Michael Gross – House of Outrageous Fortune
In real estate–obsessed New York, no new building has captured the city’s imagination—or as many of its richest residents—as Fifteen Central Park West.
In House of Outrageous Fortune, America’s foremost chronicler of the upper crust, journalist and bestselling author Michael Gross, turns his gimlet eye on the new-money wonderland that’s sprung up on the southwest rim of Central Park. Mixing an absorbing business epic with hilarious social comedy, Gross creates a dishy exposé of today’s wealthiest and most famous. This colorful story recounts the recordsetting building’s inspired genesis, costly construction, and the flashy international lifestyle it has brought to a once benighted and socially déclassé Manhattan neighborhood.
With two concierge-staffed lobbies, a walnut-lined library, a lavish screening room, a private sixty-seat restaurant offering residents room service, a health club complete with a seventy-foot swimming pool, and penthouses that cost almost $100 million, Fifteen is the most outrageously successful, insanely expensive, titanically tycoon-stuffed real estate development of the twenty-first century. And any building that’s home to such unimaginable wealth and heavyweight egos—its cast of characters includes Denzel Washington, Sting, Alex Rodriguez, Norman Lear, NASCAR’s Jeff Gordon, hedge fund heads Daniel Loeb and Daniel Och, Russian and Chinese oligarchs, and top executives of Citibank, JPMorgan Chase, AIG, Disney, Google, and Yahoo!, among many more—will be chock-full of jaw-dropping excess.
Gross won unprecedented access to the people behind this instantly legendary building, including the scions of the fabled Zeckendorf real estate dynasty; their financial backers, Goldman Sachs and Israeli billionaire Eyal Ofer; and their “starchitect,” Robert A. M. Stern. Then he drilled past its limestone façade to ferret out the stories Fifteen’s fathers and its residents don’t want told.
More than just an apartment building, 15CPW represents a massive paradigm shift in the lifestyle of New York’s rich and famous—and is a bellwether of the city’s changing social and financial landscape. With its dazzling detail, House of Outrageous Fortune is a sweeping history of those changes, and it pulls open wide the gilded walls of Fifteen to reveal the private lives of that .01 percent.