Category: GripeBox

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. Claiming originality is always a tricky business, but I started beating the pro-carriage horse drum here back in 2009, with my post, “It’s Parkingtown, Jake,” which revealed that the primary group agitating against the horses had itself broadly hinted that its real … 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.

La Repubblica likes House of Outrageous Fortune–but not what it represents

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Writing in Monday’s La Repubblica in Italy, about a book he jokingly retitled House of Exaggerated Fortunes, Angelo Aquaro wrote, “No, 15CPW is not the name of a robot from Star Wars, but when will we at last go to war against the stellar injustices of this land, when will we manage to defy–Ah, Hamlet!–’The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune’?”

Warming up to Dan Loeb

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Finance blogs Business Insider and Valuewalk both pick up a Dan Loeb tid-bit from House of Outrageous Fortune today about how Loeb lost a fight with neighbor moms when he tried to keep the condo’s 75-foot-long swimming pool temperature on the chilly side. According to Page Six, Loeb (who refused repeated requests for an interview for the book) has also declared jihad against the book. Maybe he should just chill himself.

Outrageous news: It’s a New York Times bestseller!

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House of Outrageous Fortune comes on the New York Times bestseller list at #20 on April 6th.

#HOOF a bestseller

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Just learned House of Outrageous Fortune came on the New Atlantic Indie Bestseller List last week at #10 after just one week on sale.

Al Jazeera America’s David Schuster interviews Michael Gross about House of Outrageous Fortune

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“A who’s who of titans,” says Business Insider

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“Michael Gross goes behind the scenes to tell the complete story of Fifteen,” writes Julie Zeveloff of Business Insider in 15 Outrageous Facts About 15 Central Park West, The World’s Most Powerful Address. “From the building’s inception …to the battle over its unusual facade to the sparring among its strong-headed tenants, Gross makes the case that the building is deserving of its description as the world’s most powerful address. Anyone fascinated by the history of luxury real estate in New York City — or the lives of the city’s richest and most powerful people — should find the time to … Continue reading

At long last, $100 million?

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Arthur and Will Zeckendorf, developers of Fifteen Central Park West, have announced plans to market a $100 million penthouse at their next tower, 520 Park Avenue (rendering at right), a deal many years in the making, many details of which were first revealed in House of Outrageous Fortune. Read the Real Deal’s report on it here. Could this be the first NYC $100 million sale I predicted in the last issue of Departures? Only time will tell.

Message in an Apartment: More on Sting’s 15CPW Fling

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As noted here last week, a publicist for the musician known as Sting (or Der Stingle, as I like to think of him, in tribute to an earlier crooner, the late Bing “Der Bingle” Crosby), took exception to the claim of a building employee, recounted in the first printing of House of Outrageous Fortune and since corrected, that the former Police man installed a private elevator in his Fifteen Central Park West duplex. Further research reveals more about that mythical yet apparently significant elevator. In fact, Sting removed an elevator that originally came with his apartment. Amazon’s Look Inside preview … Continue reading

Pulitzer Prize-winner Manuela Hoelterhoff on House of Outrageous Fortune

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“Michael Gross, an author with a delicate appreciation for bloated egos and wealth, makes them glitter in ‘House of Outrageous Fortune: Fifteen Central Park West, the World’s Most Powerful Address.’ The intersecting strands of money, politics, greed, taste, ambition shine brightly.” Manuela Hoelterhoff, Bloomberg News

#HOOF in the news

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Spring has sprung and Bloomberg News is blossoming with reports about House of Outrageous Fortune. Pimm Fox‘s Taking Stock segment (above) aired yesterday and today, Bloomberg’s Manuela Hoelterhoff has an interview with the author. And then there’s Dan Loeb, (the “famously fiery hedge fund hotshot,” in the words of Emily Smith of Page Six), who is apparently shorting the book’s stock. Just another morning at the Hedgie Hive!

Bloomberg does Outrageous

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I was on Pimm Fox’s Taking Stock on Bloomberg today.

Goldilocks at The Economist: Is HOOF “just right”?

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The Economist reviews House of Outrageous Fortune this week and finds it not gossipy enough (A-Rod‘s hookers apparently failing to satisfy, for once) yet simultaneously not serious enough, lacking in “serious” analysis of whether recent economist policy harmed the less well off while enriching 15CPW residents. But it does toss this tasty tid-bit into the porridge: The book, says the magazine, “demonstrates conclusively the abiding truth of Clare Boothe Luce’s observation, ‘Money can’t buy happiness, but it can make you awfully comfortable while you’re being miserable.’” And that sounds…just about right.

Goodbye, Dolly

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Richard Johnson reports in the Post today on my talk at the Core Club on Tuesday night. I won’t confirm or deny that I was discussing the much-in-the-news real estate broker Dolly Lenz, who recently ankled Elliman to set up her own super-broker shop, when I referenced the story about Dan Loeb and Carl Icahn that opens House of Outrageous Fortune. I can confirm that I laughed out loud on reading Richard’s item.

“A fascinating read…an amazing read, and thoughtful, too.” John Elliott of CBS New York

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Here’s my appearance on CBS’ The Couch this morning.

