Reader referendum

Jerry Seinfeld once quipped about the publishing world that “It’s amazing that the amount of news that happens in the world every day always just exactly fits the newspaper.”

There may be some truth to that joke about newspapers stretching content to feed the daily news beast, but fortunately for us, there was no shortage of real estate news to cover this year.

Indeed, 2011 will likely be remembered as a year in which the nation was stuck in a deep malaise. The economy, of course, was in a rut, and the federal government’s credit was downgraded. There is also widespread disenchantment with President Obama, ongoing mass Occupy Wall Street protests and lingering fears over Europe’s fiscal crisis.

The situation in New York real estate is a little bit better than the economy as a whole, and better than most other real estate markets throughout the country. But there was still plenty of uncertainty, and plenty to write about here.

In such a climate, what did our readers want to read about?

The list below shows which magazine stories were most viewed on our website through the end of November, culled from the 1,300 pages we published this year.

Largely, readers wanted to hear about solutions to the malaise — what entrepreneurs were doing to take advantage of the downturn to create profitable real estate businesses. Many of the stories on our most-read list — including “Entrepreneurs rush into NYC real estate market,” “CMBS 2.0,” “Can Heiberger do it again?,” “Private equity firms and developers together again,” “Bracha’s new gig,” and “The extra mile” (about investment fund Square Mile Capital) — pointed to that fact.

Other top stories looked at overachievers in several categories. Our most-viewed story of the year, “Moguls in the making,” profiled top young guns in New York real estate. And our third-most-read story, “Clans with plans,” zeroed in on the ethnic groups (from Israelis to Syrians to Persians) that have found the most success in New York.

But stories about troubles were also a big draw. Among them: troubles at newly completed condo projects (“Tumult at Nouvel tower”) and drama within powerful real estate families (“Chetrits deny split”).

Finally, readers wanted a behind-the-scenes peek at how some of the most well-established players in the business operate — including the city’s top buildings sales brokerage (“Eastdil Secured: A $15 billion enigma”) and the man who has been called the Ari Gold of real estate finance (“Howard Michaels: The toughest boss in real estate?”).

If you’ve missed reading these stories, now’s the time to go back and take a look. They just might give you a competitive leg up and spur your next business idea.

Here’s a look at the most-viewed stories of 2011 (and the issue they appeared in):

1.Moguls in the making (April)

2. Entrepreneurs rush into NYC real estate market (February)

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3. Clans with plans (February)

4. CMBS 2.0 (January)

5. Eastdil Secured: A $15 billion enigma (October)

6. At 15 CPW, the rich don’t swim (July)

7. Tumult at Nouvel tower (February)

8. Can Heiberger do it again? (January)

9. Private equity firms and developers together again — with a twist (July)

10. The extra mile (March)

11. Bracha’s new gig (January)

12. Howard Michaels: The toughest boss in real estate? (October)

13. The money spigot opens (March)

14. For newcomer firms, size on the rise (May)

15. Chetrits deny split (September)

Meanwhile, there is a lot to feast on in this issue. Check out our cover story on the finances of the industry’s most powerful trade group, the Real Estate Board of New York. Also, don’t miss our spread on New York’s biggest legal battles, and our profile of the biggest new real estate buyer on the scene, the CIM Group, a huge player from Los Angeles. Enjoy the issue, and enjoy the holidays.

 Stuart Elliott