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Selling New York: The Endless Chase For Space

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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: 8/18/2011.

Aaah, space. New Yorkers have a knack for pinching every last square inch into an oasis of utility. Or, if you're like me, you give up at a certain point and decide that a random chair in the kitchen with a frying pan living on it is acceptable. The search for space got serious last night when a chef tried to find a Chelsea kitchen that's bitchin' enough to call home. Then, a young Manhattan family with a makeshift baby bedroom in their closet wanted to grow up into a bigger pad, but only for the right price. Will the chef's boyfriend get increasingly annoyed with said chef and make him compromise? Will a cute little baby continue to slumber amongst shoes and slacks? Will champagne be uncorked? Come aboard the SNY Recap, and hold on to your freeze-dried ice cream packets because I'm launching you into inner-space!

Buyers Gary Portuesi and Sal Rizzo are hoping their broker, Core agent Tom Postilio, can help them find their fantasy West Chelsea apartment. Outdoor space for Gary, and a kitchen 2 die 4 for chef Sal?the owner of De Gustibus cooking school...inside of Macy's! P.S. That Macy's terrifies me.

Sal and Gary's budget is $1.6 million and Tom thinks he has just the spot for them at 444 West 19th's Chelsea Club?former address of NY Ranger Sean Avery! At $1.575 million, Tom is hopeful this 2BR/2BA will satisfy Sal's kitchen-craze and Gary's cherished terrace:

Sal turns his nose up at the small "easy-bake oven" but overall loves the place; Gary is digging the private balconies but not Sal's 'tude. Sal is adamant about not having to renovate the kitchen, leaving Tom to exclaim, "perfection is a fantasy, it doesn't exist." Whatevs, Debbie Downer! Perfection does exist?how else can you explain the existence of nachos?

The stove of contention:

Tom pulls the old "I'll show you something way beyond your price range that you'll love but can't afford, thus making you appreciate the Chelsea Club" trick when he brings Gary and Sal to a $2.15 million condo down the block at 121 West 19th Street, AKA The Lion's Head. Hey, looks familiar!

Dream a little dream...

Sal loves the stove, Gary doesn't love that there's no private outdoor space and Tom loves that his trick is working...Gary tells Sal they should find the right home first, and then change the kitchen as needed.

At first, Sal sends Tom eye daggers about his siding with Gary's suggestion:

But then he swallows a dash o' pride and decides to look into kitchen renovation at this showroom:

The kitchen field trip opens up Sal's range of range possibilities?he's ready to lower expectations and accept the kitchen he can afford! Next, Sal and Gary share formaggi with Tom at 'inoteca to tell him they want Chelsea Club.

Tom can barely contain his excitement:

His words say "Yay" but his face says "Over it!" Tom perks up when he pays a visit to...Gary and Sal's new apartment! The deal went through for $1.53 million. Even better? Sal was able to turn his itchin' for the ideal kitchen sitch into what he wanted with some appliance swap-a-roo.

Horrible no-good kitchen (before reno):

Dream fairytale kitchen! (after reno):

What a transformation...anyminoradjustmentsways, Sal and Gary are over the moon about their "perfect apartment" and Tom surely is too?now that, according to the update, they sent five new clients his way.


One of Mama Bears cubs, Samantha "It's a girl!" Kleier-Forbes, heads over to 121 East 23rd Street to visit with buyers Jonathan and Camilla Adelman. She sold them this 1100 square foot apartment a few years ago pre-kids, but now they have two little boys and too many toys. And not enough bedrooms. Every night Cam sets up a makeshift sleeping area partway in her bedroom closet for her baby?which is basically the modern version of stashing your kid in an open drawer:

Baby Miles praying for more space:

Camilla doesn't want to move to the 'burbs, saying "I can't imagine driving everywhere." Plus she and her hubs feel that the city has lots to offer families and don't want to trade that for a stupid big house. They just need more closets to turn into baby bedrooms and offices!

Closet-trophobic office:

But they can't move unless they make a little dough on their current home. Sam suggests listing for $1.295 million, which makes Jon say "We won't be able to accept an offer for much less." Only in NYC do you feel squeezed for square footage in a million dollar apartment, amirite?

Next, Sam takes Jon and Cam to 224 West 18th Street to peep this 1,905-square-foot 3BR/2BA pad:

The Adelmans love the open space but will have to wait n' see what happens with their pad, which has a lowball offer on the table, before plunking down $2.295 million for this one. The plight of parents with little kids needing more space gives Sam an idea, which can only be discussed with her Mama and cubby sis, Sabrina, over working manicures:

Oh yeah, the idea. Sam wants to reach the "working moms with young kids who want bigger apartments and also have lots of money" demographic since she can tooootally relate. They decide to call on Lyss Stern, founder of Divalysscious Moms, to plan an event with her diva mom-bership. The Kleiers catch up with Lyss at a Fashion Week event for Pamella Roland where this "taffeta curtains meets grandma's vintage hankie" look sashays down the runway:

Are you worried that we've lost track of the Adelmans? Me too. I hope they're not trapped behind their Murphy Bed!

Back to Sam's World: Lyss is excited to host an event with the Kleiers, which happens at the Upper West Side's The Aldyn part-condo, part-rental building. No surprise: the condo unit where the party's at is also one Sam is trying to sell.

And phew, let's be relieved that Cam pops up at the party too, presumably not to buy this way-beyond-her-budget $4.45 million Hudson-overlooking oasis:

After divalysscious cupcakes and bubbly have been consumed, Sam tells Cam that there's another offer on her apartment?but it's still $50k too low for the Adelmans to consider. Later, Sam goes to the Adelmans and advises that since the potential buyers haven't budged, they should take the listing off the market "so we don't sit and get stale." Cam likes Sam's sensical suggestion of looking at more apartments, and then only putting their place up for sale once they find the right one.

In the meantime, the Adelmans stick the baby in his bro's bedroom and are dealing with the space crunch. And the Kleiers' design on the divas was a success?they got 2 new clients. Go Mommies!

Episode grade: One couple scores kitchen coup while another is left behind in million dollar coop. A little ink and a baby outta the closet deserves 3.0 out of 5 cackling Kleiers!

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

224 West 18th Street

224 West 18th Street, New York, NY 10011

444 West 19th Street

444 West 19th Street, New York, NY 10011