King Carl Kong vs. The Loebzilla

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Click the thumbnail at right to see the graphic created by CNBC’s Power Lunch for its segment yesterday on House of Outrageous Fortune, illustrating the clash of titans Carl Icahn and Daniel Loeb over a Fifteen Central Park West penthouse that opens the book. It deserves a moment in the sun over Central Park.

Power Lunch at Fifteen Central Park West

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Here is my appearance on CNBC’s Power Lunch today. Don’t know why screen is cut off. Click continue reading to see it full screen!

Outrageous is “riveting,” says USA Today, in a four-star review

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“A tsunami of colorful details,” USA Today’s Roberta Bernstein writes of House of Outrageous Fortune, calling it “an engrossing account,” that “uses 15CPW…to explore how the titans of finance, technology, information and entertainment–deemed too déclassé for co-op living by the residents of Park and Fifth avenues–are grabbing the reins of power.” And #HOOF is now the #1 non-fiction bestseller in Palm Beach, Florida.

Outrageous is “stunning,” says Michael Smerconish of CNN

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On the other hand, Camille Grammar, ex-wife of former 15CPW renter Kelsey, told Radar Online the book’s brief passage on her is “disgusting.”

House is “Sensational,” says Inside Edition

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Inside Edition’s story on House of Outrageous Fortune, “America’s most fabulous apartment building,” in the show’s words, aired last night in most of America, and will be seen tomorrow in New York. I love it when I stumble over Lloyd Blankfein‘s name and call him Lord Blankfein. Watch it after the jump….CORRECTIONS: I made two other errors in the piece. Google exec Omid Kordestani‘s apartment has two exposures, not three. It’s not easy keeping 201 apartments straight in your mind! And a spokesperson for Gordon “Sting” Sumner (or Der Stingle, as I like to think of him) and spouse Trudie … Continue reading

Entertainment Tonight and Buzzfeed both get Outrageous

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Last night, Entertainment Tonight’s Rob Marciano interviewed me about House of Outrageous Fortune. Today, Buzzfeed ran a piece on the book and building. “We will never, ever live here,” writes their Robyn Wilder. “But we can dream.” UPDATE: House will be featured on Inside Edition nationally tonight. New Yorkers have to wait to see it over the weekend.

“Secrets: Michael Gross’ book goes behind the curtain of the super-exclusive address”–Mail Online

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The Mail Online just posted an outrageous story about House of Outrageous Fortune.

Floor Plan Pornucopia

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Attention 15CPW shoppers and fans: This website now features a complete archive of 15CPW floor plans–ninety-something in all–showing every single residence in the building as originally designed by the all-star team of architects fronted by Robert A.M. Stern that designed the Limestone Jesus. The Complete 15CPW Floorplan Collection is available here. Read them and weep for the poor .01% who must furnish and fill them. That’s the Sandy Weill/Dmitry Rybolovlev penthouse at left.

And now for something every so slightly different

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Okay, so it’s pub day of House of Outrageous Fortune, but it’s also the day the New York Post chose to publish my latest travel piece on what are sometimes called six and seven star hotels. Learn about where the folks at Fifteen and their ilk go to bake and slake their thirst for decadent relaxation here. Gripepad will return to 15CPW in short order.

Outrageous: USA Today’s hottest book of the week

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USA Today’s Jocelyn McClurg just named House of Outrageous Fortune the hottest book of the week. Hope she’s right!

A second outrageous peek into 15CPW

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Today’s New York Post opens the doors of Fifteen Central Park West–and the pages of House of Outrageous Fortune one more time before the book is published on Tuesday. This second exclusive preview includes tales of tipping, hedgie art collecting and decor, hooking up and the hushed-up theft of a painting from the home of Bob Diamond of Barclays Bank.

Looking west from Fifth Avenue

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Avenue Magazine turned the Unreal Estate column over to Haley Friedlich this month for the first interview about House of Outrageous Fortune with its author, this blogger. You can read it here.

Liz Smith declares House of Outrageous Fortune “outrageous fun” and “journalistic excellence”

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Liz Smith‘s gossip column, which is syndicated across the country (here it is in the Worcester Telegram) and appears daily on New York Social Diary, leads with House of Outrageous Fortune today. “Michael Gross is a delightful guy who has made the privacy-mad 1% of New York crazy because he investigates and tells their many secrets,” she writes. “This is called a scandal in some sections; journalistic excellence in others. You run into his byline everywhere and some people run for the hills….Gross calls 15 “the latest nail in Society’s coffin,” for it’s a high example of the axiom ‘money … Continue reading

“A lot of fun and definitely worth a read,” says Curbed.

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Over at Curbed, Jeremiah Budin links to yesterday’s New York Post excerpt about the man who got paid $17 million by the developers of the building they call Limestone Jesus and I call the House of Outrageous Fortune. The post appears under the rubric Lifestyles of the Rent Stabilized. “The whole thing is a lot of fun, and definitely worth a read, as is, we assume, the entire book,” he writes. Holdout Herbert Sukenik’s story has also been picked up by England’s Telegraph, Independent, Metro, and Sky News.

