Category: GripeBox

Michael J. Kennedy, R.I.P.

Posted by in |

Michael Kennedy, a prominent radical lawyer of the Sixties who became a noted Manhattan social figure in the Nineties, died on January 25th at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center at age 78. Kennedy was active to the end, and was last spotted by Gripepad at a screening of The Revenant just before Christmas. New York Magazine has remembered “Ivana’s Avenger,” my 1991 cover profile of Kennedy, a story reported and written without his cooperation in the midst of his highest profile case, representing Ivana Trump in her divorce from current presidential candidate Donald Trump.

Horses (with apologies to Patti Smith)

Posted by in |

In “All The Mayor’s Horses,” on The Awl, writer Brendan O’Connor tackles the ticklish and abiding question of New York’s horse carriage trade, which has been a (forgive this) pet subject in this pillar for several years now. In 2009, Gripepad mocked a proposal to replace the carriages with ersatz vintage electric cars. The actual proposal was then sent to me by a carriage proponent, and Gripepad revealed a possible pecuniary motive behind the move to ban the beloved horses: a hunger for the real estate (what else could it be in Manhattan?) the horses’ stables occupied. The Awl cites … Continue reading

Aby, baby

Posted by in |

“The Rise, Fall and Rise of Aby Rosen,” my Centurion magazine profile of the art-collecting real estate developer and operator, is still embargoed, but Rosen has posted it on the web site for his rising tower by Sir Norman Foster, 100 East 53rd Street (pictured), and you can read all about his life, times and frenemies like Ian Schrager, Peter Brant, and the owners of the Four Seasons restaurant there.

Treasury Dept. will follow in footsteps of House of Outrageous Fortune

Posted by in |

The United States Department of the Treasury announced today that it will begin to do broadly just what the New York Times bestselling House of Outrageous Fortune did for one prominent building, 15 Central Park West, back in 2014, and “identify the natural persons behind companies used to pay ‘all cash’ for high-end residential real estate in the Borough of Manhattan in New York City, New York.” The government press release goes on to say that “FinCEN [The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network] is concerned that all-cash purchases – i.e., those without bank financing – may be conducted by individuals attempting … Continue reading

RIP Ziggy Stardust

Posted by in |

David Bowie at Radio City Music Hall February 1973

Modeling: Reality compared to what?

Posted by in |

Last week, the Telegraph in the United Kingdom ran a story, “Debts, £300 salaries and career instability: the reality of modelling today,” that read like an obituary for the posing trade. “Few girls make it big these days, and fewer still have the backing to convert a smash debut into longevity,” the newspaper’s Ellie Pithers wrote. “For while the Kate Mosses and Gisele Bündchens amass millions, and command thousands for a catwalk appearance, most models work long hours with scant job security and earn very little…Increasingly, the most lucrative fashion campaigns and magazine covers are being won by actresses and … Continue reading

My next book revealed for Christmas: Don’t open ’til….July?

Posted by in |

Women’s Wear Daily aka WWD revealed the cover of Focus: The Secret, Sexy, Sometimes Sordid World of Fashion Photographers today in an article by Alexandra Steigrad. The book will be published July 5th, but pre-orders are vitally important nowadays, so if you’re interested please order a copy from your favorite online bookseller. Links to them all are here.

Throwback: Princess TNT at Versailles

Posted by in |

A new book’s been published on the home of Gloria von Thurn und Taxis, but she’s frankly turned dowdy in her current incarnation. Click the image to see and read a bit about the younger, wilder, glorious Princess Gloria I knew and loved in a wonderful photo by Roxanne Lowit, who covered a Karl Lagerfeld perfume launch at Versailles with me back in 1986. Not only did she go down on Karl’s cake, she led a few lucky souls on a comic tour of Versailles. This didn’t make my New York Times report, but at one point she wondered whether … Continue reading

