New York's Top 15 Realtors: Agents Helping Jennifer Lopez, Daniel Craig and More Defy the Slowdown

6:00 AM 4/16/2019

by V.L. Hendrickson

With lookie-loos "buying for less" as the market adjusts to new "painful" realities, A-listers including Sting and John Legend unload top-market properties with the help of these elite brokers.

Listed by Deborah Grubman, 115 Central Park West is a 4,900-square-foot triplex penthouse ($16.9M).
Listed by Deborah Grubman, 115 Central Park West is a 4,900-square-foot triplex penthouse ($16.9M).
Courtesy of Corcoran

Just when New York City was hunkering down to weather a real estate slowdown, boom! Hedge-fund billionaire Ken Griffin drops more than $238 million for the penthouse at the Robert A.M. Stern-designed 220 Central Park South, setting a new record. "Painful" is how Compass' Leonard Steinberg describes the two years before the January sale, with brokers struggling to coax buyers into a market flooded by new developments. Now sellers have adjusted pricing to the reality. The median sales tag for luxury homes in 2019's first quarter was $5.85 million, down only 1.3 percent from the same quarter last year, according to a Douglas Elliman report. While there's still a lot of inventory, it's being absorbed at a faster clip compared to 2018. The buyers "were right," says Steinberg. "They waited and now they're buying for less." For the second year, THR highlights the city's top agents who prospered despite sluggish conditions.

  • Erin Boisson Aries

    CHRISTIE'S

    Courtesy of Subject

    Boisson Aries spent much of 2018 pitching Christie's art-collecting clients in places like Dubai, Hong Kong and London. The strategy paid off: She represented Hong Kong heiress Karen Lo, who purchased Sting's apartment at 15 Central Park West for $50 million last spring. In February, she listed hedge-fund billionaire Steve Cohen's three-story condo in the West Village for $33.5 million, and it's already under contract.

  • Vickey Barron

    COMPASS

    Robert Wright

    Barron had the brokerage world buzzing in 2018 when she pulled up stakes from Corcoran and moved to Compass. She credits her team of almost two decades with providing the consistency necessary to generate 96 percent of her business from repeat clients and referrals. Barron was director of sales at the now-sold-out Walker Tower in Chelsea, where the penthouse sold for more than $40 million and Cameron Diaz, Harrison Ford and Katie Holmes have reportedly purchased homes.

  • Robby Browne

    CORCORAN

    Courtesy of Subject

    The 30-year veteran has worked with Hilary Swank, Uma Thurman and Jon Bon Jovi, whose Greenwich Village duplex Browne sold for $15 million last February. With Chris Kann and Jennifer Ireland Kubis, he unloaded more than 10 apartments priced at more than $15 million in 2018. This spring, he's bringing an Upper East Side abode by British-born American architect Frederick Sterner to the market for around $21 million.

  • Pamela D'Arc

    STRIBLING

    Courtesy of Subject

    As director of sales for the Skidmore, Owings & Merrill-designed 252 East 57th St. — a fixture of Manhattan's "Billionaire's Row"— D'Arc has practically sold out the 95-unit building. Only the 8,000-square-foot, full-floor penthouse remains, priced at $29.7 million. Over her 28-year career, she has worked with Josh Hartnett, Ralph Fiennes and Tony winner Kathleen Chalfant, and sold the former home of legendary New York Sen. Jacob Javits.

  • Raphael De Niro

    DOUGLAS ELLIMAN

    Michael McWeeney

    De Niro credits his famous father with helping direct his career, and the family were early investors in SoHo's first warehouse-to-residential conversions. De Niro, who counts Bethenny Frankel and Renée Zellweger as clients, works largely downtown and says millennials, tech workers and empty nesters are pushing sales there. He's currently marketing The Xi, a Chelsea tower designed by starchitect Bjarke Ingels — downtown's "most significant and transformative" project ever, he says.

  • Fredrik Eklund

    DOUGLAS ELLIMAN

    Evan Joseph Images

    The Million Dollar Listing New York star cleared more than $1.4 billion in volume last year with partner John Gomes, as their team expanded into L.A. "It was our first year with a 'B' after the number," says Eklund, who opened a 10,000-square-foot office in the Flatiron District in 2018. His roster includes Keith Richards, Bruce Willis, Daniel Craig, and John Legend and Chrissy Teigen, one of whom could end up with his most expensive current listing: a $77.7 million penthouse at Madison Square Park Tower.

