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.
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.
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 … Continue reading
Pick a book and click a link to purchase.
Today’s New York Times reviews Aaron Glantz‘s Homewreckers, on the real estate meltdown that sparked the Great Recession. The Times notes that many of the perpetrators in the book’s pages live under the same Park Avenue roof, but doesn’t reveal the address, and names only one of them. That’s Steven Mnuchin, now Secretary of the Treasury, and one of the current administration’s few surviving Original Cheerleaders. The building is 740 Park of course, and John Thain, Steve Schwarzman (with Mnuchin, O.C. Wilbur Ross, and anther guy on the book’s jacket), as well as former resident Ronald O. Perelman, are all … Continue reading
I’m happy to reveal that Unreal Estate, my social/real estate history of the richest communities in Los Angeles, will shortly be re-published, exclusively as an e-book, after almost seven years out of print. “Great Hollywood houses, great Hollywood tragedies, great book,” said The Chicago Tribune. I’ll post a link for purchase as soon as it’s available.
Last week, Radio France broadcast and published its multi-platform look into Jean-Luc Brunel, the French model agent alleged to have “fed” young models to Jeffrey Epstein, the pervert plutocrat who killed himself in his jail cell rather than face his accusers. The Cellule Investigation references both my 1995 book (called Top Model in its French translation) and my recent recollection of a disturbing encounter with Brunel in The Daily Beast. To hear the show (in French), go to this link and click the play button.
The Hollywood Reporter looks back at Dolly Green, daughter of a founder of Beverly Hills, and a major character in my book Unreal Estate. They call her an original housewife of Beverly Hills, a description rife with reality-TV tackiness that surely would have made her bristle. Her full life story will again be available in a new e-book-only re-release of Unreal Estate, to be published soon.
Labor Day weekend 1997 tout Southampton was at David Koch’s annual beach fireworks party when the new broke that the Princess of Wales had died in Paris shortly before the party broke up. Ever a reporter, I woke up my editor and nine days later, my story “The Princess and the Jackals” appeared in New York magazine. “Those in the press and the public who blame the paparazzi for Diana’s death,” read the deck, “need to come to terms with their own predatory instincts.”
The apartment with the best back story at 740 Park has changed hands, according to the real estate mavens at The Real Deal. Developer Will Zeckendorf, who bought it in 2011 for $27 million, has now sold it to LBO kingpin Peter May and his wife Leni for $29.5 million, hopefully breaking even. The flat was originally occupied by a prominent lawyer and Appeals Court justice, Clarence J. Shearn, whose wife Dorothea, a complex and riveting character, was the neighbor-from-hell to John D. Rockefeller, Jr., who lived beneath her. Then, the 17th floor simplex (shown in a 1930s photograph) became … Continue reading
Looks like Park Avenue is the focus of the New York Times Real Estate section’s weekly “Living In” feature this weekend. And 740 Park gets the requisite name check. Thanks for that, C.J. Hughes.
I first met Lee Radziwill, who died Friday at her home in Manhattan, more than thirty years ago when she handled public relations for the Milanese designer Giorgio Armani. Years later, when I wrote about her childhood at 740 Park in my book on the storied apartment house, she told me of the time her sister Jacqueline Bouvier (later Kennedy Onassis), saved her life after she tried to crawl out one of its sixth floor windows to escape the stifling atmosphere caused by her dissolute father, Black Jack Bouvier’s profligacy, and their parents’ failing marriage. Window guards were subsequently installed … Continue reading
Tomorrow night, ABC broadcasts The Last Days of JFK Jr., a new documentary. My voice is in the trailer, so I suspect I’ll be in the show, talking about my two cover stories on the American prince. The first was for New York Magazine in 1989 and appeared as the man I called “Just John” was going to work for Manhattan District Attorney Robert Morgenthau. The second, for Esquire in 1995, caught up with John as he launched his political magazine George. Like his death, that mag, which sat at the intersection of politics and celebrity, came too soon.
The news that Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin has listed his sprawling A-Line duplex at 740 Park Avenue made headlines this week. Besides the Wall Street Journal’s scoop by Katherine Clarke (shown), Forbes also featured the listing, citing the book that remains the primary source on the world’s richest apartment building.
Writing on architect Rosario Candela in Architectural Digest, David Netto calls 740 Park “riveting social history…a biography of an apartment building.”
