in a 2014 New York Times profile. "I hated my life."

In 2001, she helped developer Jonathan Leitersdorf convert his apartment in the NoHo section of Manhattan into a space for photo shoots and corporate events.

Soon, model Gisele Bundchen was standing by the pool on Leitersdorf's roof while a photographer snapped away.

To finance her nascent operation, Blumin took out a series of loans on Manhattan properties and flipped them. Equal parts developer, event planner and urban archaeologist, she took over 18,000 sq ft of abandoned industrial space at Hudson and Spring streets early on, transforming it in 2004 into a clean, white box that was used by clients including Tommy Hilfiger and Nike.

After that, she obtained leases for the James A. Farley Post Office across from Pennsylvania Station, and another space in the West Village, both of which have served as main sites for New York Fashion Week events.

Dan Barasch, an entrepreneur and friend of Blumin's since their college days at Cornell University, said she was guided by a desire to have an "adventure that was risky, that others wouldn't try".

That sense of risk took her to Puerto Rico, where Blumin was in the process of buying a house, according to another friend, Vanessa Grigoriadis, a writer for several publications, including the Times Magazine.

Shortly after celebrating the birthday of her son Theo in April, Blumin travelled to Puerto Rico with her children. They were joined there by Ulrich, an experienced pilot.

At 11am Eastern time Monday, Blumin and her sons boarded an MU-2B plane with Ulrich for the trip back to the mainland. Around noon, Miami air traffic control lost radar communication with the plane, a Coast Guard representative said.

On Wednesday morning, the Coast Guard's Southeast district posted on its Twitter account an image of debris from the probable area of the crash and noted that the "search continues".

"She was really proud of herself for what she built," Grigoriadis said. "It was an only-in-New York kind of story. But she did feel that her success afforded some freedom.

"I never heard her say 'I'm giving the business up,'" Grigoriadis continued, "but she did say 'I'm going to be with my kids. I'm going to be in the North Fork. I'm going to be in Puerto Rico.' And the tragedy is that she never got the chance to live that life."