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28 of 33 people found the following review helpful
Format: Kindle EditionVerified 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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24 of 28 people found the following review helpful
on March 17, 2014
Format: HardcoverVerified 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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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on May 4, 2014
Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase
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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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on June 6, 2014
Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase
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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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on April 18, 2014
Format: HardcoverVerified Purchase
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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16 of 22 people found the following review helpful
on March 17, 2014
Format: Hardcover
"House of Outrageous Fortune" by Michael Gross, published by Atria Books.

Category - Sociology Publication Date - March 11, 2014

It is very difficult to categorize this book because it could very well have been classified under several categories. It is a book that will be of interest to those who like books on New York, Architecture, Contracting, Real Estate, Celebrities, and Uncommon Wealth.

Fifteen and 15CPW all stand for the address 15 Central Park West. This address could easily be the most expensive address in the world. It is a high rise that has been subdivided into condos that command some of the most expensive real estate in the world.

The book is a history of the area surrounding the address, the people who foresaw the possibilities, and how they went about building the structure. This address has attracted such celebrities as Alex Rodriquez, Jeff Gordon, Bob Costas, Sting, and multi-millionaires both local and overseas. Many of the owners were people who acquired their fortunes in the hedge fund market.

Location, location, location. Depending on the location and size of a condo the going price, at initial offering, for the smallest unit was $1.78 million and the penthouses for $21 million.

Many buyers bought the condos as an investment and made millions of dollars when the building was complete and sold off their condo.

Although this is not an easy read, the parts that the reader may be interested in will fly by. The people involved, the insane amounts of money involved, and the putting together of this prestigious address almost seems like a work of fantasy.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on May 30, 2014
Format: HardcoverVerified 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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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on June 13, 2014
Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase
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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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on May 12, 2014
Format: HardcoverVerified 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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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on May 19, 2014
Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase
I found the book to be fascinating, I'm poor and was intrigued by the excess that is so very run of the mill for a lot of folks.
The book itself is fast paced but laced with names that I wouldn't recognize. I suspect that that would be the case with a majority of readers outside of the relatively small number of people who run in those circles (or want to). I found myself skipping quite a few pages toward the end as it dragged to a close. I probably wouldn't recommend it for the average, middle class reader, but I'm glad I read it.
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