John and Dan Tishman


Notable New Yorkers 2005


Father-and-son builders John and Dan Tishman were recognized on Wednesday, May 11th as The Skyscraper Museum presented its 2005 Making New York History Award. Held in the Museum’s gallery where the original 11-foot tall model of the World Trade Center model is on display, the event began as special guests offered toasts and recognized the Tishmans' unique historical connection to the Trade Center site.

Left to right: Dan Tishman, John Tishman, Larry Silverstein,
Carol Willis, and Les Robertson

Developer Larry Silverstein began the tributes, recalling his respect for the Tishmans as builders and owners and his own close association with John Tishman, dating back to 1984 and the construction of the first 7 World Trade Center, which along with the Twin Towers collapsed on 9/11. “When we had to make a decision as to how to go forward with respect to a new site, the first person I reached out to was John’s son, Dan.” Silverstein spoke at length of the Tishmans’s constant “professionalism, integrity, knowledge, and experience.”

The Tishman legacy of construction was also praised by New School University President and former United States Senator Bob Kerrey who noted the Tishmans’ important role as great American builders.

New School University President and former US Senator Bob Kerrey

“I have a special place in my heart for men and women who build, who design, develop, and transform spaces from what they used to be into something grander, something better, something that is habitable by us but also that inspires us,” said Kerrey. “They change the nature about the way we feel about this city in many ways.”

Leslie E. Roberston, structural engineer of the World Trade Center, and David Childs, architect 7 WTC and Freedom Tower, offered their own toasts, making note of their long-standing professional and personal relationships with the Tishmans. Robertson spoke of his admiration for John for the organization of steel-work contracts during the building of the World Trade Center.

Leslie E. Robertson and David Childs

David Childs remarked, “We’ve had a wonderful career with Skidmore Owings & Merrill and your firm together, all these multiple generations, and I must say I have as a designer learned enormously from you. Normally one has a relationship between client and architect and contractor, but in this case you’ve been on both sides of that triangle for me, client and builder, and it’s been an honor and a great education.”

Also in attendance, along with about 150 guests, were New York City Commissioners Amanda Burden of the Department of City Planning, Shaun Donovan of HPD, and Rob Walsh of Small Business Services, as well as Deputy Mayor Dennis Walcott. They brought a letter of commendation from Mayor Bloomberg which noted: “Tishman Construction Corporation has played a vital role in New York City’s growth and has made important contributions to our world-renowned skyline. As the leading team for the future Freedom Tower, they have demonstrated a strong commitment to the continued redevelopment of the Lower Manhattan community.”

Carol Willis, Director of The Skyscraper Museum, presented the 2005 Making New York History Award, extolling the Tishmans' central role in the history of high-rise construction.

Museum Director Carol Willis, center, presents the Making New York History Award to Dan Tishman (left) and John Tishman (right).

“In honoring John Tishman tonight,” she said, “we take note that he is the first and only builder in history to head the teams that constructed three 100-story towers—indeed, the first three supertall buildings in history: the John Hancock Building in Chicago and the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center.”

Founded in 1898, by John’s grandfather Julius 107-year-old the family development and construction business has been led by John Tishman as chairman for 29 years. Dan Tishman is the fourth generation to head Tishman Realty and Construction Corp., Inc. He leads the team for Tishman in the construction of both 7 WTC and the Freedom Tower.



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