Category: GripeBox

Lovebirds Fly

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Two of the more colorful residents of Fifteen Central Park West have flown the coop, according to Katharine Clark of the Daily News and public records. Spanx founder Sara Blakely and Marquis Jets co-founder Jesse Itzler have now sold the last of their three 15CPW apartments, this time raking in a $17 million profit. Public records show the buyer as Latovest, a trust. Blakely and Itzler’s combination of capitalist achievement and off-kilter craziness made them favorites of the Fifteen staff. Follow this link for a photo of Blakely in her Fifteen next.

Originality isn’t easy

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Years ago, a grizzled old reporter told me to always avoid the word original, as there is precious little new under the sun. I was reminded of that when I picked up the current Architectural Digest and spotted an article about fashion designer Francisco Costa‘s house in Bellport, New York. The writer dubbed that south shore Long Island village the unHampton, reminding me that I’d done the same 22 years ago in a New York magazine summer profile of the place (pictured at right). I thought I was so clever. But it turns out that the first use of that … Continue reading

“The people who rule the world live here.”

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The House of Outrageous Fortune, 15 Central Park West, was featured on USA Today’s web site this weekend.

BBC on Eileen Ford

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BBC Radio aired a tribute to the late Eileen Ford today. You can download it here. It begins at 9:08 minutes into the longer broadcast and features Katie Ford, Eileen’s daughter, and this reporter.

What $147 million buys (anywhere but the Hamptons)

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What better way to start the weekend than to consider what horrifying hedgie-of-the-moment, Fifteen Central Park West duplex owner Barry Rosenstein, could have bought with the $147 million he’s spending for his ostentatious new East Hampton estate–if he didn’t feel the need to live in a quiet, low-profile location like Further Lane in East Hampton. The latest Unreal Estate column in Avenue magazine, “Isn’t it Rich? thinks it would be rich–and smart–to look elsewhere, and get a castle or an island or a ranch, and a Gulfstream VI with the change.

There’s millions to be made up on the roof

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Two adjacent apartments at 15 Central Park West–boasting a massive combined terrace–went into contract for eight figures this week, reports Chris Pomorski of the New York Observer. Both units are owned by Fernando Chico Pardo, a Mexican businessman. And at an average sale price of $6,288 per square foot, apartments at 15CPW remain the city’s priciest, according to CityRealty (via Curbed). Take that, One57!

Clipped hedges?

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News today of the impending divorce of Chicago-based hedgies Ken and Anne Dias Griffin neglected to mention one irony of the situation: both the Griffins and Mrs. Griffin’s divorce lawyer, Robert Stephan Cohen, once rented condominiums at posh 15 Central Park West. Griffin looked to buy there, and eventually rented apartment 9B, despite the presence of his hedge fund enemy Daniel Loeb, in one of the building’s crowning penthouses. Cohen hated living there and soon moved away. Griffin’s unit is pictured.

“Rosenstein surely owes that broker big time”

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Barry Rosenstein, the pugnacious hedge fund operator who owns a 15 Central Park West duplex and recently bought America’s most expensive home, a $147 million East Hampton estate, is being sued (along with the estate that sold the estate) by Corcoran, the real estate brokerage, reports today’s New York Post. Corcoran alleges that Rosenstein and the estate conspired to avoid paying a commission on the sale to broker Tim Davis. Davis, the subject of my latest Unreal Estate column in Avenue, published earlier this month, was already the year’s highest-earning East End broker, with $430 million in sales last year. … Continue reading

Soviet-Union-born dentist offers 15CPW home for $55,000 a month

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Curbed reports that dental clinic owner Alexander Mikhailov, an original apartment owner at Fifteen Central Park West, has put his 34th floor unit (shown) up for rent. One of the building’s center apartments (described in House of Outrageous Fortune as a railroad flat for rich people), it is being brokered by realty firm Mercedes/Berk, whose principals are not only business and life partners, but also Fifteen residents, and Noel Berk holds a seat on the posh condo’s governing board, which likely won’t make the approval process for the $55,000-a-month rental easier, but certainly won’t hurt any applicants’ chances.

Duplex dude gets new Google gig

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Omid Kordestani, typically described as a senior advisor to one of Google’s founders, Larry Page now has a clearer title: head of advertising sales. ““There is nothing Omid doesn’t know about Google, our customers and partners,” Page said in making the announcement, which presumably means he knows what each of searches for. But turnabout is fair play and readers of House of Outrageous Fortune know where Kordestani lives in New York–in duplex penthouse 16C at 15 Central Park West (formally owned by an LLC called OK15NY). His terraces nestle against those of the musician known as Sting, and hedgie heavy … Continue reading

Ganek, Ganek, Gone…..

