About Michael Gross

Michael Gross, one of America's most provocative non-fiction writers, is the author of the New York Times bestsellers House of Outrageous Fortune and Model, as well as 740 Park and 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.

July 25 2014

Clipped hedges?

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News today of the impending divorce of Chicago-based hedgies Ken and Anne Dias Griffin neglected to mention one irony of the situation: both the Griffins and Mrs. Griffin’s divorce lawyer, Robert Stephan Cohen, once rented condominiums at posh 15 Central Park West. Griffin looked to buy there, and eventually rented apartment 9B, despite the presence of his hedge fund enemy Daniel Loeb, in one of the building’s crowning penthouses. Cohen hated living there and soon moved away. Griffin’s unit is pictured. Continue reading

July 24 2014

“Rosenstein surely owes that broker big time”

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Barry Rosenstein, the pugnacious hedge fund operator who owns a 15 Central Park West duplex and recently bought America’s most expensive home, a $147 million East Hampton estate, is being sued (along with the estate that sold the estate) by Corcoran, the real estate brokerage, reports today’s New York Post. Corcoran alleges that Rosenstein and the estate conspired to avoid paying a commission on the sale to broker Tim Davis. Davis, the subject of my latest Unreal Estate column in Avenue, published earlier this month, was already the year’s highest-earning East End broker, with $430 million in sales last year. In the column, which broke the exclusive news that a broker was in fact involved in what was reported as a… Continue reading

July 23 2014

Soviet-Union-born dentist offers 15CPW home for $55,000 a month

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Curbed reports that dental clinic owner Alexander Mikhailov, an original apartment owner at Fifteen Central Park West, has put his 34th floor unit (shown) up for rent. One of the building’s center apartments (described in House of Outrageous Fortune as a railroad flat for rich people), it is being brokered by realty firm Mercedes/Berk, whose principals are not only business and life partners, but also Fifteen residents, and Noel Berk holds a seat on the posh condo’s governing board, which likely won’t make the approval process for the $55,000-a-month rental easier, but certainly won’t hurt any applicants’ chances. Continue reading

July 18 2014

Duplex dude gets new Google gig

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Omid Kordestani, typically described as a senior advisor to one of Google’s founders, Larry Page now has a clearer title: head of advertising sales. ““There is nothing Omid doesn’t know about Google, our customers and partners,” Page said in making the announcement, which presumably means he knows what each of searches for. But turnabout is fair play and readers of House of Outrageous Fortune know where Kordestani lives in New York–in duplex penthouse 16C at 15 Central Park West (formally owned by an LLC called OK15NY). His terraces nestle against those of the musician known as Sting, and hedgie heavy Barry Rosenstein. Continue reading

July 16 2014

Ganek, Ganek, Gone…..

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Hedgie David Ganek bought the 740 Park duplex where Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy grew up (in an apartment provided to her father “Black Jack” Bouvier by her grandfather, 740 developer James T. Lee) just before 740 Park was published. Now, having purchased a loft at Jared Kushner‘s renovated Puck Building just after Departures published my story featuring the lavish home, Ganek’s put his 740 unit on the market via Sothebys’ broker Serena Boardman, asking $44 million. Continue reading

July 13 2014

Eileen Ford and the Sexual Revolution

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Today’s New York Post features an article adapted from Model: The Ugly Business of Beautiful Women, on the life of the late Eileen Ford and the rise and fall of her legendary Ford Models agency. Continue reading

July 12 2014

More on Eileen Ford from Marketplace on NPR

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July 10 2014

Eileen Ford, RIP

I just learned that fashion modeling pioneer Eileen Ford, 92, died today. Her life story is fully told in Model: The Ugly Business of Beautiful Women, which can be ordered via links on this web site. UPDATE: Here are obits from the Los Angeles Times (which was so nice, they did the obit twice) and the New York Times. Continue reading

July 3 2014

Big deals at the beach

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In the July issue of Avenue on the Beach, just released, Unreal Estate looks at the last year’s biggest real estate deals and the East End’s biggest real estate broker, Tim Davis, whose $437 million in transactions last year make him King of the Hamptons Hill. Bad Bad Barry Rosenstein (pictured with his new Hamptons estate), the 15CPW hedgie who thinks privacy and record setting real estate deals on Further Lane are not mutually exclusive, makes a cameo appearance, too. Continue reading

June 27 2014

The undiscovered Riviera

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Just in time for summer, Departures has unlocked “The Other Side of Paradise,” my story on the eastern Riviera, the stretch of coast between Eze Board-Sur Mer in France and Ventimiglia in Italy. That’s Le Cabanon in Cap d’Ail in the photo. But one of the great places I found there. Continue reading

June 26 2014

A midtown west walking tour with Gotham Mag

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Gotham Magazine asked me to take its readers on a walking tour of my old neighborhood, starting at Fifteen Central Park West, subject of the “dishy chronicle,” House of Outrageous Fortune, and “the city’s most desirable address,” says writer Leigh King. Continue reading

