Dolly Lenz Falls to Earth

“THIS IS A problem when you’re No. 1: You can go only one way, right? You can’t go up,” said Leonard Steinberg, a colleague who recently got a batch of townhouse listings with Ms. Lenz and Mr. De Niro. “It’s not possible. Sometimes when I don’t sell anything after 12 months of trying, I feel like I’m the biggest loser on the planet. But guess what? I’m not. It’s not me, it’s the market.”

Brokers obsess about other brokers, especially the aggressive ones, and they tend to get practically giddy at the thought of Ms. Lenz falling. “Think Madonna. When Madonna was at the height of career, everyone wanted to tear her down. And they did. And then she came up again. Let’s face it, American culture is cyclical,” Mr. Steinberg offered. “Dolly, for many people, has provided that sick entertainment where they want to see her fail.”

Even Ms. Teplitzky at Elliman argued in interviews that she’d been robbed of last year’s top broker award, thinking she’d done better than Ms. Lenz. “I’ll give it to you straight: Jackie did not know there were a few things Dolly had done that she hadn’t turned in,” Ms. Herman said. “There were a few personal sales that Dolly made.” But which broker beat which didn’t make a difference: Ms. Teplitzky, who has her own team at Elliman, was put in the running for the brokerage’s top group award. She got it, just like Mr. Shvo got it back in 2004.

But Dolly Lenz was still named top individual broker, just like she’ll be named top broker again on Feb. 12.

“The true test is to watch what happens. Dolly’s not perfect, nor am I, nor is anybody. People are good, but we’re all human,” Ms. Herman said. “But I think the test is yet to come.”

Ms. Lenz did not return several calls and emails, and representatives for Mr. Shvo, Ms. Teplitzky, Manhattan House, Miraval and even BlackBerry had no comment about working with her.

On Feb. 6, she was walking near Central Park when another major Manhattan real estate figure, one of the several she’s publicly feuded with, walked by.

“I’ve been told,” the associate said a few hours later, voice genuinely quivery, “that when you’re walking down a hallway, do not make eye contact, because it will remind her to get you. I swear to God, I’ve had a number of people tell me that.”

But this figure’s eyes went up to meet Ms. Lenz’s. She went by without noticing! Or did she? “Something will happen in the next month, guaranteed. I don’t talk this way about other people. There’s something wrong with her. And she scares me.”

mabelson@observer.com