The most notable residence in the most notable apartment house on the Upper East Side, 740 Park, has lately been much in the news. A few weeks back, the New York Times’ T Magazine referred to the former residence there of Saul and Gayfryd Steinberg, Apartment 15-16B. In tomorrow’s Styles of the Times, in a profile of its current occupants, Steve and Christine Schwarzman, the apartment also figures prominently. Though it’s really unnecessary, both articles inflate the apartment’s many virtues. T called it a triplex. The writer of the Styles profile referred to it as a “17,000-square-foot, three-floor penthouse.” In fact, … Continue reading
Walt Disney said that, and yesterday’s real estate news shows it’s still true. On both the east and west coasts, trophy properties with remarkable histories have gone on the market and attracted attention for their inherent quality–as well as their sky-high asking prices. In Bel Air, California, Variety’s brilliant Realestalker Mark David reports, soap opera mogul Bill Bell and his wife Maria, an arts philanthropist have listed a mansion prominently featured in my book on West Los Angeles, Unreal Estate (which is currently out of print). Designed by Wallace Neff for film producer and studio mogul Sol Wurtzel, it was later home to a celebrity … Continue reading
Please visit this Facebook page and vote (by hitting LIKE) for AVENUE’s July 2017 cover of Patti Hansen at Studio 54 by Anton Perich as the ASME magazine cover of the year. Every vote counts and I’m counting on yours!
Today’s Page Six revealed that photographer Bruce Weber, a major character in FOCUS, is the latest figure in fashion accused of sexual harassment. You can read the complaint filed against Weber in NYS Supreme Court male model Jason Boyce’s lawsuit by clicking here.
WWD notes today that long before the current Harvey Weinstein headlines, both MODEL and FOCUS addressed the subject of sexual exploitation in the field of fashion photography.
Last week, 740 Park was back in the news in The Real Deal, which wrote of a price cut on a long-listed duplex, and in the Wall Street Journal, after the sale by hedgie David Ganek of the apartment where Jackie Kennedy grew up, and 15 Central Park West was spotlit in a story on buildings that attract celebrities in the New York Post. UPDATE: And the winner of Jacklie O’s apartment, according to the Wall Street Journal, is Jacob Safra!
Last week, William D. Cohan interviewed me on covering the world of wealth in New York at a 92Y Talk. Here’s the podcast.
Meet the HOT pink jacket of FOCUS in trade paperback, coming to bookstores and online booksellers on August 29th.
The Rockefeller family’s enduring legacy, the subject of a feature story by Michael Kaplan in today’s New York Post, is also a prominent theme in 740 Park and Rogues’ Gallery, two of my books. News-hooked on the recent death of David, the last surviving son of John D. Rockefeller, Jr., and the only one to live in 740 Park, the story addresses how great fortunes are dispersed and thus dissipated in large families, and asks if this wealthy family’s name still matters. I say it does, and others agree. In large part, that’s because, as Kaplan writes, “the family never … Continue reading
“One of our most provocative journalists, Michael Gross has cornered the market for insiders’ stories of the most bewitching and private worlds of the privileged, very rich, talented and beautiful,” says the 92nd Street Y, announcing my forthcoming appearance there on the night of June 12th, when I’ll engage in conversation with William D. Cohan, the former M&A investment banker for Lazard Frères and bestselling author of books about Wall Street. Speaking of insider stories, on Friday, Bloomberg “revealed” details of financier and Trump administration advisor Stephen Schwarzman‘s 70th birthday party in Palm Beach this weekend. But readers of AVENUE … Continue reading
Look above his right bicep!
Looking for a holiday present? Focus is “smart, well researched and written with an insider’s eye… engaging and on point….canny,” (Kim France, New York Times Book Review), “delicious, sweeping, thoughtful” (The Daily Beast), “thoroughly absorbing…enthralling and riveting,” (Tim Gunn), “amazing… big, intelligent, exhaustively researched, lovingly written,” (Liz Smith, Chicago Tribune), “deep-diving …groundbreaking,” (DuJour), “sizzling…relentless,” (Hamptons Magazine), “juicy. . . fascinating,” (Booklist), “often-shocking” (Daily News), “simply unrivaled…a sensation….” (craveonline), “astonishing and unprecedented,” (The Daily Mail), “exciting…a must,” (Musée), and “important,” (National Post).
After an annus horribilus full of troubles, is 740 Park, subject of my 2005 book, once again New York’s Tower of Power? Consider this: Though his primary residence is California, Secretary of the Treasure-designate Steven Mnuchin remains the owner of a duplex there. And ten floors above him in a triplex penthouse lives the cooperative’s president, George David, former chairman and CEO of defense contractor United Technologies, which owns Carrier, the air-conditioning giant that yesterday agreed to keep jobs in the United States. Might the neighbors have facilitated that deal in a little chat in the elevator or the basement … Continue reading
In his column today, Richard Johnson of the New York Post reports on the revelation in Focus that twice-married Richard Avedon, a major character in the book, was secretly bisexual. It’s but one of dozens of secrets spilled in the story of fashion photography’s glory years. What’s next? Stay tuned for more…
I revisit 740 Park, the subject of my 2005 book, in “Fire, Floods, Theft: The Plagues of 740”, in today’s New York Post. All the story is missing is locusts. See if you can ID the frog in the lily pond. UPDATE: Mail Online picked up the story too.
