Episode 10 of “Million Dollar Listing New York” is all about choices — those we are free to make and those that are forced upon us. Real estate is about compromise in every sense; sellers compromise on price as do buyers. But it is even more than that. No matter how rich, if wanting to dwell in NYC, you simply can’t be the big winner and have it all. You figuratively spin the wheel and hope for the best. Even if you’re in the market for a $6 million apartment with Central Park views, chances are you will long for the $7 million one with even better ones. There is no magical Door Number Four in the real world …
The Unreal Housesellers of New York — Luis, Ryan and Fredrik — hawk what is behind apartment doors number one, two, three … and on to infinity. Sometimes they end up providing the deal of the century and land a mega-commission, and other times they end up with a zonk—a property languishing on the market for far too long and 70% of nothing. In the high-stakes world of real estate there are games of both skill and luck. One thing is sure, however: when one door closes, another opens. And when one hits you on the backside the next is waiting to be slammed into your face.
1. Do you have a vegan donut in your purse?
Behind Door Number 1: A Park Slope townhouse for $4.45 million
Behind Door Number 2: An Upper West Side townhome for $11 million
Behind Door Number 3: Fredrik in a pimp hat and pink sweater
We are back with Fredrik, who is still trying to sell a Park Slope townhome restoration project for Jeanne. While he gets a fairly good turnout of lookie-loos, he’s yet to get a bid. So he decides to go the method route when it comes to real estate. By this, he means donning a pimp hat and pink sweater in a failed attempt at appearing to be a Brooklyn hipster. He goes so far as to provide “vegan donuts” because nothing says Brooklyn like a gluten allergy. Meanwhile, he decides to mine the gold of gluttons for gluten — and townhomes — by reaching out to Upper West Side Manhattanites, pointing out the similarities between the two ‘hoods: they both have parks, are quiet, perfect for families and have great brownstones. The difference is on the UWS these homes are more than double the $4.45 million asking price of his offering in Park Slope. The other difference is more negative and pointed out by his clients: it is a far longer commute into Manhattan, which Fredrik tries to brush off.
2. Do You have a four-bedroom, Lincoln Plaza pocket listing in your briefcase?
Behind Door Number 1: Pre-NYC Ryan, bigger (because he works out), but dead in a box under NYC-Ryan’s bed
Behind Door Number 2: Behind Door Number 2: A mean, jaded a**hole Ryan
Behind Door Number 3: Bravo producers trying desperately to manufacture thinly veiled drama where there is none.
It is the weekend and Ryan is with his girlfriend Emilia trying to be more open, more present and more real. And by that we mean becoming a footfriend and grabbing her bare foot while sitting on the couch. He tells her that he wasn’t always this way and realizes he has turned into an a**hole. Pre-NYC Ryan is dead and kept under this bed. He is bigger than reality TV show Ryan because he used to have time to work out. But that guy doesn’t end up winning in this industry. “I don’t want to be the mean guy—the a**hole,” he laments to Emilia, and they both agree he needs to somehow figure out a balance. Ryan then stirs up some manufactured drama saying he has a buyer who wants a four-bedroom in the Lincoln Square area. But he says there’s nothing on the market and the only way he’ll be able to come through is to call Luis because of His 30 Lincoln Plaza connection. He hems, haws and has a look of
constipation consternation on his face as Emilia implores him to mend fences and call Luis. Luis doesn’t pick up, but we get a shot of Ryan’s cell as he dials, to note that it says, “Luis Ortiz Small Broker.”
3. Do you have a slightly used handkerchief in your pocket?
Behind Door Number 1: Luis’ trust issues
Behind Door Number 2: Karma
Behind Door Number 3: A slightly used pocket square that has now been both in Luis’ mouth and on his butt.
