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

Booklist Reviews 2013 December #2
*Starred Review* Fifteen Central Park West is the New Gilded Age address of a new generation of moguls enjoying the costliest real estate in an enclave of international wealth from the worlds of finance, technology, information, and entertainment. Gross, chronicler of the wealthy in 740 Park (2005) and Unreal Estate (2011), looks beyond the list of notable tenants (Sting, Denzel Washington, top executives from Goldman Sachs, Google, and Yahoo) to explore the changes in the architectural and social landscape of elite Manhattan. Gone are the days of snobbish cooperative boards declining the déclassé, gone are the old assumptions of the "good buildings." Gross details the ego-bruising battles to get into 15 CPW and the campaigns to snag just the right tenants for the "tycoon-stuffed" building. Gross offers historical perspective on the real-estate market in Manhattan, on the rise and fall of trendy buildings and their owners and tenants up to the latest shift in real-estate and financial markets, which has broadened the upper crust to include the newly wealthy, foreigners, and more ethnic Americans. Drawing on interviews with real-estate titans and power brokers, Gross provides a deliciously detailed and completely engaging look at how the 0.1 percent live in one building. Copyright 2013 Booklist Reviews.

Kirkus Reviews 2014 April #1
Travel + Leisure contributing editor Gross' (Unreal Estate: Money, Ambition, and the Lust for Land in Los Angeles, 2011, etc.) latest chronicle of the .01 percent shifts to the other side of Central Park. Whereas 740 Park (2007) told the story of old-money New York and co-op living in one of the city's most storied buildings, this book examines 15 Central Park West, 740 Park's new rival. Unlike its crosstown counterpart, 15 CPW's pedigree is not blue-blood–bred. It was bought—in cash—by the world's new elite. Built in 2007 by noted architect Robert A.M. Stern, 15 CPW was conceived as apartment living for a new age of financiers, moguls, celebrities, tycoons and anyone else who could afford an apartment's exorbitant price tag. Exclusivity was only a matter of how much you could pay, not whether you fit the building's profile. Consecrated to the idolatry of money, it's no surprise that the bank principally in charge of financing the project was Goldman Sachs and no further surprise that most of the bank's senior management received sweetheart deals on their new apartments. Among the building's A-list have been Goldman CEO Lloyd Blankfein, Citigroup founder Sandy Weill, Denzel Washington and Sting. While the lives of the rich and famous have seemingly endless appeal, much of the building's story is bogged down in ancillary histories, like a century's worth of real estate development on Manhattan's West Side and Columbus Circle area and a generational history of the legendary Zeckendorf family. (Brothers Arthur and William led the development of 15 CPW.) While this detail provides a solid foundation for understanding why 15 CPW came to be, it is also exhaustive and not always relevant. It seems that every person caught in the development and purchase of 15 CPW is treated with a back story, and this only reinforces the age-old truism that no matter how much money you have, it doesn't necessarily make you interesting. An incisive but somewhat tedious report of New York's "new money." Copyright Kirkus 2014 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

Library Journal Reviews 2013 October #2

The author of the best-selling 740 Park and a top chronicler of the very rich, Gross here visits a glorious building on the southwest corner of New York's Central Park to reveal the lives of hedge fund runners and Russian oligarchs, Goldman Sachs and Citigroup bigwigs, Denzel Washington and Sting.

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Publishers Weekly Reviews 2013 December #2

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.)

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