Archive for October, 2014

Ambition Avenue

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A cover story on the fine art and close combat of social climbing leads off the November entertaining issue of Avenue, the last gasp of my summer gig as its acting editor-in-chief. Not, perhaps, the normal Avenue fare, but every meal needs a little spice, no? Check out the features on world-class hosts Georgette Farkas and Alex Hitz, too. And my Unreal Estate column looks at the latest uptown-style invader to land on once bohemian Waverly Place. It, too, has entertaining ambitions, it seems.

740 Park a New York Times bestseller!

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More than nine years after it was first published, 740 Park just appeared at #18 on the New York Times e-book bestseller list. Thanks to all who put it there!

Pied-a-tax?

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The New York Times tomorrow offers a compelling argument for taxing the owners of the often-empty pied-a-terre luxury condominium apartments that have filled Manhattan and coincidentally raised the price of real estate beyond the reach of many who actually want to live here. Bravo.

Where Arab royals shack up with Israeli billionaires

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The Real Deal broke the news today that the ruling al-Quasimi clan of Sharja in the United Arab Emirates have snapped up a second spread at Fifteen Central Park West, co-developed by one of Israel’s richest men, billionaire Eyal Ofer. For the Emiratis, it’s their second unit in the building where hedge funders, a handful of celebs and flight capitalists cohabit. The sellers were Chinese billionaires Pan Shiyi and Zhang Xin, the married heads of SOHO China, the third-largest property company there. They sold for $14.25 million, a substantial discount from their original $19 million asking price.

Get 740 Park at Queens Village prices!!!

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The kindly folks at Random House are offering the e-book of 740 Park at the bargain basement price of $1.99 for the next ten days. You can buy and download it at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

How I Spent my Mexico City vacation

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Eating!

Correction: Angier Biddle Duke at 740 Park

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Biddle Duke, son of Robin and Angier Biddle Duke, once residents of 740 Park Avenue (that’s the late Angier in the photo with JFK, whom he worked for), came to my book on the building a few years late. He takes belated issue with several sentences in it, so I offered to print his note to me verbatim here, and he agreed. He writes: Dear Mr. Gross, This is mostly a useless exercise, because the ink’s long dry now on 740 Park. All I can say is that I wish you’d called me about Mom and Dad, Robin and Angie … Continue reading

Feeling blue about Bloomberg’s take on One57′s Barnett

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Extell’s Gary Barnett, developer of the supertall condo called One57, is the subject of a big feature in this week’s Bloomberg BusinessWeek. It’s my favorite magazine. And I’m happy that writer Devin Leonard quoted from my House of Outrageous Fortune in his piece, and implies (albeit indirectly) that the book’s subject, the condominium at 15 Central Park West, was the inspiration for Barnett’s erection on West 57th Street. But the profile (which I’d been looking forward to reading since Leonard interviewed me some months back), left me disappointed. I don’t fault BBW on the facts (though it calls Alex Rodriguez, … Continue reading