Luis finally speaks to Ryan while he is working out at the gym. He explains to Ryan That He No Longer Is Working With 30 Lincoln Plaza, but Ryan suggests that, because he has a very motivated buyer, perhaps this will get Luis back in with Janet, the CAO of Milstein Properties. Luis yammers on about his trust issues that we’ve heard before, and Ryan asks that they meet in person. Cut to Salvation — Salvation Taco, that is — the meeting place of the two brokers where Ryan lays it on the line. He doesn’t want to go through the sales office; he wants to deal only with Luis. He also wants to believe in karma. Luis feels that perhaps Ryan and Fredrik are cut from the same cloth. And speaking of cloth: Ryan inquires about the pocket square he shoved in Luis’ mouth. “You still have my pocket square,” Ryan states. “Your handkerchief? I wipe my a** with it,” responds Luis. But still, Luis acquiesces and agrees to team up with Ryan. “ Don’t f**k with me please,” he begs. “Scouts honor,” Ryan quips. And when Luis responds that he doesn’t know what that means, Ryan can’t resist but say that it is an American thing, getting one last dig in.
4. Do you have a mirror, leather and lacquer in your bedroom?
Behind Door Number 1: A designer, publicist and event planner
Behind Door Number 2: A triangular terrace
Behind Door Number 3: There Is No Place to put a third door as the second bedroom in the joint is basically a rhombus.
Luis has a new listing to pursue at 75 Wall Street, aka The Andaz in the FiDi. The marketing director for the property, Michael Altneu, explains he has a 1,400-square-foot penthouse up for sale comprised of two bedrooms and two baths and a rather wonky layout. The second bedroom is a weird, angular shape, as is the triangular terrace. The plusses are that the buyer can share the hotel amenities such as the media center, pool, fitness center and sense of entitlement. The developer would like Luis to represent this unique property because he feels Luis represents what the area stands for. At $2.24 million, it is $1,900 per square foot in an area that would typically only garner $1500 per square foot. Luis counsels that to demand that price it will have to be expertly staged. Enter an event planner, publicist and designer because Luis says, “75 Wall Street has a great brand, but it we need to freshen it.” Apparently, in order to freshen the brand they must mix equal parts of mirrors, leather and lacquer, according to their stager.
5. Do you have a counteroffer up your sleeve?
Behind Door Number 1: A doorman with an accent holding a Chihuahua.
Behind Door Number 2: An amazing 2,200 square foot 4 bedroom with views of the park.
Behind Door Number 3: A sexual harassment suit against Ryan from Janet and a counter harassment suit against Janet from Ryan.
Luis meets with Janet to test the waters about finding an appropriate unit for Ryan and his buyer. Janet remembers Ryan got kicked out of the last event Luis held there and points out that Luis will not be getting paid any for brokering this deal, and that knowing Ryan, he will not split his commission. Luis cares more about Janet’s approval (love me, mommy!) than cash. Turns out she has something better than a used pocket square; she has a pocket listing: a 2,200 square foot, 4-bedroom, 4 bath for $6.5 million. Luis eagerly shows it to Ryan, but is still scared Ryan will be up to his usually verbal stunts like saying Luis looks like a doorman, calling him a Chihuahua or mocking him because English is his second language.
But the bros end up bonding over a shared hatred of Fredrik calling him a “piece of s**t”, leaving Luis to say, “Maybe I underestimated Ryan.” Ryan’s client’s attorney loves the property, but as always, balks at the price, agreeing to only offer $5.75 million. Janet brings Ryan back to the empty apartment to discuss this lowball offer. While Ryan shows his knowledge of building comps, Janet stresses that she has two units in the building in the process of closing for $6.9 million. “A comp is not a comp until it has closed [and is public record],” Ryan says and demands a counter. Janet says the lowest she will go is $6.3 million and then remarks that Ryan makes some nice faces and asks to see them again. “No, I only do it once,” he replies. He isn’t sure if she is prone to his charm, but notes that when he walks out he notices she is watching as he walks away, insinuating he looks as good going as he does coming and that he is business in the front and a party in the back (we can do this all day!)
