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'Million Dollar Listing New York' recap: influencers are so hot right now

Plus: starchitects, quirky architecture, and more of a certain Instagram celebrity

One of the apartments in Shigeru Ban’s Metal Shutter Houses in Chelsea, which Ryan Serhant sells on this episode.

It's season six of Million Dollar Listing New York, where three brokers—Fredrik Eklund, Ryan Serhant, and new guy Steve Gold—show the world what it takes to sell high-priced New York City apartments. Check in each week for recaps.

It’s taken until the fifth episode of the season for MDLNY’s brokers to actually interact with one another—and even then, it’s just old pals Fredrik and Steve, butting heads over a property that the former has, and the latter wants to get in on. The property in question: 75 Kenmare, the Nolita condo (Fredrik, clearly not remembering the last time he gushed over Nolita, calls it “the next hot neighborhood”—oy) with interiors by Lenny Kravitz.

But really, the exchange seems to be an excuse to get at least two of the brokers in the same room together, and to show that Steve will flirt with anyone—including Fredrik—to get what he wants. (And to be fair, as Fredrik notes, Steve is “so pretty to look at,” before complimenting his “homeless look.” Hmm, okay.)

Steve in undeterred. “I will not give up on Kenmare. I will get into that building, I guarantee it.” We’ll surely see in another episode. But for now, onto this week’s real estate, which includes a starchitect-designed property and a quirky Chelsea apartment.

Fredrik

Newly-minted pop singer Fredrik is all about Madison Square Park Tower this week, because he still has more than 30 apartments to sell—including all of pricey penthouses. He convinced developer Bruce Eichner to “go all out when it comes to staging,” to the tune of $250,000 (!!!) in the hopes that buyers will snap up the building’s most expensive apartments—but this is MDLNY, and nothing is ever that simple.

The problem: So far, people seem to just want to building’s half-floor apartments, rather than the expensive full-floor units. He’s at a private showing with Michael Lorber (as in Douglas Elliman head Howard’s son, who also happens to be a broker), whose client is dead set on a cheaper, half-floor unit—and no amount of smooth-talking from Freddy will change his mind.

What $250,000 worth of staging gets you, apparently.
Evan Jospeh

And Eichner is not happy, because developers generally want to make the most money possible as quickly as possible. (Shocking, we know.) “This is all about the full floors,” Eichner tells Fredrik.

Fredrik and his team are brainstorming new ideas for marketing those full floors, and someone says what is, to Fredrik, the magic word: influencers. (Sigh.) “Influencers are so big right now,” says Freddy’s social media expert, and this starts a chain reaction that leads to the team staging a huge event for dozens of Instagrammers with huge followings.

Of course, there’s one slight kink there: the people who follow all of these huge Instagrammers probably don’t have $20 million to spend on an apartment, but Fredrik doesn’t care—it’s all about the buzz! “It’s instant, it’s global, it’s free,” he says.

Alas, Eichner doesn’t care; he meets with fredrik, and apparently he sold a unit for $22 million. “I just sold one, and you haven’t sold any,” he says, clearly taunting Fredrik a bit. But Fredrik has his own full-floor offer: all-cash, for $500K less than the $20M asking price. Eichner is pleased—for now, anyway.

Ryan

Oh right, Ryan is still selling to a dude who’s apparently BFFs with the Fat Jew (who, for the purposes of this recap, will be henceforth referred to as TFJ), Internet personality and possessor of a ridiculous hairdo. Ryan is showing the client, Nick, and TFJ different apartments downtown, and he goes for a tried and true real estate tactic: build up a buyer by showing them a beautiful property, and then knock them down by telling them it’s way out of their price range. In this case, it’s a two-bedroom in Chelsea with a private elevator, home office, and new everything—but it’s way out of Nick’s price range.

Another problem: TFJ is pretty good at swaying Nick’s opinion of these places. “My concern is that they’d see whatever weird stuff we’re doing,” says TFJ (we’ll spare you the specifics), and Ryan is getting irritated—doubly so when TFJ calls him out for trying to sneak a way-too-pricey apartment into the mix to trick Nick into buying smaller. “It’s hard enough getting a buyer to focus on their own,” says Ryan, clearly exasperated.

