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AREW honors those who changed face of Times Sq.

They came, they saw, they conquered. And that was why the Association of Real Estate Women (AREW) honored nine people last week at a gala held at the Hudson Theater and attended by Empire State Development Chairman Charles Gargano on behalf of Governor George Pataki; Manhattan Borough President and mayoral candidate Ruth Messinger; and on behalf of Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, Fran Reiter, his former Deputy Mayor and current campaign manager.

The honorees were: Cora Cahan, president of The New 42nd Street; Douglas Durst, president of the Durst Organization, which is developing 4 Times Square; Gretchen Dykstra, president of the Times Square Business Improvement District; Constance Milstein and Howard Milstein, who intend to develop a new hotel and already own the Milford Plaza; Bruce Rather, president and CEO of Forest City Ratner, who is developing an entertainment-retail space on 42nd Street and has talked about a hotel; Rebecca Robertson, director of Real Estate and Special Projects for the Shubert Organization and former head of the 42nd Street Development Project; Brian Strum, who worked with the Prudential Realty Group, the landowners of several project sites; and John Tishman, chairman and CEO of Tishman Realty & Construction, which is building Durst's 4 Times Square and is developing E Walk and eventually a hotel on Eighth Avenue.

Their efforts have led to the remarkable changes - from profane to profound - that have let the people take back 42nd Street.

The gala took close to nine months to organize by AREW members Faith Hope Consolo and Maureen Munroe. "I brought back my old herd," Consolo said. "This was the A team."

The evening also resulted in the endowment of the AREW scholarship fund "into the next century," said Munroe.

Designer David Rockwell, who is working on the new dinner theater for magician David Copperfield, presented a lively video created with the production company Emerald City. It presented a sense of The New Times Square as envisioned by architect Robert A.M. Stem and Rockwell, and integrated old and new Broadway street scenes and photos of the honorees to the music of the original, and a new rap version of "Give My Regards to Broadway" that described the honorees and their contributions.

In acknowledging the contributions, Reiter said "We needed to stand up to the naysayers... We closed down the porno shops, not just us, with you." Having avoided the infamous Deuce during her days attending Performing Arts High School in the area, Reiter thanked the group "for giving me back a street... and for giving me back New Year's Eve with my family" in Times Square.

Cahan, who attended the same high school, said she never had any ambition to say she worked on 42nd Street. "Now I'm proud to say it," she added to laughs.

Strum said that a year ago, he would have laughed if someone advised him to buy tickets for a show in a Broadway theater that wasn't even built yet. But now he is holding tickets for "Ragtime," which will be presented in the new Ford Center for the Performing Arts, opening next year.

Citing earlier efforts by developers such as Bill Zeckendorf and Seymour Durst, Howard Milstein said the vision for Times Square has been there all along, "but has been an elusive goal," and Rather admitted, "It's been one of the great things I've done in my life."
COPYRIGHT 1997 Hagedorn Publication
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Copyright 1997, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Title Annotation:Assn. of Real Estate Women
Author:Weiss, Lois
Publication:Real Estate Weekly
Date:Jun 11, 1997
Words:558
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