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Selling New York: Putting the 'Dome' in Domesticity

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Last night was another episode of Selling New York, HGTV's reality show following Manhattan brokerages CORE and Gumley Haft Kleier as they try to sell fabulous properties fabulously. Here, our recap of how the NYC real estate industry is portrayed to the world...

This week's SNY was all about babies. It was up to GHK broker Sabrina Kleier Morgenstern to squire around an expecting couple who were initially drawn to the kidville that is the Upper East Side, but soon realize that there are other neighborhoods out there where $2 million can buy enough room for a crib. Meanwhile, in the childless world of CORE's suave superbrokers, the baby is a building, and there have been many growing pains. Take a deep breath and push ... on to the recap!

Subplot #1: Pick up the pace, developer dude!
The Player: Stern CORE big boss Shaun Osher
The Mission: Landmark Flatiron conversion 141 Fifth Avenue finally has its Temporary Certificate of Occupancy, and the developer needs to sell units ASAP because his loans are a ticking timebomb. CORE has been repping the building for years during renovations, but now it's time to kick it into high gear.
Drama!: Osher takes a walk-through of the building with developer Christopher Schlank, who goes on and on about how everything will be clean and ready within a month, but Osher's team has got buyers coming in a few days, pal. Osher pretty much browbeats the poor guy into submission (wait, who's the boss in this relationship, again?) and Schlank says everything on the punchlist will be taken care of. They might want to throw a mop on the shopping list:

The Meeting of the Minds: Can we talk about CORE's weekly roundtable meeting real quick? They're like the Avengers, albeit way better dressed.

Way more intense than those GHK powwows!
More Drama!: Complicating matters at 141 Fifth even further, CORE broker Emily Breare (of $55 million 15 Central Park West listing fame) is switching around the model units at the last minute, and craploads of furniture needs to get moved around. Girl, you crazy!

The Cupola: By now everyone knows about 141 Fifth's creamsicle cupola penthouse, priced at $12 million. Osher says his success in selling the building will be determined by what happens with the cupola, and we were trying really hard to pay attention to what he was telling some publicist he was showing around but we couldn't focus due to all the cupola porn. Like one of the three terraces:

The Decision: This wasn't the typical Selling New York plot progression of selling one particular apartment or showing around one particular buyer, so no decisions had to be made. Breare is shown conducting a series of successful open houses, and showing Halston CEO Bonnie Takhar (this lady) her new apartment in the buidling. The cupola penthouse is still on the market for 12 large. Fare thee well, domey.

Subplot #2: Preggo couple wants to be back in the Big Apple
The Player: Double-cell-phone-toting GHK daughterbroker Sabrina Kleier Morgenstern
The Mission: Justin and Carli currently live an hour-and-a-half outside the city, and with a baby due any second now, they're realizing denying their child a lifetime of posh Upper East Side birthday parties is a huge misplay. Also, Justin works on the UES, so it's the convenient choice. They're looking to drop $1.5 million to $2 million on a place with at least two bedrooms, sometime before Carli's water breaks.
Stop #1: It's new 77th Street and Second Avenue condo building Isis, which won't be ready in time for the baby but at least has only two apartments per floor and big windows. Compromises, people. It's just Justin and Sabrina on this trip, and the $1.625 million (before the PriceChops, anyway) 1,250-square-foot apartment gets a positive review, but Justin needs to discuss the matter with Carli. We're making a whip sound effect right now, Justin.
Stop #2: This time ready-to-burst wifey Carli is along to check out a pretty big 2BR/2BA with a 525-square-foot private terrace asking $2.2 million. But there are issues, like the gorgeous wood-trimmed fireplace that doesn't actually work, and a shower in the master bathroom that's too short for the gigantic Justin.

"This is New York!" responds our gal Sabrina. Land of, um, tiny showers? The building has a pool, but if there's one thing Selling New York is teaching non-NYCers, it's that fancy Manhattan apartment buildings have some pretty hilarious swimmin' holes. Remember Scarano-on-the-Bowery? Well check this one out:

Justin and Carli tell SKM they've been thinking about giving neighborhoods farther south a bit of a try to open up their options. Hmm!
Stop #3: Good God, woman, it's the Far West Side! They said south, not off the map. Justin and Carli get taken to "Hudson Yards" in the West 30's to what's actually a really nice and open 2,560-square-foot loft (not in a new building) asking $2.35 million. Carli digs it, but commenting on the lack of stores and services in the area, she says the neighborhood "might be a little too up-and-coming for us." Give it 20 years! Now they want the West Village. If this show ran for an hour they'd be on Governors Island by the end. SKM gently suggests they can't afford it, but they'll head down there anyway.
The Decision: Before the big downtown trip, Justin summons SKM for a meeting, and breaks the news that the couple is going to call off the hunt for six months to research more neighborhoods and, oh yeah, focus on the baby. Selfish jerks! Says Justin of the search being a big waste of time: "The search hasn't been a waste of time." Whatevs, bro. We're totally Icing you for this. By the way, it was a boy.

Episode grade: 2/5 cackling Kleirs!


· Selling New York [HGTV]
· Selling New York coverage [Curbed]

141 Fifth Avenue

141 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY