About Michael Gross

Michael Gross, one of America's most provocative non-fiction writers, is the author of three New York Times bestsellers House of Outrageous Fortune, 740 Park and Model, and the wildly controversial Rogues' Gallery. His last bestseller, Unreal Estate, is being developed as a TV series by Oscar-winner Joel Silver. His journalism has appeared in The New York Times, New York, Vanity Fair and many other publications.

August 19 2015

“Modeling is the sale of women’s bodies…”


On Entertainment Tonight last night, I talked about the dark side of the modeling. . Continue reading

August 12 2015

Bad decor but a great address

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Curbed just found another new eight-figure listing at Fifteen Central Park West. The décor is underwhelming, but the space is, well, outrageous. Though I’m not sure I would want to bunk directly underneath Dan and Margaret Loeb, someone will surely want that position. Curbed asked me why several 15CPW units have come onto the market. Which is interesting, given that units are reportedly languishing at the nearby Blue Penis (One57), even as flipping there continues, no one is talking much about sales at 220 or 432 or Nordstrom or the Economist tower or 520 Park. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if that’s because investors are worried about a looming oversupply of eight figure apartments. And who knows what new ideas Bill… Continue reading

August 5 2015

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The New York Observer reports that apartment 35D at Fifteen Central Park West has come on the market for $33 million, but calls the sellers “whoever they are.” Whoever they are is “Victor Vargas, a Venezuelan banker with six homes, a polo team, and a daughter who married Luis Alfonso de Borbón, a great-grandson of Francisco Franco and relative of the king of Spain,” they could have learned from House of Outrageous Fortune. “Vargas lives there with his girlfriend, Maria Beatriz Hernandez Rodriguez.” The NYO does correctly note that Vargas bought the place from Donald Opatrny, a former Goldman Sachs partner who was one of a clutch of Goldman guys among the original purchasers. Need it be said that the rich get… Continue reading

RIP Arnold Scaasi

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The designer Arnold Scaasi died on Monday. In 1985, I wrote an item for The Evening Hours column of the New York Times about his ubiquity in that era. It always made me smile. Click the image to read it. Continue reading

August 3 2015

Hello, I Must Be Going

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I’m thrilled to share the news that I’ve joined Departures, the luxury lifestyle and travel magazine, as a Contributing Editor. Since 2012, I’ve written stories for the magazine on the Isle of Cavallo, the coming of the $100 Million Manhattan condo, the eastern Riviera, designer-class retailing in Miami, and the rebirth of Mexico City. Watch this space for more in months to come. Continue reading

August 1 2015

“Before there was reality TV, there was Naomi Campbell”

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July 30 2015

Cindy Crawford makes fudge for NBC

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Cindy Crawford is developing a TV series “that revolves around the modeling wars in the ’80s that occurred between Ford Modeling Agency and Elite Model Management”, Variety reports. “The show is completely fictionalized.” That’s for sure. The Model Wars began in spring 1977, when Crawford was eleven years old. By the time her first test photos were taken in 1982, they were history. (The photo of Crawford by Marco Glaviano appears in Model: The Ugly Business of Beautiful Women.) Continue reading

July 29 2015

Over-reaching at 15CPW?

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The late insurance benefits executive Richard Ullman’s duplex “penthouse” at 15 Central Park West is back on the market a year after it was sold, asking $65 million, a slight increase over the $62.5 million the estate originally wanted, but a whopping increase over the $48 million the current owners, tucked inside an opaque LLC called 15CPW PHB (NYC), paid for it. It’s interesting to note that when the building was brand-new, Ullman tried to sell it before he even moved in for $55 million, but failed to get his price. After his death in 2011, the duplex was the focus of a legal battle between Ullman’s children and his second wife. The widow lost and it was listed again two years ago. (You can read more about the runup to… Continue reading

July 17 2015

The Donald will not approve

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Donald Trump’s opinion notwithstanding, Mexico City is one of the most exciting, engaging and civilized cities in the world. Here’s my feature story for Departures on the DF’s many pleasures. Continue reading

Rizzoli Redux

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In rare good news from the world of brick-and-mortar book retailing, Rizzoli Bookstore, forced from its gorgeous West 57th Street location by a developer last spring, has announced its Phoenix-like return. It will re-open on Broadway and West 26th Street on July 27th. Auguri! Continue reading

