Last night was the premiere episode of Selling New York, HGTV's new reality show shadowing agents from Manhattan brokerages CORE and Gumley Haft Kleier as they try to sell fabulous properties fabulously. It was awesome. Here, our recap of an action-packed 30 minutes :
Number of times this wide shot of Scarano-on-the-Bowery was used: 4, sadly.
Celebrities name-dropped this episode: J. Lo, Jude Law, and ScarBow residents John Legend and a "Polish prince." (Broker: "You'd be living with Legends and royalty!")
First WTF? Moment: The opening shot for a show about luxury New York City real estate? The Javits Center, naturally.
Time it took to piss off EV Grieve, Vanishing New York and Bowery Boogie (had they been watching): Approx. 15 seconds, with this quote from CORE's Shaun Osher about Scarano-on-the-Bowery: "Four years ago we had a hole in the ground. Now we have an icon on the Bowery!"
The on-screen stats accompanying each featured listing: Potential commission? How gauche! We thought brokers were in it for the love of the game.
Broker bits of genius #1: "Great! That could be several sales!"—Michele Kleier's reaction to news of a high-profile couple's divorce.
Number of times CBGB's transition to a John Varvatos boutique was mentioned in a positive light: 1
Uses of the term "the Bowery District": 1
Once again, just because, the Scarano-on-the-Bowery swimming pool:
Broker bits of genius #2: "The downturn in the economy has definitely changed the marketplace. It's sort of that out-of-the-box thinking that makes the difference between selling and not selling."—CORE's John Gomes explains why a pool party during Fashion Week will help sell a unit at Scarano-on-the-Bowery.
The Gumley Haft Kleier war room spread: We're still doing the no carbs thing?
Best made-for-TV moment: While a seller's caught-on-camera demand that the Kleier family rush to list, stage, photograph, hold a broker open house and (hopefully) sell a Park Avenue apartment in four days seemed a bit much, the gold medal goes to the plot line revolving around potential Bowery buyers Andrew Anderson and Christie Morrongiello, engaged Elliman real estate brokers who pretty clearly were already buying at Scarano-on-the-Bowery, but went through the wooing process for the cameras. (Including accepting an invite from John Gomes to hit up a Ports 1961 fashion show, played off as an agent doing what it takes to get the sale.)
What was being said as the above shot hit the screen: "We actually designed the shower to give you a view of the Empire State Building!"
Useful listings photos advice from Michele Kleier: "I don't like to see the backs of chairs."
The view of the $5 million Lucida apartment visited by a GHK broker with a client: Yowza. Not too shabby.
The view from the $5 million Lucida apartment visited by a GHK broker with a client:
Broker bits of genius #3: "Brokers love to be fed. So if you serve a wonderful lunch, you're going to get them to come. Even though they might be coming just for the lunch, they see the apartment."—Michele Kleier
Michele Kleier's words to a prospective buyer regarding this Park Avenue bathroom: "You could always blow it out like everybody does." We're sparing you the gilded shower chamber out of the kindness of our hearts.
FAIL moment: Television may be magic but it's not a miracle worker. The Park Avenue pre-war (priced just under $5 million) didn't end up selling in four days, but an on-screen postscript noted that, "Three offers, all under asking, have come in on the property. Negotiations are still in progress."
One final massaging of the truth: Sure enough, Andrew and Christie tell John at the pool party that they want to buy the Bowery apartment, fulfilling Gomes's goal to sell the unit by the end of Fashion Week. We're told they paid the full asking price of $2.3 million, but records show they actually paid $2.168 million for the apartment and a parking spot. Hey, it's reality TV and luxury real estate—you can't expect 100% truthiness.
Final thought: All in all and very seriously, doesn't this show kind of rule? It's like The Hills without the empty stares and awkward silences, but with glassy condos and shameless brokerbabble! Discuss, and we'll be back next week for more Selling New York!