'Selling New York' Episode 6: A Shaman and a Soap Star Walk Into a Gramercy Loft

When all else fails and you can't sell an apartment with $7,000 in maintenance fees, bring in an "energy guy." That's the biggest lesson from episode six of the HGTV series "Selling New York." The other intuitive lessons are: You can't find three acres of backyard space in Manhattan, and rich people in a hurry to buy can make decisions based on point-and-shoot digital photos taken on the fly.
In this episode, Kirk Rundhaug of Core Group is transferring the stressful financial burden of a barely used two-bedroom pied-a-terre at 50 Gramercy Park North to his To Do list. You would think that Ian Schrager's Gramercy Park condo with it's "hotel services" would go quickly since the condo's website says they're sold out.

Apparently the $7,000 a month in maintenance fees are killing the parents of "As the World Turns" soap star Noelle Beck (the anxious owners). And they're probably not alone. Since the pad, listed for $5.45 million, is just sitting there costing Mr. and Mrs. Beck lots of money, Rundhaug suggests renting the place furnished for $25K a month.

Camera-ready Noelle finds this pretty appealing. Or at least more appealing than the second option Rundhaug awkwardly suggests: a healing-energy dude. Because how does one find someone willing to spend that $7,000 a month in maintenance without the help of some incense-and-sage-wielding shaman?

Meanwhile the Kleiers have been feeling some good energy. So much so that Mama Michele gave her daughters Sabrina and Samantha the day off with their kids -- at least initially. Michele rescinds on Samantha's day off so she can help close a deal with fancy clients who are moving back to the city and want to buy without seeing anything in person.

Keeping with the family and energy theme of this episode, Laurel Rosenbluth of Gumley Haft Kleier shows her daughter Meredith some places in Manhattan. Apparently her daughter is having one of those fleeting suburban-regret moments in which she misses the magnetic vortex that sits beneath Manhattan. For the episode she entertains the idea of moving her family from the expansive acreage in Connecticut back into teeny-tiny Manhattan.

This week the need for HGTV to plug people and places was particularly transparent. Some questions I have:

1. Rundhaug seemed a bit weirded out that he had to suggest energy guy, Reggie Arthur, to bring balance to the home. Can we guess that this real estate shaman is going to get his own series soon?

2. Beck got some nice face time and all with no book to promote!? Is this a random push to get more stay-at-homers to tune into the soap? After all she does invite Rundhaug on set making that the location of her final decision: the short term rental option. (Wait, does energy guy Reggie get a commission too if it sells?)

3. What's up with the old baby-and-toddler ploy? Sure it worked on "The Cosby Show" with Raven-Symone and on "Full House" with Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen, but seeing Samantha and Sabrina's kids' already-jaded, deadpan indifference didn't really have us bowled-over laughing. Funnier was watching Michele try to work her digital camera for some picture-taking that resulted in the sale of a four-bedroom inside the Devonshire House, sight unseen.

4. Why are we watching a broker show her daughter properties when it's clear her daughter has no intention of leaving spacious Connecticut? Where are the real people looking to buy? Whatever the excuse, we got to see a $2.72-million three-bedroom in the iconic Manhattan House and a $2.65-million condo on the Upper East Side -- only to be reminded that 2,400 square feet is closet space for Meredith's family. To her credit, somehow she manages to say the place is perfect while also questioning the lack of an eat-in kitchen, and of separate bedrooms and bathrooms for her two daughters. At the end of the day Meredith's face says it all: a 300-square-foot terrace is no three-acre lawn.

Read about past reviews of "Selling New York" and other home TV coverage. Or see homes for sale in New York, N.Y. at AOL Real Estate.
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