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740 Park

The Story of the World’s Richest Apartment Building

"Compulsively readable."Liesl Schillinger, The New York Times

"Jaw-dropping apartment porn."Fortune

"[A] great read... gossipy... revealing."People

"As rich as his subjects."Forbes FYI

"The Lolita of shelter porn."New York Observer

"Life after folly-filled life flashes forward like Park Avenue canopies viewed from a speeding town car."New York Times

"The is social history at its finest."Dominick Dunne

"Finally! A look inside the golden tabernacle of high society."Kitty Kelley

Photo of 740 ParkFor 75 years, it’s been one of the most lusted-after addresses in the world. Even today, it is steeped in money, the kind most of us can only imagine. Until now. The story of 740 Park Avenue sweeps across the twentieth century to today, and Michael Gross tells it in glorious, intimate and unprecedented detail. From the financial shenanigans that preceded the laying of the cornerstone, to the dazzlingly and sometimes decadently rich people who hid and hide behind its walls, this is a sweeping social and economic epic, starring our wealthiest and most powerful old-money families — Vanderbilt, Rockefeller, Bouvier, Chrysler, and Houghton — Greed Decade symbols Ronald Perelman, Henry Kravis, and Saul Steinberg, and the names in today’s scary financial headlines: David Koch, John Thain, Ezra Merkin and Steve Schwarzman.

May 6th, 2014

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 of Millennium Management. Daniel Loeb, aka “Pinnocchio with a Penthouse” at 15, occupies position No. 7, having taken home $700 million. Dan Och of Och-Ziff may have earned less, raking in $385 million last year, but his 15 penthouse is several floors higher than Loeb’s. And Barry Rosenstein of JANA Partners scores a slot on what Alpha deems the hedge world’s “Second Team” with 2013 earnings of about $250 million. The top 25 hedgies made about $14 billion last year, ensuring the flow of cash that fuels Manhattan’s condo market.

May 5th, 2014

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 their doors. In NYC alone: Coliseum Books, Gotham, Endicott, Shakespeare & Co., Murder Ink, the lovely Madison Avenue
Bookshop, the incomparable Books & Co., BN Lincoln Center and now Rizzoli – all gone. A good friend asked if there’s anything that we can do to hold on to
BookHampton. As I tried to find one more answer, the brilliant metaphor of the great writer Anne LaMott came to mind. “My brother,” she wrote in
Bird by Bird, “was trying to get a report on birds written that he’d had three months to write. It was due the next day… he was at the kitchen table close
to tears… immobilized by the hugeness of the task ahead. Then my father sat down beside him, put his arm around my brother’s shoulder, and said,
‘Bird by bird, buddy. Just take it bird by bird.’” So here then is my answer and a heartfelt request: Could you please help us take on the enormous challenge of saving BookHampton book by book. If every one of our friends, neighbors, and booklovers would be so kind as to buy one book today, it would make a true and immediate difference: bookhampton@bookhampton.com
Please take a moment to order just one book right now from BookHampton
Any book at all. http://bookhampton.com/buy-a-book/
Tell us the book you’re looking for or let us make a great recommendation. We’ll hold it in store or ship it anywhere!
Or call us : (631) 324-4939 or (631) 488-5953.
BookHampton is the literary cornerstone of our community; the beach, the farms, and this bookstore enrich all our lives and nourish our souls.
Thank you, in advance, for taking the time today to save BookHampton book by book.
Charline and Chris, Billy, Kim, Taylor, Mary, Sarah, Greg, Kate, Ken

February 3rd, 2014

Gripepad Exclusive: $45 million saves River Club

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.

January 23rd, 2014

$100 million–or bust!

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Who will sell New York’s first $100 million apartment? Where will it be? How staggering its views? How starchitect-y its design? And who will buy it? A Hedgie? A Saudi? A cloaking LLC? That inevitability is the subject of my cover story in the January-February issue of Departures, the luxury travel magazine. It’s now unlocked to read online.

