When I signed on to do this show, I had no idea how personal it was all going to get. I expected the crew to follow my deal-making, and that my business would grow from millions of people over the world watching my negotiation skills. I never thought I would open up to the cameras to this extent with my personal life.
When super-storm Sandy hit New York, we were unprepared. I was in the midst of selling -- or trying to sell -- the beautiful Marble House in Tribeca, and under enormous pressure. The clock was ticking. Every day counted. I needed to sell the Marble House, I had to sell the Marble House. To me there was no other alternative. I truly loved the property, and I know I could do it, somehow I would pull it off within the 30 days I had. I lost sleep over it. I whipped my team to help me. I went all out with international advertising and broker outreach.
That Monday when the heavy rain came down over Manhattan and they closed most roads, were we one of the last cars down to West Side Highway with a client from Florida. I was thankful that a buyer was THAT serious they wanted to see this property with this powerful storm hitting Manhattan. They loved the Marble House, and left the property excited. I remember them discussing how to furnish the place in the car back to the Plaza where they stayed. That afternoon, Derek and I sat with the dogs in our lap looking out over downtown as the waves got bigger and bigger down on the Hudson River. It was scary, but I held his hand and I felt so good about hopefully winning over all the odds and finally I thought I had found a buyer for the Marble House -- within the short 30 days I had.
At around 11 pm that same night the electricity went out. I hadn't listened to the news too much, unfortunately, and we had not filled our bathtubs with water like we should have. We had very few candles. We had no groceries really. I had not prepared for the storm, as I should have. I was busy working those days. And after all, we lived in the best city in the world -- New York. I thought somehow we would be taken care of, that what would happen to the city could not happen. But it did.
Looking back at all that devastation, and darkness, walking up the 17 flights with borrowed flash lights and carrying water to drink and shower with, not being able to flush our toilets, seeing the grocery stores filled with people rushing for the last items on almost empty shelves, walking up 8th Avenue with NO cars, no traffic lights, and only the wind whispering, and seeing how small New York actually is compared to Mother Nature, made me realize how important it is to have family and loved ones. Because when everything stops and turn to darkness, all we have is each other. Derek and the pups and my father, who came for a visit driving down from Washington D.C., made all the difference. We made the best of it, and I now know not to be fooled by the speed of this city, this youth, this roller coaster of real estate -- because it can suddenly stop.
When the rain passed and the sun came back over the city, we still had no electricity. And with only a couple of days left on my listing agreement with the Marble House -- I kept on going. I bought candles and drove down to Tribeca for a private showing request from broker Heather, who had client coming in from Florida. What we you didn't see was that my car broke down on Washington Street because we ran out of gas. ALL the gas in the entire city was gone, from the thousands of cars filling up there tanks and leaving the city; there was no more gas stations on the island of Manhattan with more gas. The tunnels were closed and the airports were closed too. With only 10 minutes until the showing I pushed the car to the side walk and ran 10 blocks with my plastic bags filled with candles and got to the Marble House just in time to light it up with the candles and meet Heather.
The rest you saw. I lost the Marble House. I didn't have enough time. To this day I love that property. It is unique, beautiful, dramatic and incredible well done. But I gained something perhaps more important: understanding just how important my loved ones are. That love is priceless.
The later walk in Central Park with my father, Derek, and the pups was beautiful. The city was still quiet. I was quiet. I had changed. I walked behind them, alone, and looking at them -- talking and smiling. And then I looked up on the tree tops and I was thankful for everything.