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 27 2016

Michael J. Kennedy, R.I.P.

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Michael Kennedy, a prominent radical lawyer of the Sixties who became a noted Manhattan social figure in the Nineties, died on January 25th at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center at age 78. Kennedy was active to the end, and was last spotted by Gripepad at a screening of The Revenant just before Christmas. New York Magazine has remembered “Ivana’s Avenger,” my 1991 cover profile of Kennedy, a story reported and written without his cooperation in the midst of his highest profile case, representing Ivana Trump in her divorce from current presidential candidate Donald Trump. Continue reading

January 22 2016

Horses (with apologies to Patti Smith)

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In “All The Mayor’s Horses,” on The Awl, writer Brendan O’Connor tackles the ticklish and abiding question of New York’s horse carriage trade, which has been a (forgive this) pet subject in this pillar for several years now. In 2009, Gripepad mocked a proposal to replace the carriages with ersatz vintage electric cars. The actual proposal was then sent to me by a carriage proponent, and Gripepad revealed a possible pecuniary motive behind the move to ban the beloved horses: a hunger for the real estate (what else could it be in Manhattan?) the horses’ stables occupied. The Awl cites that scoop in its blame-them-all commentary, including anti-carriage kingpin Steve Nislick, whose foot soldiers launched an electronic hate mail… Continue reading

January 20 2016

Aby, baby

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“The Rise, Fall and Rise of Aby Rosen,” my Centurion magazine profile of the art-collecting real estate developer and operator, is still embargoed, but Rosen has posted it on the web site for his rising tower by Sir Norman Foster, 100 East 53rd Street (pictured), and you can read all about his life, times and frenemies like Ian Schrager, Peter Brant, and the owners of the Four Seasons restaurant there. Continue reading

January 13 2016

Treasury Dept. will follow in footsteps of House of Outrageous Fortune

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The United States Department of the Treasury announced today that it will begin to do broadly just what the New York Times bestselling House of Outrageous Fortune did for one prominent building, 15 Central Park West, back in 2014, and “identify the natural persons behind companies used to pay ‘all cash’ for high-end residential real estate in the Borough of Manhattan in New York City, New York.” The government press release goes on to say that “FinCEN [The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network] is concerned that all-cash purchases – i.e., those without bank financing – may be conducted by individuals attempting to hide their assets and identity by purchasing residential properties through limited liability companies or… Continue reading

January 11 2016

RIP Ziggy Stardust

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David Bowie at Radio City Music Hall February 1973 Continue reading

January 4 2016

Modeling: Reality compared to what?

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Last week, the Telegraph in the United Kingdom ran a story, “Debts, £300 salaries and career instability: the reality of modelling today,” that read like an obituary for the posing trade. “Few girls make it big these days, and fewer still have the backing to convert a smash debut into longevity,” the newspaper’s Ellie Pithers wrote. “For while the Kate Mosses and Gisele Bündchens amass millions, and command thousands for a catwalk appearance, most models work long hours with scant job security and earn very little…Increasingly, the most lucrative fashion campaigns and magazine covers are being won by actresses and reality TV personalities such as Gigi Hadid and Kendall Jenner.” But the fact is, fashion is a… Continue reading

December 23 2015

My next book revealed for Christmas: Don’t open ’til….July?

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Women’s Wear Daily aka WWD revealed the cover of Focus: The Secret, Sexy, Sometimes Sordid World of Fashion Photographers today in an article by Alexandra Steigrad. The book will be published July 5th, but pre-orders are vitally important nowadays, so if you’re interested please order a copy from your favorite online bookseller. Links to them all are here. Continue reading

December 11 2015

Throwback: Princess TNT at Versailles

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A new book’s been published on the home of Gloria von Thurn und Taxis, but she’s frankly turned dowdy in her current incarnation. Click the image to see and read a bit about the younger, wilder, glorious Princess Gloria I knew and loved in a wonderful photo by Roxanne Lowit, who covered a Karl Lagerfeld perfume launch at Versailles with me back in 1986. Not only did she go down on Karl’s cake, she led a few lucky souls on a comic tour of Versailles. This didn’t make my New York Times report, but at one point she wondered whether her ancestors had “gone pee-pee behind the pillars.” Continue reading

November 26 2015

Turkey? Or just a failed flip?

Reports surfaced yesterday of an epic flip fail at 15 Central Park West after the LLC that bought it last year sold for a small loss.  Sigh.  The original purchaser, pharmaceutical exec Richard Ullman, doubled his $24 million investment in the almost decade old tower.  But he actually lived there until his death.  The flipper, now out, should have known, you can’t  win ‘em all. Balloons will fly beneath its windows today.  Let’s hope they don’t deflate, too.   Continue reading

November 23 2015

Supertalls drooping? Tightening the Billionaire’s Belt

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Katherine Clark of The Real Deal’s report last week that the “irrational exuberance” among developers of apartments for the super-wealthy is waning, according to participants in a recent realty summit, seems to confirm anecdotal reports that have filtered into and through Gripepad in recent months. “The market today is very slow in terms of high-end condo sales,” Related CEO Steve Ross said. Realtors working the high end have recently whispered that sales have stalled at a certain already open-for-occupancy West 57th Street supertall tower and that the developers of others, just rising out of the ground, are wondering where all the billionaires and easy money have gone. As reported in my just-published profile of Aby… Continue reading