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Hedgie David Ganek bought the 740 Park duplex where Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy grew up (in an apartment provided to her father “Black Jack” Bouvier by her grandfather, 740 developer James T. Lee) just before 740 Park was published. Now, having purchased a loft at Jared Kushner‘s renovated Puck Building just after Departures published my story featuring the lavish home, Ganek’s put his 740 unit on the market via Sothebys’ broker Serena Boardman, asking $44 million.

Eileen Ford and the Sexual Revolution

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Today’s New York Post features an article adapted from Model: The Ugly Business of Beautiful Women, on the life of the late Eileen Ford and the rise and fall of her legendary Ford Models agency.

More on Eileen Ford from Marketplace on NPR

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Big deals at the beach

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In the July issue of Avenue on the Beach, just released, Unreal Estate looks at the last year’s biggest real estate deals and the East End’s biggest real estate broker, Tim Davis, whose $437 million in transactions last year make him King of the Hamptons Hill. Bad Bad Barry Rosenstein (pictured with his new Hamptons estate), the 15CPW hedgie who thinks privacy and record setting real estate deals on Further Lane are not mutually exclusive, makes a cameo appearance, too.

The undiscovered Riviera

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Just in time for summer, Departures has unlocked “The Other Side of Paradise,” my story on the eastern Riviera, the stretch of coast between Eze Board-Sur Mer in France and Ventimiglia in Italy. That’s Le Cabanon in Cap d’Ail in the photo. But one of the great places I found there.

A midtown west walking tour with Gotham Mag

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Gotham Magazine asked me to take its readers on a walking tour of my old neighborhood, starting at Fifteen Central Park West, subject of the “dishy chronicle,” House of Outrageous Fortune, and “the city’s most desirable address,” says writer Leigh King.

Defining deficiency downwards

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The Confidential column in the Daily News claimed on Monday that Alex “A-Rod” Rodriguez is seeking to return to Fifteen Central Park West, where he once rented half of what is now a mammoth combined apartment that has been languishing on the market since 2010–an uncommon failure at the posh condo–at prices ranging from $95 million down to the current ask of $65 million. A bargain (though perhaps not for green hamburger)! It is unclear if Rodriguez wants to rent or buy owner Leroy Schecter‘s thus-far unwanted, unloved spread or another but, the News reports, the condo’s board doesn’t want … Continue reading

Is it Izzy?

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Curbed reports today that the French government’s apartment at 740 Park Avenue has been sold, according to Paris Match, to upstairs neighbor Israel “Izzy” Englander after a bidding war that saw the price soar millions over ask to tie the current co-op sale record of $70 million. Englander, a secretive hedge fund runner, is unlikely to confirm or expand, but his history and that of his current apartment–a rare, sprawling 740 simplex, are spelled out in 740 Park. And if the report is true, he will climb over his upstairs neighbor Steve Schwartzman to become 740′s big man on campus. … Continue reading

Comeback Cribs

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River House. 19 East 72nd Street. 43 Fifth Avenue. The Century. Alwyn Court (shown as photographed by Berenice Abbott). These and more classic co-ops and condos are suddenly showing surprising market strength. What’s up with that? I look at the new phenomenon of fast-rising values for venerable old apartments in tomorrow’s New York Post.

VoiceAmerica on 15CPW

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Listen to Good Morning New York Real Estate with Vince Rocco on VoiceAmerica internet radio here as we discuss House of Outrageous Fortune and more.

Party like it’s 15CPW

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Ekaterina Rybolovleva became a 23-year international phenomenon two years ago when her father, Dmitry Rybolovlev, a billionaire former Russian fertilizer oligarch, bought Sandy Weill‘s penthouse at Fifteen Central Park West (floorplan at right) for a record-setting $88 million, and said it was for her. His then-wife begged to differ, claiming he’d bought it to hide money from her in their ongoing divorce. As reported exclusively in House of Outrageous Fortune, Ekaterina rarely used the penthouse, however, and now that the Rybolovlev divorce has concluded, so has the charade that the empty residence is the young lady’s home. She celebrated her … Continue reading

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

Hampton Sheet on #HOOF

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“Michael Gross spares no details as he dishes the dirt in this realestate tell-all…a vivid portrait of a New York divided between old money and new, skillfully and intellectually chronicling a secret history of America’s greatest city—required reading for all New Yorkers.” –Victoria Kelsey, Hampton Sheet

The Other Side of Paradise

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The new issue of Departures includes my story on the eastern Riviera, a relatively undiscovered stretch of beach and hill towns with all the pleasures of St.-Tropez, but far fewer negatives. The body of the story is still locked–I’ll post a link here once it can be read–but a sidebar on some of the pleasures of Monaco, the principality that is the hub of that stretch of the Cote d’Azur is unlocked here. The photo looks towards Monte Carlo from Le Cabanon, a lovely restaurant in Cap d’Ail, at the end of our last dinner there.

