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REBNY to honor Helena Rose Durst with humanitarian award

On January 17, 2019, at our 123rd Annual Banquet at the New York Hilton Hotel in Midtown Manhattan, we will proudly present Helena Rose Durst with the Kenneth R. Gerrety Humanitarian Award for her exemplary service to New York.

Helena’s many professional accomplishments have made her a mainstay in the real estate industry.
Her role as a principal at The Durst Organization – one of the oldest family run real estate companies in New York City – has involved her in some of New York’s most notable projects, including VIA 57 WEST, HELENA 57 WEST, FRANK 57 WEST and EŌS.

All in all, she has led the management of nearly 2,500 units of rental housing projects from the ground up, and she is spearheading the lease up and pipeline of market-rate and affordable units at Hallets Point in Astoria, Queens.

But those of us who know her best know that Helena is more than a successful professional — she is also a humanitarian dedicated to the long-term success of New York City.

In addition to helping to run The Durst Organization, Helena was president of New York Water/Circle Line Downtown.

Her leadership transformed the group into a profitable mass transit, tour and travel operation that now serves more than 1.5 million passengers each year.

During her tenure, Helena fought for a minimum wage increase for her 200 employees and ultimately raised the minimum to $15/hour – well before New York State took a similar initiative.

Helena is a successful agent of change who leads by example.

Helena’s aim is to make New York City a more environmentally sustainable urban center and has been a leader on the issue of solid waste management.

The Durst Organization was the first large-scale landlord to collect organic material from their residents and nearly all Durst commercial buildings collect compostable materials and have the highest land-fill diversion rates of any company in the industry.

Besides championing these sustainable initiatives in-house, Helena serves as a member of the Manhattan Solid Waste Advisory Board, a volunteer organization that works to help New York City achieve its zero waste goals, and is Chair of the Lower East Side Ecology Center, which similarly works toward a more sustainable New York City.

Helena is an active member of REBNY’s Board of Governors, an advisory member to the Lincoln Center Real Estate Advisory Board and a devoted member of the New York Restoration Project.

I know from my own experiences working with Helena that she enriches each of these organizations that are fortunate enough to be associated with her.

The Real Estate Board of New York is proud work alongside Helena and we hope you will join us in January to celebrate the accomplishments of a woman who is not only transforming the New York real estate scene, but also making life in the five boroughs better for every New Yorker.

In other REBNY News:

Plant A Seed! Join John J. Gilbert, III of Rudin Management, Jonathan Flaherty of Tishman Speyer, and New York State’s Energy Research and Development Authority for a Green Seeds networking event aimed at growing NYC’s sustainability community. Tuesday, December 11, at 6 p.m. at 31 Chambers Street. To register visit:

In addition to Helena Durst, REBNY’s Annual Banquet at the New York Hilton Midtown will celebrate six other distinguished 2019 honorees — Daniel Tishman, Diane Ramirez, Carol Kellermann, Bernard Warren, Ira Fishman, and Alex Bernstein.

The banquet takes place Thursday January 17, 2019, from 6:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. at the New York Hilton Midtown. Tickets are $1,200; Tables: $12,000. Email: to get your table and learn about sponsorship opportunities.

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