New York’s real estate community provides relief in Sandy’s wake

Storefronts become collection centers, brokers distribute supplies and benefits are planned
By Katherine Clarke | November 07, 2012 01:00PM

While the New York City real estate world is known for its fierce competitiveness, last week’s hurricane brought out the industry’s more compassionate side. Agents and staff at many of the city’s large firms and real estate organizations have banded together to help those in need in Hurricane Sandy’s wake. Read on for a closer look at the relief efforts.

Town Residential
Town Residential agents Wendy Jodel, Liana Silverstein-Backal, Laurie Polikoff, Shari Cohen and John Paulus, all of whom work out of Town’s Upper East Side office, spearheaded a company-wide effort to collect clothing, cleaning supplies and batteries and hand-deliver them to a FEMA site on Staten Island. Party rental supplies company Something Different Party provided trucks to Town for the delivery of supplies.

Ariel Property Advisors
Ariel Property Advisors and the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce will be hosting a RED (Real Estate & Development) Night for Hurricane Relief tomorrow evening. The commercial brokerage has pledged to match $5,000 in contributions received at the event, all of which will go to the Recovery Fund, a Hurricane Sandy relief fund jointly administered by the Brooklyn Community Foundation, Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce, and Brooklyn Borough President’s office.

Halstead Property
Agents at Halstead Property’s Brooklyn office have been collecting supplies and driving them to the Rockaways and Breezy Point in Queens, various locations on Staten Island, and Red Hook and Coney Island in Brooklyn. Trish Martin, Halstead’s director of sales in Brooklyn, said in an email Monday: “We made 10 trips yesterday, two already this morning and have a 20-foot moving van arriving at 11:00 a.m. this morning to pick up goods that continue to come streaming in from the Brooklyn Heights community, and cart them out to a distribution center.” A Halstead spokesperson said the company’s efforts vary office-by-office.

Citi Habitats
Citi Habitats, the city’s largest rental firm, is running a blood drive at its training center for agents this week. “What we’ve found out through our phone calls is that clothes and food have been donated nonstop, so there are actually things that are more relevant to people in need and one of them is a blood drive,” said Gary Malin, president of the firm. “A lot of the blood drives, because of Sandy, were canceled so now there’s a need to [replenish the supply.] Giving blood is obviously something that’s always vitally important at all times of the years, but it’s even more important now.” The firm also provided a “road map” to all of its agents on how to respond, providing them with links to the Salvation Army and Red Cross’ websites.

The Corcoran Group
Since Wednesday morning, Corcoran’s four Brooklyn sales offices — all storefront locations — were opened and set up as donation and collection centers to support the efforts of the Brooklyn Community Foundation, Brooklyn Borough President’s Office and the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce in donating to Hurricane Sandy victims. Relief supplies collected include canned and non-perishable food, warm clothing, cleaning supplies and batteries. Over 50 car loads of donations were delivered to the affected areas in Red Hook, Brooklyn, to Belle Harbor, Nesponsit and Breezy Point, Queens, and Gerristsen Beach in Brooklyn, among other areas in need. The effort has been spearheaded by Corcoran senior vice president Jim Cornell. Donations continue to be accepted at the company’s Brooklyn locations in Park Slope, Brooklyn Heights, Williamsburg and Fort Greene. On its website, Corcoran has also posted links to over 20 organizations and different ways people can donate funds, goods or volunteer their time to the relief effort.

Town & Country
Hamptons brokerage Town & Country is donating a percentage of all its rental commissions from now and throughout 2013 to the American Red Cross and the Group for the East End, a not-for-profit regional charity that protects and restores the environment on eastern Long Island. The firm is also collecting clothing and soft goods to be donated to those in need. B & N Moving & Storage will deliver the collections directly to the Breezy Point Firehouse.

Prudential Douglas Elliman
New York’s largest residential brokerage has organized helicopters, trucks and volunteers to go from designated donation centers across New York City and Long Island to deliver aid to victims in Breezy Point and the Rockaway in Queens, on Staten Island and in Long Beach on Long Island. Elliman President Dottie Herman’s radio show, “Eye on Real Estate,” on WOR has been used to solicit volunteers. All Elliman offices with power have remained open for collecting and distributing donations of non-perishable food items and other necessities and to provide local residents with power, charging stations and warmth. The front page of Elliman’s website directs to a page advising those who wish to help in relief efforts where their assistance is most needed.

The Real Estate Board of New York’s rental committee will host a cocktail party tonight at Chelsea’s Bounce Sporting Club at 6 p.m. today benefit hurricane-relief efforts. Tickets to the event cost $25 for REBNY members and $35 for non-members. All proceeds will go to supporting Sandy victims, supplying water, food and hygiene supplies, as well as long-term relief and restoration efforts. The event will feature an open bar and hors d’oeuvres.