Ah, but the worst is yet to come: They go to another property in the West Village, and TFJ uses this as an opportunity to bring up that one time that Ryan stripped down to sell a pricey apartment—not this one, mind you (it was a One57 pad, because of course it was), but hey, it still happened. “Don’t Google me,” says Ryan, who actually looks embarrassed (though he later brags about his butt, so he’s clearly not too upset).

But back to the real estate: Eventually, Nick acknowledges that his expectations—a two-bedroom in the West Village or Chelsea for around $2 million—were too high, and agrees to bump up his asking price. And, bonus: TFJ is out of town, so he and Ryan can finally get some privacy for showings. Score!

And Ryan has a doozy of a property to show him: It’s one of the apartments in Shigeru Ban’s Metal Shutter Houses, located next to Frank Gehry’s IAC Building in West Chelsea. It’s got everything Nick might want: it’s huge, gets tons of light, and has the wow factor he’s seemed to want from the beginning (the back wall opens up, because that whole “shutter” thing). “This place is amazing… however, it’s a big investment,” says Nick—he wants to talk to TFJ first. Why is this guy so indecisive? (Aside from, you know, keeping a minor Internet personality on this show for as long as possible.)

Ryan is anxious: the apartment is off the market, and he wants to act fast because it won’t be available for long. After trying to reach TFJ twice, Nick finally decides to take the plunge. Ryan is happy! And—spoiler alert—the sale closed last year for $4 million, so all’s well that ends well.

Steve

When Steve isn’t harrassing Fredrik about 75 Kenmare, he’s working on a new property: a one-bedroom apartment in London Terrace, the enormous apartment complex on West 23rd Street. Steve, of course, loves West Chelsea—though he namechecks the real estate boom happening around the High Line without actually mentioning the High Line, which, huh? Well, he’s in it for the architecture: Zaha Hadid, Isay Weinfeld, Cary Tamarkin; “they’re basically my idols,” he gushes. “i’ve known fredrik almost the entire time i’ve been in real estate”

Back to the apartment, though: it’s a 755-square-foot one-bedroom that was renovated by Sam Amoia, a furniture designer who also happens to be the owner. Even though it’s tiny compared to Steve’s typical listings—it’s small, and he usually sells properties asking $5 million or above—he’s into it anyway. “One small listing can lead to 10 huge listings later,” he explains, and Sam has a lot of contacts; his furniture is all over stylish spaces around the world.

But there is one issue: “When you have a super specific design, you have a very limited buyer,” according to Steve (and, y’know, common sense), and Sam’s custom renovation—done to the tune of about $60,000—has made it very custom. But Steve is confident, especially when Sam suggests around $900,000 for a starting price. Steve suggests $1.2 million instead, and they have an agreement. “I think that number is right,” says Steve. “I just hope the other brokers do too.”

Of course, nothing goes according to plan. Steve has set up private showings, and Sam’s dogs—adorable, but not exactly conducive to selling an apartment—are still in the space. “My biggest pet peeve is when a client makes my job harder,” says Steve, not for the first time this season. It doesn’t help that the brokers he’s showing the place to are pooping on the place, taking issue with everything from the radiator covers to the beamed ceilings in the bedroom. “When you’re sleeping over beams you get a headache,” one of them says with a look of horror. Oh boy.

Still, Steve is trying to stay optimistic—these brokers are clearly “used to cookie-cutter new development that they think is luxury,” he says, and he needs a different type of buyer. He decides to plan an open house, and if you guessed that things would go wrong with it, give yourself another gold star. When Steve shows up for the open house, Sam is there—and he wants Steve to cancel. He just flew back from London, and boy, is he not in the mood for an open house! The two dudes get into a fight—Sam doesn’t get why they can’t postpone, Steve is pissed about his time being wasted—and the whole dramarama ultimately ends with Steve saying “good luck selling this place,” as he walks out and slams the door. What will happen next week?!?