Archive for April, 2013

A Spring Awakening of True Love on West End Avenue

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Spring Awakening producer Tracy Aron‘s Clarence True-designed mansion on West End Avenue is the focus of my latest Unreal Estate column in Avenue Magazine, in better building lobbies now. You can also read it here. Listing is on the Corcoran web site.

Mo’ money, mo’ problems for Metropolitan Museum

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In a followup to its revelation yesterday that the Metropolitan Museum of Art has charged admission for forty-plus years in violation of its lease, reporters Isabel Vincent and Melissa Klein offer up Art of the $teal , a Sunday feature stuffed with more examples of the museum administration’s contempt for the public that owns its buildings, the land they sit on, and the art within. Gripepad supports the Met’s desire to collect admission, but finds its devotion to the public, to its own history and to the truth, in the words of its chief dissembler, a matter of interpretation.

Artful dodging at the Metropolitan Museum

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The New York Post filed a Freedom of Information Act request to gain access to the long-hidden agreement that–Metropolitan Museum of Art officials have always alleged, most recently in statement by museum director Thomas Campbell–gave them the right to charge admission. But reporter Julia Marsh‘s story today reveals that no such agreement exists. The link above does not include the response to the Post’s charges from Museum spokesman Harold Holzer that appears in the iPad version of the paper today. He calls the report “a matter of interpertation.” This from the same flack who called Rogues’ Gallery “highly misleading,” yet … Continue reading

Mi Coachella: Sex dolls, French food and mud baths

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I ran away to the circus two weekends back, or rather to Palm Springs and vicinity, where the Coachella circus had pitched its tents. My report on what I found is in tomorrow’s New York Post travel section. That’s Hope Springs, a lovely Desert Hot Springs resort, at right.

The Schwarzman Challenge

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In the last pages of 740 Park, written nine years ago, I challenged Stephen Schwarzman to live up to the standard set by John D. Rockefeller Jr., who’d once owned the private-equity chief’s apartment in that fabled building, and add significant philanthropy to his resume. It took a few years, but Schwarzman did take up that challenge, as has been noted in this space. Today’s New York Times finds the Blackstone boss in China, giving away money for good again, donating a third of the cost of a new $300 million scholarship program for study in China, and helping raise … Continue reading

Park Avenue on iTunes

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Alex Gibney‘s documentary Park Avenue: Money, Power and the American Dream, based on my book 740 Park: The Story of the World’s Richest Apartment Building, is now available for sale or rental in the iTunes store. UPDATE: This week’s issue of the New Yorker is led by a story about Gibney’s film, detailing the pressure put on WNET, New York’s public broadcasting station, for broadcasting it.

Applauding Lauder’s words as well as his deed

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Leonard Lauder‘s magnificent gift of a collection of Cubist masterpieces to the Metropolitan Museum of Art got front page treatment in the Times this morning. But the most interesting tid-bit was contained in the New York Post’s piece on the donation (which includes the Picasso at right). It quotes Lauder saying “This is a gift to the people who live and work in New York and those from around the world who come to visit our great art institutions.” That recognition–that the museum’s art is held in trust for the people of New York–is far too often forgotten or ignored … Continue reading

Out of the closet: 15CPW book title

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The Times’ Real Estate section on Sunday will include a story on New York’s growing obsession with closets by Elissa Gootman. It seems I let slip the title of my new book, just completed, on Fifteen Central Park West. It’s…here.

Eye on LA on Unreal Estate

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Good things are worth waiting for. Back in November 2011, when Unreal Estate was launched with a gala party at the Greystone Mansion in Beverly Hills, KABC’s “Eye on LA” filmed a piece on the book that finally aired–sixteen months later. Watch it here.

Isn’t it Majestic?

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What do Ian Schrager, Gary Gensler and Susan Soros have in common? The apartment at the Majestic on Central Park West that I peek into in this month’s Unreal Estate column in Avenue Magazine. I lived in the building once, too, for a couple of weeks, and majestic is a pretty good word for it.