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House of Outrageous Fortune: Press Release

Fifteen Central Park West, The World's Most Powerful Address

Contact: Diane Mancher
One Potata Productions, Inc., 212-353-3478

Contact: Bobbilyn Jones
Atria Books, 212-698-1107


Fifteen Central Park West, the World’s Most Powerful Address

Michael Gross

House of Outrageous Fortune pulls back the limestone curtain of Fifteen Central Park West to reveal seismic shifts in New York society and the astonishing lifestyle-without-limits of the new global elite. It’s a dishy—but not trashy—page-turner.”

Barbara Corcoran, founder of the Corcoran Group and star of ABC’s Shark Tank

“Michael Gross has done it again! In intricate and revelatory detail, he shows how Fifteen Central Park West became the most famous and talked-about building in Manhattan: It’s the people who live there, of course, and Gross gives us a front-row seat on their passions, their antics and why they want the very best money can buy.”

William D. Cohan, author of Money and Power: How Goldman Sachs Came to Rule the World

In New York, a city obsessed with real estate, no building has gained the jaw-dropping celebrity of Fifteen Central Park West. “Fifteen Central Park West is more than an apartment building,” writes Michael Gross at the start of his penetrating new chronicle, HOUSE OF OUTRAGEOUS FORTUNE: Fifteen Central Park West, the World’s Most Powerful Address (Atria; March 11, 2014; $28.00). “It is the most outrageously successful, insanely expensive, titanically tycoon-stuffed real estate development of the 21st century.” What’s more, he adds, “Fifteen represents a massive paradigm shift in the lifestyle of New York’s rich and famous.”

With dazzling detail and Gross’ trademark gimlet eye, HOUSE OF OUTRAGEOUS FORTUNE relates the colorful and convoluted story of not only Fifteen’s inspired genesis and costly construction, but the flashy lifestyle it has engendered in a once moribund Manhattan neighborhood. Gross, who has been called America’s “foremost chronicler of the upper-crust”(, has enjoyed unprecedented access to the people behind this already legendary building, including the scions of the fabled Zeckendorf real estate dynasty, and their financial backers, Goldman Sachs, and an Israeli billionaire, as well as those who live there—or wanted to.  As he reports on big money, massive-ego power plays over the creation and occupancy of New York’s most desirable address, Gross identifies Fifteen as a bellwether of the city’s changing social landscape.

“The clash of titans was the first indication that 15CPW would become an apartment building like no other, a new colossus both literally and figuratively, a status signifier nonpareil, and a towering symbol of its time,” Gross writes. “It was a sign of a generational shift in the makeup of the 0.1 percent who dance on the head of the pin of American wealth, evidence of the torch passing from the aging financial lions of the mid-20th century to the brash new 21st– century crop of cats.” As Gross explains, the astonishing sums spent on apartments show how much wealthier today’s wealthy have become. The range of buyers, who hail from around the globe, are evidence of the new mobility of great wealth. And the source of those buyers’ wealth spotlights the new economic sectors that have generated the new new money.

Gross frames this story of contemporary excess with a historical overview of prime residential real estate in New York, examining how the seismic shift from co-ops, whose exclusive boards keep out “undesirable” residents, to more freely inclusive condominiums beginning in the 1970s, meant the newly wealthy, including foreigners and ethnic Americans, could lay claim to their own piece of the luxurious rock that is Manhattan. He also provides a history of the long-beleaguered area surrounding Columbus Circle, which remained unfashionable for decades until Donald Trump and Time Warner put it back on the map, paving the way for Fifteen Central Park West.

Denzel Washington, Sting, Alex Rodriquez, NASCAR’s Jeff Gordon, hedge fund runner Daniel Loeb, as well as Russian oligarchs, and top executives from Goldman Sachs, Citigroup, Lehman Brothers, Google, and Yahoo! all bought apartments in Fifteen Central Park West, which boasts two concierge staffed-lobbies, a walnut-lined library, a screening room, a sixty-seat dining room with a private chef offering room service, and a subterranean health club complete with a seventy-foot swimming pool. The building’s classic beauty, sprawling apartments and extraordinary amenities redefine our vision of what it means to be unimaginably rich.

HOUSE OF OUTRAGEOUS FORTUNE is, “Both an incisive social commentary on our modern Gilded Age and an irresistible peek behind the walls of 15 Central Park West, otherwise known as ‘Limestone Jesus,’” says Karen Abbot, author of Sin in the Second City and American Rose. “With characteristic audacity and wit, Michael Gross has deftly chronicled the immense egos (and bank accounts) of the nouveau riche who reside at Manhattan’s most coveted address.”

About the Author

Michael Gross is the author of Unreal Estate, Rogues’ Gallery, 740 Park, and Model: The Ugly Business of Beautiful Women. A contributing editor of Travel + Leisure, he created the blog Gripepad and has written for Vanity Fair, Esquire, GQ, New York, The New York Times, The Daily Beast/Newsweek, Huffington Post, and other publications. He is the Real Estate Editor of Avenue and a regular columnist for the New York Post’s quarterly luxury real estate supplement.

House of Outrageous Fortune: Fifteen Central Park West, the World’s Most Powerful Address

Michael Gross

ISBN: 9781451666199, $28.00 US / $34.00 CAN

E-Book: 9781451666212, $14.99 US / $15.99 CAN

416 Pages

On Sale: March 11, 2014

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