The Real Deal on the town

Power brokers drink tea, schmooze at $165,000-a-month Plaza rental

TRD New York /
Mar.March 08, 2012 06:30 PM

Power brokers such as Prudential Douglas Elliman’s director of sales Chris Peters, senior vice president Sonia Stock and the Corcoran Group’s Meris Blumstein and Maria Pashby sipped green tea and nibbled on scones and lemon curd today at a high-tea, low-key broker lunch inside one of the most historic homes at the residences at The Plaza Hotel.

Elliman duo Melanie Lazenby and Dina Lewis had invited a small pack of heavy hitters, which also included Paula Del Nunzio of Brown Harris Stevens, to view their exclusive $165,000-a-month, 5,087-square-foot rental listing (see photos below), which is owned by Esprit CEO Jurgen Friedrich (who wasn’t in attendance).

“You’re in the best building on the best corner in the best city in the world,” Lewis told the brokers in attendance, while Lazenby, who The Real Deal profiled in the March issue, pointed out the finer touches of the renovation Friedrich did, such as hammered leather wall paper with touches of gold throughout. The apartment was fully furnished by designer Steven Gambrel, she said, who was given “full run of Europe with an open check book.”

The four-bedroom, six-bath Astor Suite, as the apartment is known, has been stayed in by the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, John F. Kennedy and the Vanderbilts when it was part of the hotel.

Hovering around the buffet table, a giant collage portrait of Queen Elizabeth II made up of tiny pictures of royal personalities drew much interest, particularly from British broker Stock, who said she could name about 90 percent of the people in the pictures. No one could compare to Grace Kelly, she said.

At times, after the hubbub had died down and some interested neighbors had meandered through the impressive spread, the conversation turned to lighter subjects, particularly the premiere of “Million Dollar Listing New York.”

The brokers joked about the first episode of the show last night, which saw NestSeekers agent Ryan Serhant shave his arms in the shower, while Elliman’s Frederik Eklund took a commission cut to keep a client. “I’m not sure which is worse,” one broker joked.

The group also compared the styles and attitudes of uptown Manhattan versus downtown Manhattan brokers.

Uptown brokers wear ties, Peters noted, while downtown brokers are generally more casual in their appearance.

“Downtown brokers eat,” Stock, a downtown broker, laughed, as she munched on an egg and watercress sandwich.

Friedrich, who paid $30 million for the apartment in 2007, has not listed the unit for sale. Lewis and Lazenby have had the listing since December. The brokers say there’s been significant interest.

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