Real estate professionals will gather tonight for the industry’s most high-profile event, the annual Real Estate Board of New York banquet — set to take place at the New York Hilton Hotel in Midtown. The event, in its 117th year, will honor developer Donald Zucker, chairman of the Donald Zucker Company; Mike Fishman, the international executive vice president of the Service Employees International Union; Douglas Elliman’s president and CEO Dottie Herman; Studley’s Woody Heller and William Montana; and Dick Concannon, senior vice president at Rudin Management.
“The REBNY Banquet has a long-standing reputation for being real estate’s most important evening of the year because it is here that some of the industry’s biggest and most influential deals are said to have been made,” REBNY President Steven Spinola said in a statement. ”The enthusiasm of the crowd is usually a good indicator of market vitality.”
In advance of the gala, the New York Observer spent some time looking at the history and impact of the event. According to the Observer, the first REBNY banquet took place at the Hotel Marlborough in May 1897; that event attracted a total of 50 guests. Back then, the organization was called the Real Estate Board of Brokers. (The group became REBNY in 1913.) Attendance numbers for tonight are not available, but last year’s event, as The Real Deal reported, brought out some 2,000 people.
As of this month, REBNY has a total of 13,500 members, according to the Observer — a far cry from its 1896 tally of 28. –Zachary Kussin