For the overextended mother, or overextended mother’s helper, 279 Central Park West, a superluxury condo, has come up with a decidedly post-feminist amenity – a position entitled “Concierge Mom/Dad.” This Mary Poppins-esque, buildingwide nanny will be available to direct you to the nearest milkshake, schedule your doctors’ appointments, or book the Spice Girls for your darling’s deb ball.
After placing only one ad and dispatching the message through word of mouth (the job will be part of the local 32B-32J union, with a salary between $25,000 and $30,000), the building’s new managing agent, the Related Companies, was deluged by résumés from a diverse group that included a certified hypnotist, a puppeteer, and a subway conductor. “I’ve never seen a job description like that before,” says one applicant, Crystal Sujak, age 30, a stay-at-home mother of two who had been planning to become a nursery-school teacher. “When I saw it, I said, ‘This is me! I want to be their mom when their mom is away.’ “
High-end real estate agents have long endeavored to make city life seem as bucolic and kid-friendly as possible. But Related seems to be going to unprecedented lengths; in addition to hiring the nanny, 279 Central Park West is creating an outdoor “enchanted garden,” complete with a castle and yellow brick road. “It’s like living on a cul-de-sac,” says sales agent Susan de França, as she climbs one apartment’s spiral staircase.
David Wine of Related believes that the promise of a Concierge Mom/Dad helped the building set the company’s new residential-sales record of $1,000 per square foot – an especially high figure for a modern building that’s in direct competition with higher-profile prewar addresses to the south, like the San Remo and the Beresford. “It’s good marketing,” agrees Anita Perrone, a vice-president at the Corcoran Group. “People are not going to buy because of it, but if they’re deciding between apartments they can say, well, this one specializes in children.”
Related is scurrying to fill the position in time for Halloween, when the winner will throw a holiday extravaganza. But current employees say the building’s residents may be too well informed already for the kind of para-parenting help their new colleague would offer. “They all know where to go,” says current concierge Barbara Brandao. “I’ve been here eight years, and I’ve never been asked once.”