Selling New York S6E1: Soho, Sneakers and More Sneakers

CurbedDecember 07, 2012
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 Angela Bunt. Episode air date: 12/6/2012.

The sixth season of Selling New York returns with a new broker and a rare quest: a search for commercial space. Warburg's Linette Semino has to find enough closet space for a recording artist with a bit of a sneaker fetish. Meanwhile, Core's Maggie Kent must help a client whose closet is probably filled with ballet shoes, and who wants light and space for her ballet studio in Soho...for no more than $15,000/month. Will these two folks' near-impossible needs be met?

The fun begins when Warburg Associate Broker Linette Semino meets with recording artist O'Neal McKnight in the studio, where he's recording what's sure to be another smash single. Wait a second—you've never heard of this guy, either? Perhaps that's why his budget is only $2M max (mere pocket change for most of the people featured on this show). What is O'Neal looking for in an apartment? Well, after living on the UES for years, he's ready to take it downtown to Chinatown. JK! He wants to go to Soho or Chelsea, and says he's looking for a place where he can settle down and start a life with his fiancee...and his sneakers.

The first property Linette shows O'Neal is a 1BR, 2BA on 305 Second Avenue, listed at $1.475M. Maybe a little too contemporary for the rapper, who puzzles over the lack of cabinet handles in the kitchen. Is it an Italian thing? No. It's a modern thing. While the apartment is big enough for McNeal to get "his risky business on" (his words, not mine), unfortunately, despite the 17-foot-tall ceilings, this lofty pad's master bedroom is a bit too small for the rapper (despite his petite stature), and there's simply not enough closet space for his shoes.

The second property is a 2BR, 2BA listed at $1.795M. Things get off to a rocky start when O'Neal is 45 minutes late for his appointment with Linette. Doesn't this rapper know the meaning of "time is money?" The apartment has a large closet, so Mr. Bradshaw can rest easy knowing his sneakers are well taken care of. Naturally, he's interested in the apartment, but still wants to see more. Ya know, because he has so much free time.

The third property is a 2BR on Prince and Mott. Linette waits. And waits. And waits. And O'Neal is a no-show. A disgruntled Linette spouts off to the camera that she's angry to be stood up, and that she herself is never late. In fact, she's always 15 to 20 minutes early (in all fairness, 20 minutes is a bit too early, dontcha think?). O'Neal calls and says he's going to meet with Russell Simmons at Global Grind, and will have no time to visit the apartment. Oh, I see how it is: You can be Mr. Busypants and have no time for me, yet you don't respect MY time or MY money? This can't be a one-sided relationship, dammit! Uhhh, sorry. Lost myself a little bit back there. Despite the six-inch advantage Linette has on O'Neal, she fights back the urge to step on him.

When Linette meets up with O'Neal to show in the fourth property, a $1.55M 1BR, 2BA at 49 East 21st Street, she doesn't mince words with him regarding his easy-come-easy-go attitude. "Remember that time you stood me up?" Yeesh. Upon hearing the news that all of the previous properties he'd been interested in are now off the market, he nonchalantly replies, "well, it wasn't meant for me." Hey, you know what they say: If you love something, let it go, and if it comes back it's yours. Unfortunately, in NYC real estate, that type of thinking might end up with you living amongst The Mole People. Fortunately for O'Neal, this place does seem like a perfect fit. Pre-war, soundproof walls for the rapper, a separate storage unit for his kicks, and a traditional kitchen (the cabinets have handles). O'Neal says he can totally see himself living there. So is he ready to place an offer? Mmm, nope! He's actually heading to L.A. for a week and doesn't want to make a big commitment. Another property bites the dust.

In the end, Linette meets up with O'Neal and his fiancé, Miriam, who clearly wears the pants in the relationship (while O'Neal wears the sneakers). The decision is made for them to apartment-hunt as a threeway. Hot! I smell a rap song coming on...

Also featured on the season premiere is Maggie Kent, the core of Core (see what I did there?), who is meeting Rosie Lanziero, a soft-spoken dance instructor from the Soul Arts Academy. After maxing out her current space in the East Village, she's looking for a commercial space downtown and wants to make new roots in Soho (I mean, who doesn't?) Mutual friend Alyson Palmer is so excited about the Soho move, her eyes might just pop out of her head:

Rosie thinks everything is "marvelous" and "amazing," and the woman rocks a pashmina like it's going out of style, which is silly because pashminas will obvi never go out of style. Maggie heads to the Core office to recruit the expertise of David Beare (how youuu doin'), the go-to guy for commercial spaces in the city.

Before checking out potential rentals, Maggie takes Rosie to the Alvin Ailey Dance Theater & School to give her some inspiration and help her figure out what her needs are. Rosie loves the light and airiness of the place, and the feeling of open energy that it exudes. So, all completely intangible concepts. She can "see the energy" and "feel the energy," yet I don't think I've ever seen those types of qualities mentioned in a real estate listing.

David, Maggie and Rosie make their way to 552 Broadway in Soho to check out a potential dance studio space. With its exposed brick and natural light, and 5,500 square-feet of space, Rosie is feeling the vibe and says she wants her dance studio to have the same soul and spirit. Hmm, soul, spirit AND natural light in an NYC rental space? Now you're just talking crazy talk. All this woman wants is space, light and energy. And to continue to wear her silver leggings without judgement.

Unfortunately, the space is listed as $18k a month and she has a budget of $15k. But in true Maggie Kent fashion, she says she'll go to bat for her client. Anything for that commission—mama needs a new pair of shoes! Oh wait, that's O'Neal.

Great news! The spirit guides were shining down on Rosie that day, and Maggie is able to get the price down to $15K. The catch? She only has six weeks of free rent which would serve as renovation time. Despite Rosie's free spirit and oozing aura, she knows how to play hardball, and asks for three months instead. Luckily, Maggie steps up to the plate (how many baseball references can we make in the span of one paragraph?) and is able to get her the extra renovation time needed. Cheers to that!

Maggie pays Rosie a visit in her new palatial palace of light, energy and spirituality, AKA her dance studio. In all fairness, it does look pretty great. With sandblasted brick walls, an open floor plan, and tons of natural light, the space is a perfect fit for Rosie and her young dancers. Maggie feels all warm and fuzzy inside knowing she was able to help Rosie's business expand, and ya know what? I feel kind of warm and fuzzy inside, too.

Episode Review: The fact that SNY is finally back has us feeling happy, which is an automatic extra cackling Kleier. So the season premiere gets 4 out of 5 cackling Kleiers.