About Michael Gross

Michael Gross, one of America's most provocative non-fiction writers, is the author of the New York Times bestsellers House of Outrageous Fortune, 740 Park and Model, as well as Rogues' Gallery, Unreal Estate, My Generation and Focus, The Sexy, Secret, Sometimes Sordid World of Fashion Photographers. He is a Contributing Editor of Departures and his journalism has appeared in The New York TimesNew YorkVanity Fair, Esquire, GQ and many other publications.

 
 
July 27 2020

Veronica Uncovered


Ben Smith in the Times has a great piece on the latest dramas at the male-dominated women’s magazine publisher Hearst this morning. Twenty-nine years ago, a glamorous woman briefly ran the sprawling Hearst Magazines empire–creating public dramas galore and defying its reputation for discretion. In one of my three stories on Hearst Magazines that year, I called her TheIntriguing Mrs. Hearst. Continue reading

June 16 2020

Screaming ‘FIRE’ at 740 Park


Bernie Madoff feeder and hedge hog Ezra Merkin has dragged 740 Park back into the headlines, suing insurance company AIG over his allegation of $41 million in losses in a 2016 fire that drove many residents of the ritzy co-op out of their homes. I don’t think there are any winners in this story. Only losses all around. Continue reading

June 8 2020

Goodbye, Javanka


The Daily Beast’s Hannah Seligson considers the social fate of the Plastic Princess and her Super-Talented All-Knowing Prince of Darkness today—and I’m quoted. Where will they end up? Hell was not an option as that’s square one. Continue reading

May 17 2020

RIP, June Dyson of 740 Park

June Dyson, 101, who lived at 740 Park Avenue for 41 years, died earlier this month. She was the widow of Charles Dyson, a public-school educated leveraged buyout specialist who put together a conglomerate in the 1950s and 1960s and then became a public official and philanthropist. He also served on the building’s board, and married June, who’d managed Rockefeller money, when she was 72 and he was 80, after each of their first spouses died. “I really have nothing to say to you,” she told me when I called and asked for an interview for the book. “We’re a quiet little building.” Her home, apartment 2/3C overlooking East 71st Street, cost $375,000 in 1979. If recent sales are any indication, her two stepsons can expect to sell… Continue reading

May 13 2020

Need a Good Book?


With containment, isolation and quarantine ongoing in much of Ameeica, I’m shacking up with a diverse batch of good books in May. I abandoned Hilary Mantel‘s The Mirror & the Light despite having devoured the first two books in her Thomas Cromwell trilogy, but loved Julian BarnesThe Man in the Red Coat. Now I’m onto Jesse Kornbluth‘s JFK and Mary Meyer: A Love Story, and I have Sam Wasson‘s The Big Goodbye: Chinatown and the Last Years of Hollywood on deck. It’s not easy to read as I’m writing most days, at work on my own next book, about some very old and very prominent American families. But may I suggest one of the diversions illustrated here for you as I rush to get that done? You can order on each book’s page on… Continue reading

April 23 2020

Layoffs at the Metropolitan Museum of Art


The latest casualties of the Covid-19 Pandemic are 80 staffers at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, which announced layoffs and pay cuts yesterday. The museum also warned that its budget shortfall for 2020 might reach $150 million. “While we are not immune from the impact of this pandemic, the Met is a strong and enduring institution and will remain one,” Daniel Weiss, president and chief executive of the museum, said in a statement. It won’t make those staffers feel better to know that the museum has survived worse situations since it was created 150 years ago. But this is surely not the birthday it had in mind. The story of all that the great institution has endured is told in Rogues’ Gallery, for those who’d like to… Continue reading

April 20 2020

Peter Beard, R.I.P.

Peter Beard, whose death at age 82 was confirmed yesterday, was an iconoclast as well as a photographer, artist, adventurer, and nightlife iron man. These two brief excerpts from Model and Focus illustrate the same bracing candor, humor and unchecked honesty he brought to both his life and his work. Click to magnify. Continue reading

April 19 2020

Inside “a realm rarely known or understood.”

Two weeks shy of its 11th birthday, a reader’s review of Rogues’ Gallery, just posted on amazon, is one of the best it ever received. The reviewer, a longtime museum official, writes, “Having been in the museum field in various director and curatorial positions for fifty years, I can attest to the honesty and quality of this inside look at how these cultural institutions are governed and lead. The author has done impressive research into a realm rarely known or understood by the general public much less many in the museum profession. Museums have an aura and reputation that is commendable. How that is achieved and what is required to sustain much less advance it, is a complex mix of scholarly devotion, intellectual… Continue reading

April 14 2020

Christy and Naomi Have Model on Their Minds


My 1995 book Model came up on today’s episode of No Filter With Naomi, model Naomi Campbell‘s streaming YouTube “chat” show, an hour-long talk with one of her fellow members of the supermodel Trinity, Christy Turlington, both of whom are characters in the book.

