“Anything is believable”: Artist fools brokers to access city’s priciest condos

Andi Schmied documented her tours through 432 Park, 111 West 57th and other New York towers in new book

National /
Dec.December 19, 2020 02:00 PM
111 W 57th, Central Park Tower, and 432 Park (JDS Development, Central Park Tower, 432 Park)

111 W 57th, Central Park Tower, and 432 Park (JDS Development, Central Park Tower, 432 Park)

 

Ever wonder what the views are like from New York’s most expensive condominium towers? Hungarian artist Andi Schmied devised an elaborate ruse to gain entry into some of them.

Schmied created a fictional identity for herself as an ultra-wealthy homebuyer, and agents ate it up, Curbed reported.

Still and subtitles from a video Schmied shot in Time Warner Center. (Andi Schmied)

Still and subtitles from a video Schmied shot in Time Warner Center. (Andi Schmied)

Schmied was able to access high-rise units at 25 of the city’s tallest and priciest towers, photographed those incredible views and put them into a new book: “Private Views: A High-Rise Panorama of Manhattan.”

Although she went to great lengths to dress the part of a wealthy European buyer, including creating a fake personal assistant named Coco and a fake husband, Schmied may not have needed to do so.

Not a single agent did a credit check, an ID check or apparently any research beyond some surface level Googling.

She mostly built her fake persona, Gabriella, based on questions that agents asked her while they looked at units. When an agent asked about her necklace, her answer was, “‘it’s a Hungarian designer,’ and that became my answer to any outfit questions,” according to Curbed.

“Or they asked me if we have a chef in the family. And then at the next viewing, I directly started talking about ‘our chef’ or his needs,” she said.

Schmied gained access to units at 432 Park Avenue, Central Park Tower and 111 West 57th Street among many of the city’s most prestigious and exclusive addresses.

Agents more or less took her word for everything. Eventually she realized that she didn’t need to dress up at all.

“From their point of view, you’ve passed the access, and you can do anything — anything is believable,” she said.

[Curbed] — Dennis Lynch 


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