Category: GripeBox

Record-setting broker ankles Zeckendorf-ville

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Fifteen Central Park resident Kyle Blackmon, whose sale of Sanford Weill‘s penthouse there to fertilizer oligarch Dmitry Rybolovlev for $88 million still holds the record for the most expensive apartment sale in New York, has left the Brown Harris Stevens brokerage for upstart Urban Compass. BHS is partly owned by Will and Arthur Zeckendorf, the lead developers of Fifteen, and Arthur is one of Blackmon’s neighbors in the building where he’s been one of most productive broker-specialists. You’ve gotta wonder how welcome he’ll be at the sales office for the Zeckendorfs’ latest condo tower, 520 Park (shown), which the Real … Continue reading

Christy Turlington needs no translation

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I’m quoted in the new issue of Spain’s El Pais Semanal, in a profile penned by Ana Fernandez Parilla of “eternal model” Christy Turlington , highlighting her transition from supermodel to model businesswoman and philanthropist for maternal health. It was obvious, I say, even back in the day (when the photo at right was taken of Christy, Linda Evangelista and me), that she was something special even among the genetically-blessed, and time has confirmed that judgment.

Bullets over Miami Beach

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The epic battle in Miami pitting the most successful shopping mall in America against a designer upstart backed by LVMH boss Bernard Arnault has tongues wagging from Palm Beach to South Beach–and is the subject of my latest story “Bal Harbour Shops vs. the Design District” (just unlocked) for Departures magazine. That’s Bal Harbour’s third-generation boss Matthew Whitman Lazenby at left and the Design District’s mastermind Craig Robins (right). I’m told both are peeved about the story. I must have done something right.

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!

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.

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

The King of the Dinsosaurs and other tales of power in the city

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The October issue of Avenue is out this week and is now available to read online. In today’s New York Post, Richard Johnson previews the cover story on 740 Park resident David Koch‘s philanthropy. The controversial conservative demonstrated his considerable sense of humor when he posed for us wearing a dinosaur tie (click the cover at right to see it) in front of two dinosaur skeletons at the American Museum of Natural History, one of the institutions he favors. The issue, which I guest-edited, also features this year’s Avenue A-List (are you on it?), a previously unpublished interview with the … Continue reading

Bullets over Beaches

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The new Departures with my feature article on the retail war pitting the venerable Bal Harbour Shops vs. the upstart Miami Design District is now hitting the mailboxes of those lucky souls who get the magazine. You can see the opening art here, but the story itself is locked until the issue goes off sale. I will post as soon as it’s online

House of Outrageous Fortune’s new clothes

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The trade paperback edition of House of Outrageous Fortune won’t be out until March, but its outrageously fun new jacket (at right) was just unveiled by online booksellers. Click the image to see it in all its glory. Simultaneously, the latest reader review hit amazon.com. It reads, “If you want to see how the one-percenters live, this is the book for you! Boggles the mind.” Thanks, B. Turner (real name).

Mother of Mercy, is this the end of the Rico condo?

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Just as the New York State Senate indicated it is set to consider legislation levying stiff taxes on multi-million-dollar pied-a-terre apartments, the developing brothers, Arthur and Will Zeckendorf, and their starchitect-marketing-marvel Robert A.M. Stern, protagonists of House of Outrageous Fortune, went public with the offering plan for their 15 Central Park West clone, 520 Park Avenue (at right), topped by a triplex penthouse on offer for a staggering, record-setting, epochal, awe-inspiring, gasp-inducing $130 Million. Call it Limestone Yeezus, the Kanye of condos! Needless to say, whoever might consider buying such a deluxe a-party-ment in the sky will likely be able … Continue reading

Join me on the Runway of Love

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I’m speaking at the Philadelphia Museum of Art on Sunday at 2 PM on a panel (along with Pat Cleveland, Bjorn Amelan and Carol Mongo) as part of Runway of Love, a celebration of the exhibition on the life and work of American-designer-in-Paris Patrick Kelly. Please come!

Page Six Vaporizes $40 Million

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The owners of two apartments in the tower at 15 Central Park West are in for a surprise this morning: Page Six has made their homes–together worth considerably more than $40 million–disappear. Reporting that Robert DeNiro has rented two combined units in the condo, both owned by elderly metals magnate Leroy Schecter, the fabled gossip column describes apartment 35 A/B–which it claims is going for a stunning $125,000 a month–as occupying “an entire floor” and “a full floor” in the building. That leaves next-door apartments 35C, currently listed for $29.995 million with Brown Harris Stevens, and 35D in the northern … Continue reading

Back to School

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September is coming in like a lion, bringing with it a rush of news. Yesterday, Matt Chaban penned an update in the Times on the doings at River House that this reporter has been covering in Avenue for several years. His big scoop: board president John Allison, architect of the building’s new glasnost policy, has listed his own apartment. And the September issue of Avenue, where I’m guest editor while Daisy Prince is on maternity leave, is now live online. My latest Unreal Estate column concerns the sale of a townhouse long occupied by Ashraf Pahlavi, the twin sister of … Continue reading

Izzy Does It

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Hedgie Israel Englander‘s purchase of the French government’s duplex at 740 Park Avenue for a co-op-record-setting $71,277,500 hit public records over the weekend. Assuming he plans to combine his new palace with his existing one, a flight above, to create a massive triplex, Englander will likely top upstairs moneybags neighbor Stephen Schwarzman , and be able to claim ownership of the most impressive spread in the luxury building. Square footage in co-ops is difficult to compute, but his current fourteenth floor apartment (shown at left), one of the building’s few simplexes, which he’s owned since 2000, sprawls across 740′s entire … Continue reading

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