Archive for October, 2013

Pearlstine a second time

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Norman Pearlstine, the brilliant editor who left the Wall Street Journal in 1995 to head up Time Inc, then left Time for Bloomberg, is returning to Time for a second stint as it’s top editorial executive, reports Crains New York Business. Back when he first joined Time, I profiled him for Esquire in a story titled “A Perfect Day for Banana Feet.” Welcome back, Norm!

All is vanity, nothing is fair…

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The slogan above was Tina Brown‘s mantra when she took over Vanity Fair in the ’80s and made it the hottest magazine in the world. This week, I was reminded of it when Vanity Fair turned up the heat on 15CPW penthouse owner and hedge fund firebrand Dan Loeb, with a feature story by William D. Cohan that includes a vignette about a little misadventure Loeb had in Cuba eleven years ago. Yesterday, Emily Smith of Page Six reported on VF’s revelations, and hinted that interested parties may learn more about the hedgie legend when House of Outrageous Fortune is … Continue reading

Lou Reed, R.I.P.

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Lou Reed died this morning in Southampton, New York, at age 71. This is from the 1993 Velvet Underground reunion tour, courtesy YouTube.

Beijing “It” couple ankles Fifteen Central Park West

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Pan Shiyi and Zhang Xin, the married heads of SOHO China (pictured from China Daily), the third-largest property company in China, were recently profiled on 60 Minutes, but their new American renown is apparently not enough to keep them at Fifteen Central Park West. They have listed their six-room pied-a-terre, unit #2A, with Brown Harris Stevens for $19 million. Their limited liability company, poetically named Nightingale and Orchard, paid $7,738,700 for it after they bought the unit from floor plans in 2006.

Met Museum lease amended: Better late than never!

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Forty-plus years after the Metropolitan Museum of Art instituted its Pay What You Want But You Must Pay Something admission policy, it has finally been formalized by the city of New York, which has amended the museum’s lease to allow it. And so, one of the museum board’s long-standing misstatements (the lease was already amended it long claimed, and then when it emerged that it hadn’t been, well, huff, puff, it didn’t need to be), has been miraculously wiped away. Rather like the way the magical museum has traditionally laundered reputations and ill-gotten gains through the alchemy of cultural philanthropy. … Continue reading

Deborah Turbeville, R.I.P.

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Just heard that the brilliant photographer Deborah Turbeville died yesterday after an eight-month battle with lung cancer. She was listening to Rachmaninoff on her iPod when she passed away, her agent Marek Milewicz said. A former model and fashion editor, Turbeville brought a unique point of view to fashion photography, and her pictures, always beautiful, sometimes eerie, sometimes disturbing, stand as a remarkable testament to her great talent. She was 76 years old. The photo is from the Lucie Awards web site.

Outrageous praise

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Peter Pennoyer, the chairman of The Institute of Classical Architecture & Art, a distinguished architect himself, and the co-author (often with 15CPW architect Robert A.M. Stern) of books on Grosvenor Atterbury, Delano & Aldrich and Warren & Wetmore, has penned an advance endorsement of House of Outrageous Fortune: “Michael Gross captures the phenomenon that is 15 Central Park West, where creative talent, towering ambition and unimaginable wealth instill a magical aura of glamour and romance not seen in a Gotham apartment house since the Gatsby era.”

House of Outrageous Fortune A-Rod scoop: A shot heard ’round the world

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Richard Johnson‘s exclusive scoop in his new New York Post column on revelations in House of Outrageous Fortune about Alex A-Rod Rodriguez‘s Fifteen Central Park West escapades traveled around the world last night and ended up on two front pages here in the embattled Yankee slugger’s home base. Good to have you back, RJ. Or should I call you Elvis again? UPDATE: George Rush, former Daily News gossip columnist and author of the new book Scandal: A Manual, reminds me that A-Rod’s taste in playtime companions has been aired before.

