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, writer Mike Olson's recap of how the NYC real estate industry is portrayed to the world...
If our Friday farmer's tan tells us anything, it's that spring has sprung here in the Big Apple. But it was a tale of two climates on last night's episode of Selling New York. While the Kleier clan jetted down to Florida for some fun in the sun (read: looking at pricey properties in another state), a mere 1,256 miles away, a blizzard jeopardizes one CORE agent's plan to rule over Chelsea real estate with a well-staged fist. They say neither snow nor sleet nor poolside Mai Tai can slow a good a broker down. Let's find out if that's true!
Subplot #1: Pressing the flesh in Chelsea (SFW)
The Player: Fidgety CORE agent Michael Garr
The Mission: We open in the Chelsea Mercantile, home to captains of industry like Marc Jacobs (until Superior Ink is ready, anyway), where a seller named Filippo is looking to list his $2.745 million two-bedroom with an open floorplan and courtyard view that agent Mike gushingly calls "so cool." Er, you sure about that?
Mike, a Chelsea Mercantile resident and one-time member of its sales team, wants to become the go-to guy for every seller in the 351-unit building (he'll have to beat out Demsker!). But before he can get his mojo back hell need to win over the picky Filippo, who wants to talk to other brokers.
The Plan of Attack: In an awkward conference room chat with CORE boss Shaun Osher, Mike reveals his plan: He’ll throw a party for all of the building’s owners and renters and have “world-class designer” Vicente Wolf stage his apartment. Cut to said pad, which Vicente calls “very boring, bland and static” (ouch!) before yelling at assistants to move furniture around. The result? This?
The Problem: It’s party time, but thanks to shots of Mike nervously looking out the window and B-roll of people shoveling snow, we learn that a foot of the white stuff has put the shindig in jeopardy. Not even bossman Shaun is going to make it. (Maybe he was too busy squabbling with Michael Shvo?)
The Decision: Phew! Neighbors from as far away as the 8th and 16th floors show up, and the party is a smash hit. And those garlic shrimp making the rounds must have been yummy, because not only does Filippo come crawling back, but Mike is hand-delivered a new listing from a mystery man in a pinstripe suit.
Wait a second. Did we just see actual business being conducted? Are we watching the right show?
Subplot #2: Rich buyer too lazy to visit Florida
The Player: GHK mama bear Michele Kleier
The Mission: When Michele tells her friend Robin that she and her daughters are going to catch some rays at the Boca Beach Club, her pal ruins the vacation by asking Michele to check out properties and send back photos. In her obligatory a broker’s work is never done speech, Michele explains how in these crazy times you have to bend over backwards to make clients happy. (Enjoy that mental image.)
Stop #1: One Thousand Ocean, where the sales director tells Michele all about these as-yet-built, two-story beach villas. After we see some Sims-style renderings, the gals?Florida stereotype alert!?hop in a golf cart to check out a $6.5 million model residence with 20-foot ceilings and 1,700 square feet of outdoor space (with ocean views), leading to this touching scene.
Stop #2: Next up is a $3.785 million, single-family home with a pool sitting right on the Intracoastal Waterway, which broker Joyce Schneider describes as “a constant boat parade.” (Apparently, this is a good thing.)
After the prerequisite kitchen porn and an admittedly badass tour, Michele admires the watery view, saying, “In Manhattan you’re lucky if you’re looking at a tree.” It’s one thing to bring a show called Selling NEW YORK to Boca Raton, Michele, but these insults are where we draw the line.
The Decision: Back home, Michele and Ian Kleier lunch with Robin and her husband. The couple prefers the house but deems it too big, deciding that maybe they should, you know, actually visit Florida to see some places in person. [Editor’s note: no shit!] Ian recommends the couples head down together for a long weekend?and we beg them not to film it.
Episode grade: 2.5 cackling Kleiers