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740 Park: The Story of the World's Richest Apartment Building Paperback – October 10, 2006


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740 Park: The Story of the World's Richest Apartment Building + House of Outrageous Fortune: Fifteen Central Park West, the World's Most Powerful Address + Empty Mansions: The Mysterious Life of Huguette Clark and the Spending of a Great American Fortune
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 576 pages
  • Publisher: Broadway Books; 9.10.2006 edition (October 10, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0767917448
  • ISBN-13: 978-0767917445
  • Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 5.6 x 1.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (111 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #91,334 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Of all Manhattan's fabled East Side dwellings of the super-rich, 740 Park Avenue has perhaps the best pedigree. Designed by Rosario Candela and developed by James T. Lee, Jackie O's maternal grandfather, as a cooperative haven for the elite, it had the misfortune to open just as the stock market crashed in 1930 and was forced to operate partly as a rental for some decades. The last sale was to Lee himself, for son-in-law "Black Jack" Bouvier, his wife and daughters Jackie and Lee. John D. Rockefeller Jr. signed a rental lease in 1936 for a massive apartment (more than 20,000 square feet), and Marshall Field III took another. Gross (Model) has solidly researched the denizens of the building, who they were, what they did, and who and how many times they married. This information, while exhaustive, is also exhausting. Things perk up as we approach the modern era, and the old rich give way to a newer cast of sometimes dubious billionaires. Ron Perelman, Henry Kravis, Steve Ross and Steve Schwartzman are cited among the newer tenants. A bit of a bore for average readers, this will be a useful tome for those interested in New York's social history.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

“In 740 Park, Michael Gross penetrates the bewitching and private worlds of the privileged and very rich denizens of 740 Park Avenue on New York’s Upper East Side. Gross, a born storyteller, delights in his tales of upstairs and downstairs over the decades in the grand building. This is social history at its best.” —Dominick Dunne

“740 Park is a concrete capsule of American capitalism as seen through the fates, fortunes, and foibles of its inhabitants. This biography of New York’s most magisterial building is an immensely entertaining, dishy, and ultimately serious book.”
—Jane Stanton Hitchcock

“The Lolita of shelter porn . . . 740 Park delves into the rarified world of one of the city’s most exclusive co-ops, where billionaires like Ronald Lauder, Steve Schwarzman, and David Koch rest their heads.” —Michael Calderone, New York Observer

“740 Park is a historical building that is worthy of the comprehensive and fascinating coverage that Michael Gross has devoted to it. This book is as entertaining as it is informative—it’s a terrific story.” —Donald Trump

"Jaw-dropping apartment porn."
Fortune

"Gobs of real-estate porn."
The New York Times Book Review

"[A] great read... gossipy... revealing,"
People

"As rich as his subjects."
Forbes FYI

“Life after folly-filled life flashes forward like Park Avenue canopies viewed from a speeding town car.”
New York Times

"Finally! A look inside the golden tabernacle of high society."
—Kitty Kelley

More About the Author

Michael Gross is one of America's most provocative non-fiction writers. A contributing editor of Travel + Leisure and columnist for Avenue, he's written for Vanity Fair, Esquire, GQ, Town & Country,the New York Times and New York, and authored twelve books--novels, biographies and social histories--among them, Unreal Estate, a social history of the estate district of Los Angelesow in development as an HBO series, Rogues' Gallery, a history and expose of New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the critically-acclaimed best-sellers Model: The Ugly Business of Beautiful Women and 740 Park. He's just finished his next book, House of Outrageous Fortune, the story of 15 Central Park West and its residents. Atria Books will publish it next year.

Customer Reviews

How is it possible that he couldn't access any photographs?
CDSeattle
Michael Gross writes so well in telling both the history and the more current, albeit gossipy sections--but fun to read-- parts of the book.
Celeste Smithson
It's a great book to read if you are interested in the History of New York that most people don't know about.
Lara Picaso