Vornado, Extell, Stern: You read it here first

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Bloomberg BusinessWeek is one of Gripepad’s favorite magazines, proving the value of print week in and week out. Last night, midweek, it issued a news alert that New York developers Extell and Vornado had confirmed that they’d made peace in a bitter dispute over two development lots and that Vornado would use Robert A.M. Stern (shown with this reporter in the 15 Central Park West sales office) as the architect for a new condominium tower at 220 Central Park South. Bloomberg failed to note that both stories were published here first and exclusively. The Stern/Vornado deal came first, seventeen months … Continue reading

Obamacare, New York-style: FUBAR to the max

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Thanks to the New York Post, I learned this morning that my current health care plan, called a sole proprietor plan, will cease to exist on January 1st thanks to the new rules of Obamacare, so I ventured onto the New York State healthcare marketplace website to find a replacement. My first discovery: the website doesn’t play well with Internet Explorer. So, firing up Google Chrome a half hour later at the suggestion of the official helpline, I finally got myself registered and tried to shop, only to discover a menu of mostly off-brand health insurance carriers none of my … Continue reading

One57: Stalled Extellence

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I got an earful today from one of the city’s top luxury apartment brokers on the stalled status of sales at Extell’s much-hyped One57, and the news is, alas, less than extellent. Months ago, as he touted sales of trophy penthouses for sums in excess of $90 million, Extell founder Gary “Dangling Boom” Barnett claimed his condos (which sit atop a planned Park Hyatt hotel) were 70% sold out. But sales, I hear, are even more stuck than that concrete block that dangled from One57′s trouble-plagued crane earlier this week, with most of the 30% of unsold units in the … Continue reading

NoHo Nomad

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I profiled the boutique developer Adam Gordon in the new issue of Alexa Luxe Living in the New York Post, on newsstands and online today.

Met Museum money mystery: Solved!

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A longstanding mystery about the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s much-debated pay-what-you-wish-but-you-must-pay-something admission policy is solved at last in an understated story on the fracas on the front page of today’s New York Times The Arts section. First reported in the New York Post, the mystery hinges on whether New York City ever formally approved “recommended” admission charges at the Met and other cultural institutions that occupy city-owned land and buildings. In the story, Sarah Lyall reveals that although an agreement was reached in 1970 between museum director Thomas Hoving and Parks Commissioner August Heckscher, the Met’s lease was never amended … Continue reading

Extell’s Britney Barnett: Oops, I did it again!

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At this point, it’s hard to know what else to say. City favorite, DOB boy-toy and Community Board #5′s developer bestie Gary Barnett of Extell and his construction team from LendLease have once again lost control of their construction crane and caused chaos on surrounding streets as dead weight dangles above. Wait ! I know: Give that man permission to build even higher! That’s the ticket!

Pulling back the curtain on 15CPW

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The fantastic cover of House of Outrageous Fortune has been outed on Atria/Simon & Schuster’s web catalog, and Curbed New York got there first. As always, the comments are a kick. “March is like, too many damn months away!!!” says one. I couldn’t agree more, but March it is. “Thanks for providing nothing more than a publisher’s blurb!” says another. “Definitely worth its own post. How much were you paid for this?” Like Led Zep said, “Will your tongue wag so much when I send you the bill?”

Vornado and Extell: A done deal…and now, a race to the sky? Another Gripepad exclusive.

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The mega-tiff between mega-builders Vornado and Extell over two almost-kissing development lots between West 57th Street and Central Park South, and Seventh Avenue and Broadway, has ended, and Vornado’s 220 Central Park South should start climbing soon, only a tad behind Extell’s Nordstrom tower. So says a source in a position to know, who reports, “They made a deal.” Not one to trust, this blog just paid a visit to the underground parking garage leased by Extell beneath Vornado’s property–reportedly the cause of the delay at 220CPS–and found it locked and empty, and the watchman on duty behind its gate … Continue reading

The new old condo

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The Marquand on Madison Avenue is the subject of my latest Unreal Estate column in Avenue magazine. Built on the site of the long-since-demolished mansion of Henry Marquand, second president of the Metropolitan Museum, the current Marquand, erected before World War I, has been reimagined for a new generation of plutocrats.

‘Scuse me, while I kill the sky: Extell’s 1,550-foot tower revealed (sorta)

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Extell’s latest towering erection on West 57th Street is set to be revealed tonight at a last minute meeting of the Landmarks Committee of Community Board #5 more than fifty blocks away from the neighborhood surrounding the proposed development (which is set to include a branch of the Nordstrom department store in its base and a hotel and condos for the wealthy above). Sketches of that s base, a rendering, and a bird’s eye view of the mammoth building to be cantilevered over the landmark Art Students League, can be seen by clicking through below. Curiously, the gargantuan height of … Continue reading