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REBNY Watch Views

New public service award carries on legacy of John Zuccotti

By REBNY President John Banks

After John E. Zuccotti, one of our city’s truly great public servants and real estate leaders, passed away in 2015, The New York Times recalled a sort of fable he once shared to break the ice while arguing for smart city planning policies. It was the story of a chicken and a pig admiring a window display of brightly colored eggs beside a garnished ham.

“Isn’t it wonderful, the contribution we make each Easter?” the chicken said. To which the pig replied: “With you, it’s a contribution. With us, it’s total commitment.”

It is John’s commitment – to New York, to his friends and family, to everyone around him – that I remember each time I hear his name or walk through his namesake park near the World Trade Center.

As chair of the city’s Department of City Planning and, later, first deputy mayor, John courageously steered the city through some of its darkest days in the ‘70s. As chairman of Brookfield Asset Management and a leader of the Downtown-Lower Manhattan Association, John helped lay the foundation that has transformed Lower Manhattan into one of the world’s best places to live, work and raise a family. And as REBNY’s chair from 2004 to 2006 and a longtime executive committee member, he left his unique mark of positivity and moved our industry forward in ways that help lift up all New Yorkers.

These are just some of the reasons we at REBNY were proud to announce the new John E. Zuccotti Public Service Award, which will be presented for the first time at our 121st Annual Banquet on January 19, 2017. We are obligated to carry on the legacy of a leader like John, who looked at the challenges facing government and saw paths to strengthen communities, provide a better quality of life and support those who are less fortunate. This award represents our commitment to ensuring his spirit lives on for many generations to come.

Given the number of incredible public servants in our city, this was obviously a tough choice to make. But after weighing the options, we kept coming back to New York’s current City Planning chief, Carl Weisbrod, who has already done much to build on John’s foundation in a growing and changing Lower Manhattan and all across the city. While some of Carl’s greatest achievements include his work founding and leading the Downtown Alliance – New York’s largest business improvement district – we are constantly impressed by his ongoing and tireless efforts to create much-needed affordable housing.

We are excited see Carl accept this award in January and we look forward to seeing all our friends and colleagues there to take this latest step in celebrating the legacy of John Zuccotti.

In that same spirit, it is important to mention that Carl was not the only award winner REBNY recently announced. Winners include MaryAnne Gilmartin of Forest City Ratner Companies for the Bernard H. Mendik Lifetime Leadship in Real Estate Award; Marc Holliday of SL Green Realty Corp. for the Harry B. Helmsley Distinguished New Yorker Award; Jed Walentas of Two Trees Management for the Kenneth R. Gerrety Humanitarian Award. I look forward to telling you more about these outstanding individuals and all our award winners in the coming weeks.

Additionally, a reminder that those who wish to attend the 121st Annual Banquet should consider purchasing their tickets early and online at I also encourage you to consider making your company’s brand more visible to our membership by pursuing a sponsorship opportunity for the Banquet or advertising in REBNY’s 2017 Journal.

In other REBNY news:

The next installment of our Residential Breakfast Club Seminar will take place on Tuesday, November 22 from 9:30am to 11am at the REBNY Mendik Education Center (570 Lexington Avenue). This is a free seminar open to all REBNY residential members, but registration is required. To register and get more info, please contact us at

Our next “Commercial Crossfire” panel discussion will take place on Tuesday, November 29 from 5:30pm to 7pm at the REBNY Mendik Education Center (570 Lexington Avenue). This free seminar is open to our commercial members and also requires registration. To register and get more info, please contact Desiree Jones at

We’ll host our Residential Sales Agent Boot Camp Seminar on Dec 1 at 9am in the REBNY Mendik Education Center. For registration details check the REBNY Events calendar at

Our Commercial Brokerage Division will host its annual Holiday Luncheon with guest speaker Paul J. Massey on Monday, December 5th from 12:00 to 2:00 pm at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel (301 Park Avenue, Empire Room). The event is sponsored by ABS Partners Real Estate LLC, Ariel Property Advisors, CBRE, Cushman & Wakefield, and Jones Lang LaSalle. Tickets are $125 per person and may only be purchased by REBNY members at For login help or to purchase a table, contact Desiree Jones at

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