How NYC and REBNY Have Evolved Over Spinola’s Tenure

Mets become world champs after winning game 7 of the 1986 World Series against the Boston Red Sox at Shea Stadium. (T.G. Higgins/Getty Images)
Mets become world champs after winning game 7 of the 1986 World Series against the Boston Red Sox at Shea Stadium. (T.G. Higgins/Getty Images)


When Steven Spinola became president of the Real Estate Board of New York in 1986, New York City was not the gentrified, scrubbed-clean, 21st century metropolis it is today. It was a city that was crime-riddled, where one was more likely to find heroin in Bryant Park than a summer movie festival and, with more than 8,000 bikes stolen annually, any program resembling CitiBike would have been a pipe dream. Here is a glimpse of the changes the city and REBNY have undergone over the past three decades.

NYC History Timeline

REBNY History Timeline

1986 The New York Mets win the World Series. It has not won a championship since.

1987 On Oct. 19, now known as “Black Monday,” the Dow Jones dropped 508 points, the largest drop in a single day.

1988 Phantom of the Opera, Broadway’s longest running show, opens at the Majestic Theater on Jan. 9.

1989 David N. Dinkins is elected the 106th mayor of the City of New York. He is New York City’s first African-American mayor.

1990 The number of murders in New York City climbs to a record high of 2,245.

1991 The Crown Heights Riots, fueled by strained race relations, unfurl in Brooklyn. Forty three civilians and 152 police officers are injured in clashes.

1992 Aladdin is the highest-grossing film of the year and the first animated movie to net over $200 million.

1993 A bomb explodes in a subterranean parking garage at the World Trade Center on Feb. 26, killing six and injuring over 1,000.

1993 Rudolph Giuliani is elected the 107th mayor of the City of New York.

1994 The hit sitcom Friends debuts.

1994 Republicans take over both the House of Representatives and the Senate.

1995 Microsoft releases Windows 95.

1996 The blizzard of 1996 hits New York City. New York Times headline reads: “New York Shut By Worst Storm in 48 Years; East is Buried, Virginia to Massachusetts.”

1997 and 1998 New York City marks the 100th anniversary of the five boroughs uniting to become today’s city.

1999 Amadou Diallo is shot and killed by four New York City police officers.

2000 Police estimate that roughly 2 million people gather in Times Square to ring in the new millennium beginning Jan. 1, 2000.

2001 On Sept. 11, 19 Al Qaeda militants orchestrate a coordinated attack on the Twin Towers, killing 2,753. The death toll in New York includes 343 firefighters, 23 New York Police Department officers and 37 Port Authority officers.

2001 Michael Bloomberg is elected as the 108th mayor of the City of New York.

2002 The Smoke-Free Air Act of 2002 passes, making all restaurants, bars, workplaces, theaters, sports arenas and public transportation facilities in the five boroughs smoke-free.

2003 Daniel Libeskind’s plan for the World Trade Center site, which includes a tower that reaches 1,776 square feet, is chosen by a committee that includes representatives from the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation, the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey, Governor George Pataki and Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

2003 New York City is enshrouded in darkness as part of a widespread blackout, the largest in American history impacting eight states and Canada.

2003 A Staten Island ferry crashes at the St. George ferry terminal, killing 10 and injuring scores more.

2004 New York City hosts the Republican National Convention. Madison Square Garden serves as the focal point of the convention and is where President George W. Bush accepted the Republican Party’s nomination.

2005 Goldman Sachs announces its plan to build a $2 billion headquarters across the street from the former World Trade Center site. It receives government incentives to the tune of $750 million to do so.

2006 The New York Daily News publishes an article declaring that 2005 subway ridership was 1.45 billion. This is the highest ridership has been in more than 50 years.

2007 Mayor Bloomberg proposes PlaNYC, which outlines a comprehensive blueprint for the city to become more sustainable by 2030.

2008 A crane collapses on East 51st Street between First and Second Avenues, killing seven and injuring at least two dozen.

2009 Captain Chesley Sullenberger III lands US Airways Flight 1549 on the Hudson River after a flock of Canadian geese causes the plane to lose engine power. Former New York Governor David Paterson calls the event the “Miracle on the Hudson.”

2010 Life expectancy for New Yorkers increases to 79.4 years, a record high.

2011 Same-sex marriage becomes legal in New York State.

2011 Cornell University and the Technion-Israel Institute win a bid to build a tech campus on Roosevelt Island.

2012 Mayor Bloomberg proposes limiting the sales of sugary drinks larger than 16 ounces in New York City, prompting a vigorous debate over soda.

