Burning Questions

After three years of covering violently enormous Manhattan real estate deals for The Observer, I’m switching to the comparatively charming world of Wall Street reporting.

There are two things I’ll miss most.

The first is the difference between the mellifluous poetry of big brokers’ big listings (“pearlescent lacquer vanity millwork” counts as iambic pentameter) and the way they talk to and about one another. “He’s gaining weight,” one of the top Upper East Side brokers said about another this month. “And he’ll slit your throat for a listing.”

The second is the real estate itself. A $20.2 million house on East 70th Street comes with an alabaster fireplace mantel made to look like draped fabric; if you want to spend $300,000 less, an East 84th mansion designed by the architect of Grant’s Tomb comes with a valiantly mirrored fireplace in the master bathroom suite; the bathroom fireplace in a nearby $13.75 million house stares at the tub.

At the Plaza, a $13.3 million condo’s dining room and salon both come with fireplaces, except that they’re not really fireplaces, just reproduced Plaza mantels attached to the walls. —Max Abelson

Michael Pellegrino.

Kathy Sloane

Alice Caceres


Nellie Wilson

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