Supertalls drooping? Tightening the Billionaire’s Belt

Posted by in |

Katherine Clark of The Real Deal’s report last week that the “irrational exuberance” among developers of apartments for the super-wealthy is waning, according to participants in a recent realty summit, seems to confirm anecdotal reports that have filtered into and through Gripepad in recent months. “The market today is very slow in terms of high-end condo sales,” Related CEO Steve Ross said. Realtors working the high end have recently whispered that sales have stalled at a certain already open-for-occupancy West 57th Street supertall tower and that the developers of others, just rising out of the ground, are wondering where all … Continue reading

Sutton Place: Sweet Suite

Posted by in |

Value investor Wilbur Ross has seen the future, and is betting on better days in east midtown, where the luxe district surrounding Sutton Place and Beekman Place was once the height of fashion but more recently has been forgotten if not faded. Ross has purchased a long-on-the-market 14-room duplex apartment at nearby River House, formerly owned by Arlene Farkas, initially listed at $15 million but sold at just over half that price. Ross, once the president of the board of trustees at The Dakota, currently occupies a grand penthouse at the corner of 57th Street and Seventh Avenue, in the … Continue reading

What kind of woman do you think I am? We’ve already established that. We’re just haggling over the price.

Posted by in |

An e-mail just received from a “strategic communications” company: “We are now accepting [sic] interviews with Bree Olsen to discuss Charlie Sheen recently announcing he is HIV positive. Olsen is enraged and says Sheen never disclosed he was HIV positive in their year long relationship. If you would like to set up an interview with Bree Olsen, either email or call me …. Olsen requires interview compensation.”

London Calling

Posted by in |

The battle royal between the competing dining empires of Jeremy King and Richard Caring was at the center of my story, “Who Rules The Night?” in the October issue of Departures. King created Le Caprice, The Ivy and other spots now owned by Caring. They compete with King’s newer The Wolseley, The Colony Room (pictured in a photo by Kate Martin) and others. And both men are expanding their empires. The story is now free to read online. And check back here next year for my profile of controversial developer Aby Rosen, out this week in the new issue of … Continue reading

15CPW drops a notch after seven years as NYC’s costliest building

Posted by in |

It was inevitable that Fifteen Central Park West would have to give up its crown as Manhattan’s most expensive building, but its seven-year run has nonetheless been impressive, and the building that finally usurped it owes it and its developers, Will and Arthur Zeckendorf, Eyal Ofer‘s Global Holdings, and Goldman Sachs, a great debt of thanks for setting the stage for the emergence of the Billionaire’s Belt that now girds fat-cat Midtown Manhattan, stretching from 15CPW at West 61st Street’ along 57th Street, past Beacon Court and on to two East Side towers by Sir Norman Foster, 50 United Nations … Continue reading

Don’t Look Back: Return of the Nineties

Posted by in |

In the new 40th Anniversary issue of Avenue, I mull the matter of the Nineties, and Society’s place in it. If a champagne glass falls in a forest of Vera Wangs and nobody hears it, did anyone really drop it?

Some crack with your Central Park views?

Posted by in |

The latest addition to the Billionaire’s Belt girdling midtown Manhattan, and a ubiquitous new feature of the city’s skyline, is the Rafael Viñoly-designed CIM and Macklowe Properties-developed 432 Park, now nearing completion and briefly enjoying its moment in (and near) the sun as the Western Hemisphere’s tallest residential building. Less visible, but still right there in front of our eyes, is what I’m told is a, cosmetic problem. Two unconnected sources confirm that the architectural concrete that covers the poured concrete tower has already developed cracks, and that scaffolds hanging from the pillar in recent weeks were there because Nicholson … Continue reading

The slippery slope isn’t limited to fashion. Magazines are devolving, too.

Posted by in |

Vanessa Friedman‘s article on Alber Elbaz today is a perspicacious look at what’s wrong with the fashion system. But fashion, even in crisis, still reflects the broader culture. Is there really any difference between designers morphing into creative directors and magazine editors restyling themselves as brand managers? The degradation Friedman describes isn’t limited to the schmatte trade.

