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.

January 16 2015

RIP Kim Fowley

I spent a few days with the rock legend Kim Fowley in the ’70s. This is, believe it or not, a great memory. Continue reading

January 1 2015

My, Mizner


Out today, my latest Unreal Estate column in the January Avenue digs up the past history of two venerable estates by Addison Mizner on Ocean Boulevard in Palm Beach. Wish you were there? Me, too! Continue reading

December 27 2014

Good riddance to the year of One57


Just caught up with Justin Davidson‘s December 1 New York magazine column, “Who Wants A Super-Tall Skyline,” in which he again damns many of Manhattan’s new super-tall towers, most notably, Extell’s One57 on West 57th Street, a favorite whipping post of this blog. This time, Davidson calls the blue phallic-shaped tower “disastrous,” adding “that a fellow architect [of its creator, Pritzker Prize winner Christian de Portzamparc] surmised he must be a socialist pranking the plutocrats.” I’d like to know why Portzamparc didn’t take his name off developer Gary Barnett‘s erectus horribilis. A well-placed source tells me the architect had some issues with the way his original design was realized. That wouldn’t surprise me. I… Continue reading

December 13 2014

Anjelica Huston is an angel


In an interview in tomorrow’s New York Times Book Review, Anjelica Huston, world-class beauty, actress and author of the absorbing memoirs A Story Lately Told and the new Watch Me (pictured), says the next book she plans to read is Model: The Ugly Business of Beautiful Women. What an angel she is. Continue reading

December 11 2014

Last minute gifts? No treble!


Here’s an idea for a last minute gift: a condominium at Fifteen Central Park West. Six are currently on the market and several have been languishing for some time–so make an offer. The lowest-priced unit, #12H, was listed in September by owner Hugh Verrier, chairman of White & Case, who is asking $5.295 million. That same month, Joel Frank of Och-Ziff, the hedge fund, listed #8K for $5.395 million. Portuguese banker Pedro Ferreira‘s apartment, #15J, has been for sale for $6.7 million for eleven months, and Café Lalo owner Haim Lalo put his unit, #2E, on the market for $8.99 million back in April. All four are brokered by Mercedes Berk partners Noel Berk and Liz Omedes, who have the advantage of living in the… Continue reading

December 8 2014

All I want for Christmas/Chanuka is an $88 million penthouse


But seriously, with the start of Chanuka just nine days away, why not buy your beloved a book? For art lovers just back from Art Basel, there’s Rogues’ Gallery, which the New York Times Book Review called “A blockbuster exhibition of human achievement and flaws.” Prefer real estate? But is your recipient a condo or a cooperative person? For the former, there’s House of Outrageous Fortune, the story of Manhattan’s sui generis record-setting condo, Fifteen Central Park West. “The intersecting strands of money, politics, greed, taste, ambition shine brightly,” Manuela Holterhoff of Bloomberg News wrote of the book. And cooperators can similarly reach for the heights of Manhattan real estate with 740 Park. It’s… Continue reading

December 4 2014

A Pinch of (Art) Basel


Avenue’s special Miami issue, out this week just in time for Art Basel Miami, is the last one I assigned during my summer job as the magazine’s acting editor-in-chief. Related’s Jorge Perez is on the cover. Tom Austin profiles the extraordinary Micky Wolfson within. And my Unreal Estate column looks at two historic properties, The Surf Club and the Hotel Shelborne, both re-envisioned for the new Miami and a new generation of snowbirds. Continue reading

November 23 2014

Record-setting broker ankles Zeckendorf-ville


Fifteen Central Park resident Kyle Blackmon, whose sale of Sanford Weill‘s penthouse there to fertilizer oligarch Dmitry Rybolovlev for $88 million still holds the record for the most expensive apartment sale in New York, has left the Brown Harris Stevens brokerage for upstart Urban Compass. BHS is partly owned by Will and Arthur Zeckendorf, the lead developers of Fifteen, and Arthur is one of Blackmon’s neighbors in the building where he’s been one of most productive broker-specialists. You’ve gotta wonder how welcome he’ll be at the sales office for the Zeckendorfs’ latest condo tower, 520 Park (shown), which the Real Deal pointed out last week, is actually rising at 45 East 60th Street, “and is not on Park at all.” If… Continue reading

November 8 2014

Christy Turlington needs no translation


I’m quoted in the new issue of Spain’s El Pais Semanal, in a profile penned by Ana Fernandez Parilla of “eternal model” Christy Turlington , highlighting her transition from supermodel to model businesswoman and philanthropist for maternal health. It was obvious, I say, even back in the day (when the photo at right was taken of Christy, Linda Evangelista and me), that she was something special even among the genetically-blessed, and time has confirmed that judgment. Continue reading

