Remembering Howard J. Rubenstein

2/3/32 – 12/29/20

It is with great sadness that we announce that my father passed away today after 88 years of what can only be described as a big, full life. He died at home, in peace and in no pain, with my mother Amy by his side – and the rest of us not far behind. 

My father loved his family, his work, this agency, our city, and of course, the New York Yankees. While I loved so much about him, what made him truly special was how he embraced the world with vigor, confidence, and optimism for what lay ahead. No matter how challenging the circumstances, his commitment to his family, the people he worked with, the tumult of the job, being part of a big story, and being part of helping our city were always on full display.

My dad saw himself as a kid from Bensonhurst, a Harvard Law School dropout who had been afforded enormous opportunity in and by New York City. But that narrative understates how hard he worked to become one of the most sought-after counselors and advisors to leaders, businesses, and civic institutions. He helped to invent contemporary public relations, and made it his life’s passion to elevate it into an ethical and honorable profession. His mark has been felt around the world, but especially among the institutions, people, and edifices of his beloved New York.

I am extremely grateful to everyone who has been a part of my dad’s life, and especially for your kind wishes these past couple of years for his health and well-being. I cannot tell you how much it has meant to me and to my family. Working with all of you, and the many clients, media, and government officials he met along the way, were sources of enormous pride and satisfaction.

While today is a sad one, my father was never one to wallow. He would often say, “I always choose to walk on the sunny side of the street.” And so while everyone who knew him will grieve, I know he would prefer we remember him by celebrating his life and by being joyful and optimistic in our lives and our work.

Steven Rubenstein

*Many have been so kind to ask how they can honor my dad’s memory. If you are so inclined, we ask that donations in his name be made to one of the many charities he championed in his life and work, including The UJA Federation of NY (earmarked for food insecurity), Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry Campaign, and the Inner City Scholarship Fund.