R.I.P. Anita Sarko

Posted by in |

I was traveling this weekend when I heard that Anita Sarko died thirteen days ago. It’s inexpressably sad–and I bold-faced her name because for me, she’ll always be alive. That’s her, at right, DJ’ing at Barbara Hodes‘ and my wedding. And here is a profile I wrote of her in the New York Times shortly thereafter. It works as an obit, but to add epitaph: Anita was always too much, but this is way too soon. (The photo is by Roxanne Lowit.)

Another one bites the dust: RIP Bookhampton

Posted by in |

Truly sad news in the inbox last night: Bookhampton, the multi-door east end independent bookseller, will close shop after this holiday season–unless a white knight comes along to save it. There are no words. And after December, there will literally be none left out there. Anyone want to step up and save the day?

Duane Reade it and weep?

Posted by in |

Can we talk disgusting ripoffs? My fourteen-year-old dog has kidney issues and needed a human anti-nausea medication. For convenience sake, our vet called it into our local Duane Reade, where I picked up 30 4 MG Ondansetron tablets and was shocked by the $126 bill. So I called my vet who said the same Rx would have been $17 there. Though the bottle was sealed, citing state law, @DuaneReadeNY wouldn’t take it back. So I contacted @DuaneReade which told me I should have joined some prescription savings club. Too little too late? “As for the price provided by your veterinarian,” … Continue reading

A Tweet from 15CPW comes to Twitter

Posted by in |

Reuters reports that Iranian-American Omid Kordestani, an early Google executive, is moving to Twitter as its new executive chairman. Kordestani and wife Gisel own a duplex on the 16th and 17th floors of Fifteen Central Park West, between hedge hog Barry Rosenstein of Jana Partners and wife Lizann and Sting and wife Trudie Styler. Lloyd Blankfein of Goldman Sachs lives with wife Laura on Rosenstein’s other side, making the floor a trick-or-treater’s delight.

Dining David takes on London’s Goliaths

Posted by in |

While reporting “Who Rules the Night?” for the new issue of Departures, I took one lunch off to try the most highly-touted new restaurant in Mayfair. If Richard Caring and Jeremy King, the protagonists of the Departures piece, are London’s restaurant Goliaths, the owners of Kitty Fisher’s are the local dining scene’s Davids. Occupying the ground and basement floors of a tiny house on Shepherd Market square in Mayfair, the minimally-decorated Kitty Fisher’s opened late last year to such instant acclaim, its phone robot told callers reservations would only be accepted eight hours each week, and only for lunch, never … Continue reading

The battle royal for London diners

Posted by in |

“Who Rules The Night?” in the new, special London issue of Departures, just released, is my story about the British restaurant rivals Jeremy King and Richard Caring (shown at right). The dishy piece–with a supporting cast that includes Mark and Robin Birley, Keith McNally, Vanity Fair editor Graydon Carter, and Arkady Novokov, whose dining empire extends from Moscow to the UK–is currently available only to lucky Departures subscribers. Check back here and I’ll post it once it’s unlocked.

Halloween Feast With Mimi Sheraton

Posted by in |

On Halloween afternoon, Saturday October 31, I’ll be interviewing Mimi Sheraton at a luncheon at Rotisserie Georgette about her book, 1,000 Foods to Eat Before You Die. The meal with begins with Champagne Duval – LeRoy, Barigoule d’Artichauts and Brandade de Morue, followed by a main course of Poulet Rôti “Farnèse” dressed with Cognac and toasted hazelnuts, and a decadent Pomme Aligot, and ends with a duo of Chocolate and Ginger Pot de Crème for dessert. Please click the image and buy tickets to be there.

