House of Outrageous Fortune (Hardcover)
Fifteen Central Park West, the World's Most Powerful Address
Atria Books, 9781451666199, 416pp.
Publication Date: March 11, 2014
Other Editions of This Title:
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 exposé 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 déclassé 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 façade 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.
About the Author
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Praise For House of Outrageous Fortune: Fifteen Central Park West, the World's Most Powerful Address…
— 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
"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 or I."
— Dana Thomas
"Michael Gross captures the phenomenon that is 15 Central Park West, where creative talent, towering ambition and unimaginable wealth instill a magical aura of glamour and romance not seen in a Gotham apartment house since the Gatsby era."
— Peter Pennoyer, Architect, author and chairman of The Institute of Classical Architecture & Art
“Michael Gross's HOUSE OF OUTRAGEOUS FORTUNE is a book about a building the way MOBY DICK is a book about a fish. History, real-estate wheeling and dealing, the economics of the buccaneer class, the arcane realpolitik of condos and co-ops, even floor-plans: it's all here. If you want to find out why Manhattan's skyline looks the way it currently does, this is the book to read.”
— --Amanda Vaill
"A deliciously detailed and completely engaging look at how the 0.1 percent live in one building."
— Booklist, starred review
“Michael Gross…rules the school of literature you might call Books about Buildings Where Lots of Rich People Live”
— Vanity Fair
"As much fun as any thriller or fiction."
— Joan Hamburg
"Demonstrates conclusively the abiding truth of Clare Boothe Luce’s observation, “Money can’t buy happiness, but it can make you awfully comfortable while you’re being miserable."
— The Economist
"Michael Gross, an author with a delicate appreciation for bloated egos and wealth, makes them glitter in 'House of Outrageous Fortune: Fifteen Central Park West, the World's Most Powerful Address.' The intersecting strands of money, politics, greed, taste, ambition shine brightly."
— Manuela Hoelterhoff, Bloomberg News