Archive for May, 2014

A good habit: Houses, not heroin

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Hollywood hyphenate Sandy Gallin has a bad Hamptons house habit. He buys ‘em and flips ‘em and I flip out over his latest production in my latest Unreal Estate column in the latest issue of Avenue (at the Beach). Read it before it’s too late.

On Kimye: “Hell is truth seen too late.” –Thomas Hobbes

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Two and a half years ago, long before Kimye was a glimmer in Anna Wintour‘s eye for fashion, I wrote a column called “Discarding the Kards,” wondering what the rise of a certain reality-TV family meant, and bemoaning the “Culture of Stupid” they symbolized. Last week, those chickens came home to roost, as evidenced by a brilliant New York Post story (click photo to read). “I’d like to find a glimmer of light in the Kardarkness,” I observed in 2011. “Just as Occupy Wall Street spontaneously erupted to counterbalance the Tea Party, some savvy publisher, looking for new pools of … Continue reading

Pirhana power: Under the radar with Barry Rosenstein

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“He lays off 6,000 grocery store employees but details about his life are [a] ‘tragic invasion of privacy’?” says an email I got this morning from a reader of the New York Post’s latest excerpt from House of Outrageous Fortune. This time, the focus has shifted from hookers and holdouts to one of the most powerful and heretofore secretive apartment owners in 15CPW’s hedgie hive, the billionaire “activist” investor Barry Rosenstein. The pages on him “so infuriated the hedge funder that he complained to the building’s management,” the Post reveals, calling the book “a tragic violation of privacy.” The Chicago … Continue reading

Bitter family squabble ends with $48 million sale at 15CPW

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The children of Richard Ullman, who went from pharmacist to pharmaceutical benefits mogul before dying of cancer in 2011, has left Fifteen Central Park West with a $24 million profit after doubling its money with the sale of Ullman’s duplex penthouse in the uber-condo’s front, or “House,” building. The sale, reported last night by The Real Deal, brings down the curtain on an ugly domestic drama pitting Ullman’s three kids against his second wife and widow. The whole sad saga unspools in the pages of House of Outrageous Fortune.

International acclaim for House of Outrageous Fortune

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House of Outrageous Fortune has attracted attention in Norway and Spain. The book “reveals the names of the tenants of the property and some of its best kept secrets,” writes Estela Deck in Expansion. “Gives readers a rare glimpse of life inside the sand-colored walls,” writes Morten Bertelsen in Dagens Naeringsliv.

Another sale (and multi-million-dollar profit) at 15CPW

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Apartment 15K at 15CPW, a three-bedroom spread with a balcony, albeit one without a park view, has sold for a second time for just over $13 million. It was first purchased off plans by Evan Cole, co-founder of ABC Home, who sold it a month after taking possession in March 2008. As reported in House of Outrageous Fortune, Cole sold it “to an investment manager in Chicago, whose son would eventually occupy the apartment. Cole thought they were ‘Goldman Sachs people,’ he says, ‘but I didn’t look. They’re probably smarter than me. I’m sure it’s worth millions more than they … Continue reading

Another record for Rybolovlev: the world’s costliest divorce. Also, a Met Museum book update, and RIP Arthur Gelb

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The buyer of New York’s most expensive apartment, an $88 million penthouse at Fifteen Central Park West, the former Russian fertilizer oligarch Dmitry Rybolovlev, is now the world’s unluckiest divorcee, after a Swiss court ordered him to pay his ex-wife Elena Rybolovleva precisely half his fortune, down to the penny…a sum just over $4.5 billion. Rybolovlev’s whole story, and all the details of his costly divorce, can be found in House of Outrageous Fortune. An earlier subject, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, is also in the news today, with the announcement of plans to make over its much-maligned wing containing … Continue reading

Copycat condo? A mystery at Robert A.M. Stern’s 220 Central Park South.