  • Cathy Franklin

    CORCORAN

    Courtesy of Subject

    Franklin's year got off to a killer start: In March, she sold two iconic West 54th Street homes in a $75 million deal. And since August, she's sold the restored Riverside Drive mansion owned by oil heiress Helen LaKelly Hunt for $11.6 million, plus several units at architect Annabelle Selldorf's new project at Greenwich Village's 21 East 12th St., where Franklin now has the $17.5 million penthouse under contract. Other marquee listings include a Robert A.M. Stern-designed penthouse at 30 Park Place, listed for $30 million.

  • Deborah Grubman

    CORCORAN

    Courtesy of Subject

    In 2018, the industry veteran who counts David Geffen among her clients sold a $20.5 million home at the Beresford on Central Park, a Tribeca loft for $19 million and an Upper East Side town house for $28.5 million. Grubman, "a math teacher in a previous life," is marketing a West Village town house with wraparound amenities — a growing trend at the top of the market — for $12.9 million.

  • Karen Heyman

    SOTHEBY'S

    Heyman has made her mark as a top-selling broker in Brooklyn for more than two decades, with more than 700 transactions in the Dumbo neighborhood (short for "down under the Manhattan Bridge overpass") since 1998, which translates into over $1 billion in sales. In 2016, she sold the mansion where Truman Capote once lived for $12.5 million, the highest price ever paid for a Brooklyn home at the time. Baz Luhrmann and Jennifer Aniston are former clients, with the latter having famously bought her West Village penthouse in her dog's name, Norman.

  • Alexa Lambert

    STRIBLING

    Peter Hurley

    Lambert has worked with Katie Couric, Julia Roberts and Disney's Bob Iger, and just this year brokered the sale of Mariska Hargitay's Upper West Side town house, which sold for $9.75 million. Now she's selling the former Park Avenue town house of P. Diddy, listed for $26.5 million, and a penthouse at the redesigned Shephard on 10th Street for $24.5 million. Lambert's got good mojo at that building: She sold another penthouse there for close to $35 million, 17 percent above its asking price.

  • Adam Modlin

    THE MODLIN GROUP

    Courtesy of Subject

    In the early days of building his brokerage, Modlin took meetings in the Four Seasons Hotel lobby before he could afford an office. Now his listings include Jennifer Lopez's $25 million penthouse on East 26th Street and a $42.5 million penthouse at the historic, refurbished Puck Building. This year, Modlin represented the buyer in the sale of the former Upper East Side home of fashion designer Halston for $18 million.

  • Lauren Muss

    DOUGLAS ELLIMAN

    Courtesy of Subject

    Last year, 25-year veteran Muss listed a West Village pad for Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen, and brought Gloria Vanderbilt's childhood home to the market for $30 million. She's now selling units at Ian Schrager and Herzog & de Meuron's project at 160 Leroy St. in the West Village, with a four-bedroom, four-bathroom priced at $20 million.

  • Richard Orenstein

    HALSTEAD

    Orenstein was the listing broker on an Upper West Side town house owned by Vice Media CEO Nancy Dubuc and her husband, which sold for $9.4 million in December 2016. He has worked with Nicole Kidman and Willem Dafoe. His current trophy listings include a West Village town house listed for $19.5 million and a Tribeca penthouse for $6.5 million.

  • Ryan Serhant

    NEST SEEKERS INTERNATIONAL

    Courtesy of Subject

    Another regular on Bravo's Million Dollar Listing New York, Serhant launched a spinoff show, Sell It Like Serhant, which premiered last spring, and followed it with a book, which came out in September. While the Serhant Team sold upward of $838 million in 2018, he says he "made a conscious effort four years ago to expand into Brooklyn." Serhant's also setting his sights on a new project with designer Andrés Escobar in Long Island City in Queens.

  • Leonard Steinberg

    COMPASS

    Courtesy of Subject

    After what he calls a "disastrous" January, sales have since picked up for Compass' "chief evangelist." Steinberg says he took on that moniker last year as the firm gobbled up more and more market share and turned to him for leadership. He's recently handled NYC sales for Mike Myers, and has listings including 347 Bowery and 152 Elizabeth, two of downtown's glitziest new projects.

    This story first appeared in the April 11 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.