At the height of the boom, the Dursts, the Rudins, the Roses, the LeFraks and other members of New York’s royal real estate families were treated like slow-moving dinosaurs on the verge of extinction. Although they had spent more than five decades carving their names into the New York skyline, the families were outbid and sometimes outmaneuvered by the newer, flashier speculators and investors who swaggered down Manhattan streets buying one skyscraper after another at record-setting prices. But now that some of the record-breakers are desperately trying to fend off lenders or teetering at the edge of bankruptcy, these families are looking like wise veterans.

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3d rendering of a row of luxury townhouses along a street

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