views updated


RUDIN , family of U.S. real estate developers. louis rudinsky, an immigrant from Poland, went to the Lower East Side of Manhattan in 1883 with nothing more than the change in his pocket. He became a grocer and in the 1920s his lawyer suggested he invest in real estate on 54th Street in midtown Manhattan. He bought the property sight-unseen because he had heard that John D. Rockefeller owned property on that block. His son, samuel, built his first apartment house, a six-story tenement in the Bronx. By the time he died in 1975, Sam Rudin and his sons had developed some of the premier properties in Manhattan, including 345 Park Avenue, where the Rudin Management Company had its headquarters.

lewis (1927–2001) concentrated in building management and leasing while his brother jack (1924– ) handled construction and development. They were subsequently joined by Lewis's son william (1955–), who became president of Rudin Management in 1994. The Rudins presided over 40 buildings valued at $2 billion, including more than 3,500 apartments in 22 Manhattan buildings. Their holdings also embraced 16 office towers. The family almost never let go of a property once it was in their portfolio, and rarely ventured outside New York for real-estate projects. It became intimately involved in trying to improve New York City as a place to live. Sam Rudin is remembered each year with the New York Marathon Samuel Rudin Trophy. The family has been a major supporter of the event since the mid-1970s; Sam was a marathon runner himself. To popularize the marathon, which became one of the most famous in the world, having grown from 127 runners in 1970 to more than 30,000 by 2005, Lewis Rudin enlisted corporate executives and labor leaders. He also rallied them to help New York City during its darkest moments, helped move the United States Open tennis championship to Flushing, Queens, and helped gain landing rights in New York for the Concorde jet. When New York faced possible bankruptcy in 1975, Lewis Rudin persuaded other developers and corporate leaders to prepay $600 million in property taxes, enabling the city to avoid a fiscal disaster. Lewis's friends spanned a broad stretch of New York figures, and his annual break-the-fast party at the Regency Hotel at the end of Yom Kippur drew hundreds of relatives and friends. He had become a major force in the civic arena in 1971 when he formed the Association for a Better New York with Howard J. Rubenstein, Preston Robert *Tisch, and others. The Rudins were major philanthropists, giving to medical, educational, and religious-based charities. They set up scholarships and internships, professorships and lecture series. They aided Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, the George C. Marshall Foundation, the Boy Scouts of America, the New York City Commission on the Homeless, and the Hereditary Disease Foundation. The Rudin buildings were individually owned, and the next generation, including Eric Rudin, Beth Rudin DeWoody, Max Rudin Johnson and Madeleine Rudin, were on the executive committee.

[Stewart Kampel (2nd ed.)]