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

153 of 166 people found the following review helpful By DLP on December 18, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Don't be fooled by the exciting sounding "apartment porn" review by Forbes -- this is one tedious book. While there were some very interesting sections (on the building's architect Candela, a brief history of cooperative apartments in NYC, and John D. Rockefeller), they were few and far between. The majority of the text is dull and repetitive. The author was able to get dirt on a number of current and former residents of 740 Park, but he could not get his hands on a floor plan or any decent photos of these luxurious apartments? All in all, quite a disappointing read.
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71 of 76 people found the following review helpful By Sennie on February 10, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Well, the author definitely spent a lot of time researching this book. That is obvious. I really thought this would be another Bonfire of the Vanities type of book about the rick and famous and their habits, lifestyle etc. I am half way through the bookand I've had enough. There are about 5 paragraphs about each tenant that ever lived in 740 Park.This book is almost like a school textbook with a little history of this and that person except this book is about an apartment building. Not enough information on each tenant for me to develop an interest in the subject, just enough information on who lived in which apartment during which years.

The book started off well enough but after awhile, I lost complete interest in the history of each unit and who lived there, etc. I actually can not remember half the people who subleased, leased or bought the apartments after awhile.

Great attempt. The writer, as I mentioned, definitely did a through research on the history of this building and is obviously a gifted writer. However, a short and brief background information on each tenant failed to draw me in. I would recommend this book to anyone who is doing research in real estate in NY, but would not recommend this book for just reading for enjoyment.
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114 of 127 people found the following review helpful By Jery Tillotson on November 17, 2005
Format: Hardcover
When I read a book like this one, that describes the history of a building or how the rich are very different from you and I, I want photos to help fill out the story. This book contains two mediocre pictures of two different rooms in the fabled structure on Madison where only the super rich can reside. I pass by this building every day and was naturally curious to see what all the shouting was about. To me, it looks like hundreds of other bland, brick structures that line Park and Fifth Avenue. Perhaps that's the first tip-off that the ultra-rich want to live quietly behind barricades of stone and marble. I wish there were pictures of the some of the residents and the interiors. Word descriptions can only go so far.
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71 of 79 people found the following review helpful By TheSaunterer on November 8, 2005
Format: Hardcover
The author seems to be fond of hyperbole. While it is difficult to quantify social prestige in a republic, the notion that 740 Park is New York's most prestigious Cooperative is laughable at best. There are plenty of other buildings (998 & 960 Fifth, River House, at the risk of being indiscreet) that have a better claim to that title, and it makes one wonder if Mr. Gross turned his pen on the residents of 740 because they were more willing to talk than others.

It's true many of the tales have been told before and Mr. Gross' writing style will never equal the acerbic wit of Andrew Alpern or the folksy storytelling of Jerry Patterson and Stephen Birmingham in their chronicles of the apartment-dwelling rich and the book reads like an extended gossip column, which some may adore and others may loathe. Nevertheless, if you are looking for a gossipy read about the rich and shameless this book will not disappoint.
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27 of 29 people found the following review helpful By Sharon Magner on June 26, 2007
Format: Hardcover
I'm on pg 184, and vow to get to the end, but I don't expect it to be easy. Like the other comments, I agree that pictures would have been wonderful to include, just so I could attempt to keep some of these people straight. This book gets so weighed down with names, and they've become a blur. Junior Rockefeller was interesting, but all the names of each and every lawyer and law firm and decorators and whatnot it just bogs it all down.
I'm doing Google searches on the main people, just so I can try to paint a better mental picture.

**edited - I didn't make it through the book. It's not worth my time.
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25 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Reading Rocks on June 23, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Like the other reviewers here, I too found some passages tedious and repetitive. Seemed like the author just didn't get his teeth into the book....kind of like he just "whetted" the appetite. Since I purchased this on this website, I was hoping to see lots of photos but that's not the case. That was disappointing. It was still an interesting read about people who have too much money and sometimes, too much time on their hands. Does anyone need a 76 room 3 story apartment where only 2 people live?
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36 of 41 people found the following review helpful By Little Miss Cutey on March 7, 2006
Format: Hardcover
I don't know what made me take a look at this let alone read it. It's not normally my type of book and the subject matter whilst interesting, isn't also my type of subject. However, I must say this was surprisingly interesting and kept me interested for some time. I did take off a star for length. It is almost 600 pages, but the well researched information in here is not too hard to get through.

The tenants in the past and now in the present (and their abundant wealth) plus the history of the building itself is fascinating and makes this a good read (especially if you can put aside one rainy afternoon curled up in bed). You'll learn a lot from this.
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