June 2nd, 2015 – All these luxury buildings need now is Capt. Stubing.
Like landlocked Love Boats, luxe New York City high-rises are hiring full-time employees to act like cruise directors, making sure wealthy residents have a social life without ever leaving home.
The “activity directors” organize doggy fashion shows, weekly movie nights and sunrise yoga. They invite pet lovers to imbibe at “Yappy Hour,” tree-huggers to attend Earth Day gardening class and news junkies to compete at trivia night.
Events are always free to enter, but some buildings will include such services in their maintenance fees or rents.
At 1N4th, a huge new tower on Williamsburg’s waterfront, the “lifestyle manager,” Shawana Ferguson, 27, will stage summer pool parties, aromatherapy classes and ice-cream socials for time-poor, cash-rich residents.
Ferguson used to be a camp counselor and says her job is “exactly” the same — except she’s organizing adults, who can be more demanding than homesick children.
“People are time-starved, and what we’re able to provide for them is this sense of . . . a five-star hotel,” said Tom Johnston, the COO of American Leisure, a company that runs the common areas at luxury buildings across the city, including 1N4th, The Edge in Williamsburg and 515 East 72nd St.
Events are always free to enter, but some buildings will include such services in their maintenance and amenities fees or rents.
“Our goal is to have people happy so they also renew their leases,” admitted Jason Gohari, director of leasing at Stonehenge, a major real-estate management firm that has a whole department dedicated to events for residents. In the last year they’ve held an oyster and champagne party with a live jazz band, a scavenger hunt and a rooftop comedy show.
At their Ritz Plaza property on W 48th St, the building hosts an annual “Furry Friends Fashion Show,” where residents dress up their pets in ridiculous outfits and parade them on the runway.
Daria Salusbury, senior vice president at Related, which owns and manages a stack of luxury rentals in the city, reels off the events at their buildings: March Madness soirees with free-throw competitions, tailgate parties for football games, yearly pumpkin patches, and an upcoming special viewing party of Million Dollar Listing with Luis Ortiz (who stars in the show and lives in Related’s Abington House).
“It’s very nice to have someone like [a lifestyle manger] so your busy life can be augmented and enhanced by a dedicated specialist,” said Salusbury.
That enhancement doesn’t come cheap: available one bedrooms start at $3,225 in 1N4th, $3,550 for the Ritz Plaza and $5,460 for Abington House.