The 100 Most Powerful People in New York Real Estate



Josef Ackermann

CEO and Management Board Chairman of Deutsche Bank

Perhaps nothing encapsulates New York real estate’s animating power better than the relationship of Deutsche to Harry Macklowe. Mr. Macklowe took a $5.8 billion loan to help pay for his $7 billion purchase of seven Manhattan skyscrapers in February 2007. A year later, Mr. Macklowe couldn’t afford to pay back Deutsche. So the German bank took control of the buildings in a tentative deal.



Daniel Boyle

Chairman of the New York State Liquor Authority

The future of this “city that never sleeps” rests with the former Syracuse cop, who has lent a more sympathetic ear to long-ignored local community boards, frustrating restaurateurs and bar operators citywide. There are plenty of hassles besides getting a liquor license—but just try paying rent without one.



Sheldon Silver

Speaker of the New York State Assembly

As one of the “three men in a room” in Albany, Sheldon Silver wields tremendous power over every piece of legislation and any budget that comes through the state house, and has quashed or delayed numerous development projects, including the West Side stadium and congestion pricing.



Steven Roth

Chairman and C.E.O. of Vornado Realty Trust

The notoriously aggressive Steven Roth is on a quest to expand midtown’s thriving office district to the area around Penn Station, where he has all but bet the farm, owning 7.5 million square feet. All is connected with the chronically delayed redevelopment and expansion of Penn Station.



Danny Meyer

President of Union Square Hospitality Group

The restaurateur from St. Louis triggered the transformation of an entire neighborhood with the opening of his Union Square Café in 1985; the once-seedy area now teems with top-rated eateries. Expect the Upper West Side to become one big burger line when his Shake Shack opens on Columbus Avenue.



Dolly Lenz

Vice Chairman of Prudential Douglas Elliman

This broker, nicknamed “Jaws” by Dennis Kozlowski, says she has made $748,319,000 in a single year, which would be four times higher than the second-biggest broker in America. She’s the killer whose ambition and contact list helped push Manhattan into its—waning?—era of eight-digit opulence.



Robert De Niro

Co-founder of Tribeca Enterprises

Call it a Raging Bull Market downtown, with Travis Bickle in the driver’s seat, as the famous actor is planning another hotel to add to his burgeoning empire, which also includes Tribeca Film Center, Tribeca Cinemas, Tribeca Grill, Nobu and the new Greenwich Hotel.



Howard Rubenstein

Founder and President of Rubenstein Associates

In the early ’60s, fresh from Brooklyn, he brought a Manhattan real estate millionaire to an orphanage to sing, beginning a life of New York PR that’s scarily omnipresent (for example, he has done work for this newspaper). Now he spins for the real estate billionaires, not the millionaires.



Leonard Litwin

President of Glenwood Management Corporation

One of the few self-made billionaires on this list, Mr. Litwin, now in his 90s, built, literally, one of the city’s biggest apartment portfolios. It now includes the 45-story Liberty Plaza in Lower Manhattan and the Pavilion on the Upper East Side, which, when it went up in the 1960s, was the city’s biggest apartment tower.



Robert LiMandri

Acting Commissioner of the Department of Buildings

Mr. LiMandri took over in April from the embattled Patricia Lancaster, and has found himself on the proverbial hot seat amid concerns over a spike in construction worker deaths and general construction safety, following a March crane collapse in Turtle Bay, which killed seven.


Howard Lorber

Chairman of Prudential Douglas Elliman

Mr. Lorber, fond of lunches at Cipriani’s, heads the largest residential brokerage in the New York area, Prudential Douglas Elliman.


Steven Spinola

President of the Real Estate Board of New York

Mr. Spinola heads the daily operations of the industry’s (and the city’s) largest trade group. As REBNY’s head for the past 20 years, he’s become one of real estate’s biggest lobbyists in the corridors of government power.



Gary Barnett

President of Extell Development

This decade, Mr. Barnett’s firm has made quite the development splash, particularly with its Ariel East and West condos along Broadway in Morningside Heights.



Bill Rudin

President of Rudin Management

Scion of one of the largest developers and landlords in New York’s history, Mr. Rudin is also one of the industry’s biggest philanthropists: He is chairman of the Association for a Better New York.



Ben Bernanke

Chairman of the Federal Reserve

In an age where Jay-Z flashes euros in MTV music videos, Mr. Bernanke, who controls the purse strings of banks, matters. Amid the subprime mortgage collapse that critics complain Mr. Bernanke should have foreseen, he lowered the federal funds rate and engineered the JPMorgan bailout of Bear Stearns.

The 100 Most Powerful People in New York Real Estate