July 16 2015

Cry, the Beloved Lutece

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Here’s one for Jeremiah Moss’ Vanishing New York: The townhouse that once held Lutece, Andre Soltner’s French restaurant on East 50th Street, and a NYC classic for more than four decades (it opened in 1961), is being demolished along with two adjacent houses--no doubt for another condominium tower. Lutece closed more than eleven years ago, and its space sat vacant since then; today the door was open and you could see the original bar, cloaked in a thick layer of dust (behind the door shown at right, marked exit). Thanks for the memories. Continue reading

June 15 2015

Battling Billionaires: LA Strikes Back

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The Billionaire’s Belt in midtown Manhattan isn’t the only place where the .01 percent are spending mounds of money on real estate. The Hilton-Hyland realty blog, run by Bilal Khan, formerly of Curbed, today spotlights a Billionaire’s Hill in Bel Air, one of the neighborhoods featured in Unreal Estate. Want to rub garden hoses with Elon Musk (pictured)? He’s today’s king of the hill. Continue reading

June 12 2015

Meet Mexico City

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“Mexico City is one of the world’s great cultural destinations. So what are you waiting for?” is my profile of the city and the story of its stunning revival in the May/June 2015 issue of Departures. Click the link to read a pdf. Continue reading

June 11 2015

Gripepad Recommended Read: Isn’t That Rich?

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Ad man and raconteur Richard Kirshenbaum‘s Isn’t That Rich: Life Among the 1% is now available on line and in book stores. Gripepad’s proprietor wrote the forward and hopes its readers will be Kirshenbaum’s as well–if you aren’t already, that is. Continue reading

June 9 2015

15 CPW: Still the Tops

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Fifteen Central Park West remains the city’s most expensive apartment building, according to CityRealty. So while observers of the primates of Park Avenue engage in (quite possibly sexist) arguments over the lives of wives of the East Side wealthy, and whether the latest truth-challenged memoir about them is accurate, it appears that it’s the really most sincerely wealthy men who inhabit the House of Outrageous Fortune who are truly making out. Continue reading

May 17 2015

Gripepad is Moving

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Gripepad will likely go dark next two weeks as it changes premises, ISP, views and more. Might we post? Yes. Will it by our first priority? Not even close. Check back in June. And no, we ain’t headin’ west to the land of cement ponds. We just love us some Granny and Jeb. Continue reading

May 8 2015

Another Hedgie Clipped

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Hedge Clippers, a protest group, rallied outside Fifteen Central Park West today, reports ValueWalk. Though the building is full of targets for the anti-hedge-fund organization, this time, their target was the occupant of the tip-top building’s tip-top penthouse, Daniel Och of Och-Ziff. With $437 billion under the management of 15CPW dwellers, it will be a while before Hedge Clippers runs out of targets at the limestone fortress. Among the alternative investment firms with executives in residence ar Among them are Titan Capital, Canyon Capital, SAC Capital, CCMP Capital, Duquesne Capital, Joho Capital, Kingdon Capital, Knighthead Capital, Millennium Capital, Point State Capital, Vedanta Capital, Kilmer Capital Partners,… Continue reading

April 23 2015

Munzer’s the Word at PEN Literary Gala

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Fifteen Central Park West penthouse dweller Margaret Munzer Loeb, whose husband Dan Loeb was long an icon of free expression on Internet stock-chat boards, albeit using sock-puppet monickers like the memorable Senor Pinche Wey, has landed in Richard Johnson‘s column today . This time, it’s not for minor acts of book-burning, like her husband and fellow hedgie Barry Rosenstein‘s attempt to disrupt last year’s launch party for a certain book on their building, but for a good cause: her support of PEN, which itself supports free expression for writers speaking truth to power. She’s a co-chair of its annual gala next month, where the French satirists of Charlie Hebdo are being honored. Which brings to mind the words of… Continue reading

April 10 2015

Public Enemy? My Dinner with Dick and Liz

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Richard Kirshenbaum, the ad man, has written a book called Isn’t It Rich? (out in June) and I’ve written an introduction to it, Liz Smith reveals on today’s New York Social Diary. In her account of our dinner together the other night at lovely Le Cirque, La Liz makes the case that Kirshenbaum and I are “enemies of the Manhattan wealthy,” because we sometimes write about the one percent. I know Liz doesn’t really equate coverage with clawing: she’s been excoriated for writing about the rich and famous likes of the late Frank Sinatra and the living Donald Trump. But I suspect that like me, she’s learned from experience that in some circles, accuracy is considered aggression. Continue reading

April 8 2015

Flashback: The Discovery of the Inimitable Kate Moss

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Business Insider has taken a page from my book Model: The Ugly Business of Beautiful Women, and posted its account of the discovery of Kate Moss by modeling agent Sarah Doukas. Continue reading