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.

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


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


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


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


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.”


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

August 1 2014

BBC on Eileen Ford


BBC Radio aired a tribute to the late Eileen Ford today. You can download it here. It begins at 9:08 minutes into the longer broadcast and features Katie Ford, Eileen’s daughter, and this reporter. Continue reading

July 31 2014

What $147 million buys (anywhere but the Hamptons)


What better way to start the weekend than to consider what horrifying hedgie-of-the-moment, Fifteen Central Park West duplex owner Barry Rosenstein, could have bought with the $147 million he’s spending for his ostentatious new East Hampton estate–if he didn’t feel the need to live in a quiet, low-profile location like Further Lane in East Hampton. The latest Unreal Estate column in Avenue magazine, “Isn’t it Rich? thinks it would be rich–and smart–to look elsewhere, and get a castle or an island or a ranch, and a Gulfstream VI with the change. Continue reading

July 29 2014

There’s millions to be made up on the roof


Two adjacent apartments at 15 Central Park West–boasting a massive combined terrace–went into contract for eight figures this week, reports Chris Pomorski of the New York Observer. Both units are owned by Fernando Chico Pardo, a Mexican businessman. And at an average sale price of $6,288 per square foot, apartments at 15CPW remain the city’s priciest, according to CityRealty (via Curbed). Take that, One57! Continue reading

July 25 2014

Clipped hedges?


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”

Rosenstein lead partner of Jana leaves the Agrium annual general meeting in Calgary

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


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


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…..


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


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

Continue reading

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


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


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