Sydney Engel, Esteemed Long Island Developer, Dies at 98

Sydney Engel (Courtesy Engel Family)

Sydney Engel, a highly regarded real estate developer who made his mark with dozens of properties on Long Island and the metro area, died on Nov. 27, 2021. He was 98 years old.

The Hewlett Harbor resident founded Engel Burman, a prominent real estate firm focused on senior housing, at age 74. Engel Burman developed The Bristal Assisted Living buildings and The Seasons condominium complexes for seniors on Long Island. Those who knew Engel describe him as both a fierce go-getter and a generous soul.

“He was a man of boundless energy, unrelenting determination, and a person who never asked anyone to do something he wouldn’t have already done,” said Engel’s son-in-law, Michael Weiss, a partner at Engel Burman. “He was a wonderful man.”

Engel was born in 1923 and raised in a poor family in Brooklyn. His parents died by the time he was 20 years old. In the 1940s, he started an insulation and construction company and gained great respect in the industry, his family members said. He built a reputation of high-quality work ethics and results that led him to jobs for famous, wealthy families such as the Mellons and Rockefellers.

At a service for Engel on Nov. 30 at Pinelawn Memorial Park in Farmingdale, family members remembered him as never missing a holiday gathering, family party, or event. He took the family on vacations up until he was 95 years old and worked until age 97, they said.

Notably, the businessman loved visiting Jamaica, where he oversaw the building of a nonprofit hospital, MoBay Hope Medical Centre, and owned a vacation home.

Engel also helped found a charity, Gold Ribbon Riders, which has raised millions of dollars for pediatric cancer care and research, after his great-grandchild received a cancer diagnosis. He was involved in the local community, serving on the boards of the Anti-Defamation League, Temple Israel in Lawrence, and others.

Engel was married to Sylvia Engel, who died about five years ago. They are survived by their children, Robin Rudolph, Cathy Weiss, and Dr. Lewis Engel, as well as eight grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren.

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