The 100 Most Powerful People in New York Real Estate



Craig Newmark

Founder and Owner of Craigslist

The bald, bespectacled bus-taker doesn’t have the suaveness of shiny-shoed Manhattan real estate brokers, but he’ll conquer them all anyway. His site’s New York City housing listings—313,165 in April 2007 and then 567,883 in April 2008—often cuts out broker middlemen, which cuts out their chronic hype.



Lloyd Blankfein

Chairman and CEO of
Goldman Sachs

Behind all the shrill chintz of real estate, there’s just the money, and a lot of it comes from a company led by a 53-year-old raised in Brooklyn public housing. But Mr. Blankfein’s Goldman Sachs symbolizes something beyond epic funds: These lenders aren’t just kings, they’re the kingmakers.



Bruce Ratner

Chairman of Forest City Ratner Companies

The leader of what is perhaps New York’s most high-profile development, the controversy magnet Atlantic Yards, Bruce Ratner is one of the most active developers in the city, often pursuing large, publicly administered projects. He’s recently taken a liking to famous architects, ensuring that his developments leave a notable impression on the skyline.



Douglas Durst

Co-president of the Durst Organization

His Bank of America Tower is the most successful new office building in town, and it happens to be the most sustainable, too. Better yet, Mr. Durst has said green costs will be made back quickly.


Lee Bollinger

President of Columbia University

In a town where real estate is rarely measured in acres, Lee Bollinger is leading Columbia toward a 17-acre expansion, adding 6.8 million square feet to the campus. With the help of eminent domain, or at least the threat, he will be responsible for the wholesale transformation of West Harlem.



Michael Alfano

Executive Vice President, New York University

This onetime dean of N.Y.U.’s College of Dentistry now oversees the 15 million square feet leased and owned by the university, and is spearheading a plan to add six million feet of new space in the next 25 years. That’s no easy task, particularly in the notoriously prickly Village community.



James Dimon

Chairman and CEO of JPMorgan Chase

Savior of Bear Stearns (and perhaps the American financial system?), Mr. Dimon’s firm has deep tentacles in the real estate industry in New York, whether as a lender or as a landlord: Many are waiting to see what becomes of Bear Stearns’ old headquarters at 383 Madison, a building valued at well over $1 billion.



David Paterson

Governor of New York State

If a New York City development project costs more than $1 billion, chances are it falls under the governor’s scope. To name a few that the state controls or administers: Moynihan Station, the World Trade Center, the Second Avenue Subway, Atlantic Yards, Brooklyn Bridge Park.



Mort Zuckerman

Chairman of Boston Properties

The Daily News publisher’s real estate firm owns over 5.5 million square feet of New York office space. It’s also developing one of the few new office skyscrapers: the planned 39-story tower at 250 West 55th Street.





Edward Egan

Cardinal and Catholic Archbishop of New York

God has imbued Mr. Egan with more than just the power of the divine. Mr. Egan is estimated to control billions worth of New York real estate, including the priceless St. Patrick’s Cathedral, hundreds of parishes (96 in Manhattan alone), schools (including universities) and even hospitals.



Christine Quinn

Speaker of the New York City Council

For almost any new major development and zoning change in the city, the final stop is the City Council. The fate of billions of dollars’ worth of development will be determined by Ms. Quinn and the Council in just the coming months.



Arthur Zeckendorf

Owner and Co-chairman of Zeckendorf Realty

He decided to do a study on limestone, and now about 85,000 chunks of Indiana limestone, of the sort used to build the Empire State Building, make up 15 Central Park West. And thanks to that condo, developed by Mr. Zeckendorf and older brother William Lie, stony primness is in, sparkly glitz is out.



Miki Naftali

CEO and President of Elad Properties

He fell in love with a ramshackle, money-losing Plaza Hotel, then Elad paid about $838,509 per room to buy it up. The redone Plaza, now more condo than hotel, has dozens of bubbly buyers who paid 10 times that amount for their suites—right before the market flattened.



Sheldon Solow


After hammering out a compromise with Councilman Daniel Garodnick, this billionaire won city approval to build seven cloud-busters just south of the United Nations. The $4 billion project also includes a public school, five acres of open space, a $10 million pedestrian bridge over F.D.R. Drive and ground-floor retail.

The 100 Most Powerful People in New York Real Estate