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If I was Arthur or Will Zeckendorf, I’d want to sue somebody. In the run-up to the publication of House of Outrageous Fortune, I saw but didn’t dwell on a scoop on curbed.com revealing renderings of Fifteen Central Park West architect Robert A.M. Stern’s design for competing developer Vornado’s new 220 Central Park South condominium, just a block and a bit away. (The renderings have since vanished from the web site of Australia’s Sunlab Architecture , but they’re archived on curbed and sampled at right and below). Stern’s hiring for that project was first revealed on Gripepad two years ago … Continue reading

Back to the future, Yucatan style

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Kin Sol Soleil is a brand new boutique hotel that harkens back to the Yucatan coast before it was rebranded the Riviera Maya. Visit it, North Akumal, and some of the best restaurants in the area, new and old, in today’s New York Post.

“Reveals the building’s secrets and identifies its residents en masse for the first time”

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The new issue of Global Citizen magazine looks inside “House of Outrageous Fortune” in a story by Daniel Bates. Click the cover above and then turn to page 50.

House of Outrageous Fortune in its fourth printing #HOOF

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Atria Books just went back to press with a fourth printing for House of Outrageous Fortune.

“I am getting sick of you,” barks a big dog at 15CPW

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A spokesman for activist investor and 15CPW duplex owner Barry Rosenstein snarled at a New York Post reporter chasing down an unsourced rumor that Rosenstein is looking for a new Manhattan pad. This comes just days after Post columnist Richard Johnson revealed Rosenstein is making a record setting purchase in East Hampton. The Post intimates he might have been driven to live elsewhere after a 15CPW neighbor hosted a book party for House of Outrageous Fortune, which details Rosenstein’s Gordon Gecko-like persona and his taste in home decor. His decorator found him such a cozy fellow, he nicknamed Rosenstein Mr. … Continue reading

Hedgie Havens

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Fifteen Central Park West and 740 Park Avenue are well-represented on Institutional Investor’s Alpha magazine list of the top-earning hedge fund runners for 2013. SAC Capital’s Steven A. Cohen comes in at #2. Though he isn’t a resident of either building, Raj Sethi and Derek Cribbs of that firm both own apartments at 15. Coming in at No. 5 on the Rich List, with estimated earnings of just under $1 billion, is Citadel’s Kenneth Griffin, who rented at 15 after deciding not to buy. Just beneath Griffen, with earnings of $850 million last year is 740 Park’s Israel “Izzy” Englander … Continue reading

I like the isle of Manhattan…even Inwood

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A few months back, the New York Times gave House of Outrageous Fortune its first great writeup and in the process inspired “The Heat is On,” theMay Unreal Estate column in Avenue magazine. It’s about neighborhoods, how they change, and why we gravitate to one or another. Even Inwood. Curiously, Thomas Campbell, director of the Metropolitan Museum, the subject of an earlier book of mine, Rogues’ Gallery, is on the cover of the issue, which was just delivered to all the best doorsteps in the borough of Manhattan.

Help Save Bookhampton

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This heartbreaking letter just arrived from the wonderful Bookhampton book stores: Dear Friends and Neighbors and BookLovers: The most wonderful part of owning BookHampton has been the discovery of new books and the camaraderie of fellow readers. The saddest part is the awareness that all things, even those we cherish most, have days that are numbered. The frozen Winter and this very chilly Spring caught BookHampton in a grip that has brought us to our knees. We’re fighting to have one more Summer, and not to be bowed by the writing on the wall that forced our colleagues to close … Continue reading

Peek inside the House and the life of one of the Outrageously Fortunate

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Weston Magazine Group, which publishes local magazines in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut, has excerpted House of Outrageous Fortune in its latest issues. It’s a good introduction to the book. Meantime, Barry Rosenstein (at right), the hedge fund runner and 15CPW owner who, with hedgie neighbor Dan Loeb, tried (but failed) to ban last month’s book launch inside the building, made the papers today with a record-setting purchase of a beachfront home (also pictured) in East Hampton. The New York Post’s Richard Johnson has the scoop. Rosenstein complained that the book’s description of his apartment’s décor violated his privacy, … Continue reading