November 2 2014

Bullets over Miami Beach


The epic battle in Miami pitting the most successful shopping mall in America against a designer upstart backed by LVMH boss Bernard Arnault has tongues wagging from Palm Beach to South Beach–and is the subject of my latest story “Bal Harbour Shops vs. the Design District” (just unlocked) for Departures magazine. That’s Bal Harbour’s third-generation boss Matthew Whitman Lazenby at left and the Design District’s mastermind Craig Robins (right). I’m told both are peeved about the story. I must have done something right. Continue reading

October 28 2014

Ambition Avenue


A cover story on the fine art and close combat of social climbing leads off the November entertaining issue of Avenue, the last gasp of my summer gig as its acting editor-in-chief. Not, perhaps, the normal Avenue fare, but every meal needs a little spice, no? Check out the features on world-class hosts Georgette Farkas and Alex Hitz, too. And my Unreal Estate column looks at the latest uptown-style invader to land on once bohemian Waverly Place. It, too, has entertaining ambitions, it seems. Continue reading

October 27 2014

740 Park a New York Times bestseller!


More than nine years after it was first published, 740 Park just appeared at #18 on the New York Times e-book bestseller list. Thanks to all who put it there! Continue reading

October 25 2014


The New York Times tomorrow offers a compelling argument for taxing the owners of the often-empty pied-a-terre luxury condominium apartments that have filled Manhattan and coincidentally raised the price of real estate beyond the reach of many who actually want to live here. Bravo. Continue reading

October 17 2014

Where Arab royals shack up with Israeli billionaires

The Real Deal broke the news today that the ruling al-Quasimi clan of Sharja in the United Arab Emirates have snapped up a second spread at Fifteen Central Park West, co-developed by one of Israel’s richest men, billionaire Eyal Ofer. For the Emiratis, it’s their second unit in the building where hedge funders, a handful of celebs and flight capitalists cohabit. The sellers were Chinese billionaires Pan Shiyi and Zhang Xin, the married heads of SOHO China, the third-largest property company there. They sold for $14.25 million, a substantial discount from their original $19 million asking price. Continue reading

October 7 2014

Get 740 Park at Queens Village prices!!!


The kindly folks at Random House are offering the e-book of 740 Park at the bargain basement price of $1.99 for the next ten days. You can buy and download it at Amazon and
Barnes & Noble. Continue reading

How I Spent my Mexico City vacation


Eating! Continue reading

October 6 2014

Correction: Angier Biddle Duke at 740 Park

duke and jfk

Biddle Duke, son of Robin and Angier Biddle Duke, once residents of 740 Park Avenue (that’s the late Angier in the photo with JFK, whom he worked for), came to my book on the building a few years late. He takes belated issue with several sentences in it, so I offered to print his note to me verbatim here, and he agreed. He writes:

Dear Mr. Gross,
This is mostly a useless exercise, because the ink’s long dry now on 740 Park. All I can say is that I wish you’d called me about Mom and Dad, Robin and Angie Duke. That building and apartment was way before my time but, regardless, some of your reporting was incorrect, and pushed some [of] my buttons enough to get me to send you this note.

There’s no way in hell that Dad… Continue reading

October 2 2014

Feeling blue about Bloomberg’s take on One57′s Barnett


Extell’s Gary Barnett, developer of the supertall condo called One57, is the subject of a big feature in this week’s Bloomberg BusinessWeek. It’s my favorite magazine. And I’m happy that writer Devin Leonard quoted from my House of Outrageous Fortune in his piece, and implies (albeit indirectly) that the book’s subject, the condominium at 15 Central Park West, was the inspiration for Barnett’s erection on West 57th Street. But the profile (which I’d been looking forward to reading since Leonard interviewed me some months back), left me disappointed. I don’t fault BBW on the facts (though it calls Alex Rodriguez, 15CPW’s most controversial renter, an apartment owner), but rather, on the nuances. Here are… Continue reading

September 30 2014

The King of the Dinsosaurs and other tales of power in the city

David Koch Cover

The October issue of Avenue is out this week and is now available to read online. In today’s New York Post, Richard Johnson previews the cover story on 740 Park resident David Koch‘s philanthropy. The controversial conservative demonstrated his considerable sense of humor when he posed for us wearing a dinosaur tie (click the cover at right to see it) in front of two dinosaur skeletons at the American Museum of Natural History, one of the institutions he favors. The issue, which I guest-edited, also features this year’s Avenue A-List (are you on it?), a previously unpublished interview with the late Lauren Bacall, and my latest Unreal Estate column, revealing how I first came to write a real estate column. Continue reading

September 29 2014

Bullets over Beaches


The new Departures with my feature article on the retail war pitting the venerable Bal Harbour Shops vs. the upstart Miami Design District is now hitting the mailboxes of those lucky souls who get the magazine. You can see the opening art here, but the story itself is locked until the issue goes off sale. I will post as soon as it’s online Continue reading