In the dynamic world of New York City real estate, change isn’t the only constant—The De Niro Team has been a model of unswerving consistency for the past 18 years.
Founded in 2004 by Raphael De Niro, the team has worked steadily to earn its reputation for reliability—not only in delivering sales, but also for its discretion, its professionalism and its uncommon cohesiveness as a group venture.
The team’s current line-up includes Maggie L. Marshall, Sara Dai Freeland, James C. Flowers, Katherine Stroud Shechtman, Lauren De Niro Pipher, Dona Monteleone and Elaine Feola.
“Our team is small—curated, really. Each team member has been hand-selected and brings a wealth of knowledge to the table,” said De Niro. “We have had very little turnover in the 18 years we have been a team. We function as a family more than anything. We all take care of each other and help each other with every deal. That has always been a very important theme for The De Niro Team.”
Marshall and Dai Freeland echoed those sentiments.
“We’re like a small army of deal makers,” said Marshall. “Each member of the team excels in their own way.”
“In the 15 years I have been on this team, there has never been a day where I didn’t feel supported,” added Dai Freeland. “Raph is a true mentor.”
Drawing on his family’s deep roots in downtown Manhattan real estate, including its involvement in the transformation of SoHo’s warehouse stock into coveted residential spaces, De Niro and the team quickly established their expertise in loft, townhouse and commercial-to-residential properties. Having overseen marketing and sales for The Pearline Soap Factory, 76 Madison, the TriBeCa Fairchild, 150 Charles Street and 27 Wooster, the team has gone on to shepherd numerous luxury new development projects, including 111 Murray, 108 Leonard, 100 Barclay, 55 Vestry and 87 Leonard.
Because such high-profile projects and deals frequently involve the kind of high-profile clients pursued by paparazzi and publishers of voyeuristic gossip, The De Niro Team is conspicuously low-key in the way it conducts business.
“We do not self-aggrandize,” said De Niro. “We are here to provide a service to people who put their trust in us.”
“We are not the VIPs in our client relationships,” added Flowers. “We center our clients’ needs first and foremost.”
“Working with the caliber of clients that we do has given us a rare perspective, and that kind of access can become intoxicating,” Marshall acknowledged. “But our team has the collective experience to remain client-focused. Our reputation is based on our prudence, not our publicity.”
That same ethos guides the team’s approach to marketing, including the way it integrates new technologies, which De Niro understood from the start would bring disruptive change to real estate.
“We can all recognize how integral technical progress has become in the industry, and our team makes a point of adopting and adapting to new technology,” he said. “But servicing our clients doesn’t always involve the newest or flashiest innovation. While we utilize sophisticated tools to help accomplish our team’s and clients’ goals, our greatest tool is the power of human interaction. We function by forming real world connections. Word of mouth and personal relationships have always been our go-to methods for bringing in business.”
As it reflects on the fads, trends and business cycles that have come and gone in the course of its nearly two decades together, the team notes that buyers appear to be attracted to spaces where they can find deep comfort and peace of mind.
“We have certainly built a business around Tribeca, West/Greenwich Village and Soho, but what is popular has changed so much in the past 18 years,” said De Niro. “Right now, we are seeing a return to quality. People are focused less on new development and more on existing product.”
Both Marshall and Flowers cited the experience of the lockdowns in the early days of the pandemic as key factors driving buyer interest.
“Before COVID, there was a big push for buildings with a ton of amenities,” said Marshall. “When amenities closed at the beginning of the pandemic and didn’t reopen for so long, people realized that their personal space is what really matters.”
“After being stuck at home for so long,” added Flowers, “buyers want to be sure that their homes are happy places to be for the long haul.”
To be sure, the desire for domestic space that offers sanctuary and respite is nothing new for homebuyers. And for The De Niro Team, doing the work to help buyers find their happy places is something that never goes out of style.
“We are going to keep doing what we are doing” said De Niro. “Our model is one that is successful in all markets.”