2012 The Barclays Center opens in Brooklyn.

2012 New York City welcomes 52 million visitors this year.

2013 Bill de Blasio is elected the 109th mayor of the City of New York.

2014 Manhattan’s celebrated High Line, the public space built on what was an elevated rail freight line stretching from Gansevoort Street to West 34th Street, is completed.

2014 New York experiences the fewest murders in its recorded history. The city also has the lowest robbery and burglary rates since 2004.

2014 With Condé Nast moving into its offices at 1 World Trade Center, the building officially opens for business.

1986 Steven Spinola becomes president of the Real Estate Board of New York. Tishman Speyer CEO Jerry Speyer serves as Mr. Spinola’s chairman.

1986 The Lipstick Building at 888 Third Avenue is completed.

1987 Mayor Ed Koch announces plans to build at least 3,000 owner-occupied middle-income homes, using recommendations provided by REBNY.

1987-1988 REBNY persuades the City Council not to pass Commercial Rent Control legislation.

1989 Forest City Ratner Companies’ Metrotech project in Brooklyn breaks ground after nearly a decade of proposals and planning.

1989 Burton P. Resnick becomes chairman of REBNY.

1991 Income Tax Day is launched.

1992 REBNY spearheads a campaign that leads to cutting the proposed city real estate tax increase by 60 percent. This drops the tax to $270 million from $646 million.

1993 Following the bombing of the World Trade Center, REBNY’s Owners and Brokerage Divisions creates a directory of 5 million square feet of office space for displaced workers. Ultimately 15 percent of the Twin Towers’ occupants were assisted by this service.

1993 To show its confidence in Lower Manhattan, REBNY opts to hold its yearly members’ luncheon at the Trade Center’s Windows on the World.

1994 Between 1991 and 1994, the value of property south of Chambers Street falls by 28.6 percent. This year, Mayor Rudy Giuliani tells the Association for a Better New York that the area could improve if properties were upgraded and if older buildings not usable for commercial space are converted to residential. He also suggests old structures that are obsolete be used for new development.

1995 Governor George Pataki attends a luncheon hosted by REBNY and other business groups and outlines his plans to help jumpstart the state’s economy.

1996 REBNY helps eradicate the New York State Real Property Gains Tax.

1997 SL Green Realty goes public.

1998 REBNY moves to 570 Lexington Avenue from 12 East 41st Street.

1999 REBNY works to create a sprinkler law that allows existing apartment buildings and some under construction to be exempt from the provision.

2000 In conjunction with the Natural Resources Defense Council and the Environmental Business Association, REBNY achieves the creation of a 5 percent green building state tax credit.

2001 REBNY collaborates with Albany on how to revitalize Lower Manhattan in the wake of 9/11.

2002 REBNY contributes to the passage of a federal statute that provides federal terrorism insurance, known as the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act, or TRIA.

2003 The Residential Brokerage Division requires that members share their listings for 72 hours through the REBNY Listing Service.

2004 New York City approves the recommendations of the World Trade Center Building Code Task Force that will lead to safer high-rise office construction. REBNY members are active in this group.

2005 REBNY helps shape the rezoning of the Far West Side (what will become Hudson Yards), parts of Chelsea and the Brooklyn waterfront.

2006 REBNY creates Legal Line, a phone line for REBNY members who have legal questions.

2007 TRIA is reauthorized.

2008 Financial crisis of 2008 hits, affecting REBNY members.

2010 REBNY opposes city legislation requiring all businesses to provide employees with full- or part-time paid sick leave.

2010 Mary Ann Tighe begins her three-year term as REBNY chairman. She is the first woman in the organization’s history to hold the position.

2011 The organization contributes to Vision 2020, New York City’s comprehensive plan for waterfront development.

2011 As part of the “Move the Trial Campaign,” Ms. Tighe and other REBNY members help lobby to relocate the trial of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed (one of the architects of 9/11) and other conspirators out of Lower Manhattan.

2012 REBNY helps convince the city to reform Crane Licensing for Class A and Class B operators by requiring a national crane certification.

2012 REBNY and its members play a role in Superstorm Sandy recovery by getting involved in public committees and finding temporary solutions for displaced office tenants.

2013 REBNY-backed Jobs for New York uses its influence to support candidates in City Council races.

2013 Rob Speyer, the president and co-CEO of Tishman Speyer, becomes REBNY’s chairman. He is the youngest REBNY chair in the organization’s history.

2014 REBNY assembles 39 apartments from members to house families left homeless by a building explosion on East 116th Street.

2014 REBNY members rally against the pied-à-terre tax, a proposal to impose annually a tax on non-resident owners of condo and co-op apartments as well as Class 1 properties worth $5 million or more.

2014 REBNY plays a role in the development of Mayor de Blasio’s Affordable Housing Plan, which calls for building and preserving 200,000 units of affordable housing throughout the city.

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