HGTV's Selling New York rides along with brokerages CORE, Gumley Haft Kleier and Warburg as they try to sell fabulous properties fabulously. Here's our recap of how the NYC real estate industry is portrayed to the world, penned by Molly Reisner. Episode air date: 4/14/2011.
Let's call this the Season 3 Recap Premiere cuz you didn't get one last week. And what would a premiere be without a raging after-party? This episode, because the parties were not raging. But! There were parties! Because that's how brokers market "unusual" apartments - by curating a collection of rich folks and other high-end brokers, stocking the sushi bar and throwing in some live entertainment for that real party feel. And sometimes, that live entertainment is...THE SELLER! You really don't want to miss this.
But first, a broker is determined to play his Dumbo penthouse listing smart when he lures in prospective buyers with a "lifestyle event" hook. Then the party overflows into the next story when a sentimental singer attempts to sell her decor-challenged Upper East Side apartment with her cabaret crooning.
Are these parties fly enough to land some ink? Do people still use the word "fly" as an adjective? Can we get to the recap already?
CRISIS #1: STUNNING PENTHOUSE IS, GASP, IN BROOKLYN!
CORE broker and John Krasinki stunt double Michael Graves is totes amped. He's just been given the listing for a $2.99 million penthouse at Dumbo's 100 Jay Street. That's in the mysterious land of Brooklyn, he painstakingly explains. He also says that other firms have tried to sell it, but they've all flunked the challenge. Maybe this strange foreign land is cursed? Now Mike and fellow CORE co-worker Kristina Helb are walking around this "Brooklyn" to check out the arty 'hood. Sure, there's your run-of-the-mill street dance party going on, but there's also something much rarer occurring: people politely ducking out of someone's shot! Brooklyn really is different!
Kristina, whose job it is to get CORE listings press, hints at pitching a story about family-friendly Dumbo and the penthouse listing to the media. I smell a reporter coming on! But first, Mike gives Kristina a tour of the 1,961-square-foot (plus another 2,000sqft in terrace space), 3 bed/2.5 bath palatial penthouse:
Make me a peanut butter and jealous sandwich because I'm hungry for those views. Two bridges!
Mike insists this same apartment would fetch $7 million in Manhattan, and with only a four minute commute to Wall Street (on the F?), that's like saving $4 million dollars! That's some crazy 'rithmetic. Though he does admit that some people have anxiety about living in BK. Whatevs, suckers. Kings County 4EVA!
Kristina and Mike figure the best way to show off the listing is to have a penthouse party - or "an event" as they call it in marketing terms. Because they see Dumbo as an artists' haven, they boho up the event-mosphere with a little gallery showing of a local painter's work as well as a local musician tickling the ivories. The authenticity crackles! And these moody event candles hypnotize you into thinking you're at a genuine party:
A reporter for Brokers Weekly, shows up on the beat to interview Mike about his "unusual marketing strategy." Really? Unusual? I guess music, art and candles is seriously breakthrough for broker parties. As the guests guzzle champagne, CORE's Elizabeth Kee arrives fashionably late to tell Mike she's confident her client will love the place.
Post-party, Mike's pleased with the "going through the roof" interest he's gotten, and because he wants to sell while the talk is hot, he's reduced the price to $2.675 million. O...k? Anyhoo, here's a peek at Elizabeth's client (and another dog-toting potential buyer spliced in) checking out the pad. We assume Roxann held her nose when her driver crossed the bridge:
So, if Mike can make the rooms bigger and the traffic less noisy, Roxann's sold! Curses, it looks like Mike's helium balloon of potential buyers is deflated until...
We next see him in the back of a car negotiating a deal with a gentleman who was at the event. The guy wants the penthouse for $2.5 million and no haggling, but Mike stays firm on the reduced price. An off-screen haggle later, and by jove Mike's sold his first Dumbo dream den for $2.625 million! Which, as the update informs, is the highest amount per square foot at 100 Jay. At this rate, all those Dumbo artists will be forced out to Kensington in no time! Hooray!
CRISIS #2: PARK AVENUE GOLDEN OLDIE WANTS TO DOWNSIZE DOMAIN!
It's Michele Kleier's lucky day because she gets to sell a gigantic apartment in her most cherished part of the Upper East Side: Park Avenue in the 70's. Otherwise known as "the sweet spot of New York City" in the Kleier universe, which starts at 59th Street and goes up to 86th. Beverly Taki, the seller, is looking to unload her $4.99 million heavily-draped city cove at 850 Park Avenue, but the apartment hasn't aged as gracefully as she has. Mama K heads over to Bev's 3,100sqft 3 bed/3 bath bonanza to see what she's gotten herself into. For beginners, there's this whopper of a ceiling featuring Bev's children in fresco form:
Now that's called personalizing your space! I'll give you a moment to shake the cherubs from your consciousness. Mama K's not into the claustrophobic curtained vibe or the behind-the-times '80s ornate design, but thinks the rooms (minus the crap that's in them) are elegant. Warning: Lots of dusty rose and burgundy colors comin' atcha:
After living there for 20 years and basically becoming a Park Avenue stereotype, Bev is bittersweet about selling her beloved digs but recognizes the need to downsize from her gigantic party palace and be closer to her now-grown children allllllllll the way downtown. And because it's such a natural space for entertaining, what better way to showcase the property than with a swanky soiree? Mama K wants the "creme de la creme" of brokers there, and she has an idea: Let Bev sing her apartment into the hands of a swoony buyer!
But first, professional pictures must be taken to make the 10th floor pad look light n' bright. In comes Papa K with his two Kleier-ettes, Samantha and Sabrina, to open the curtains, oversee the photo shoot and?BUSTED, SAM?jump on Bev's bed:
Meanwhile, Mama K shows Bev a $2.75 million 3 bed/2.5 bath apartment at 39 Gramercy Park North. It's 1,880 square feet of modernity and within waving distance of one of her sons:
While she loves the space, the below-the-Pierre address is making Bev and her matching fur purse/stiletto boot combo want to run uptown to their natural habitat. Mama K suggests looking at rentals since it's less of a commitment, so off they taxi to...
141 5th Avenue in the Flatiron District, repped by CORE and now on its third(?) Selling New York appearance. Can the building squeeze $15k a month in rent from Bev for this 2 bed/2.5 bath bungalow?:
She seems to like it but is, again, hesitant about the location accommodating her giant hat. Mama K tells Bev she should buy on the Upper East Side where she can run around in fur with no dirty looks. P.S., are Bev's drape-loving ways rubbing off on Mama K?
Next thing we know, Bev's party is in full swing and it's time for her to sing:
She nailed it! Her fresco babies even clapped along with the audience! The party was a smash, because Mama and Papa K have summon Bev to lunch for some good news. There's an interested client! The update says the apartment is in contract, and Mama K is going to find Bev a rental where she belongs - the lower 60's and Fifth Avenue. For a grad dame like this, that is downtown! And all was right with the world.
Episode grade: Two deals! OMFG! Season 3 you are on fire. Faux-miere, you get 4 out of 5 cackling Kleiers!