Video: On the Ground at REBNY’s Gala

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Last week’s Real Estate Board of New York gala at the Hilton Midtown afforded us the chance to chat on camera with some of the heaviest hitters in the real estate business from Robert Knakal of Cushman & Wakefield, to Leslie Himmel of Himmel + Meringoff to David Schechtman of Meridian Investment Sales.

SEE ALSO: [Video] Scenes From the 3rd Annual Downtown Forum

John Banks, REBNY’s president, kicked things off (starting at the 24-second mark) with a discussion of what the lobbying organization needs to do to remain relevant—a topic Commercial Observer wrote about in last week’s cover story (we also managed to squeeze in a quick word with his predecessor, Steven Spinola, right after.)

CBRE‘s Mary Ann Tighe (at the 45-second mark) spoke to us about REBNY’s great success in rezoning Midtown East and how it has taken a much more proactive approach to city government.

We spoke to REBNY’s honorees like Forest City Ratner‘s MaryAnne Gilmartin (at the 1:35 mark) about what it’s like to get a lifetime achievement award very early in one’s career.

Of course, a REBNY event isn’t just about REBNY. Plenty of those we spoke to were eager to talk about business. Scott Rechler of RXR Realty (at 1:52) told us about the pending resurgence of the financial services industry; Cushman & Wakefield’s Joanne Podell (2:32) filled us in on her blockbuster Nike lease (and Fifth Avenue rents); Eastern Consolidated‘s Daun Paris (3:07) was high on foreign investors still coming to Gotham and Brad Gerla of CBRE (3:40) had the night’s best line about Downtown versus Midtown.

Carlo Scissura, the brand new head of the New York Building Congress, (3:42) advised real estate and construction observers to keep their eye on the Bronx and the north shore of Staten Island and Colliers International‘s Joseph Harbert (3:52) talked about what his firm is doing to secure talent given all the personnel moves that have roiled the industry in the last year.

Politics and policy were, as one might suspect, on a lot of people’s minds (both Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio made appearances at the gala). See William Rudin of Rudin Management talk about the Real Estate Roundtable (starting at 4:44) and what he’s expecting out of the Trump Administration. Jeffrey Levine of Douglaston Development (5:34) cheered what looks like a happy ending to the citywide migraine over the 421a tax abatement that has hounded development for more than a year. And we even got to speak to a budding politician and real estate mogul (not the one you’re thinking of): Paul Massey of Cushman & Wakefield (5:55) who not only had supporters outside the banquet waving “Paul Massey for Mayor” signs, but he got some on-camera love from Meridian’s Schechtman and Joel Herskowitz of Lee & Associates.