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

3.6 out of 5 stars 117 customer reviews

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Length: 417 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

*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. --Vanessa Bush

Review

"House of Outrageous Fortune pulls back the limestone curtain of 15 Central Park West to reveal seismic shifts in New York society and the astonishing lifestyle-without-limits of the new global elite. It's a dishy--but not trashy--page-turner." (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 author of Deluxe: How Luxury Lost Its Luster)

"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 author of Hotel Florida and Everybody Was So Young)

"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)

Product Details

  • File Size: 57330 KB
  • Print Length: 417 pages
  • Publisher: Atria Books; Reprint edition (March 11, 2014)
  • Publication Date: March 11, 2014
  • Sold by: Simon and Schuster Digital Sales Inc
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00DPM7ZH6
  • Text-to-Speech: Not enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #320,912 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Amelia Gremelspacher TOP 1000 REVIEWER on March 12, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Te message behind Fifteen Central Park West is the dream of classical opulence for the ultra wealthy buyers of today's economy. Many of the older, established luxury buildings are co-ops in which a board must approve one's application to buy. Single moms, international wanderers, and ovcious social fringe groups need not apply. The new money is international, concerned with status, demanding of service, and without cultural bounds. Here is the birth of buildings of condominiums like this one.

This book goes into detail, sometimes excruciating, of the founding both of the building and the careers of its builders. The provenance of the plot itself is traced historically back through the non-romantic days of "West Side Story". The prose is clear, but the details drag at times for me. I think this is an indication of individual taste rather than a short coming of the book in general. A person looking to understand the real estate changes in residential space in NYC would find this part gratifying.

For me the more interesting part is the discussion in the last fourth of the book of the buyers who eventually either invested in or inhabited the building. The detail is rich, no pun intended, and one can easily picture the building as the organism that the developers had dreamed. The book is sold as somewhat more sensational than the product delivered. While the expensive features are certainly revealed, there is nothing of the "wealth porn" that has come to the shelves recently. Rather the book reveals the features that can be and are had by the super rich in a measured tone. It makes for an interesting look at that tiny fraction of the world who can afford this building.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
If you can get through the first 140 pages, which is basically a condensed version of NYC's real estate history, with more names thrown at you than a small town phone directory, you are rewarded with a fascinating study of the building and its mega-wealth inhabitants. And you'll be amazed what some people will do to get a deluxe apartment in the sky.
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I'm sure my opinion has absolutely nothing to do with the author but I was so bored with reading about these people and their outrageous excess of money that I just couldn't finish it. If you enjoy reading about the excessively rich and famous (amongst themselves) give it a go.
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There are some fascinating parts of the book, but it is way too bogged down with names and numbers that are irrelevant to the average reader. It gets boring pretty quickly . I rarely stop a book midway, but had to with this one.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Both books by Michael Gross are "tell all" gossip books. Nothing of value - wasted time. I expected something about the buildings instead of who married/divorced/remarried and how much money they had.
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Before I was done I was totally confused with way too many characters had no idea if Mr. Gross was talking about early twentieth, late or twenty first century. I enjoyed the history of Manhattan and the men that created the modern city. In my opinion, had he narrowed his scope of material and keep some type of organization to let the reader know when the events were happening, I would have enjoyed the book more. I've read Mr. Gross work before and I don't remember it being like this.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Here is the book in 100 words or less: Waste 180 pages with history instead of about this building.
Build building. Sell building to people who have more money than brains. If you are a Goldman Sachs fan or delusional, by all means, buy the book. Otherwise, don't bother.
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Boring book unless you really love Manhattan real estate. Slow developing book with over kill on the history. Would not recommend.
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