Property Grunt

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

The Property Grunt revealed! Sort of.

Last Thursday the Grunt made his public debut at the, Inman News and Craigslist soiree. The Grunt was quite excited to finally step out and embrace his public. Yet the Grunt still wanted to maintain his secret identity, which meant he had to go incognito.

So I purchased a fake beard and combined it with an old wig I used to dress up as the Crow and a black wool cap. Add sunglasses and I looked like a reject from a ZZ Top video.

Upon arriving at the party I immediately recognized that the location was my former YMCA before it was taken over by Habitat for Humanity. After casing the place I ran into the subway station and quickly donned my disguise. I walked back to the party where I was greeted by the doorman who asked for my name which I told him was the Property Grunt. He didn’t believe me until he saw my name on the list.

Upon entering the party I was greeted by inebriated looks of partygoers who were thinking “Who the hell are you?”

I proceeded with my search for familiar faces and ended up on the perch above the crowd where Alexis Palmer who is responsible for Operations at Curbed met me. She figured I was either the Brownstoner or the Property Grunt. Apparently the Brownstoner was also walking in disguise.

Alexis was a pure delight and brought me over to finally meet Lockhart Steele. Meeting Lockhart started a chain reaction of sorts. On the way I ran into Tom Acitelli of the Real Deal. (Sorry I couldn’t talk to you further. Btw, I will be printing my response to the REBNY letter regarding the WebCrawler piece. ) I was overjoyed to meet Lockhart. This is a man who has the led charge into the real estate blogging world and I thanked him profusely for the exposure he gave me. He humbled me by expressing his thanks for my work and then ran off to find Joyce Cohen who was also eager to meet me.

Before leaving me he introduced me to the developer of the loft space. We discussed the history of the building and the development process of the building while the woman he was with innocently attempted to lift my beard. Then out of the corner of my eye I saw Craig Newmark, the great leader of Craigslist. To call Craig “down to earth” would be an understatement. Despite being one of the biggest rock stars of the Internet age and being lauded by all the partygoers, he maintained a calm and humble demeanor. We talked about his site and a certain brokerage firm’s tactics of downloading their ads directly onto his site until Lockhart requested my presence. I bid Craig adieu and hopefully next time we will have more time to chat.

Lockhart was able to locate Joyce Cohen who was absolutely thrilled to see me. The feeling was mutual. This is a writer who I have respected and have emailed from afar. Her praises and critiques have made me a better writer. Her brilliant writing skills are comparable to her charm and wit. I was absolutely overwhelmed with joy that we got to meet.

Here are the pictures.

These lovely ladies are Joyce from NYT, Sara from Forbes and Lisa from NYT.

This was probably the second scariest moment of the evening when I met Alexandra Bandon. As many of you know I did a critique on her New York Times Article on rental agents. The moment I saw her I began to look for the exits. However after we met I found Ms. Bandon quite gracious and engaging. She stated that she enjoyed my writing and my analysis in her work. She made it clear that she wished to go further with the article but there was no room to spare. Alex expressed her frustrations that rental agents often tried to steer her away from her set requirements. I empathized with her annoyance but I explained to her that often people change their minds and agents cast a wide as possible in order to find the best options for their clients.

I also had the chance to meet Alison Rogers writer of Diary of Real Estate Flipper . This is a woman who is probably one of the reasons why the New York Post is still being published. Under her command, the real estate section of the New York Post profited handsomely.

The Union is now complete. Joyce Cohen, the Property Grunt and Lockhart Steele. If you notice we are in size order.

This was the girl who tried to lift my beard, me, the developer of the building and the great Craig Newmark.

The beautiful and delightful Alexis Palmer and the Grunt. In disguise.

The party. Who is this guy taking this picture?

While at the party I felt I was attracting too much attention and decided to retreat before I got tackled and unmasked by a broker. I bid my friends adieu and left.

It got a little dicey for me because I chose to use the stairs instead of the elevator, which proved fortuitous since the elevator broke. But the exit was locked which I think is a huge fire hazard. It was there that I had an encounter with a very drunk and belligerent man who saw my disguise and threatened to remove it forcefully. I took refuge on the 5th floor and mulled my options. Do I stay and wait for the elevator or should I wait it out for the exit to open? Then a chilling thought entered my mind. What if both the elevator and the exit were out of commission? What if I was stuck here until the police or fire department arrived? I would have to pull the old "blend in with the crowd trick" by removing my disguise as we were ferried out. What if someone recognized me? Then I began to laugh. When did becoming a blogger become Mission Impossible?

At that moment I heard some yelling that the door was open and I zipped down running through the David Barton Gym and then into the subway station where I removed my disguise and proceeded to walk several blocks south down 6th ave. Occasionally I would surreptitiously look behind myself but no one was following me.

Thank you all for inviting me. I had a lovely time. Let's do it again