Archive for November, 2013

Peter Kaplan, R.I.P.

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Peter Kaplan, one of the greatest editors of our generation, died yesterday of cancer. We first met at the home of another, Clay Felker, for whom we’d both worked. Kaplan subsequently assigned me a story on 15 Central Park West that later grew into a book. He is thanked in the acknowledgements but now, will never see that. In his honor, here’s a June 2007 conversation we had with Gay Talese, the esteemed author, about the past, present and future of print journalism, the field in which he excelled. Though Kaplan now won’t share that future, he helped shape it. … Continue reading

Smart Alec (Baldwin, of course)

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With Alec Baldwin much in the news again, it seems a good time to resurrect this 1997 chestnut, “The Candidate,” about the time sixteen years ago when he was thinking seriously about running for local office.

Lou Reed’s Berlin got at least one good review

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Obituaries hailing Lou Reed in recent days have mentioned his disgust with rock critics who overwhelmingly disparaged his 1974 concept album Berlin. But one critic gave it a good review, me, writing for Crawdaddy while still a schoolboy. In Lou’s honor, I reprint it here. LOU REED IS the grand ghoul of them all. He happens to scare people. He stands in the same relation to Bowie and Iggy and their ilk as Dylan did to Ochs and Paxton, and the Beatles did to the Kinks and the Animals. The others were good, but the first was the best. The … Continue reading

Amanda Vaill hails House of Outrageous Fortune

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This just in: “Michael Gross’s House of Outrageous Fortune is a book about a building the way Moby Dick is a book about a fish. History, real-estate wheeling and dealing, the economics of the buccaneer class, the arcane realpolitik of condos and co-ops, even floor-plans: it’s all here. If you want to find out why Manhattan’s skyline looks the way it currently does, this is the book to read.” –Amanda Vaill author of Hotel Florida and Everybody Was So Young

15CPW still NYC’s most expensive residence

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A report released last week by Cityrealty (click to find the download link) on the city’s hundred priciest condominiums ranks Fifteen Central Park West as themost expensive, with re-sales of apartment averaging $5,847 per square foot in the year ending August 31. The biggest sale of the year was also in the building, the $29 million trade of apartment 33D, which works out to $9,140 per square foot. It’s a further testament to the market power of 15CPW, anchor of the new Billionaire’s Belt stretching across Manhattan just south of Central Park.

Leroy boy, is that you (again)?

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Metal man Leroy Schechter (pictured), whose two adjacent sky-high units at 15 Fifteen Central Park West have been on and off the market (and in and out of the newspapers as his tenants played the old in-and-out in them) so often, both separately and together, it’s enough to make your listings spin, is back again, this time asking $70 million, reports Kim Velsey at the Observer. He’s also changed brokers, clearly hoping Brown Harris Stevens (part-owned by the building’s developers, Will and Arthur Zeckendorf) will finally unload the units, now apparently combined. Good luck with that, Leroy!

More big money buzz on the Billionaire’s Belt

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A moving truck is currently idling outside 200 Central Park South. Bernard Spitzer, father of you-know-who, who built the curved modernist apartment house in 1963 in conscious emulation of its catty-corner landmark terracotta neighbor Alwyn Court, is moving into unit 27A at 200 today, a source inside the building says. Spitzer sponsored the building’s 1984 co-op conversion but still owns about twenty percent of it. He’s chosen a $12,750-a-month two-bedroom unit with vast views of Central Park to the north and Times Square to the south. It’s but the latest bit of big news on the new Manhattan Gold Coast, … Continue reading

Feeding and breeding in the East Sixties

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This month, the Unreal Estate column in Avenue magazine looks at the evolution of the restaurant rows of East Sixtieth and East Sixty-first streets in Manhattan, now revived as a haven of gastronomy for this still-new century. Read it and eat.