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.

October 9 2015

Dining David takes on London’s Goliaths


While reporting “Who Rules the Night?” for the new issue of Departures, I took one lunch off to try the most highly-touted new restaurant in Mayfair. If Richard Caring and Jeremy King, the protagonists of the Departures piece, are London’s restaurant Goliaths, the owners of Kitty Fisher’s are the local dining scene’s Davids. Occupying the ground and basement floors of a tiny house on Shepherd Market square in Mayfair, the minimally-decorated Kitty Fisher’s opened late last year to such instant acclaim, its phone robot told callers reservations would only be accepted eight hours each week, and only for lunch, never dinner. Chef Tomos Parry’s Basque-flavored modern British cooking was so good, the ten tables… Continue reading

October 8 2015

The battle royal for London diners


“Who Rules The Night?” in the new, special London issue of Departures, just released, is my story about the British restaurant rivals Jeremy King and Richard Caring (shown at right). The dishy piece–with a supporting cast that includes Mark and Robin Birley, Keith McNally, Vanity Fair editor Graydon Carter, and Arkady Novokov, whose dining empire extends from Moscow to the UK–is currently available only to lucky Departures subscribers. Check back here and I’ll post it once it’s unlocked. Continue reading

October 5 2015

Halloween Feast With Mimi Sheraton


On Halloween afternoon, Saturday October 31, I’ll be interviewing Mimi Sheraton at a luncheon at Rotisserie Georgette about her book, 1,000 Foods to Eat Before You Die. The meal with begins with Champagne Duval – LeRoy, Barigoule d’Artichauts and Brandade de Morue, followed by a main course of Poulet Rôti “Farnèse” dressed with Cognac and toasted hazelnuts, and a decadent Pomme Aligot, and ends with a duo of Chocolate and Ginger Pot de Crème for dessert. Please click the image and buy tickets to be there. Continue reading

October 2 2015

Ralph rides again


In tomorrow’s Guardian, Emine Saner profiles Ralph Lauren, subject of my Genuine Authentic, and a full blown-American original whom I compare to the late Steve Jobs in the piece: “He can literally shape reality to his own will.” Continue reading

Billion Dollar Babies (plus an ink-stained wretch)

Me and the Zeckendorfs_Craig_Barritt_250

Will and Arthur Zeckendorf, co-developers of Fifteen Central Park West, launched the sales gallery for their latest project, 520 Park, another Robert A.M. Stern limestone-clad production, this week–and we realized we’d never before posed for a picture together. They’re not really taller than me; they’re standing on their wallets. (Photo by Craig Barritt) Continue reading

September 30 2015

“Who reads clips anymore?”

Yesterday, when the news that Ralph Lauren was stepping down as CEO of Polo/Ralph Lauren first broke, I put up a Facebook post linked to the New York Times report, noting with astonishment that the newspaper of record said Lauren had never had a business partner aside from Roger Farah, who came along late in the Polo game and recently retired. Lauren not only had a partner, the late Peter Strom, who was instrumental in creating the Polosphere, his role was noted in the New York Times in a 1987 article on fashion partnerships by this reporter, “In Search of the Perfect Angel.” It quotes Lauren saying of the man he called his best friend, who sat in an adjoining office, “I needed someone I felt was knowledgeable, honest and… Continue reading

September 29 2015

Everybody’s a critic: 57th Street edition


In this week’s The New Yorker, Adam Gopnik reflects on life in big cities with big buildings in a critique of several books on the subject. In the course of his meditation on urbanity, Gopnik echoes this blogger’s habitual use of somewhat crude sexual metaphors to describe certain buildings on Manhattan’s Fifty-seventh Street. In 2011, in Crain’s New York, I called Extell’s One57 skyscraper “Mr. [Christian de] Portzamparc‘s midblock erection,” referring to its architect. Playing with the metaphor in 2012 in The Daily Beast, I described One57 developer Gary Barnett‘s Hurricane Sandy-savaged construction crane (pictured) as a “flaccid, dangling boom of doom…drooping next to Extell’s huge erection.” Now comes Gopnik. “The… Continue reading

September 21 2015

Salezapoppin’ at 15CPW


Apartment 8A at Fifteen Central Park West is in contract for $35 million, reports Donna Olshan of Olshan Realty, which issues a weekly report on contracts signed for New York apartments selling for $4 million or more. As usual, count on Gripepad to name names. The seller, lurking behind an LLC called Swiftsure Property, and soon to slightly more than double his $17 million investment on the four bedroom, 4,565 square foot spread, is Gerald E. Ross, a litigator and name partner in Fryer & Ross, a firm that specializes in “sophisticated litigation and arbitration in the areas of insurance coverage, securities regulation, RICO, protection of high technology intellectual property rights and partnership law, particularly as it… Continue reading

September 18 2015

Indonesia on the Hudson: Fifteen owner asks $31 million


Last night, Mansion Global, the Wall Street Journal’s real estate spinoff, revealed the latest listing at Fifteen Central Park West, subject of House of Outrageous Fortune–apartment 28D, a three bedroom corner spread with three exposures, listed for $31 million. As is so often the case with condos on the billionaire’s belt, the owner is hidden behind a corporate name, Christopher Properties, a California-based real estate investment company. The broker describes that owner as “an international entrepreneur who previously used the residence as a pied-à-terre.” In fact, the occupant of the apartment is an Indonesian named Andre Kohar, a director of that firm, but it appears the real owner is a relative, Kindarto Kohar, a… Continue reading

September 13 2015

Snapper Patter


In today’s New York Post and on PageSix.com, Richard Johnson gets the scoop that I’ve turned the camera around to look at the lives of fashion photographers like Richard Avedon, Steven Meisel and Bruce Weber in my new book, Girls on Film: The Glory Days of Fashion Photography (out next year). It’s a whole new set of sometimes sordid, sometimes soaring stories, as well as a companion of sorts to Model: The Ugly Business of Beautiful Women. The e-book of that New York Times bestseller is selling for $1.99 for one more week in a special New York Fashion Week flash sale. #NYFW #girlsonfilm Continue reading

September 10 2015

Cut Rate Model for #NYFW

In celebration of New York Fashion Week @nyfw, the e-book of MODEL: The Ugly Business of Beautiful Women, is on sale for $1.99 !! #markdownmadness #nyfw Continue reading

September 1 2015

Acid Reflux in Ta-Ta-Ville


Yesterday, Town and Country, the Hearst Corporation’s society mag, or rather, its blog (how, chic, how now, dahhling) excavated Takeover in Ta-Ta-Ville, my 1988 article on the decline of Southampton for New York magazine, to point out that Sunday’s Styles of the Times cover story on the effects of new money on the place now universally known as The Hamptons is (shock! horror!) just a re-telling of a story we’ve heard before. Thereby telling it yet again. Can you pass the Tums, toots? Continue reading

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


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

Polo player chukkas 15CPW pad

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


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

departures logo

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


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?


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