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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.

April 7th, 2016

When neighbors attack

740-jacket-mediumUnmentioned in all the coverage of the fire yesterday in the apartment of Bernie Madoff associate Ezra Merkin at fabled 740 Park Avenue is the likelihood that he has two very angry and water-damaged downstairs neighbors.  But who are the folks who will be calling their lawyers, insurance agents, decorators and architects today?  Directly beneath Merkin is none other than financier David Koch, perhaps the building’s most controversial resident, along with wife Julia.  And beneath the Kochs reside Dana and Andrew Stone, the latter a banker with a fierce reputation.  Tops dogs in monied circles, they unfortunately both sleep in 740′s version of the bottom bunk–and we all know what flows downhill. (Water, silly.) At least they can afford repairs, but still:  My sympathies.  

April 6th, 2016

740 Park Board President at Scene of Fire

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George David, owner of a penthouse and president of the board of the 740 Corporation is shown here on the scene of the fire in Bernie Madoff-feeder Ezra Merkin‘s apartment at 740 Park Avenue. Check back for updates. UPDATE: Patch reports that two firefighters were injured on the scene.

April 6th, 2016

Breaking: Fire at 740 Park in home of Madoff-associate Ezra Merkin’s apartment

740As many as two dozen fire vehicles are outside 740 Park and a source inside the building says there is a fire in the sixth and seventh floor duplex apartment of embattled financier Ezra Merkin.

November 26th, 2015

Turkey? Or just a failed flip?

Reports surfaced yesterday of an epic flip fail at 15 Central Park West after the LLC that bought it last year sold for a small loss.  Sigh.  The original purchaser, pharmaceutical exec Richard Ullman, doubled his $24 million investment in the almost decade old tower.  But he actually lived there until his death.  The flipper, now out, should have known, you can’t  win ‘em all. Balloons will fly beneath its windows today.  Let’s hope they don’t deflate, too.  

October 20th, 2015

Another one bites the dust: RIP Bookhampton

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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?

March 27th, 2015

740 Park loses record, gains footnote

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Curbed reports that Len Blavatnik, who left the Soviet Union in 1978 but still profited from its collapse via a partnership with Russian oligarch Vikor Vekselberg, has set a new New York co-op sales record with his $77.5 million purchase of New York Jets Woody Johnson‘s 14 room duplex at 834 Fifth Avenue. The previous record holder was 740 Park, where hedgie Israel “Izzy” Englander bought a second apartment in September for $71.3 million. 740, of course, had held that record previously, thanks to private equity poobah Steve Schwarzman‘s 1999 $29.9 million purchase of what had been Saul Steinberg’s duplex there. Indeed, Schwarzman held that record when Blavatnick tried to buy an apartment at 740, and its board recruited oilman and right wing financier David Koch to snatch it away (“I took it out from under his nose,” Koch boasted in an interview for my book 740 Park). Last laugh: Blavatnik. At least until Schwarzman decides to sell.

February 3rd, 2015

15CPW Takes Some Cake

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The New York Observer’s Kim Velsey reports that Deutsche Bank’s Michael Lewis has sold his three-bedroom apartment at the Limestone Jesus for $25.92 million, well under his $29.99 million asking price. The Observer tentatively identifies the buyer as Asian private equity mogul Michael Kim. With the sale complete, I think it can be revealed that Alex Gibney filmed his interview with me for his film Park Avenue, based on 740 Park, in Lewis’s dining room (shown), and the setting sun view over my shoulder throughout is the one Lewis family enjoyed on a nightly basis.

January 16th, 2015

RIP Kim Fowley

I spent a few days with the rock legend Kim Fowley in the ’70s. This is, believe it or not, a great memory.

December 8th, 2014

All I want for Christmas/Chanuka is an $88 million penthouse

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Rogues Gallery
But seriously, with the start of Chanuka just nine days away, why not buy your beloved a book? For art lovers just back from Art Basel, there’s Rogues’ Gallery, which the New York Times Book Review called “A blockbuster exhibition of human achievement and flaws.” Prefer real estate? But is your recipient a condo or a cooperative person? For the former, there’s House of Outrageous Fortune, the story of Manhattan’s sui generis record-setting condo, Fifteen Central Park West. “The intersecting strands of money, politics, greed, taste, ambition shine brightly,” Manuela Holterhoff of Bloomberg News wrote of the book. And cooperators can similarly reach for the heights of Manhattan real estate with 740 Park. It’s “compulsively readable,”
according to Liesl Schillinger of The New York Times.

October 27th, 2014

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!