Ralph rides again

Posted by in |

In tomorrow’s Guardian, Emine Saner profiles Ralph Lauren, subject of my Genuine Authentic, and a full blown-American original whom I compare to the late Steve Jobs in the piece: “He can literally shape reality to his own will.”

Billion Dollar Babies (plus an ink-stained wretch)

Posted by in |

Will and Arthur Zeckendorf, co-developers of Fifteen Central Park West, launched the sales gallery for their latest project, 520 Park, another Robert A.M. Stern limestone-clad production, this week–and we realized we’d never before posed for a picture together. They’re not really taller than me; they’re standing on their wallets. (Photo by Craig Barritt)

“Who reads clips anymore?”

Posted by in |

Yesterday, when the news that Ralph Lauren was stepping down as CEO of Polo/Ralph Lauren first broke, I put up a Facebook post linked to the New York Times report, noting with astonishment that the newspaper of record said Lauren had never had a business partner aside from Roger Farah, who came along late in the Polo game and recently retired. Lauren not only had a partner, the late Peter Strom, who was instrumental in creating the Polosphere, his role was noted in the New York Times in a 1987 article on fashion partnerships by this reporter, “In Search of … Continue reading

Everybody’s a critic: 57th Street edition

Posted by in |

In this week’s The New Yorker, Adam Gopnik reflects on life in big cities with big buildings in a critique of several books on the subject. In the course of his meditation on urbanity, Gopnik echoes this blogger’s habitual use of somewhat crude sexual metaphors to describe certain buildings on Manhattan’s Fifty-seventh Street. In 2011, in Crain’s New York, I called Extell’s One57 skyscraper “Mr. [Christian de] Portzamparc‘s midblock erection,” referring to its architect. Playing with the metaphor in 2012 in The Daily Beast, I described One57 developer Gary Barnett‘s Hurricane Sandy-savaged construction crane (pictured) as a “flaccid, dangling boom … Continue reading

Salezapoppin’ at 15CPW

Posted by in |

Apartment 8A at Fifteen Central Park West is in contract for $35 million, reports Donna Olshan of Olshan Realty, which issues a weekly report on contracts signed for New York apartments selling for $4 million or more. As usual, count on Gripepad to name names. The seller, lurking behind an LLC called Swiftsure Property, and soon to slightly more than double his $17 million investment on the four bedroom, 4,565 square foot spread, is Gerald E. Ross, a litigator and name partner in Fryer & Ross, a firm that specializes in “sophisticated litigation and arbitration in the areas of insurance … Continue reading

Indonesia on the Hudson: Fifteen owner asks $31 million

Posted by in |

Last night, Mansion Global, the Wall Street Journal’s real estate spinoff, revealed the latest listing at Fifteen Central Park West, subject of House of Outrageous Fortune–apartment 28D, a three bedroom corner spread with three exposures, listed for $31 million. As is so often the case with condos on the billionaire’s belt, the owner is hidden behind a corporate name, Christopher Properties, a California-based real estate investment company. The broker describes that owner as “an international entrepreneur who previously used the residence as a pied-à-terre.” In fact, the occupant of the apartment is an Indonesian named Andre Kohar, a director of … Continue reading

Snapper Patter

Posted by in |

In today’s New York Post and on PageSix.com, Richard Johnson gets the scoop that I’ve turned the camera around to look at the lives of fashion photographers like Richard Avedon, Steven Meisel and Bruce Weber in my new book, Girls on Film: The Glory Days of Fashion Photography (out next year). It’s a whole new set of sometimes sordid, sometimes soaring stories, as well as a companion of sorts to Model: The Ugly Business of Beautiful Women. The e-book of that New York Times bestseller is selling for $1.99 for one more week in a special New York Fashion Week … Continue reading

Cut Rate Model for #NYFW

Posted by in |

In celebration of New York Fashion Week @nyfw, the e-book of MODEL: The Ugly Business of Beautiful Women, is on sale for $1.99 !! #markdownmadness #nyfw

Acid Reflux in Ta-Ta-Ville

Posted by in |

Yesterday, Town and Country, the Hearst Corporation’s society mag, or rather, its blog (how, chic, how now, dahhling) excavated Takeover in Ta-Ta-Ville, my 1988 article on the decline of Southampton for New York magazine, to point out that Sunday’s Styles of the Times cover story on the effects of new money on the place now universally known as The Hamptons is (shock! horror!) just a re-telling of a story we’ve heard before. Thereby telling it yet again. Can you pass the Tums, toots?