Some back story. In early 1992, I was asked to write a feature profile for New York magazine on one of the supes. Not long before, late one night at Azzedine Alaia’s atelier, Naomi had wrapped a leg around me and asked, “Why don’t you write a story about me?” So I started with her but after several weeks of futile attempts to reach her, learned she’d chosen to cooperate with Time Magazine, instead, as they’d promised her a cover. Alas, her Time cover only ran on… Continue reading

April 9 2020

Please Support Independent Booksellers

I support the newest online bookseller, bookshop. Won’t you please click the link and support your local bookstore, too? Continue reading

March 29 2020

I’m a Someone!


In the opening sentence of an article by a writer in a fashion magazine last month on fashion designer Vera Wang‘s years-long renovation of a Park Avenue duplex she inherited from her parents (address not identified), I’m referred to as follows: “THERE ARE 17 televisions in Vera Wang’s palatial Manhattan residence in a 1929 Art Deco building so famous that someone wrote a whole book about it.” Just for the record, the building and the book are both called 740 Park, and Wang’s residence there is noted on page 472 (i.e. it’s not a secret). The book was published in 2005, became a New York Times bestseller, and remains in print fifteen years later. Buy it by clicking any of the hot links. If you want to read the article, I… Continue reading

March 22 2020

Kenny Rogers, R.I.P

Pop and country music superstar Kenny Rogers, who died on Friday at 81, owned one of the storied mansions featured in Unreal Estate, The Knoll in Beverly Hills, and sat for an interview in the book, just re-released as an e-book after years out of print. Read how he soared from flat broke to the heights of the .01% by clicking here. Continue reading

January 29 2020

A Koch Catch-up

My book 740 Park got name-checked in an article on the Koch family’s real estate holdings the Wall Steet Journal last week. You can read it here. The late David Koch is pictured with the late Frank Lautenberg. Continue reading

January 21 2020

Peggy Siegal: The Wheel Goes ‘Round

One time PR powerhouse Peggy Siegel is profiled in the new Vanity Fair, says The Daily Front Row, which appears delighted by her comeuppance—-as well as her dubious defenses and reportedly collapsing business—-in the wake of the cascade of indecent exposures regarding her close association with the late Jeffrey Epstein. In VF, per The Daily Beast, she even equated the generalized disdain toward her attempts to rehabilitate Epstein to Nazi-calibre anti-Semitism.

This all reminded me of something I wrote about Peggy back when she was still riding high, as opposed to hanging on the ropes. In Social Life in a Blender, a 1998 New York cover story, she spoke to me about some of her friends and clients, some of them… Continue reading

January 11 2020

Unreal Estate E-book Available Now

Unreal Estate: Money, Ambition, and The Lust For Land in Los Angeles, the second book in my luxury real estate trilogy, is finally available again, exclusively as an e-book. Said the Los Angeles Times: “Paragraphs of jaw-dropping details about a type of extravagance that might have been scorned even by the very wealthy on the Titanic. But [Unreal Estate] also leaves the reader with a sense of history….[It’s] what would happen if Us Weekly and Architectural Digest had a love child that was much smarter than either. The book provides a panorama of what was going on inside some of the most frivolous, gated houses on a hill that have ever existed.”

To get a copy click a link for Barnes and Noble, Kobo, or Amazon Continue reading

December 27 2019

Imperial Populist: Rogues’ Gallery Redux

With museum boards much in the news in 2019, why not a look back to 1939, when the improbable populist Robert Moses, destroyer of neighborhoods, took on New York’s plutocracy and demanded they let fresh air into what was then their private playground, The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Closing the Tenth Anniversary of its publication, The Daily Beast excerpts Rogues’ Gallery, my book on the museum’s board and benefactors. Continue reading

December 24 2019

Happy Holidays

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December 17 2019

Books Make Great Gifts

Pick a book and click a link to purchase. Continue reading

November 27 2019

All About Avedon

Photographer Gideon Lewin‘s highly anticipated book Avedon is out this week after a long delay caused by a legal tussle with the Richard Avedon Foundation, which sought to claim ownership of images Lewin shot in his many years as Avedon’s studio manager, and to claw back pictures the generous Avedon had given him. It’s an important companion piece to Focus, my book on postwar fashion photographers, in which Avedon plays the most prominent role, with Lewin as one of the chorus of voices telling the great one’s story. I used no Avedon images in Focus because the foundation insisted on approving any text about him–and they’re easy enough to find. Now, we can all see Lewin’s images, too. I, for one, can’t wait.,

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November 16 2019

The Night of The Hunter: Jeffrey Epstein and Jean-Luc Brunel

Jean-Luc Brunel (pictured) is like Lay’s Potato Chips to the French media. They can’t get enough of him–even though he’s bad for you. FranceTV just aired the latest piece on Jeffrey Epstein’s rabbateur and asked me to describe my experiences with him. Watch it here (but you need to understand French).

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