For the first time in many, many years, I’m riding in black leather over the East River toward Manhattan. Lamont, the 67-year-old man driving the Towncar, has already explained why he lives in New York: “I love the night life.” He said that he hopes to die at 94, “killed by somebody’s husband.”
He told me about all the bigshots who had sat where I was sitting. His favorite client, Willie Mays, rode with him all over New Jersey, only to pretend to forget him when they ran into each other at a hospital. Mays walked right past Lamont, and told Lamont’s buddy (who had refused to believe Lamont really knew Mays): “He’s a good fella but he don’t where the hell he’s going. We stayed lost that whole day.”
Lamont told me about Charles Barkley, who said about New York: “where else in the f*** can you look at 200 people trying to cross the street and the second they leave, another 200 replace ‘em?”Lamont said he charmed Franco Harris’s wife, and will never again drive Star Jones, for reasons he couldn’t disclose. It’s nice to get a ride.
Last time I came here, I turned down the Lincoln Towncar — and spent 11 p.m. – 2 a.m. waiting for the A train, riding the A train, sobbing on the A train, and, finally & most tragically, watching the A train turn into an Express (to Harlem) just before my midtown stop.
ABC News paid for the car this time – but only after the usual humiliating intimations of poverty from Redfin — and it seems a shame that there’s no one here to have a party with. We’ll be on Good Morning America Friday morning, talking to Diane Sawyer about the science of real estate.
Our theme this time is how you can tell when a seller will give ground on price, and when he’ll stand firm. To get ready, we studied 9,053 records of past sales in Washington, California and Virginia.
Redfin’s Rob McGarty did most of the work, guided by stats man Mose Andre, who recently compared me to the Segway-driving illusionist on Arrested Development, “but in a good way.” (I watched the show for the first time that night and made a mental note: tone it down.)
If you want to watch the show, the hit-time is supposedly 7:45 a.m. (but subject to change). It might be more interesting than the usual interview. Ms. Sawyer has, a producer explained (with a combination of respect and terror), a reputation for spontaneity. I’ll be wearing a loud green shirt with velvet-lined cuffs. Wish us luck.
Many thanks to Ellie, Cynthia and the whole team for their support.