Like other consultants, real estate agents both commercial and residential perform one function in the service of another. What we apparently do is make deals. But our real business is marketing our profound and fundamental belief in this beautiful city.
I like to say to my agents that we are the critical front line for the New York City Chamber of Commerce. And in recent years we and our colleagues in the commercial world challenged the status quo with every deal. The commercial market, so long in the doldrums, has continued to improve as more companies decide to recommit to headquarters in New York. Small businesses seek space to expand, often in boroughs other than Manhattan. Entertainment, technology and communications – New York reshuffles the deck and reinvents itself over and over again and we are on the front lines finding the spaces to make it work. On the residential side, we have traveled from a market with NO big ticket sales to a market of feverish big ticket selling – and not just to foreigners. But it isn’t just at the high end. There is competitive bidding all over Brooklyn. And now, as rentals remain so tight and so high, absorption is finally accelerating in the one bedroom markets on the East Side of Manhattan.
For real estate agents, more than those involved in almost any other business, there is no moving to New Jersey or Connecticut. We ARE the city we represent. Each morning we recommit ourselves to the excitement and uniqueness of living and working here, because more even than selling or leasing bricks and mortar, we are selling the concept of New York. I remember after 9/11 talking week after week about our commitment – how we had to believe that in the wake of that shattering event New York would be perhaps different but no less great. Amidst all that fear we needed to be agents of belief. And that has been true again during and after the recession. In persuading people not to move their companies or their families out of the city, we focus on the life the client is accessing even more than the space they may want to buy. Art, music, theater, playgrounds, schools, offices – all are easily accessible and nearby. And no matter what outsiders may believe, New York extends its welcome to everyone. We are a warm vibrant mix of sub communities within which everyone has a place. During the past week I walked through Central Park, went to theater at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, heard music at Avery Fisher Hall and the Armory on 67th Street, went to see the Rembrandt portraits at the Met, visited with friends, ate in some terrific restaurants, shopped, worked, relaxed. I didn’t once need to get in my car. It was all right there.
Every day, we live it. We love it. So every day, residential or commercial, high price point Fifth Avenue penthouse or well priced Greenpoint warehouse, we aren’t just making deals. We are selling New York.