The Goldilocks Listings: When $28 M. Post-Lehman Seems Just Right

Even though luxury real estate brokers are all horribly optimistic by nature, this summer there was a lot of stoic head-nodding about Manhattan’s fall from absurd exuberance back to reality. They called it the adjustment.

“Everybody likes to make money,” the broker A. Larry Kaiser IV sighed last month, “but you become realistic.”

So the big annual batch of post–Labor Day listings was supposed to be exceedingly humble. The thinking went that if even Julian Schnabel had eventually learned to cut his $59 million tag for the top two apartments at Palazzo Chupi by more than half, then most of the city’s autumn sellers would be getting with the program, too.

But stubbornness thrives.

The broker Raphael De Niro just listed a $28 million duplex penthouse at the Park Laurel that belongs to the philanthropist and investor Ephraim Gildor, records show. That’s only $3 million less than its last asking price from early 2008—and $2.5 million more than the tag was when Dolly Lenz listed it ages ago.

“The sellers are not desperate,” Mr. De Niro, the actor’s son, explained. “I wish people would slash the prices on these higher-end apartments, because more of them would move, but it’s not really happening, unfortunately,” he added later. “Yes, it is frustrating, but I truly believe, and this is no bullshit, that $28 million is a reasonable asking price.”

It’s not clear how much Mr. Gildor paid for the duplex. But this week, The Observer reported on the Web that Westchester corrugated-cardboard businessman Dennis Mehiel cut the price of his Carhart Mansion duplex from $34.9 million to $29.5 million, still $14 million more than he bought it for.

The Goldilocks Listings: When $28 M. Post-Lehman Seems Just Right