House ad in The Week

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This ad for House of Outrageous Fortune appears in the latest issue of The Week magazine. Click the pic to see it full size.

Someone can talk for a horse, of course

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Nice to see that all of New York’s newspapers have finally joined the crusade to save New York’s venerable Central Park carriage horses. Though some only started paying attention once public opinion swung against newish Mayor Bill DeBlasio, one, the New York Post, has been on the side of the horses and those who love them all along. As Linda Stasi noted in yesterday’s Daily News, I started beating the pro-carriage horse drum here back in 2009, with my post, “It’s Parkingtown, Jake,” which revealed that a founder of the group agitating against the horses had broadly hinted that its … Continue reading

House of Outrageous Fortune Celebrated at 15CPW

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Last week, Ranan and Tamar Lurie threw open the doors of their tower apartment at Fifteen Central Park West to celebrate the appearance of House of Outrageous Fortune on the New York Times Bestseller List. The party was co-hosted by Wendy J. Sarasohn and Avenue Magazine. Click the thumbnails to see the headless horsemen of the house of outrageous fortune in all their glory. The photos are by Rose Hartman.

Back East

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Gripepad has been understandably obsessed with the West Side (and one building there in particular) of late. But life goes on and this month’s Avenue magazine features the latest Unreal Estate column on a carriage house built for the founder of Remington Typewriter. Listed when the column was written, it is already in contract, but that doesn’t mean you can’t look.

Dan Loeb hedges his bet

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Noted without comment: Hedgie superstar Dan Loeb‘s email campaign (with fellow financier Barry Rosenstein) to banish a planned House of Outrageous Fortune book party from the building that’s the book’s subject, Fifteen Central Park West, failed on Monday. He backs off in Richard Johnson’s column in tomorrow’s New York Post, claiming through a spokesperson that he had nothing to do with the emails that bore his name, and wondering why he wasn’t invited to the party. Here’s why.

“Filled with inside stuff,” says David Patrick Columbia of New York Social Diary

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Writing in today’s New York Social Diary, David Patrick Columbia says House of Outrageous Fortune is “filled with inside stuff on the people and their houses and their spouses and their louses. Michael is highly skilled at delivering what is called gossip by some, but most frequently fact (and eventually history) known by others-in-the-know. His delivery is literary but tabloidal enough to keep you turning the pages for more.”

#HOOF has “the best dirt,” says New York Magazine

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My favorite alma mater, New York Magazine, highlights some of the juicier tid-bits from House of Outrageous Fortune in this story by S. Jhoanna Robeldo. Meantime, the New York Post reports that investors in Sotheby’s are giving 15CPW’s chief resident party-pooper Daniel Loeb bad reviews.

Another rave review from the New York Times

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“Michael Gross, America’s answer to Robin Leach, takes another gossip-laden bite out of the upper crust in his dishy ‘House of Outrageous Fortune: Fifteen Central Park West, the World’s Most Powerful Address’,” writes Sam Roberts in Sunday’s New York Times. “What’s remarkable is the degree of access Mr. Gross was granted or finagled, a reflection that ego has no bounds.”

“Required reading.” –The Hampton Sheet

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“Michael Gross spares no details as he dishes the dirt in this real estate tell-all,” write Vicky Kelsey in the new issue of Hampton Sheet. “But 15CPW isn’t home to celebrities alone: The vast roster of inhabitants spans the entire globe, from Russian oligarchs and property magnates to top executives from Google, Citigroup, and Goldman Sachs. Regardless of their profession, they all have one thing in common—insane amounts of money—and Gross gives us an inside peek at just what those mountains of moolah can buy….Gross gives us a vivid portrait of a New York divided between old money and new, … Continue reading

Airport guy seeks to fly from 15CPW with $4.6 million profit

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One frustration in writing House of Outrageous Fortune was that it had too many wealthy apartment owners, and to make a readable book, I couldn’t name them all. Here’s an opportunity to name-check two of the missing. In what appears to be the first attempt to sell a Fifteen Central Park West apartment for the fourth time, Fernando Chico Pardo, Chairman of the Board of Grupo Aeroportuario del Sureste, which operates airports in Southeast Mexico, has listed apartment 9G in the rear of 15′s tower for $17 million. He bought it for $12.4 million early in 2011, and subsequently rented … Continue reading

The rich get richer…again

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Citigroup founder and spiritual father of the Great Recession Sandy Weill has gone into contract to sell his servant’s apartment at 15 Central Park West for more than three times what he paid for it, writes Richard Johnson in tomorrow’s New York Post. He bought for less than a million–a substantial discount off the official asking price–and sold for about $3 million, Johnson reports.