After a devastating fire a few weeks ago, the world’s richest apartment building, 740 Park, is now being cloaked in 184 linear feet of sidewalk shed. Why? A source with detailed knowledge of the 1929 building’s woes says that after chunks of limestone fell from its facade last July, causing the FDNY to rush there, it was determined that some of the metal brackets that hold the massive stone blocks in place “are rusting, and as it rusts, it swells and pops the limestone, causing pieces to fall.” The source adds, “They have to do probes on the limestone [and] … Continue reading
Today’s New York Times highlights one reason why Manhattan’s high-end condo market is collapsing, as Extell founder Gary Barnett admitted yesterday. James B. Stewart writes that investments in hedge funds, the financial high fliers that funded much of the condo boom, are dropping as dramatically as construction cranes. Stewart quotes Daniel Loeb, founder of the Third Point hedge fund and owner of one of the largest penthouses at uber-condo Fifteen Central Park West (shown with his wife Margaret Munzer Loeb on the front of one of their elaborate Christmas cards): “There is no doubt that we are in the first … Continue reading
Gripepad has refrained from schadenfreude in response to the legal clouds hanging over Bill DeBlasio and anti-carriage-horse group NYCLASS’ co-founder Steve Nislick, but today’s Daily Beast confirms and adds detail to a scoop first published here in 2009 in “It’s Parkingtown, Jake,” revealing that Nislick’s advocacy against the historic Central Park attractions is likely more about real estate than animal welfare. Gripepad first mentioned this brouhaha in 2008, and has followed it ever since. “Clap Your Hands Say Neigh” followed a New York Post scoop on a NYCLASS proposal to replace the horses with amusement park rides. Then, in “Let’s … Continue reading
“I think it’s the biggest apartment in New York,” says a real estate aficionado of some standing. “It was the apotheosis of the ’80s,” when Salomon Brothers head and one-time “King of Wall Street” John and Susan Gutfreund bought a duplex at 834 Fifth Avenue for the then-staggering sum of $7 million. Yesterday, in the wake her husband’s death in March, Mrs. Gutfreund listed the extravagant twenty-room, seven-bedroom apartment for an even more astonishing $120 million. That’s quite a leap from the $275,000 Carl J. Schmidlapp, a vice-president of of the Chase National Bank, paid in 1930 for what was … Continue reading
What do you do when your upstairs neighbor drives you from your home? David Koch, the wealthiest resident of 740 Park Avenue, forced out of the building by water damage following a fire in the apartment above his, belonging to J. Ezra Merkin of Bernie Madoff fame, has checked into a hotel and is checking out new cribs in his costly ‘hood, according to Richard Johnson of the New York Post and PageSix.com. Johnson adds delectable new tid-bits to the story that’s been playing out here on Gripepad over the last few weeks.
The latest rumor out of 740 in the wake of the devastating fire there last week has it that Bernie-Madoff-feeder Ezra Merkin‘s duplex apartment, where the blaze began in a sauna, was thoroughly destroyed and that controversial conservative billionaire David Koch might buy the charred shell and add it to his own apartment just below, creating a quadriplex that will rival the best and biggest residence in the building, private equity kingpin Steve Schwarzman‘s duplex-plus-servant’s-mezzanine, once the home of John D. Rockefeller Jr. Does this qualify as #richpeopleproblems?
A source reveals that the source of the fire that raged at 740 Park Avenue last week was a sauna in the apartment of Bernie-Madoff-feeder fat cat Ezra Merkin. And that’s caused fresh worries for two more of his neighbors. Recent purchaser Howard Marks has installed a sauna in his ongoing renovation. And long-time resident Israel “Izzy” Englander is currently combining two apartments and planning to install his own personal hot box. “The concern is that the board will make Marks remove [his] and stop Englander,” says the insider. This comes atop the water and smoke damage done to Merkin’s … Continue reading
No word yet on how yesterday’s bonfire of 740 Park’s vanities started in Ezra Merkin‘s laundry room, but an inside source offers this who-else-got-hit report: Severe damage was suffered by Julia and David Koch, beneath Merkin, and Dana and Andrew Stone beneath the Kochs, “due to fire ‘n’ flooding. Heavy smoke inundated the homes of former 740 co-op board president Alice Tisch, above Merkin, and fashion’s Vera Wang, above Tisch and her husband. At least one of the victims is blaming building management and the super, and demanding a change. Meantime, security guards have been posted at all entrances and … Continue reading
Unmentioned 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 … Continue reading
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.
As 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.
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.
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?
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 … Continue reading
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.
I spent a few days with the rock legend Kim Fowley in the ’70s. This is, believe it or not, a great memory.
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 … Continue reading
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!
The New York Times tomorrow offers a compelling argument for taxing the owners of the often-empty pied-a-terre luxury condominium apartments that have filled Manhattan and coincidentally raised the price of real estate beyond the reach of many who actually want to live here. Bravo.
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.