Archive for April, 2008

Can’t Buy Me Love

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Steve Schwarzman is likely channeling Rodney Dangerfield today. He can’t get no respect. A very snarky article on B-1 of the Times takes pot-shots at the Blackstone Group biggie and the New York Public Library for its plan to plaster his name all over the library’s facade in thanks for his recently announced gift of $100,000,000 to kick-start the library’s modernization. Schwarzman’s spotty track record in philanthropy is well known. Less known, perhaps, is his relationship to books and authors. When I approached him for an interview for 740 Park, his contempt was as clear as it was clarifying. So … Continue reading

Vacancy at 740 Park

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Hear ye, hear ye, hedge fund honchos: There’s about to be a rare apartment for sale in the quiet half of 740 Park Avenue, the anti-chic “back of the bus” apartments that use 71 East 71st Street for their address. June Speight, widow of a former co-op board president (and one of the last of the old breed WASPS in the building), died this past weekend, which means that apartment 4/5 C (you can see an equivalent floor plan here) should be on the market soon, priced somewhere around $30 million. The last sale in the building, of the somewhat … Continue reading

Good Morning, Vienna

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In the new issue of Travel & Leisure, your faithful correspondent takes a look at the magic that is Vienna. (Photo by Adam Friedberg)

A Shark Story

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Marty Peretz has a slightly grumpy take on the Metropolitan Museum’s latest offerings on his blog, The Spine, focused on its upcoming Jeff Koons-on-the-roof exhibit. But the best line belongs to a commenter, commenting on a comment referencing Damien Hirst. “‘Does this mean that the Met has jumped the shark?’ Nah. Just installed it. ”

Model Walks Again

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Model: The Ugly Business of Beautiful Women is being rereleased on mp3 audio later this month. You can order it here.

Once, Bitten

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The news arrived today that Bitten Knudsen, a Danish-born fashion model, darling of the disco era, best buddy of the famous train wreck Gia Carangi, and one of my favorite models of all time died in her sleep on March 22 in Denmark. Bitten, who was featured in my book, Model, was an unapologetic bad girl who called herself The Kid and the multitude of men who chased her dogs. “As bad as you are, that’s how good you can be at your job,” she said. She was good bad, not evil. R.I.P., beauty.

Sibling Revelry

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Jim Romenesko of poynter.org’s medianews has just broken the news that my sister, Jane Gross, is one of the reporters taking the latest buyout from the New York Times. I’ve known about it, of course, but couldn’t say so until she did, and now she has. What she didn’t say, and I’m happy to say it for her, is that she was the first woman reporter ever in an NBA locker room while she was at Newsday; broke the story of the existence of crack; was one of the earliest reporters on the AIDS beat, and in that capacity was … Continue reading

Co-ops Keep the Faith

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According to the New York Observer, New York’s best buildings are the last bastion of standards in a condo kind of anything-goes world about to be shaken to its foundations by recession. They also call 740 Park — the book not the building — “colossol.” And it only costs $16.95.

Self-Knowledge is a Wonderful Thing

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The truly deeply awesomely despicable lawyer-couple who threatened costly litigation against a neighbor for smoking in her own apartment (“As you may not be aware, we are both lawyers and both litigators, for whom the usual barriers to litigation are minimal,” they wrote) are concerned that people won’t like them. So let the word go forth: it is legal for co-ops and condos to reject lawyers who behave like that: “Although a 1977 court decision upheld a landlord’s right to refuse to rent to a lawyer, the city’s human rights law was amended in 1986 to bar discrimination in housing … Continue reading

Temporarily Like Hercules

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In last week’s New York Observer package on the future of magazines, there’s an interesting quote from The New Yorker‘s editor David Remnick: “Let’s say God forbid something awful happened on a Monday. And someone Herculean could write a 5,000-word piece by Wednesday. Could I put that online? I could imagine it. But we are very, very, very rigorously edited and fact-checked… So can I imagine it? It would be very, very exceptional. It wouldn’t be part of the routine in the near future.” It wasn’t routine then either, but on a Monday in 1992, when word circulated that Remnick’s … Continue reading

Back to the Islands

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Travel + Leisure has just published the book Unexpected Italy, including my story on three islands in the Mediterranean mostly known only by Italians : Lampedusa, Ponza and Giglio. There’s a review today on Popmatters.

Meet the Neighbors

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What’s the difference between living next to Washington Square (as I did for years) and living next to Central Park (as I do now)? There are lots of them. On the one hand, consider rattus norvegicus, or Norway Rat, a typical downtown denizen. On the other, a recent midtown west newborn, spotted last night just inside Artisan’s Gate. I wouldn’t want either one as a pet but Rocky Raccoon’s awfully cute. vs. (Raccoon photo taken 4/1/08 by Paul Grayson of photeinos.com)