At a glance, theatre and real estate may seem like they’re worlds apart.
But for Douglas Elliman broker Anthony Marino, the two industries have a lot in common.
“There’s a thread,” Marino, a Brooklyn native, tells CitySignal. “It can be summed up by a desire to work closely and collaboratively with people, and to share an interpersonal connection as well.”
Marino graduated from Wagner College with a degree in Theatre Performance. He also spent several years teaching kids and directing shows at NYC public schools.
He subsequently launched his own productions company/performing arts group — BrooklynOne.
“All of those social and emotional foundations I had from performance, plus the confidence and leadership gained from teaching, were able to help people in the pursuit of their real estate goals,” he adds.
Marino, who completed his broker training in 2017, initially thought real estate was something he would do on the side. But after realizing how demanding the industry could be, he decided to go at it full-time.
And “it was quite a rush,” he says.
Due to Marino’s accomplishments and top performance as a real estate agent, he now leads his own team of agents. And this particular cast of characters offers clients unmatched expertise no matter how big or small the project, he says.
Most of all, they’re in tune with Brooklyn’s inimitable lifestyle and culture, guaranteeing a unique perspective on the various neighborhoods and nuances of outer-borough life.
Read on to hear how Marino started out, the ‘strange’ mishaps that occasionally happen on the job, why Brooklyn is so special, and where his favorite haunts are. Locals and out-of-towners alike would be wise to seek them out.
Based on your background in performance and teaching, what drove you to pursue a career in real estate?
I think there is definitely a connection between the three. The road to get to all of them is kind of wonky maybe, but there’s a thread. It can be summed up by a desire to work closely and collaboratively with people, and to share an interpersonal connection as well. The performing arts, my first love and true passion can be a beautifully personal, emotional and collective experience. All the projects I pursue in the arts involve working with skilled, creative and passionate people wanting to learn and grow. I love being a part of that. Teaching was also very similar. There I learned the skills to lead, much like directing. I took pride in teaching and passing on skills — I was a theatre teacher — so of course, it was natural for me to be in that field.
The seemingly random one is real estate, right? All of those social and emotional foundations I had from performance, plus the confidence and leadership gained from teaching, were able to help people in the pursuit of their real estate goals. There are learning curves, learning the market and the lingo, but ultimately residential real estate is about connecting with your clients, gaining their trust and guiding them through – what can be an arduous process. I don’t think I would be as good at real estate as I am if I didn’t have years of performing arts and teaching under my belt.
What about the job has made it satisfactory?
The realty world is filled with lots of highs and lows. It can be quite exciting and extremely frustrating — sometimes within the same hour. You learn to ride those waves. Ultimately you are helping people with one of the biggest purchases they may make in their lives ever. Or, on the other hand, they may be selling a home with great sentimental value. It’s always so rewarding when those people thank you for the hard work you’ve done to close the deal. It’s also amazing to watch the agents I work with learn, grow, close deals and connect with clients in a rewarding way.
What is it about Brooklyn that has kept you here?
Brooklyn is my home. Brooklyn will always have my heart and my soul. Born and raised in Dyker Heights, there is no other place I would rather work in the world. The appeal to Brooklyn is simple: it’s family and authenticity. No one can tell you how it is better than a Brooklynite. There isn’t one thing that keeps me tethered to Brooklyn, it’s just in my blood.
What are some of the strangest moments you’ve had while trying to sell a home?
I’ve done all the cliché things a real estate agent can do I think at this point. I’ve shown properties I’m told are not occupied, or that the owners aren’t home and you find people sleeping in the room when you walk in. I’ve rang on the wrong doorbells. I find whenever you try to use keys in front of clients they never work, even if they are the correct ones. I’ve dealt with hoarders, pack rats, minimalists and more. I can’t say I have one particular story, as much as I have a culmination of experiences that would make for a decent stand-up routine.
What are some of your favorite spots? And what do you tell clients to appeal to them when they are looking to move to Brooklyn?
There are so many amazing places you can go to in Brooklyn and so many different cultures you can experience. Sometimes they’re just blocks from one another. I love Pipin’s Pub on 91st and 3rd Avenue for an amazing burger or steak and an ice-cold pint. In Dyker Heights, you have to go to La Bella Marketplace for its selection of Italian specialties. And then there’s Tasty Pastry on 82nd and 13th Avenue for the best pastry in Brooklyn. When you’re done spending the day at Prospect Park, there’s delicious Shawarma at Pita Pan on 3rd and 7th Avenue in Park Slope. Other highlights include the world-famous L&B Pizza in Bensonhurst and ice cream at Ample Hills on the water in Dumbo.
I feel like I never really have to “sell” Brooklyn. People moving to Brooklyn either from outside of the city or just changing neighborhoods, I always just tell them, walk around the neighborhood – get a feel for it, immerse yourself in it, you’re going to feel at home quickly!