Even as a girl growing up in downtown Boston, in a family firmly rooted in their North End neighborhood, Nadia Bartolucci always knew she would end of up in New York City.
“I come from a third-generation Italian American background—my grandparents lived in the North End; my parents lived in the North End,” she said. “I had other plans.”
Upon earning her bachelor’s in art history and English from St. Lawrence University in Upstate New York in 2004, Bartolucci promptly began her life as a Manhattanite.
What she did not expect, however, was that her destiny lay even further south of Boston.
With more than $800,000,000 in total transaction volume throughout her career in NYC real estate, Bartolucci has been at the forefront of the new development boom in Brooklyn, where she and the Bartolucci Team at Douglas Elliman have earned a reputation for buttoned-up sophistication in the borough’s ever-more elevated residential market.
When she first arrived in the city, Bartolucci started out working in direct marketing before pivoting to “more of a corporate track” at Goldman Sachs, where she worked in the Real Estate Principal Investment Division. Although she valued the education in the finance and investment side of real estate, her desire to get a more street-level view on NYC property led her into a Citi Habitats office in Chelsea (around the corner from her “little $1,600-a-month apartment, with a bedroom that had no windows”) where she asked for the chance to learn the game by peddling rentals on weekends.
Soon, with the help of a supportive manager, Bartolucci began notching one to two rentals a month and decided to resign from Goldman Sachs in 2007.
“I forfeited a nice banking bonus,” she recalled. “Three weeks later, the financial world collapsed.”
With real estate markets at a standstill, Bartolucci persevered, working as an assistant to a broker at Stribling & Associates while catering on weekends to pay rent until she finally landed her first deal.
“They say it only takes one,” she said. “I remember it well—it was a little studio in Greenwich Village for about $360,000, but it was my first sale, and that’s all that mattered.”
Soon, she outgrew her role as an assistant and began building her business from an expanding referral network before joining Douglas Elliman in 2013, which happened to coincide with a fortuitous—and initially reluctant—decision to move to Brooklyn.
“I never wanted to move there,” said Bartolucci, recalling her youthful perception of Brooklyn as a place where “people went to start families and live a quiet, low-key lifestyle.”
“There was something very special about the community Brooklyn offered. It actually reminded me of Boston. I fell in love.”
After moving to Park Slope with her then-fiancé/now-husband, it didn’t take long for her to appreciate the unique character and tremendous opportunity Brooklyn offered. “The dining and cultural scene was just getting underway in North Brooklyn,” she recalled. “There was something very special about the community Brooklyn offered. It actually reminded me of Boston. I fell in love.”
Over the ensuing decade, she has played a leading role in the borough’s phenomenal growth, from brownstone condominium and luxury townhouse projects to major new developments like Brooklyn Tower, where she sits on the sales team. In recent years, she noted, the trajectory of development has pushed beyond Brooklyn Heights, Cobble Hill and Park Slope into neighborhoods like Greenwood, Stuyvesant Heights and Prospect-Lefferts Gardens.
At the same time, she noted, with the recent spikes in inflation and interest rates, 2023 has been a tough year for real estate, with echoes of the post-financial crisis downturn she navigated at the start of her career. But she credits that early experience with providing the foundation of knowledge and professionalism that sustains her and her team through these market shifts.
“As much experience as I have in Brooklyn, I’m still a Manhattan broker,” Bartolucci said. “I was trained on the Upper East Side, I know how to do a Park Avenue co-op package, I still dress like I’m showing at a Park Avenue building. And I think that buttoned-up presentation and how we operate is what differentiates the Bartolucci Team.”
Another key differentiator, she adds, is having the support of a brokerage with a remarkably accessible and responsive leadership.
“If I have a question on a deal or I need individual attention for something, I can call my manager on their cell phone and know they will call me back,” Bartolucci said. “I really appreciate and respect that I can set up a meeting with the chairman, Howard Lorber, and he’ll make time for me. The leadership at Elliman is very focused on supporting the agents and teams: they’re not just going through the motions.”
Reflecting on the journey that led her to make a home—both personally and professionally—in New York City, she notes that she wasn’t the only Bartolucci to trade Boston for Brooklyn.
“My mom did a 180,” she said. “My sister’s here in Park Slope with her two beautiful kids, and my mom lives down the street.”
And while Bartolucci and her team will always have a strong presence in the Manhattan market, the outlook on Brooklyn remains bright: “When I’m sitting at the Brooklyn Tower sales desk on the 56th floor, and I look out and see scaffolding all around me—I don’t see that growth stopping.”