November 19 2015

Sutton Place: Sweet Suite

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Value investor Wilbur Ross has seen the future, and is betting on better days in east midtown, where the luxe district surrounding Sutton Place and Beekman Place was once the height of fashion but more recently has been forgotten if not faded. Ross has purchased a long-on-the-market 14-room duplex apartment at nearby River House, formerly owned by Arlene Farkas, initially listed at $15 million but sold at just over half that price. Ross, once the president of the board of trustees at The Dakota, currently occupies a grand penthouse at the corner of 57th Street and Seventh Avenue, in the shadow of Extell’s excrescence, One57, which towers over his sprawling terrace. In a curious footnote, Ross bought that apartment from… Continue reading

November 18 2015

What kind of woman do you think I am? We’ve already established that. We’re just haggling over the price.

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An e-mail just received from a “strategic communications” company: “We are now accepting [sic] interviews with Bree Olsen to discuss Charlie Sheen recently announcing he is HIV positive. Olsen is enraged and says Sheen never disclosed he was HIV positive in their year long relationship. If you would like to set up an interview with Bree Olsen, either email or call me …. Olsen requires interview compensation.”
Continue reading

November 10 2015

London Calling

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The battle royal between the competing dining empires of Jeremy King and Richard Caring was at the center of my story, “Who Rules The Night?” in the October issue of Departures. King created Le Caprice, The Ivy and other spots now owned by Caring. They compete with King’s newer The Wolseley, The Colony Room (pictured in a photo by Kate Martin) and others. And both men are expanding their empires. The story is now free to read online. And check back here next year for my profile of controversial developer Aby Rosen, out this week in the new issue of Centurion magazine. Or get an American Express Black Card quick! Membership, as they say, has its privileges, and that’s the only way to get that extremely exclusive… Continue reading

November 4 2015

15CPW drops a notch after seven years as NYC’s costliest building

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It was inevitable that Fifteen Central Park West would have to give up its crown as Manhattan’s most expensive building, but its seven-year run has nonetheless been impressive, and the building that finally usurped it owes it and its developers, Will and Arthur Zeckendorf, Eyal Ofer‘s Global Holdings, and Goldman Sachs, a great debt of thanks for setting the stage for the emergence of the Billionaire’s Belt that now girds fat-cat Midtown Manhattan, stretching from 15CPW at West 61st… Continue reading

November 2 2015

Don’t Look Back: Return of the Nineties

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In the new 40th Anniversary issue of Avenue, I mull the matter of the Nineties, and Society’s place in it. If a champagne glass falls in a forest of Vera Wangs and nobody hears it, did anyone really drop it? Continue reading

October 30 2015

Some crack with your Central Park views?

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The latest addition to the Billionaire’s Belt girdling midtown Manhattan, and a ubiquitous new feature of the city’s skyline, is the Rafael Viñoly-designed CIM and Macklowe Properties-developed 432 Park, now nearing completion and briefly enjoying its moment in (and near) the sun as the Western Hemisphere’s tallest residential building. Less visible, but still right there in front of our eyes, is what I’m told is a, cosmetic problem. Two unconnected sources confirm that the architectural concrete that covers the poured concrete tower has already developed cracks, and that scaffolds hanging from the pillar in recent weeks were there because Nicholson Galloway, a top masonry restoration company, was hired to coat the… Continue reading

October 29 2015

The slippery slope isn’t limited to fashion. Magazines are devolving, too.

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Vanessa Friedman‘s article on Alber Elbaz today is a perspicacious look at what’s wrong with the fashion system. But fashion, even in crisis, still reflects the broader culture. Is there really any difference between designers morphing into creative directors and magazine editors restyling themselves as brand managers? The degradation Friedman describes isn’t limited to the schmatte trade. Continue reading

October 26 2015

R.I.P. Anita Sarko

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I was traveling this weekend when I heard that Anita Sarko died thirteen days ago. It’s inexpressably sad–and I bold-faced her name because for me, she’ll always be alive. That’s her, at right, DJ’ing at Barbara Hodes‘ and my wedding. And here is a profile I wrote of her in the New York Times shortly thereafter. It works as an obit, but to add epitaph: Anita was always too much, but this is way too soon. (The photo is by Roxanne Lowit.) Continue reading

October 20 2015

Another one bites the dust: RIP Bookhampton

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Truly sad news in the inbox last night: Bookhampton, the multi-door east end independent bookseller, will close shop after this holiday season–unless a white knight comes along to save it. There are no words. And after December, there will literally be none left out there. Anyone want to step up and save the day? Continue reading

October 19 2015

Duane Reade it and weep?

Can we talk disgusting ripoffs? My fourteen-year-old dog has kidney issues and needed a human anti-nausea medication. For convenience sake, our vet called it into our local Duane Reade, where I picked up 30 4 MG Ondansetron tablets and was shocked by the $126 bill. So I called my vet who said the same Rx would have been $17 there. Though the bottle was sealed, citing state law, @DuaneReadeNY wouldn’t take it back. So I contacted @DuaneReade which told me I should have joined some prescription savings club. Too little too late? “As for the price provided by your veterinarian,” Phil Caruso of parent Walgreen’s media relations department wrote to me, “I am sorry I can’t speak to their business model?” I guess he means the… Continue reading