Archive for September, 2012

Cavallo, my sweet: A sunny island with a noirish past

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My debut story for Departures magazine appears in its new, October issue and looks at the chiarosco history and bright present of the Isle de Cavallo, a tiny French island nestled between Corsica and Sardinia. It’s behind a firewall for now, available only to subscribers, but I’ll post a link once it’s unlocked. Until then, enjoy the view from the beach.

At long last, 740′s Speight pad sells

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The longtime home of 740 Park’s longtime co-op board head Randolph Speight (a compelling presence in my book 740 Park) and his widow June, on the market since her 2008 death, is reported sold today by Kim Velsey at the New York Observer. She IDs the buyers as Jonathan Sobel, a former Goldman Sachs partner, and his wife Marcia Dunn. “Shouldn’t Mr. Sobel be joining the rest of the Goldman gang in 15 Central Park West, or even showing them all up and buying into One57?” Velsey asks. Then she answers her own question. “Some buildings, 740 Park chief among … Continue reading

Real Estate Mud Wrestling: 15CPW vs. One57

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The New York Times Big Deal column is as obsessed with Extell’s upraised starchitect digit on 57th Street, One57, as I am with 15CPW, and in his latest installment of Gary Barnett Eats Midtown, reporter Alexei Barrionuevo talks about the push and pull of providing the billionaires Barnett says are flocking to buy apartments there with the posh pads they require. Barrionuevo also graciously cites the Gripebox scooplet about Michael Holtz, a former 15CPW owner who has bought himself a piece of the big new tower in town. Moving on up!

One57 Mystery Buyer: A (Not So) Big Reveal

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Our local newspapers are lately locked into a top-this battle to hype uber-luxe apartments for the uber-wealthy. Extell’s Gary Barnett, now feverishly flogging his West 57th Street development One57, is the current master of highrise hype. But though his fan dance is all about obfuscation, the real estate gossips are all atwitter as he pours sweet nothing-much in their ears about how many apartments he’s sold and to whom, without ever naming names. Barnett is also obsessed with 15 Central Park West (subject of my next book, btw), the reigning monarch of big-money buildings, so in his latest act of … Continue reading

If it’s September, this must be 834 Fifth

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When I started researching the book that became 740 Park, I began with a list of fascinating buildings, and eventually settled on one. But the others retain their fascination and thanks to Avenue, which gave me a column in the spring named after my current book, Unreal Estate, I now get to write about them, too. My September column (read it here) peeks past the doorman at 834 Fifth, home of Rupert Murdoch, A. Alfred and Judy Taubman and Carroll Petrie, among many others.

Meet the Met

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An exclusive story in today’s New York Post alleges that there is a secret deal between the Metropolitan Musem of Art and neighboring co-ops to “scale down big plans for the institution’s iconic plaza.” It apppears, however, that some of those neighbors are not going to lie down and acquiesce to any plan to turn that plaza into a food court. But those who forget–or don’t know–the past are, as the saying goes, condemned to repeat it. Such is the case with the museum neighbor who fumed, “This was a museum of the people. Now it’s the people versus this … Continue reading

Oscar de la Renta: A Thin-Skinned Weiner?

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In today’s WWD, Oscar de la Renta (formerly Oscar Renta), the fashion designer and husband of Metropolitan Museum of Art Vice Chairman Annette de la Renta (formerly Anne France Mannheimer, Annette Engelhard, and Annette Reed) sticks a pin into New York Times fashion critic Cathy Horyn. The question is, Huh? Oscar was apparently offended by a generally positive if cursory review of his latest “lively…generally cantankerous” runway show, in which she Horyn called him “far more a hot dog than an eminence gris” of Seventh Avenue (he is, IMHO, both). In response, de la Renta bought a full page ad … Continue reading

Museum Piece: Vintage Miuccia Prada

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In 1993, I interviewed Miuccia Prada in Milan for a story (never written) on the revival of venerated labels like Prada and Gucci. The tape popped out of a box in storage not long ago, and the conversation is published here for the first time.

Dona Quixote: The Model Edition

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The New York Observer’s crack observer Drew Grant looks at what goes on behind the scenes at Fashion Week in a cover story today–and it isn’t a pretty picture. Readers of Model: The Ugly Business of Beautiful Women already knew that, but this regular reminder was inspired by a new documentary, Girl Model, and Sara Ziff‘s Model Alliance, which, I fret towards the end of the piece, will be another Quixotic attempt at reform in the frontier trade in genetic lottery winners. (Jason Seiler‘s impression of Alliance-supporter and 90′s supe Shalom Harlow, at right, is snatched from