THE SKY'S THE LIMIT: Passion and Property in Manhattan

Steven S. Gaines, Author . Little, Brown $26.95 (273p) ISBN 978-0-316-60851-0

Buying real estate in Manhattan is like buying real estate nowhere else in the world: a hoity-toity book called the Social Register dictates who can live where; co-op boards in luxury buildings often require a buyer to have at least 20 times the price of the apartment in assets; and the cost of an apartment rarely holds any relationship to the true value of the space. Indeed, Manhattan real estate is a cutthroat, baffling but thrilling world, and Gaines takes readers on a spectacular ride through it. The author of Philistines at the Hedgerow profiles some of the game's influential brokers, with a roving eye for detail (e.g., Linda Stein, who's sold homes to Bruce Willis, Steven Spielberg and Andrew Lloyd Webber, "has a brash, husky voice with the delivery of a red-hot mama, and her expressive face telegraphs the subtlest of emotions"). Gaines is at once intrigued and appalled by the excesses of this world, gloriously rehashing, for example, the juicy details of how Gloria Vanderbilt sued the board of directors of River House, a posh Upper East Side building, for rejecting her as a buyer. But Gaines isn't just concerned with modern-day foibles: throughout this addictive narrative, he weaves a captivating history of the city and its toniest neighborhoods. Agent, Richard Pine. (June)

Reviewed on: 03/14/2005
Release date: 06/01/2005
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