January 16th, 2014

Grazing the news for Gripepad obsessions

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Noted without comment: The last few days have seen several of Gripepad’s obsessions flitting hither and yon in the news. Vogue editor in chief Anna Wintour , who appears on the cover of Rogues’ Gallery, has been rewarded for her fundraising and cheerleading efforts on behalf of the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute with the naming of its newly-renovated galleries in her honor. The board of directors of 995 Fifth Avenue, just across the street from that museum, has sued One57 developer, the cantilever and crane-crazy Extell (and a partner) for breach of contract and fraud “in the construction, marketing and sale of apartments at the luxury co-op building.” The Billionaire’s Belt along 57th Street appears to be squeezing out Rizzoli, the last bookstore in midtown Manhattan. 15CPW architect Robert A.M. Stern‘s design for 220 Central Park South, soon to sprout a few blocks away, has been revealed. And reams of copy have been written about new New York City mayor Bill de Blasio‘s declaration that the city’s carriage horses are heading to the glue factory. Most refer to my 2009 post here, “It’s Parkingtown, Jake,” and a 2011 followup column in Crain’s New York Business wondering about the true motives of the carriage horse opponents. And as surely as the sun rises and sets, some more very expensive apartments have come on the market at 740 Park Avenue and 15 Central Park West. The mind reels.

December 25th, 2013

Xmas Scrooge Alert: Tips and the Iceberg Rich

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Today’s New York Post has a laugh-riot story by Jane Ridley on Christmas staff tipping rituals in better buildings like 740 Park and 15 Central Park West. Read it and remember, they know if you’ve been bad or good so you better tip good for goodness sake!

December 22nd, 2013

Edgar Bronfman, RIP

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Seagrams heir Edgar Bronfman, second owner of the triplex penthouse atop 740 Park built for Elecrta Havemeyer and J. Watson Webb, and now occupied by for United Technologies head George David, has died at age 84. He paid $235,000 for the massive spread in 1961, and still owned it when his son Sam was famously kidnapped in 1975–though he’d moved to Fifth Avenue. His living room, designed by Albert Hadley, is shown. Late in 1979, Edgar finally sold the penthouse for $600,000 to Steven J. Ross, the head of Warner Communications.

September 30th, 2013

Another seller at 740 Park: Got $29.5 million?


Plagued by bad press this summer due to a series of petty thefts (petty for them, at least), 740 Park is back in the news today thanks to the listing of its fourth floor D-line apartment by investment banking’s Peter Huang. The apartment was infamous when Huang was still married to his first wife, Nancy Stoddart, whose friends from the Studio 54 set often came to keep partying there after-hours. Priced at $29.5 million, the unit, which overlooks 71st Street, is likely a fixer-upper. So if you’re handy as well as wealthy, pounce! The listing belongs to Kyle Blackmon, famous for selling the $88 million penthouse at 15 Central Park West for Sandy nd Joan Weill. It’s Blackmon’s second coup this week: He’s one of the brokers selling an as of now imaginary $130 million mansion at River House. It’s currently (and apparently not for long) home to the veddy exclusive The River Club.

September 12th, 2013

Another Outrageous Endorsement


Another advance reader of House of Outrageous Fortune: Fifteen Central Park West, the World’s Most Powerful Address, author-journalist Dana Thomas, author of Deluxe: How Luxury Lost Its Luster, says, “Want to understand what Occupy Wall Street was about? In House of Outrageous Fortune, Michael Gross explains it–and then some. With a rollicking, informative history of New York City, tales of mega real estate fortunes made and lost, and dizzying examples of the super-wealthy’s greed and ostentation, Gross deftly traces the arc of America both socially and financially and proves that the top two percent most certainly do not live like you or I.”

August 23rd, 2013

Income Inequality: The CNN Reading List


John Sutter of CNN.com has crowd-sourced a list of 99 must-read books on income inequality, presumably for the 99%, though some of the 1% might do well to read a few of them. My 740 Park makes the list at #30, between titles by George Bernard Shaw and Jonathan Kozol. Isn’t that rich?