A Budapest artist posed as an ultra-wealthy real estate buyer to take photos inside 25 of New York’s most lavish penthouses.

Andi Schmied may be an architect, but she posed as a wealthy Hungarian buyer and potential for agents to show her the luxury apartments.

The result of Schmied’s project is a selective and elaborate window on the panoramas that only the richest of New York have access to.

Schmied, whose journey capturing the magical landscapes as part of her artist residency at the Triangle Arts Association in Dumbo, told Curbed she was inspired after spotting a few buildings as tall as the Empire State after a visit of the famous monument.

“I quickly realized that these buildings are all luxury residential buildings. And I started to think, I don’t have too much of a choice – how do I get up there? ‘ she said on the way out.

Schmied’s journey capturing the magical landscapes was part of his artist residency at the Triangle Arts Association in Dumbo. View north of the Empire State Building and view west of the Hudson River from one of the upper floor lounges of Cetra Ruddy’s One Madison

“There was an agent who asked me to sit down and close my eyes – it was in the Ritz-Carlton residences on Central Park South – and the curtains were closed, and she asked me if I loved Edith Piaf. An unusual question, but I said “Sure” and asked “How do you know that? And she said, “Oh, because of your European sophistication,” she says of one exchange in particular.

Andi Schmied may be an architect, but she posed as a wealthy Hungarian and potential buyer to ask agents to show her the most luxurious penthouses in Manhattan.  This unit, facing the central park, was not completed during his visit, with its unfinished walls and floors

Andi Schmied may be an architect, but she posed as a wealthy Hungarian and potential buyer to ask agents to show her the most luxurious penthouses in Manhattan. This unit, facing the central park, was not completed during his visit, with its unfinished walls and floors

Schmied then decided that posing as a billionaire interested in buying the properties was the only way to get access. Her character, Gabriella Schmied, was born.

To make the story believable, Schmied used the name of a friend of his – an antique dealer and a gallery owner – as his husband.

“He couldn’t afford these apartments, but he has professional websites that somehow put him in that realm of ‘good…’, she said.

Estate agents casually asked Schmied questions to determine if she could afford the luxurious apartments, such as who was the designer of her clothes and jewelry, or if she and her “husband” had a chef. private.

Schmied even proposed a fake assistant – Coco – and spent her “whole” budget on her wardrobe, which added credibility to the story.

The artist then asked “Can I take pictures for my husband?” “And when questioned by suspicious officers why she used a film camera instead of a digital one, she replied that it was a special gift from her grandfather to” record all of her special moments. [her] life.’

Schmied, however, was not impressed by the overly similar penthouses and weary of the compulsive designer names of the agents.  She said, “They're all the same!  I mean really!  For example, the layout of the apartments is essentially the same

Schmied, however, was not impressed by the overly similar penthouses and weary of the compulsive designer names of the agents. She said, “They’re all the same! I mean really! For example, the layout of the apartments is essentially the same

Estate agents casually asked Schmied questions to determine if she could afford the luxurious apartments, such as who was the designer of her clothes and jewelry, or if she and her

Estate agents casually asked Schmied questions to determine if she could afford the luxurious apartments, such as who was the designer of her clothes and jewelry, or if she and her “husband” had a chef. private. View of the Met Life Tower from one of the upper floor lounges of Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates’ Madison Square Park Towe

Schmied even proposed a fake assistant - Coco - and spent his

Schmied even proposed a fake assistant – Coco – and spent her “whole” budget on her wardrobe, which added credibility to the story.

The artist then asked

The artist then asked “Can I take pictures for my husband?” »South and west views from one of the rooms at 432 Park Avenue by Rafael Viñoly

“And they’d just put me in that ‘artistic billionaire’ box and started telling me about the latest MoMA collection. So anything goes,” she said.

Other agents fell in love with its story without raising any questions and used “almost theatrical scenes” in an attempt to sell the penthouses.

“There was an agent who asked me to sit down and close my eyes – it was in the Ritz-Carlton residences on Central Park South – and the curtains were closed, and she asked me if I loved Edith Piaf. An unusual question, but I said “Sure” and asked “How do you know that? And she said, ‘Oh, because of your European sophistication,’ she says of one particular exchange.

“And she made me sit down and put Edith Piaf on. And during that time, I was setting there with my eyes closed, and she opened the curtains and there was Central Park in front of me, and she had this line, “Imagine – you can do it everyday”, a- she added.

West view from a bathroom from one of Rafael Viñoly¿s' staged apartments 432 Park Avenue

West view from a bathroom from one of the apartments staged at 432 Park Avenue by Rafael Viñoly

'... After a while what I observed was the most comfortable for me, in the context of being a non-existent person, was telling as much truth as possible.  I would say my honest opinion if I didn't like an apartment, or if I was really really asking for things that interested me, '' Schmied recalls from the experience.

‘… After a while what I observed was the most comfortable for me, in the context of being a non-existent person, was telling as much truth as possible. I would say my honest opinion if I didn’t like an apartment, or if I was really really asking for things that interested me, ” Schmied recalls from the experience.

For now, Schmied said, she is ready to give up her character.

For now, Schmied said, she is ready to give up her character. “Once the book comes out, it will be banned from realtors, but somehow I use it regularly – if I have to call my phone company, say,” she said. declared.

Another officer made Schmied sit down and told her that she should imagine the smell of her favorite food passing through the apartment.

“Maybe a goulash,” the agent said, according to Schmied, grasping that she was Hungarian.

Schmied, however, was not impressed by the overly similar penthouses and weary of the compulsive designer names of the agents.

She said, “They’re all the same! I mean really! For example, the layout of the apartments is essentially the same.

“Then there’s the countertop, which is usually a kitchen island in the middle, and there’s different types of marble but there’s marble – Calacatta Tucci, or Noir St. Laurent, or Chinchilla Mink, and they always tell you, “This is the best of the best,” from a hidden corner of the planet where they hand-picked the most incredible pieces.

For now, Schmied said, she is ready to give up her character.

‘… After a while what I observed was the most comfortable for me, in the context of being a non-existent person, was telling as much truth as possible. I would say my honest opinion if I didn’t like an apartment, or if I really sincerely asked for things that interested me, ”Schmied recalled from the experience.

“Once the book comes out, it will be banned from realtors, but somehow I use it regularly – if I have to call my phone company, say,” she said. concluded.

Schmied’s book Private Views: A High-Rise Panorama of Manhattan was published in 2020. Only 1000 editions were published.

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