Gabriel Staab, 28

Gabriel Staab, 28

Associate at Newmark

Gabriel Staab, 28
By December 4, 2023 12:02 AM

Unless your name is James Tiberius Kirk in the 2009 reboot of “Star Trek,” most success stories don’t start in a bar. But that’s where the tale of how Gabriel Staab went from being a college dropout to the “sardine king” of Times Square began.

A 21-year-old Staab put one or two semesters into the New School when he realized there just wasn’t a program that was a good fit for him. Staab did what many people do when times are tough and serious contemplation is necessary: He bellied up to the bar.

“I was totally lost, freaked out. I was like, ‘What am I going to do with my life?’ ” Staab said. “I pretty much shut the place down with this group of people and got to know them, and one of the guys was a principal broker leasing apartments in Brooklyn, and he offered me a job on the spot. … I started essentially the next day working on getting my license.”

It wouldn’t be long before Staab would find an interest in commercial real estate, moving on to Winick Realty Group and then joining Ariel Schuster’s team at Newmark.

The universe is still hurling the unconventional at young Staab.

In August, Staab executed a deal on behalf of the tenant at Sherwood Equities’ 2 Times Square for an entire store devoted to the supposed “queen of all fish”: sardines. The Fantastic World of Portuguese Sardines signed a 1,010-square-foot lease, a small deal that made a big splash.

The story not only graced the pages of CO, but got writeups in The New York Times and elsewhere.

“It’s a sophisticated group of people, Sardines are their product, but their business is very sophisticated and they do extremely well in Europe, so it was a big score,” Staab said. “This is a milestone for any young broker doing their own deals, let alone a Times Square deal getting this much notoriety and this much press. [It] was huge for me personally.”

So it’s no surprise that sitting as a trophy in Staab’s office at Newmark HQ is a golden can of sardines from the brand, with skinless, boneless meat and gold flakes.

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