Reel Estate

New reality show reveals exactly who's been driving up Manhattan rents

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If you've ever paused to wonder who, exactly, are the twenty-somethings dropping thousands a month on rentals (and subsequently making things more expensive for the rest of us), ABC Family's new show Next Step Realty: NYC is here to answer the question, albeit inadvertently: fresh-out-of-the-frat (or sorority) college grads being bankrolled by their parents. In other words, they're exactly who you think they are.

Next Step Realty: NYC premieres tonight on ABC Family (the first episode was already available online earlier this week, though now appears to have been taken down), and follows the wheelings, dealings, and Drama (yes, with a capital D) at high-end rental brokerage The Next Step Realty. Per the firm's description from the network, Next Step "specializes in helping recent college graduates find their apartments in New York City while navigating interpersonal and professional conflicts in the workplace."

So what kind of college grads are we talking about, exactly? Well, the firm hires student "brand ambassadors" working on college campuses to recruit well-to-do, soon-to-be graduates as prospective clients. The woman in charge of hiring makes sure to specify that no one "weird" or any "fat chicks" can ever have the job, because if that's who's representing the firm, "What's the point?"

As for the apartments and clients, first up, we see a recent University of Florida grad on the hunt for a one-bedroom with a budget of $5K, with help from her parents. However, after realizing she'll want an extra bedroom for when her dad comes to visit, she (and the broker) talk dad into shelling out $6,700/month two-bedroom in the MiMA luxury building on West 42nd:

For some renters out there, this MiMA spread qualifies as a "starter apartment."

We also see a recent graduate "trying to get into the music business" who somehow has a $2,300/month budget apartment-hunting on the Upper West Side, and a pair of frat bros looking for a $4k/month two-bedroom to pursue their unspecified dreams of launching a fashion line—and in the process, using the phrase "panty-dropper" way too many times for comfort. It's a cliff-hanger as to whether or not they settle on a pad in the East Village or on the Upper East Side. (Credit where it's due: we'll give a shout-out to the pair of young PR girls and self-described "independent women" who specify that they're renting with their own money, and actually try to do a little haggling, to boot.)

Is this UES duplex more of a panty-dropper than the East Village pad with a roof deck? Only time will tell. 

Yes, there's lots of interpersonal drama at the firm itself—a broker is sleeping with the boss! Agents squabbling over a promotion!—​but the real anthropological interest here lies in the firm's ultra-wealthy, impossibly young clients. These are the people in your neighborhood, apparently.


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