REAL ESTATE

Ryan Serhant Talks About 101 West 14th Street And Gets Real About The Reality Of His Life Not Seen On Bravo

Ryan Serhant is currently the king of New York City real estate and reality television with two hit Bravo Shows, Million Dollar Listing New York, and Million Dollar Listing New York: Ryan’s Renovation. He also represents some of the top luxury properties currently on the market including 101 West 14th Street. Designed by ODA New York and Whitehall Interiors, it is scheduled to finish construction by the end of 2021. It features a total of 44 units and thirteen floors. 

The building has plenty of amenities including a 24-hour concierge, 24/7 gym with Pelton bikes and Woodway treadmills, an indoor/outdoor lounge perfect for socializing and co-working, as well as a private courtyard.

These homes also feature integrated smart technology including wirelessly controlled lighting, window shades, and temperature in addition to electronic door entry. 

Staged by Daniela Schneider of Quadra, the model unit is now available for view. 

I recently spoke with Serhant about this truly one of a kind real estate opportunity. Surprisingly, he also showed a vulnerable side of himself rarely seen on camera, opening up about his childhood struggles and how these challenges have driven him to become who he is today.

101 West 14th Street is an incredible project. Not only is it built by starchitect Eran Chen of ODA New York, but it’s also just as stunning on the inside as it is on the outside. Can you tell me more about it?

101 West 14th Street is probably one of the most architecturally significant projects in New York City right now. It is highlighted by 20-foot ceilings, with single-pane pieces of glass that are each eighteen feet tall.

The facade of this building is unlike anything I’ve ever seen. It’s like a glass Rubik’s cube that has been placed on the northwest corner of Sixth Avenue and 14th Street. 

It’s also an excellent location—

The location is pretty amazing, not just for access to public transportation, but 14th Street is one of the main arteries for New York City. And so you can get anywhere. You walk out your door, you’re on the Union Square block. Go right and you’re in Silicon Valley East with Google and Facebook. Walk one block south, you’re in Greenwich Village. Take one right, you’re in the West Village. Go up north by one block, you’re in Flat Iron. You’re in this nexus of all of the most amazing neighborhoods in New York City. 

What are some other features this building has to offer?

I think the ability to live in a house in the sky. There are a lot of apartment buildings, and everyone’s on one floor. And that’s fine, but what we learned from COVID is that you don’t just live in the square feet. You live in the ceiling height. You live in the outdoor space, natural light, and views. 101 West 14th Street has volumetric square footage that no other building has. 

And if you’re sitting at home, and you’re working from home all day long, there’s a big difference to your quality of life, mental state and happiness, when you have an eight-foot ceiling above your head, where you feel like the world is closing in on you. Or you can have a 20-foot ceiling above your head, where it feels like true luxury. 

You also have a separation between bedrooms, so the kids can be upstairs and you and your spouse can be downstairs working and sleeping. The majority of the apartments have that setup.

Are you working with any other properties of note?

We have the Quay Tower in Brooklyn as well. That just has the most amazing views you’ve ever seen with access to the marina. I didn’t even know before we took on this building, that you could have a boat slip in New York City, especially in Brooklyn. You have chauffeur service, you have all these things.

The rooftop space is amazing, the lounge, the bar area. The apartments [give you the feeling of] floating on the water looking right back at Manhattan. So kind of all of that combined makes this building an amazing investment and a place to live. 

You represent a large list of buildings in New York, you have a family, two reality shows, as well as other business ventures. How do you do get it all done and what are your best productivity tips?

I’m incredibly efficient with my time. We have a large education platform as part of the business. This is a question they ask me too— they feel like they’re running around with their heads cut off like a chicken. But they’re not getting nearly enough done. 

You know when people are trying to go on a diet, they say, “Oh, I don’t even eat that much food, how am I still gaining weight?” Keep a food diary for seven days, anything you put in your mouth, write it down. And then after seven days, look back and see actually how much you ate. Because if you’re up for eighteen hours during the day, you don’t think you’re eating a lot. But turns out, you are snacking six times. 

I do that with time. It’s amazing what people find. Commuting, watching TV, meals, all these things start to add up. So, I am very calendered. I have my lists. I have a team that understands what they need to do. 

I used to tell myself, if I hit my goals, this week, I’m getting a new pair of shoes. If I don’t, then I don’t get a new pair of shoes. Or I’m going to have my cheat meal on Saturdays. I love Oreos, ice cream, and all that stuff. I have a massive sweet tooth and it’s the bane of my existence. So if I get all my stuff done, I am going to destroy my life— 10-year-old fat Ryan on Saturdays.

Were you a fat kid? This is interesting

If you ask my mom, I was not fat. But I was overweight, I was bullied about it and I had super bad skin. That probably bothered me a lot more than than the weight, though. Once I hit high school, I learned that there was a connection with my body to the food that I ate and to the amount of physical activity that I wasn’t doing. And so I started working out and all of a sudden, I [realized] I can control the way my body looks. I don’t have any control over my life and this is one thing I can control. And I still work out and watch what I eat to this day. 

My skin, on the other hand, was not the same. No matter what I did through high school and college, I could not control my skin until I got older. And then I kind of figured it out. That was a tough one.

I feel like this is a part of you that most people don’t know about because we see you on Million Dollar Listing New York and your spinoff, Ryan’s Renovation appearing so together. You don’t really see the struggle.

It’s funny you say that because I talk about this to the producers all the time. And I feel like the first couple seasons, there was zero struggle whatsoever. There was two minutes of struggle in every episode to hook the viewers. 

Now, there is more struggle because I think it became very boring for people just to sit around and watch people work all day. The Housewives are beautiful, they’ve got great houses and all this money, but you don’t tune in [for that]. You tune in to see— how is she going through a divorce, how is she handling her backstabbing friend, how is she handling being hungover and having to go to work? 

So I try to do that as much as I possibly can on Million Dollar Listing, in our blog and on YouTube.

Do you think that has helped drive you to become who you are today?

I came to New York City to try to make something of myself and I very quickly ran out of money. And I wasn’t going to be homeless. I could always move home. I’ve got great parents, but they also weren’t willing to help. 

That’s how I got into real estate because I didn’t want to bartend or wait tables or be a temp. So my real estate license helped me pay the bills, because the acting, which is what I was doing or trying to do anyway— it’s very similar to meeting people on the street and showing them apartments. All you have to do is ask questions. That’s exactly what theatre is— you just ask questions and you listen. And so that time of my life really does push me.

I do speeches and keynotes all around the country. I often ask people where they think I’m from. And everyone says New York. Well, I was born in Houston, Texas on a mattress. I moved around eight times before fourth grade. I sucked at every single sport. And I didn’t have any friends, except for the theater kids.

Speaking of struggle, Ryan’s Renovation showed the struggle of renovating a multi-million dollar townhome, but it looks like everything came together. How are you enjoying life in Brooklyn?

I love living in Brooklyn. The townhouse is huge. It’s a significant amount of space. It has a great outdoor space. I built it exactly the way I wanted it, from the color of the brick to the artwork, to the ceiling height, to the lighting, to all the furniture. It’s pretty perfect. We’re finishing the landscaping right now.

Is there anything you would change about it?

The only changes I would make end up costing me more money. And I could have added an outdoor shower on the roof.

*This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity

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