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.

August 15th, 2013

Does 740 Park have a Pink Panther (or was it an inside job)?

Today’s Page Six lede and New York Post wood reveal a series of minor jewel heists at the legendary 740 Park cooperative, the 20th Century’s tower of financial power and the subject of this author’s 2005 book. Per the Post, the missing items are a wedding ring here, a watch there. Is the perp terrifically clever, stealing only things that won’t be missed? Or are they like opportunistic shoplifters grabbing penny candy from the counter? Not to cast aspersions, but per this report, it sounds like sticky-fingered support staff are more likely responsible than some savvy criminal mastermind.

July 5th, 2013

House of Outrageous Fortune: Now available for pre-orders

House of Outrageous Fortune: Fifteen Central Park West, the World’s Most Powerful Address is now available for pre-orders on Amazon by clicking here. Publication date is March 11, 2014. I’ll post a bn.com link as soon as it, too, becomes available.

June 10th, 2013

Koch is Chill(ing)

Via Bloomberg View, author William D. Cohan adds his voice to the chorus of condemnation aimed at billionaire Tea Party pal and 740 Park resident David Koch (shown greeting the late New Jersey Senator Frank Lautenberg at an obviously bipartisan 2010 party) in an essay titled “David Koch’s Chilling Effect on Public Television.” Cohan is commenting on The New Yorker’s recent revelation about attempts by public television executives to placate Koch over critical coverage–in Alex Gibney‘s documentary Park Avenue, based on 740 Park, and another film–and Cohan links those concerns to government snooping on phone calls and the Internet. “Just like that, in this insidious way — a film censored here, some phone records seized there,” Cohan writes, “the freedoms that we once took for granted and thought were guaranteed by our Constitution are slowly but surely eroded. This can’t be a good thing.” But apparently, it’s the real thing.

May 29th, 2013

“Scoop and poop,” says Cindy Adams

My latest book, House of Outrageous Fortune: Fifteen Central Park West, the World’s Most Powerful Address, is coming in March 2014 from Atria Books, Cindy Adams reveals in her New York Post column today (scroll down past Bernie Kerik. Mixing up her Midases a bit (understandable in an era when there are so many making and managing new money), the gossip great names a few 740 Park “inmates” as characters in the new book, but this time, the “scoop and poop” will be about Lloyd Blankfein and Sandy Weill, not Steve Schwarzman and Henry Kravis, and Dan Loeb and Dan Och, not David Koch. Not to mention Dmitry Rybolovlev and former Barclay’s big boy Bob Diamond, whose residence at 15CPW I first dug up and revealed in February. Though I didn’t tell all…at least, not yet.

May 20th, 2013

Gibney’s 740 Park documentary in eye of PBS storm

Alex Gibney‘s documentary Park Avenue: Money, Power and the American Dream, based on my book 740 Park: The Story of the World’s Richest Apartment Building, aired worldwide last fall and is currently available for sale or rental in the iTunes store and on Hulu (as well as free online in the truncated-for-broadcast PBS version via Youtube). This week’s issue of The New Yorker is led by a story about Gibney’s film, detailing the pressure put on WNET, New York’s public television station, for broadcasting it. Though this is hardly the first time a wealthy subject has pushed back against revealing revelations, and 740 Park resident David Koch, the focus of the piece, makes an easy target for his political opponents, it’s still a compelling read. My longtime friend and colleague Greg Mitchell at The Nation was kind enough to mention Gibney’s source in a post on The New Yorker’s piece today.

May 11th, 2013

How do you really feel, Gwyneth?

Did someone say, how was your weekend? Well, busy. First we were unwillingly evacuated from our home. So I didn’t have time to post about NASCAR champ Jeff Gordon listing his apartment at 15 Central Park West, subject of my just-completed next book, or about France selling the home of its UN ambassador at 740 Park, subject of an earlier real estate opus. Then, Le Monde published a story on the Metropolitan Museum’s Costume Institute and its ball quoting my Rogues’ Gallery, and Gwyneth Paltrow, one of the select invited guests, opined that, “It sucked.” And finally, my exile on 57th Street ended with a new boom and thankfully, no bang. Developer Extell even apologized, sort of, and grudgingly, for treating One57′s neighbors like, well, guests at the Costume Institute gala. So how was it? Well, it still sucked to get kicked out of my home again, even if only for a day. But tomorrow is another day, even if it’s still this weekend.

April 21st, 2013

The Schwarzman Challenge

In the last pages of 740 Park, written nine years ago, I challenged Stephen Schwarzman to live up to the standard set by John D. Rockefeller Jr., who’d once owned the private-equity chief’s apartment in that fabled building, and add significant philanthropy to his resume. It took a few years, but Schwarzman did take up that challenge, as has been noted in this space. Today’s New York Times finds the Blackstone boss in China, giving away money for good again, donating a third of the cost of a new $300 million scholarship program for study in China, and helping raise the rest. As at the New York Public Library, recipient of his first $100 million gift, which renamed its main building for him, the program and the new college (at right, as designed by 15 Central Park West architect Robert A.M. Stern) will both bear his name, distinguishing his gifts from those of Rockefeller and the great friend of libraries, Andrew Carnegie. But let’s not quibble. That’s what it takes these days. Ya did good, Steve. Keep it up.

April 20th, 2013

Park Avenue on iTunes

Alex Gibney‘s documentary Park Avenue: Money, Power and the American Dream, based on my book 740 Park: The Story of the World’s Richest Apartment Building, is now available for sale or rental in the iTunes store. UPDATE: This week’s issue of the New Yorker is led by a story about Gibney’s film, detailing the pressure put on WNET, New York’s public broadcasting station, for broadcasting it.

February 12th, 2013

Attention Trophy Apartment Buyers!

The new listing of a tower duplex at River House for $25.5 million by Brown Harris Stevens this week might seem to have been inspired by my Unreal Estate column on the building in this month’s Avenue Magazine, but in truth, it’s come on the market because its owner, Betty Evans, just died. Hers happens to be the only River House apartment I ever visited. She was a niece of Julia Loomis Thorne who, with her husband Landon, were two of the most fascinating characters ever to inhabit 740 Park, the subject of my 2005 book. Evans was one of my best sources for the Thorne pages, so I was disappointed when she didn’t answer my call for a quote for the Avenue column. Now, of course, I understand why she didn’t. And if I had anything to do with the decision to price her former home at twice the going rate for a River House unit, hurray. As I said in Avenue, it, like many of the great Manhattan co-ops, is seriously underpriced in this condomania moment. UPDATE: The wonderful folks at The New York Observer gave this piece some link love.

January 14th, 2013

Bonfire of the Verities: LIBOR’s Bob Diamond’s hideout revealed and other tales of unreal realty

Where’s Barclay’s banker-in-chief Robert “Bob” Diamond been since leaving Barclays in disgrace amidst a rate-fixing scandal last summer? Licking his wounds (and counting his millions) right in our midst in a modest $37 million penthouse at Fifteen Central Park West. Read that and other tales of high-end apartment insanity in Manhattan–and of the people who spend eight figures on it without blinking–in “Bonfire of the Verities,” my update of Tom Wolfe’s 1985 discussion of “the Good Buildings” in the new issue of the digital only Newsweek via The Daily Beast. 740 Park was one of the good buildings. These are the insanely good buildings.