House of Outrageous Fortune
Fifteen Central Park West, the World's Most Powerful Address
By Michael Gross
(Atria Books, Hardcover, 9781451666199, 394pp.)
Publication Date: March 2014
Other Editions of This Title: Paperback
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In "House of Outrageous Fortune," America's foremost chronicler of the upper crust, journalist and bestselling author Michael Gross, turns his gimlet eye on the new-money wonderland that's sprung up on the southwest rim of Central Park. Mixing an absorbing business epic with hilarious social comedy, Gross creates a dishy expose of today's wealthiest and most famous. This colorful story recounts the recordsetting building's inspired genesis, costly construction, and the flashy international lifestyle it has brought to a once benighted and socially declasse Manhattan neighborhood.
With two concierge-staffed lobbies, a walnut-lined library, a lavish screening room, a private sixty-seat restaurant offering residents room service, a health club complete with a seventy-foot swimming pool, and penthouses that cost almost $100 million, Fifteen is the most outrageously successful, insanely expensive, titanically tycoon-stuffed real estate development of the twenty-first century. And any building that's home to such unimaginable wealth and heavyweight egos--its cast of characters includes Denzel Washington, Sting, Alex Rodriguez, Norman Lear, NASCAR's Jeff Gordon, hedge fund heads Daniel Loeb and Daniel Och, Russian and Chinese oligarchs, and top executives of Citibank, JPMorgan Chase, AIG, Disney, Google, and Yahoo , among many more--will be chock-full of jaw-dropping excess.
Gross won unprecedented access to the people behind this instantly legendary building, including the scions of the fabled Zeckendorf real estate dynasty; their financial backers, Goldman Sachs and Israeli billionaire Eyal Ofer; and their "starchitect," Robert A. M. Stern. Then he drilled past its limestone facade to ferret out the stories Fifteen's fathers and its residents don't want told.
More than just an apartment building, 15CPW represents a massive paradigm shift in the lifestyle of New York's rich and famous--and is a bellwether of the city's changing social and financial landscape. With its dazzling detail, "House of Outrageous Fortune" is a sweeping history of those changes, and it pulls open wide the gilded walls of Fifteen to reveal the private lives of that .01 percent.
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.
"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
"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." 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."
-Karen Abbott, author of Sin in the Second City and American Rose
"Want to understand what Occupy Wall Street was about? In House of Outrageous Fortune, Michael Gross explains it--and then some. With a rollicking, informative history of New York City, tales of mega real estate fortunes made and lost, and dizzying examples of the super-wealthy's greed and ostentation, Gross deftly traces the arc of America both socially and financially and proves that the top two percent most certainly do not live like you are I.
"House of Outrageous Fortune pulls back the limestone curtain of 15 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