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.

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


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

River House before highway 1

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.


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


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


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


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?


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.


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


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


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

October 14 2015

A Tweet from 15CPW comes to Twitter


Reuters reports that Iranian-American Omid Kordestani, an early Google executive, is moving to Twitter as its new executive chairman. Kordestani and wife Gisel own a duplex on the 16th and 17th floors of Fifteen Central Park West, between hedge hog Barry Rosenstein of Jana Partners and wife Lizann and Sting and wife Trudie Styler. Lloyd Blankfein of Goldman Sachs lives with wife Laura on Rosenstein’s other side, making the floor a trick-or-treater’s delight. Continue reading

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