How it started one evening over drinks.
The concept of Real Estate Weekly was obvious to my uncle and my father.
Here's the story as they told it:
Fifty-one years ago, Al was employed as the advertising salesman for a bi-weekly real estate publication; Charles had started a community weekly newspaper in 1947 for the then-new Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village.
At a gin mill somewhere in Manhattan, the two brothers talked shop after work. How the conversation evolved nobody remembered. Spontaneously, though, the idea of a real estate publication covering the industry as a community was the center of their attention.
The publication, where Al worked, came out every other week.
After a few drinks and a lot of talk, they had decided to form a partnership, Hagedorn Publishing, and put out a newspaper, calling it symbolically, Real Estate Weekly. Al would be the publisher and concentrate on sales, while Charles would oversee the editorial department.
I've worked in the vineyards of the family business now for 36 years, taking over from Al as publisher of REW in 1996 after he died. I also recognize that I will never truly replace Al in the real estate industry.
From the beginning of REW, Al was everywhere. There were not many functions that he did not attend during his tenure as publisher. He was literally everywhere, spreading good will and promoting his publication. Al's wife, Barbara, was his constant companion at these functions and became nearly as well known in the industry.
People often approach me today, saying how much they appreciated Al Hagedorn, not infrequently confusing me as Al's son, and I never correct them. I find it the ultimate compliment.
The history of REW has seen perhaps one of the greatest transformations in the publishing industry. Publishing took a giant leap forward in the 15th century when Gutenberg invented moveable type and produced his Bible, and from then until Ottmar Mergenthaler invented a linotype machine in 1886 much was unchanged.
The text of REW was first produced by a Mergenthaler linotype, and since then things have changed. Hey, computers rule!
The real estate industry has changed as much as the processes of publishing. Women who were relegated to support functions in the 1950s have become a force within the industry today; buildings are now selling for hundreds of multiples of what they did 50 years ago.
While many things have changed, one thing has not: We have held faithful to our founding mission.
We focus on the industry as a community; we serve our readers by distilling the news in concise, understandable articles; and we provide a product that has created a trusted and respected environment for advertisers.
Newspaper publishing only succeeds when there is a binding trust with readers. Over the years, Real Estate Weekly has strived to provide a quality product that is respected as good journalism. We are gratified by the thousands upon thousands of persons who renew their subscriptions each year. They give us, in essence, a vote of confidence that we must be doing something right.
Our community, including New York City, New Jersey, Long Island, Westchester and Connecticut, is arguably the real estate capital of the United States, if not the world. It's a community that supports charities; it gives back to the region in hundreds of millions of dollars each year; and creates a tax base like no other. The commercial and residential real estate community is an extended family, as we have learned and those involved know.
This commemorative edition intends to pay tribute to people who make the real estate industry work. The over 300 people recognized in these pages have distinguished themselves, and we honor them.
We are thankful to the professionals and organizations that gave their time to compile people and families listed in these pages. Without them, this project could never have succeeded.
If Al and Charles were alive today, I hope they would be proud of our achievement. We've come a long way since the two brothers met in a gin mill that evening in Manhattan and came up with the idea that would become Real Estate Weekly.
I extend my thanks to our readers and advertisers for their continued support, for without them there would be no Real Estate Weekly in the vision of the founders some 50 years ago.