6. Do you have a baby in your sportsbag?
Behind Door Number 1: A striped sweater-clad mini-dachshund
Behind Door Number 2: Fredrik’s dashed hopes and dreams
Behind Door Number 3: Mila, the girl unicorn, adorned with sparkles, a pink tutu and butterfly wings.
Fredrik and his husband are celebrating their one-year anniversary and Fredrik is excited because Derek has told him he is coming home with a surprise. Still in the throes of baby fever, Freddy is hoping it means Derek will relent and let their imaginary unicorn of a daughter morph from fairy dust and good intentions into being a real, live girl. Derek walks in carrying a sportsbag which clearly Fredrik hopes is harboring a stolen baby, or at least dead pre-NYC Ryan, only to find that Derek has gotten him a third mini-dachshund — Milo, the boy version of Mila! The baby door has closed, Fredrik laments, and the puppy door has opened. Teary-eyed Fredrik must excuse himself to ask the gods how they can be so unfair. “My entire professional life is about making a deal and I can’t do this deal.”
7. Do you have a real billionaire anywhere on your person?
Behind Door Number 1: Howard Lorber, billionaire.
Behind Doors Number 2 and 3: We’d tell you but Lorber says you can’t handle it.
Not nearly as exciting as the dachshund cameo is one made by Douglas Elliman’s president Howard Lorber. “I’m not good at telling people what they want to hear,” he says gruffly, as Luis eats up the attention, spooning that drivel like a rancid amuse bouche. Luis is dying for Lorber to be his mentor, seeking his approval as much as Janet’s (love me, daddy) only to hear Lorber ask him if he can handle the truth. Luis tells the camera that Lorber is a “real billionaire” and then goes on to discuss the finer points of using the expression “boom” with Lorber.
8. Do you have a smile for me?
Behind Door Number 1: A tough Park Slope businesswoman
Behind Door Number 2: Bad energy and a frown
Behind Door Number 3: $4.3 million dollars
Fredrik decides to meet Jeanne in person to give her the offer for her townhome because “how can you deny this face?” But Jeanne can — and does — deny both that face and the paltry $4.1 million offer. Fredrik plies her with wine and whine when he says, “Your energy here is very difficult for me,” but she holds steady at $4.3 million. He applauds her stubbornness saying, “I like a tough Park Slope mom/businesswoman. Maybe I will be one someday.
9. Do you have a $20k check in your hand?
Behind Door Number 1: A fierce cougar
Behind Door Number 2: A “Brokeback Mountain” dvd
Behind Door Number 3: A nasty hangover from too much tequila
Ryan returns with another offer of $6 million and suggests he and Janet sit closer and puts his hand on her. Janet girlishly squeals that she is, “old enough to be his mother” and Ryan replies that she is making his body tense. The deal is done thanks to Monty because Ryan says he is “so good at what he does and his powers of persuasion.” He does the equivalent of pouring one out for his homie by saying “boom” for the absent Luis.
We are then back with the terrible twosome of Luis and Ryan, downing Patron shots at the Gansevoort. Luis says, “Ryan has shown he is not always an a**hole,” when he hands over a check for $20,000 to Luis for his help. Ryan explains that Fredrik was rude to Luis because he is a threat, and they both agree. More drinks are downed, causing Ryan to say, “The night is just getting started. You still have your clothes on,” which leads to what happens when any two bros hang out at a bar: couch wrestling! Luis is turned on touched by Ryan’s softer side (but still wishes he could wrestle pre-NYC Ryan because he was bigger with all that time he had to workout…) and says, “I don’t think Ryan knows who he is yet, but I’m interested in learning who that is.” Ryan ends the episode by saying, “Going forward, you and I are ‘gonna take care of each other.”
We are left hoping in the next episode, the season finale, Ryan and Luis hire a surrogate and have a baby named Mila together.