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

Michael Gross. Atria, $28 (416p) ISBN 978-1-4516-6619-9
The story of New York City wealth is well told through accounts of its most prestigious addresses. As in his last book, 740 Park, Gross takes a building, Fifteen Central Park West, and uses it to describe the face-off between exclusive co-ops and democratic condos, and between the old families of the Upper East Side and upstarts moving into the Upper West Side. The book is at its best when describing how architect Robert Arthur Morton Stern exercised every creative instinct to maximize profit and stay within New York’s complex zoning requirements, but most of the text is a complex rundown of the buyers: who they are, where their money comes from, and why they bought. Many of the buyers were captains of the financial world, including: Daniel Seth Loeb, a loud and offensive hedge fund manager; Erin Callan, Lehman Brother’s former CFO; and Lloyd Blankfein, of Goldman Sachs fame. Gross’s depiction of these captains of finance is full of both contempt and admiration. The words “million” (real estate prices) and “billion” (net worth) occur so often as to create a feeling of overindulgence. As the selling of 15CPW condos parallels the financial crisis, Gross plays with the irony that the value of residences in the building was completely immune to the popping of the real estate bubble. 16-page 4 color insert. Agent: Daniel A. Strone, Trident Media Group. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 12/09/2013
Release date: 03/11/2014
Genre: Nonfiction
Open Ebook - 416 pages - 978-1-4516-6621-2
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