Welcome to the latest installment of our ongoing interview series, Meet the Neighbors! Corcoran senior vice president Kristina Leonetti learned the rules of life on the golf course with her dad–it’s you against yourself and no one else–and this mantra has guided her to treat all her clients as if they were family. Her eye was honed as a native New Yorker and working in animation and post-production, and she has won numerous inter-office awards as a result.
Where do you live?
I live in Park Slope–by way of Long Island, the Bronx, Queens and Manhattan.
How is work these days? What is your latest deal?
Last year was very strong for me. You never know what’s around the corner in this business but 2011 is looking pretty good so far. I’ve been working with some young couples lately. One just had a baby, and they sold their 400-square-foot one-bed for more room and the other couple just bought a two-bedroom in Park Slope and are likely going to be getting married and working on starting their own family soon. It’s always exciting to be working with people so closely during such pivotal times in their lives.
What was the best meal you’ve ever eaten in New York?
Late last year, my partner and I went to eat in at a local neighborhood spot, Convivium Osteria. We ordered an incredible bottle of champagne and sat for hours in their cozy downstairs area. It was fantastic!
What was your first apartment like?
It was a small one-bedroom walk-up with a lofted bed on the far Upper East side. The floors sloped so much that I had to rig everything so it wouldn’t slide to one wall. It took me about a month to get my sea legs. I’d hit my head on the ceiling most mornings getting out of bed and the shower would flood if I was in it for more than four minutes. My half of the rent was $550.
What is your recession war story?
I had a huge loft on the first floor of a full-service building in the West Village. We started showing it in the spring of 2008 and didn’t go it into contract until late summer 2010–nearly two and a half years later. I rode the entire recession with that listing, from when it first hit in the fall of 2008 until the market started to show signs of life again two years later. I could not have had a better seller. He agreed to numerous price drops while the market was in a free fall and in the end, we did the deal–albeit not where we were hoping. But considering the state of things, I think we did pretty well. And it could not have gone to a sweeter family or a more professional and pleasant broker, which always makes the deal that much nicer.
How do you get around town?
For many years, I drove a fully restored ’66 Vespa GT. A guy down in Red Hook built it for me from scratch and I would buzz around Manhattan and Brooklyn showing up at appointments with my helmet in tow. Last year I didn’t have a chance to take it out of storage, but once the weather breaks for good, I’ll get it tuned up and get out there again. I love cruising over the bridges – especially at night.
What is your favorite building in the city?
On the Brooklyn side of the river, I like One Hanson. No two floor plans are alike, the views are sensational, and I thought they did a good job with the finishes. Of course the old Williamsburg Savings Bank has such incredible historical and architecture significance as well. I love that the entire lobby is landmarked. It feels like you’re stepping back in time to a perfectly preserved piece of history.
In Manhattan, I’ve very impressed with LEED buildings like Visionaire. When I first visited their showroom years ago, I was blown away with how much detail was given to achieving the platinum LEED status that the building eventually attained. It’s quite mind-blowing, and makes me proud that this group of developers and designers are so forward-thinking.
If you weren’t a broker, what would you be?
Hopefully running my own business where I get to work closely with people on a consultation or sales level. A soup to nuts renovation company/design firm also sounds like fun. I’ve always enjoyed that type of work. I’ve renovated a few spaces myself.
What is your dream home?
About 2 years ago, an old Victorian in Ditmas Park with a pool came on the market. I was smitten. I would drag my friends to the open houses and spend my evenings crunching numbers and trying to convince them that we could all somehow live there. I knew it would never pan out, but what a beauty. Fortunately, I’m friendly with the broker so she didn’t mind my fruitless visits. We all knew it was a fantasy.
You just won the lottery. What store do you stop by and what do you buy?
My Burberry toggle coat is in desperate need of replacement. I would pop in there for sure!
If there was one thing you could change about New York, what would it be?
We need a place to park our scooters!