House of Outrageous Fortune event at Barnes & Noble

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Please join Michael Gross at Barnes & Noble on March 13th at 7PM for the first talk and book signing for House of Outrageous Fortune. The store is located at 2289 Broadway at 82nd Street.

Take that, Putin! 15CPW’s scram scam is front page news

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Herbert Sukenik, a genius and a recluse, was paid $17 million to move out of the Mayflower Hotel and make way for Fifteen Central Park West. His astonishing story is on the front page of today’s New York Post, in the first exclusive excerpt from House of Outrageous Fortune. UPDATE: The Mail Online has some fun with the hermit holdout today , too.

Fish Story

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Long Key, a luxury fishing camp established on one of the Keys a hundred and five years ago by Henry Flagler, the father of Florida tourism, is the subject of a new book I reviewed in the latest issue of Alexa Luxe Living in the New York Post. I call the book “evocative archaeology, a reminder of a time when travel, while onerous in its way, was a gentler pursuit for genteel folk.”

Correction

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A sentence on page 321 of the first printing of House of Outrageous Fortune (to be published March 11) erroneously reports the performance of a Marathon Asset Management investment fund in 1998. The sentence says the fund was down 38 percent that year, its first in operation. It in fact ended that difficult year unchanged. It was a basket of emerging market funds that was down 38 percent in 1998. I regret the unintentional error which will be corrected in the e-book and subsequent printings.

I’m “the Jackie Collins of real estate,” says the New York Times

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“Michael Gross’s new book” on 15 Central Park West “packs [in] almost as many stories as there are apartments in the building (202),” Penelope Green writes in today’s New York Times Home section. “The Jackie Collins of real estate,” she continues, “likes to map expressions of power, money and ego.” House of Outrageous Fortune “is even more crammed with billionaires and their exploits than 740 Park.”

Details details 15CPW

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In its March issue, Details magazine presents a charticle on some of the “eye-popping” numbers, big and not-so, being thrown around at 15CPW. “Preeminent real estate muckraker Michael Gross chronicles the rise of Fifteen Central Park West, arguably Manhattam’s most exclusive address, home to billionaire bankers, Russian oligarchs, and A-list celebs,” writes Laura Bolt.

Owlwood set to fly-but to whooo?

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Owlwood, the Holmby Hills mega-estate made up of homes once owned by stars like Rudy Vallee, Engelbert Humperdinck, Jayne Mansfield, Tony Curtis and Cher, has reportedly been sold, says the indefatigable LA realty blogger, Your Mama of The Realestalker. Its current owner, Dawn Arnall, is the widow of Roland, a subprime mortgage banking billionaire. As featured in The Hollywood Reporter (at right) the whole story of the estate–allegedly listed for $150 million, but reportedly sold for something closer to half that–is told in my last book, Unreal Estate. Writes the red-hot Mama, “It could be that this is all just … Continue reading

William Zeckendorf Jr., R.I.P.

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It is utterly sad to report that William Zeckendorf Jr., son of Big Bill Zeckendorf, father of Arthur and Will Lie Zeckendorf, a significant force in New York real estate development and a significant character in House of Outrageous Fortune, has died at 84, according to the Santa Fe New Mexican, in the town he retired to in the mid-nineties. Condolences to his wife, his sister, and his sons. His final words to me in an interview for the book stand as a simple, eloquent and fitting epitaph. “What I accomplished can be seen,” he said. “The buildings are there.”

Weill no long whiles at 15CPW

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In today’s Daily News, Matt Chaban reports (scroll down to the second item) that Citigroup Sandy Weill and wife Joan have giving up their toehold at 15 Central Park West, selling the servant’s apartment they bought for less than $1 million before the building opened for $5.65 million. Weill’s tenure at 15CPW was more profitable than it was happy for the banker, as readers will discover when House of Outrageous Fortune is published in three weeks and six days. That Weill on the New York Post’s wood at right.

Miami Modern Made New

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The Saxony on Collins Avenue in Miami Beach was once that sandy strip’s best known hotel. In “Miami Modern With a Latin Twist” in the February issue of Avenue, the Unreal Estate column revels in its rise, fall and rebirth as the centerpiece of Faena Miami Beach, an under-construction resort-condo-arts complex that’s already attracted apartment-buyers like Leon Black and Lloyd Blankfein.

Vanity Fair says House of Outrageous Fortune rules

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Writing in the new Vanity Fair, architecture eminence gris Paul Goldberger previews House of Outrageous Fortune, calling the book’s subject, 15 Central Park West, “the biggest magnet for money and celebrity New York ha[s] seen in more than a generation.” He continues, “Michael Gross…rules[s] the school of literature you might call Books About Buildings Where Lots of Rich People Live.”

Gripepad Exclusive: $45 million saves River Club

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River House–a frequent subject in this space–released a statement today revealing that a letter of intent has been signed to keep the private River Club inside the esteemed cooperative apartment house. What was not revealed was the price, but Gripepad has confirmed with an inside source that it is a $45 million deal. Not quite the $130 million the building claimed to be seeking for the premises–it also claimed that was not a negotiating ploy–but not chump change, either. So though on a blogging hiatus while traveling, Gripepad thought you should know.