Firestein’s colleague Seth Kessler also adopted bike tours and held his first about two weeks ago, visiting six sites in neighborhoods, including Chelsea and the Upper West Side. He described it as a relatively safe and healthy way to allow clients to view properties in person despite the difficult new environment.
“We were all together all the time, but outside with masks,” he said, “so it went really well, just to go out and chat with customers.”
But bicycle touring properties always present their own challenges. The weather is a huge variable, with heat waves and thunderstorms, two fairly constant threats during the summer. And finding a good place to use the bathroom is also difficult, according to Firestein.
“You’re sort of juggling,” he says. “OK, I peddle, I exercise, I am thirsty, but I ration the amount I drink very carefully. “
It also remains to be seen how far brokers will embrace biking to sites, and whether they will continue this practice once New Yorkers get back on buses and subways in greater numbers.
Rafe Evans, a broker at Walker Malloy, has been using his motorcycle to travel to and from exhibitions for years and recently added electric scooters to his repertoire. However, he maintained that he had not seen a rise in other brokers following his lead since the coronavirus started hitting the city.
“I haven’t seen it spread, which is weird,” he said, “because I do more if I have a two-wheeled transport than you can ever take the metro and services. car. “
Andrew Katz, a developer at the Prusik Group, also used Citi Bike to visit sites long before the pandemic, but he doesn’t think the real estate industry or city dwellers in general will start cycling much more anytime soon.
“I think the city still has a long way to go before people are comfortable,” he said. “Most people I talk to are still nervous about cycling in New York City.”
In the meantime, however, it works at least as an interim measure, according to Firestein. Visiting sites in person hasn’t ceased to be important just because it has become much more difficult to do so, and Bikes have so far proven to be a solid way to track these tours, he said.
“You always have to do the old school stuff like that,” he says. “It seemed like a really positive thing – and a good exercise to start with. “