666 Park Avenue: A Terrible Place to Live

Pzzzzt! Lights Out Blondie!

What do adult New Yorkers love – dare I say it? – more than alcohol? Real estate porn. Especially aspirational real estate porn which, according to the address listed in the title, is what this show is about. But this is less Million Dollar Listing: New York and more Rosemary’s Baby.

The premise? Two young, beautiful and ambitious kids (newlyweds, natch) are interviewing to be the Managers-in-Residence of 666 Park Avenue, a gorgeous Beaux Arts building on the Upper East Side that houses 203 luxurious units. But given the frantic opening scene of a musician – the previous Manager? – desperately (and unsuccessfully) trying to escape the building (mid-thunderstorm, no less), I think we can assume that all is not kosher in this palatial abode.

Their names are Jane – let’s call her Blonde Wife – and Henry – let’s call him Nerdy-Cute Husband. So twee!!! Also, their bosses are the grim-faced building owner, the Artist Formerly Known As John Locke from Lost, and his wife, the ever scheme-y Vanessa Williams. Really, in all her roles, she’s always scheming. Trust me on this one.

Now where do I start picking this apart? Let’s start with the job interview, where they are informed that the job is very part-time.


I work in real estate folks*, and let me tell you, there is not a 203-unit building anywhere that is a ‘part-time’ management job. Especially not a building that is at least 100 years old. Especially not with full-time staff at the door, maintenance staff and the uber-wealthy, demanding residents that one would expect to find at such a prestigious address. Even if there are a few ‘rent-stabilized’ tenants. Ha! In New York, in a building like this, those people would have been bought out long ago.

I am not aware of Building Manager ever being a ‘couples’ sort of job share situation. The most realistic moment is when John Locke turns them down. The most unrealistic is when Blonde Wife’s interest in historic preservation turns him around. Puh-leeze. The owner of a building like that will want nada to do with anyone who wants to preciously preserve every iota of its historical charm. That crap is expensive! The permitting process alone makes building owners shudder.

Which brings me to – why is there no building management company? No buffer between the apparently super-wealthy owner and the tenants who would likely bug him about every clogged toilet? As if. Anyone who lives in a New York apartment building knows that there are at least three levels of Building Management between you and the actual owner of the building. Unless you rent in a two family house in Bed-Stuy. Then you only have floorboards.

Extra suspension of disbelief points for their job application – no credit check? Background check? Drug test? No licensing or relevant previous experience? Their credentials of being ambitious and beautiful are enough? Wow. Of course that makes sense. Let’s give them keys to their own two bedroom, two bath, lovingly preserved, working fireplace,  love shack! And somehow the fact that they let their checking accounts dwindle to a collective $17 doesn’t indicate any sort of fiscal irresponsibility or questionable judgement. Sigh.

Creepy, improbable events ensue. Spontaneously bleeding people! Creepy zombies in the basement of flickering lights! Zombie people regenerate and are married to spontaneously bleeding people! Vanessa Williams takes Blonde Wife shopping and buys her a $4,000 dress! Everybody comments on Blonde Wife’s necklace! Could it be a future plot point? Who cares! We just want to know more about the real estate!

Reasons why Blonde Wife is a Crap Manager:

  • Fixing a flickering light while it (and the electricity) are turned on;
  • Cleaning and preserving a tile floor in a rarely-used basement will never be a building priority if the elevators aren’t working;
  • No Manager in their right mind would light so many candles in a building which obviously doesn’t have adequate fire suppression fittings. Even if they are planning to douse them with water by naughty splashing around in the tub with their Nerdy-Cute Husband.

Which brings us to the other hot young couple in the building. We meet The Writer and his wife, Bitch, just post-coitus. She seems less than, um, satisfied by their apparently lackluster sex life so he spends lots of time peeping in on the hot blonde neighbor. Who has GIANT FREAKING WINDOWS that apparently require no sort of window covering. Even for her to sleep IN THE MIDDLE OF THE DAY! Oy vey. Very realistic. All hot young chicks love sleeping in full daylight and having a bank of at minimum sixty windows looking in on their nubile slumbering self. This is where the show starts to actually get creepy.

Just kidding. Really, I keep expecting Ugly Betty to show up.

Oooh! Then Hot Blonde Exhibitionist shows up as Bitch’s new Assistant and we get a Single White Female vibe. Now, in a very realistic turn, she is an Assistant or Intern of some sort at Elle, so, of course she can afford the very spacious apartment we’ve been peeping in on. On Park Avenue. Obviously, she is either a call girl or trust fund baby on the side. Or both.

Cut to Blonde Wife researching cryptic building history. Ta-Dum! Cut to Regenerated Zombie and her Spontaneously Bleeding Husband tripping down memory lane together. Ta-Dum! Cut to John Locke and Vanessa Williams eyeing new Building Managers like they want to eat them for dessert. Ta-Dum! Cut to the sort of elevator disaster that every New Yorker lives in perpetual fear of. Ta-Dum! Swelling orchestra music and dangling plot points for next week. Ta-Dum!

Despite its Terribleness, I will tune in next week. So that I can lust after the building – at least the architecture, I give them credit for that. I want those high ceilings! And also because I keep wondering if we will find out if Blonde Wife is also the Walking Dead – she is so skinny! Somebody feed her a sandwich, or another glass of champagne.

*Not in management. Take everything I write with a grain of salt. And creative license. And a side of sarcasm. And a glass of wine. 

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