“Modeling is the sale of women’s bodies…”

Posted by in |

On Entertainment Tonight last night, I talked about the dark side of the modeling. .

Bad decor but a great address

Posted by in |

Curbed just found another new eight-figure listing at Fifteen Central Park West. The décor is underwhelming, but the space is, well, outrageous. Though I’m not sure I would want to bunk directly underneath Dan and Margaret Loeb, someone will surely want that position. Curbed asked me why several 15CPW units have come onto the market. Which is interesting, given that units are reportedly languishing at the nearby Blue Penis (One57), even as flipping there continues, no one is talking much about sales at 220 or 432 or Nordstrom or the Economist tower or 520 Park. I wouldn’t be at all … Continue reading

Polo player chukkas 15CPW pad

Posted by in |

The New York Observer reports that apartment 35D at Fifteen Central Park West has come on the market for $33 million, but calls the sellers “whoever they are.” Whoever they are is “Victor Vargas, a Venezuelan banker with six homes, a polo team, and a daughter who married Luis Alfonso de Borbón, a great-grandson of Francisco Franco and relative of the king of Spain,” they could have learned from House of Outrageous Fortune. “Vargas lives there with his girlfriend, Maria Beatriz Hernandez Rodriguez.” The NYO does correctly note that Vargas bought the place from Donald Opatrny, a former Goldman Sachs … Continue reading

RIP Arnold Scaasi

Posted by in |

The designer Arnold Scaasi died on Monday. In 1985, I wrote an item for The Evening Hours column of the New York Times about his ubiquity in that era. It always made me smile. Click the image to read it.

Hello, I Must Be Going

Posted by in |

I’m thrilled to share the news that I’ve joined Departures, the luxury lifestyle and travel magazine, as a Contributing Editor. Since 2012, I’ve written stories for the magazine on the Isle of Cavallo, the coming of the $100 Million Manhattan condo, the eastern Riviera, designer-class retailing in Miami, and the rebirth of Mexico City. Watch this space for more in months to come.

“Before there was reality TV, there was Naomi Campbell”

Posted by in |

Cindy Crawford makes fudge for NBC

Posted by in |

Cindy Crawford is developing a TV series “that revolves around the modeling wars in the ’80s that occurred between Ford Modeling Agency and Elite Model Management”, Variety reports. “The show is completely fictionalized.” That’s for sure. The Model Wars began in spring 1977, when Crawford was eleven years old. By the time her first test photos were taken in 1982, they were history. (The photo of Crawford by Marco Glaviano appears in Model: The Ugly Business of Beautiful Women.)

Over-reaching at 15CPW?

Posted by in |

The late insurance benefits executive Richard Ullman’s duplex “penthouse” at 15 Central Park West is back on the market a year after it was sold, asking $65 million, a slight increase over the $62.5 million the estate originally wanted, but a whopping increase over the $48 million the current owners, tucked inside an opaque LLC called 15CPW PHB (NYC), paid for it. It’s interesting to note that when the building was brand-new, Ullman tried to sell it before he even moved in for $55 million, but failed to get his price. After his death in 2011, the duplex was the … Continue reading

The Donald will not approve

Posted by in |

Donald Trump’s opinion notwithstanding, Mexico City is one of the most exciting, engaging and civilized cities in the world. Here’s my feature story for Departures on the DF’s many pleasures.