June 25 2014

Defining deficiency downwards

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The Confidential column in the Daily News claimed on Monday that Alex “A-Rod” Rodriguez is seeking to return to Fifteen Central Park West, where he once rented half of what is now a mammoth combined apartment that has been languishing on the market since 2010–an uncommon failure at the posh condo–at prices ranging from $95 million down to the current ask of $65 million. A bargain (though perhaps not for green hamburger)! It is unclear if Rodriguez wants to rent or buy owner Leroy Schecter‘s thus-far unwanted, unloved spread or another but, the News reports, the condo’s board doesn’t want him back, anyway, allegedly due to behavior briefly chronicled in House of Outrageous Fortune, mostly involving what were once quaintly… Continue reading

June 17 2014

Is it Izzy?

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Curbed reports today that the French government’s apartment at 740 Park Avenue has been sold, according to Paris Match, to upstairs neighbor Israel “Izzy” Englander after a bidding war that saw the price soar millions over ask to tie the current co-op sale record of $70 million. Englander, a secretive hedge fund runner, is unlikely to confirm or expand, but his history and that of his current apartment–a rare, sprawling 740 simplex, are spelled out in 740 Park. And if the report is true, he will climb over his upstairs neighbor Steve Schwartzman to become 740′s big man on campus. Not that guys like that care whose is bigger!

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June 11 2014

Comeback Cribs

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River House. 19 East 72nd Street. 43 Fifth Avenue. The Century. Alwyn Court (shown as photographed by Berenice Abbott). These and more classic co-ops and condos are suddenly showing surprising market strength. What’s up with that? I look at the new phenomenon of fast-rising values for venerable old apartments in tomorrow’s New York Post. Continue reading

June 10 2014

VoiceAmerica on 15CPW

Listen to Good Morning New York Real Estate with Vince Rocco on VoiceAmerica internet radio here as we discuss House of Outrageous Fortune and more. Continue reading

June 6 2014

Party like it’s 15CPW


Ekaterina Rybolovleva became a 23-year international phenomenon two years ago when her father, Dmitry Rybolovlev, a billionaire former Russian fertilizer oligarch, bought Sandy Weill‘s penthouse at Fifteen Central Park West (floorplan at right) for a record-setting $88 million, and said it was for her. His then-wife begged to differ, claiming he’d bought it to hide money from her in their ongoing divorce. As reported exclusively in House of Outrageous Fortune, Ekaterina rarely used the penthouse, however, and now that the Rybolovlev divorce has concluded, so has the charade that the empty residence is the young lady’s home. She celebrated her 25th birthday this week on the Greek island of Skorpios, another gift to her… Continue reading

May 28 2014

A good habit: Houses, not heroin

Hollywood hyphenate Sandy Gallin has a bad Hamptons house habit. He buys ‘em and flips ‘em and I flip out over his latest production in my latest Unreal Estate column in the latest issue of Avenue (at the Beach). Read it before it’s too late. Continue reading

On Kimye: “Hell is truth seen too late.” –Thomas Hobbes

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Two and a half years ago, long before Kimye was a glimmer in Anna Wintour‘s eye for fashion, I wrote a column called “Discarding the Kards,” wondering what the rise of a certain reality-TV family meant, and bemoaning the “Culture of Stupid” they symbolized. Last week, those chickens came home to roost, as evidenced by a brilliant New York Post story (click photo to read). “I’d like to find a glimmer of light in the Kardarkness,” I observed in 2011. “Just as Occupy Wall Street spontaneously… Continue reading

May 25 2014

Pirhana power: Under the radar with Barry Rosenstein

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“He lays off 6,000 grocery store employees but details about his life are [a] ‘tragic invasion of privacy’?” says an email I got this morning from a reader of the New York Post’s latest excerpt from House of Outrageous Fortune. This time, the focus has shifted from hookers and holdouts to one of the most powerful and heretofore secretive apartment owners in 15CPW’s hedgie hive, the billionaire “activist” investor Barry Rosenstein. The pages on him “so infuriated the hedge funder that he complained to the building’s management,” the Post reveals, calling the book “a tragic violation of privacy.” The Chicago Tribune’s Melissa Harris recently speculated that a $300 million investment in the Safeway chain by Rosenstein’s JANA… Continue reading

May 23 2014

Bitter family squabble ends with $48 million sale at 15CPW

The children of Richard Ullman, who went from pharmacist to pharmaceutical benefits mogul before dying of cancer in 2011, has left Fifteen Central Park West with a $24 million profit after doubling its money with the sale of Ullman’s duplex penthouse in the uber-condo’s front, or “House,” building. The sale, reported last night by The Real Deal, brings down the curtain on an ugly domestic drama pitting Ullman’s three kids against his second wife and widow. The whole sad saga unspools in the pages of House of Outrageous Fortune. Continue reading