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 28 2014

Ambition Avenue

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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!

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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

Pied-a-tax?

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!!!

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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

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Eating! Continue reading

October 6 2014

Correction: Angier Biddle Duke at 740 Park

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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

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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

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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

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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

September 26 2014

House of Outrageous Fortune’s new clothes

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The trade paperback edition of House of Outrageous Fortune won’t be out until March, but its outrageously fun new jacket (at right) was just unveiled by online booksellers. Click the image to see it in all its glory. Simultaneously, the latest reader review hit amazon.com. It reads, “If you want to see how the one-percenters live, this is the book for you! Boggles the mind.” Thanks, B. Turner (real name). Continue reading

September 25 2014

Mother of Mercy, is this the end of the Rico condo?

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Just as the New York State Senate indicated it is set to consider legislation levying stiff taxes on multi-million-dollar pied-a-terre apartments, the developing brothers, Arthur and Will Zeckendorf, and their starchitect-marketing-marvel Robert A.M. Stern, protagonists of House of Outrageous Fortune, went public with the offering plan for their 15 Central Park West clone, 520 Park Avenue (at right), topped by a triplex penthouse on offer for a staggering, record-setting, epochal, awe-inspiring, gasp-inducing $130 Million. Call it Limestone Yeezus, the Kanye of condos! Needless to say, whoever might consider buying such a deluxe a-party-ment in the sky will likely be able to afford the new tax, too. But The Real Deal Continue reading

September 22 2014

Join me on the Runway of Love

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I’m speaking at the Philadelphia Museum of Art on Sunday at 2 PM on a panel (along with Pat Cleveland, Bjorn Amelan and Carol Mongo) as part of Runway of Love, a celebration of the exhibition on the life and work of American-designer-in-Paris Patrick Kelly. Please come! Continue reading

September 17 2014

Page Six Vaporizes $40 Million

The owners of two apartments in the tower at 15 Central Park West are in for a surprise this morning: Page Six has made their homes–together worth considerably more than $40 million–disappear. Reporting that Robert DeNiro has rented two combined units in the condo, both owned by elderly metals magnate Leroy Schecter, the fabled gossip column describes apartment 35 A/B–which it claims is going for a stunning $125,000 a month–as occupying “an entire floor” and “a full floor” in the building. That leaves next-door apartments 35C, currently listed for $29.995 million with Brown Harris Stevens, and 35D in the northern half of the tower in some strange limbo–which will be news to their owners, bankers Michael Lewis of… Continue reading

September 3 2014

Back to School

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September is coming in like a lion, bringing with it a rush of news. Yesterday, Matt Chaban penned an update in the Times on the doings at River House that this reporter has been covering in Avenue for several years. His big scoop: board president John Allison, architect of the building’s new glasnost policy, has listed his own apartment. And the September issue of Avenue, where I’m guest editor while Daisy Prince is on maternity leave, is now live online. My latest Unreal Estate column concerns the sale of a townhouse long occupied by Ashraf Pahlavi, the twin sister of the former Shah of Iran. And you’ll probably want to check out Avenue’s list of the 25 Sexiest New Yorkers.

Continue reading

Izzy Does It

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Hedgie Israel Englander‘s purchase of the French government’s duplex at 740 Park Avenue for a co-op-record-setting $71,277,500 hit public records over the weekend. Assuming he plans to combine his new palace with his existing one, a flight above, to create a massive triplex, Englander will likely top upstairs moneybags neighbor Stephen Schwarzman , and be able to claim ownership of the most impressive spread in the luxury building. Square footage in co-ops is difficult to compute, but his current fourteenth floor apartment (shown at left), one of the building’s few simplexes, which he’s owned since 2000, sprawls across 740′s entire Park Avenue front, while the former residence of the French UN ambassador sits just below in… Continue reading

August 13 2014

Lovebirds Fly

Two of the more colorful residents of Fifteen Central Park West have flown the coop, according to Katharine Clark of the Daily News and public records. Spanx founder Sara Blakely and Marquis Jets co-founder Jesse Itzler have now sold the last of their three 15CPW apartments, this time raking in a $17 million profit. Public records show the buyer as Latovest, a trust. Blakely and Itzler’s combination of capitalist achievement and off-kilter craziness made them favorites of the Fifteen staff. Follow this link for a photo of Blakely in her Fifteen next. Continue reading

August 12 2014

Originality isn’t easy

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Years ago, a grizzled old reporter told me to always avoid the word original, as there is precious little new under the sun. I was reminded of that when I picked up the current Architectural Digest and spotted an article about fashion designer Francisco Costa‘s house in Bellport, New York. The writer dubbed that south shore Long Island village the unHampton, reminding me that I’d done the same 22 years ago in a New York magazine summer profile of the place (pictured at right). I thought I was so clever. But it turns out that the first use of that coinage wasn’t mine. It may not have been Leonore Fleischer‘s either, but a quick check revealed a 1981 “Letter From New York” in the Washington Post, in which the appellation… Continue reading

August 7 2014

The other tower of power

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Business Insider touts 740 Park as the Billionaire’s Hive this week. The more things change, the more they stay the same, I guess. Continue reading

August 4 2014

“The people who rule the world live here.”

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The House of Outrageous Fortune, 15 Central Park West, was featured on USA Today’s web site this weekend. Continue reading