Rizzoli Redux

Posted by in |

In rare good news from the world of brick-and-mortar book retailing, Rizzoli Bookstore, forced from its gorgeous West 57th Street location by a developer last spring, has announced its Phoenix-like return. It will re-open on Broadway and West 26th Street on July 27th. Auguri!

Cry, the Beloved Lutece

Posted by in |

Here’s one for Jeremiah Moss’ Vanishing New York: The townhouse that once held Lutece, Andre Soltner’s French restaurant on East 50th Street, and a NYC classic for more than four decades (it opened in 1961), is being demolished along with two adjacent houses–no doubt for another condominium tower. Lutece closed more than eleven years ago, and its space sat vacant since then; today the door was open and you could see the original bar, cloaked in a thick layer of dust (behind the door shown at right, marked exit). Thanks for the memories.

Battling Billionaires: LA Strikes Back

Posted by in |

The Billionaire’s Belt in midtown Manhattan isn’t the only place where the .01 percent are spending mounds of money on real estate. The Hilton-Hyland realty blog, run by Bilal Khan, formerly of Curbed, today spotlights a Billionaire’s Hill in Bel Air, one of the neighborhoods featured in Unreal Estate. Want to rub garden hoses with Elon Musk (pictured)? He’s today’s king of the hill.

Meet Mexico City

Posted by in |

“Mexico City is one of the world’s great cultural destinations. So what are you waiting for?” is my profile of the city and the story of its stunning revival in the May/June 2015 issue of Departures. Click the link to read a pdf.

Gripepad Recommended Read: Isn’t That Rich?

Posted by in |

Ad man and raconteur Richard Kirshenbaum‘s Isn’t That Rich: Life Among the 1% is now available on line and in book stores. Gripepad’s proprietor wrote the forward and hopes its readers will be Kirshenbaum’s as well–if you aren’t already, that is.

15 CPW: Still the Tops

Posted by in |

Fifteen Central Park West remains the city’s most expensive apartment building, according to CityRealty. So while observers of the primates of Park Avenue engage in (quite possibly sexist) arguments over the lives of wives of the East Side wealthy, and whether the latest truth-challenged memoir about them is accurate, it appears that it’s the really most sincerely wealthy men who inhabit the House of Outrageous Fortune who are truly making out.

Gripepad is Moving

Posted by in |

Gripepad will likely go dark next two weeks as it changes premises, ISP, views and more. Might we post? Yes. Will it by our first priority? Not even close. Check back in June. And no, we ain’t headin’ west to the land of cement ponds. We just love us some Granny and Jeb.

Another Hedgie Clipped

Posted by in |

Hedge Clippers, a protest group, rallied outside Fifteen Central Park West today, reports ValueWalk. Though the building is full of targets for the anti-hedge-fund organization, this time, their target was the occupant of the tip-top building’s tip-top penthouse, Daniel Och of Och-Ziff. With $437 billion under the management of 15CPW dwellers, it will be a while before Hedge Clippers runs out of targets at the limestone fortress. Among the alternative investment firms with executives in residence ar Among them are Titan Capital, Canyon Capital, SAC Capital, CCMP Capital, Duquesne Capital, Joho Capital, Kingdon Capital, Knighthead Capital, Millennium Capital, Point State … Continue reading

Munzer’s the Word at PEN Literary Gala

Posted by in |

Fifteen Central Park West penthouse dweller Margaret Munzer Loeb, whose husband Dan Loeb was long an icon of free expression on Internet stock-chat boards, albeit using sock-puppet monickers like the memorable Senor Pinche Wey, has landed in Richard Johnson‘s column today . This time, it’s not for minor acts of book-burning, like her husband and fellow hedgie Barry Rosenstein‘s attempt to disrupt last year’s launch party for a certain book on their building, but for a good cause: her support of PEN, which itself supports free expression for writers speaking truth to power. She’s a co-chair of its annual gala … Continue reading