Last night was another episode of Selling New York, HGTV's reality show shadowing agents from Manhattan brokerages CORE and Gumley Haft Kleier as they try to sell fabulous properties fabulously. Here, writer and all-around funny fella Mike Olson's recap of how the NYC real estate industry is portrayed to the world...
Everyone understands the plight of the celebrity buyer?just ask Matt Damon?but what of the celebrity seller? In the latest episode, CORE agent Kirk Rundhaug lends a hand to this forgotten minority, helping As the World Turns star Noelle Beck sell her parents pied-à-terre at 50 Gramercy Park North. The $5.45 million price tag buys park views, room service from the Gramercy Park Hotel next door and no Ikea furniture, so why haven’t there been any bites? Kirk has a rather unconventional theory.
Over at GHK headquarters, boss Michele Kleier and daughters Sabrina and Samantha have gathered in the conference room to pat each other on the back as they gab about the return of bidding wars and “pent-up demand for apartments.” To celebrate, Michele gives her daughters a day off?a decision that could cost her dearly!
First, a pit stop in Connecticut, where GHK director Laurel Rosenbluth pays a visit to daughter Meredith. Missing the energy and pace of the city?cue smash cut to Times Square!?Meredith may be ready to look at a few places on the Upper East Side. (Her kids do love Central Park and taxi rides, after all.) Luckily, mom is here to help.
While some might look at the seven grand a month in maintenance fees as the reason Noelle’s parents can’t sell their 50 Gramercy Park North pad (above), Kirk has a different theory. After encouraging Noelle to go the furnished rental option (hey, $25K a month is nothing to sneeze it), Kirk awkwardly mentions his “outside of the box” idea. Why not call in his “energy guy,” Reggie, for a cleansing?
Back on the UES, building one on Meredith’s tour of the old ‘hood is a $2.72 million, three-bedroom apartment in the Manhattan House megaconversion. The place is perfect! Well, except that it doesn’t have an eat-in kitchen, any outdoor space or separate bedrooms and bathrooms for her daughters. Sharing sleeping quarters? Maybe Connecticut isn’t so bad after all!
The Kleier daughters are enjoying their rare day off when Samantha fields a call from a mystery client in Texas who (presumably while wearing a ten-gallon hat) demands that his wife be sent photos of a Devonshire House apartment today. Up against her kid's classic “Don’t go, Mommy!” face...
...Samantha decides to send camera-challenged mom Michele to snap pics in her stead. Ruh-roh!
Still pushing the rental option, Kirk shows Noelle around another rental property at 50 Gramercy Park North that fetches $22,000 a month (not to mention free firewood delivery). But there’s even better news: Their neighbor on the third floor might be interested in purchasing the apartment to create a full-floor mega apartment. What can put this over the top? If you said Reggie the energy guy, you get a gold star. (But still no park access.)
The second apartment Meredith checks out, a $2.65 million condo on the Upper East Side, has great light and a country-style (read: kinda tacky) kitchen. So what’s the hold up? For starters, the 300-square-foot terrace “isn’t quite three acres.” For what seems like the third time, mama Laurel tells Meredith that she just wants her to be happy. And for what is definitely the third time, Laurel babbles about what a hard decision this is.
Who’s that knocking on the door? Why, it’s “spiritual intuit” Reggie Arthur! Armed with the knowledge that negative spirits hate incense and yellow flowers, Reg goes to work on this cursed pad. After some perplexed looks from our soap star, Reggie gives his verdict: “I think there’s genius, balance and love in this space and I also feel expansion on the way.” Expansion? The man is psychic!
Samantha and the girls share sundaes at Serendipity while Michele is back at Devonshire House struggling to turn on her digital camera (the Kleiers have a thing about digital cameras, apparently). She figures it out eventually, snapping pics of every oversized closet and bathtub in the $5.3 million apartment.
And now for the dénouement! Noelle asks Kirk to swing by the As the World Turns set where, after filming a delightfully mediocre scene, the soap star gives her decision: Go the short-term rental option until Reggie’s prophecy inevitably comes true. Meanwhile, the Kleier girls, plus Laurel and Meredith, meet for sushi and wine, where we learn that Texas guy’s wife loved the pictures and gobbled up the Devonshire House apartment sight unseen. (Our burning question: Who got the $318,000 commission?) Ever consistent, Meredith just keeps talking about loving New York but being on the fence about leaving Connecticut, to which our minx Michele responds, “fresh air is overrated!” Cue group laughter. And?scene!
Episode grade: 4.5/5 cackling Kleiers