740 Park: The Story of the World's Richest Apartment Building
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740 Park: The Story of the World's Richest Apartment Building

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3.22 of 5 stars 3.22  ·  rating details  ·  409 ratings  ·  71 reviews
From the author of House of Outrageous Fortune

For seventy-five years, it’s been Manhattan’s richest apartment building, and one of the most lusted-after addresses in the world. One apartment had 37 rooms, 14 bathrooms, 43 closets, 11 working fireplaces, a private elevator, and his-and-hers saunas; another at one time had a live-in service staff of 16. To this day, it is st...more
Paperback, 576 pages
Published October 10th 2006 by Broadway Books (first published 2005)
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Cynthia
I was so hoping this was going to be a big, juicy gossip fest like Mr. Gross' previous book Model. Unfortunately, you have to wade through over 100 pages of muck and detail (which some will find enlightening) on how this apartment building came to be built. I am really sorry but I just don't care. Finally, the gossip about the tenants comes and it is only in bursts and spits intermingled with more information on the finances of this building. I would give it a lesser rating but there is some fun...more
Jack
High society trash meets New York City real-estate porn.

New Yorkers LOVE real estate - getting it, having it, talking about it, always dreaming of bigger and better. This book is absolute catnip for this breed, of which I freely if abashedly admit to being a member.

740 Park is one of NYC's most legendary buildings, enormous mansions in the sky, vast flats with huge public rooms populated by the richest social barons of the day.

Michael Gross has done exhaustive research into the building's (ah...more
Michele Weiner
There were some very interesting characters who lived at this address, and so many connections one to another, especially in the early years when apartments were rented only to those who were socially acceptable as well as wealthy. The building was designed by the Italian architect, Rosario Candela, already known for luxury NYC apartments. It was built by James Thomas Aloysius Lee and his partners. Lee was an adventurous land developer now probably most famous as Jacqueline Kennedy's grandfather...more
Sandra
Feb 10, 2013 Sandra rated it 2 of 5 stars
Recommended to Sandra by: Independent Lens PBS show
Shelves: non-fiction
Well-known writer (NY Times, New York, Town & Country, etc.) Michael Gross gives us an in-depth introduction (as far as is possible without most tenants direct input of the residents of 740 Park Avenue), Steven Candela's most coveted creation. The sub-title, is "The Story of the World's Richest Apartment Building." From the history of the building to some of the current residents (most recently divulged in a PBS airing of Independent Lens) Mr. Gross chronicles the eccentricities, intrigues,...more
Mark

I note with all honesty that I couldn't finish this, but it was as much my fault as the author's. Too many other things going on, and this was just too damned big for a book about one building and its denizens. There were some really interesting old money stories from New York society in the couple hundred pages I read, but the descriptive material about the interiors was often tedious and I didn't have the stamina to keep going. I think I had to be more of a Manhattanophile.
Beth Anne
Somehow I finished this, though I took a long break from it to read bicycle diaries. It reads like a Vanity Fair article, but without the photographs, which is probably why it was not riveting. The author writes for Vanity Fair, so hey, that part makes sense. There were some interesting characters in the book, but you never get to spend all that much time with them, because we are busy moving to another apartment. Overall, I rate it "Meh."
Jeroen Kraan
Didn't manage to finish this. I don't know what I expected, but this is just an interminable amount of pages about some society people you've never heard of who lived in a certain building. Might be an interesting book if you happen to be particularly interested in New York high society since the great depression, but I couldn't get through it.
Sheila Woofter
I'm sure this might be interesting to some people, but I had to stop. Too many names, who married who, in families I don't know, but should know because of how rich they are. Just not interested.
Patricia Houston
As a rule I hate reviewers who dismiss a book as "boring". My mother always said (unoriginally but often), "You aren't bored, you're boring!" But I have to say it. This book bored me. Dull as dishwater. I know the rich are different but I never thought of them as being so unpleasant or so uninteresting. I ending up despising nearly everyone with the possible exception of Abby and John Rockefeller, Jr. As a group their personal and business ethics left me queasy at best. I need brain bleach to wi...more
Christoph
I normally don't review (or even rate) books until I have finished them. And I detest abandoning a book, often forcing myself to endure quite a bit of mental strain in order to finish something that is just painfully bad or simply doesn't interest me.
In this case, after ten days, fourteen chapters, and debilitating headaches, I have finally concluded what I realised roughly 35% of the book ago - I didn't care for the suject the least little bit and it was outrageously bad, both in content and st...more
Pooch
740 PARK by Michael Gross is the history of the world's richest apartment building built by the maternal grandfather of Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis. It is an address that has involved the elite in finance and society, thus the establishment of eastern society and international business. Quite a history of the rise and fall of many of the first millionaires in America also provides insight to the domestic lives of families such as the Rockefellers, Mellons, Bouviers, and a cast of thousand...more
Jane
Oh dear. I had looked forward to reading this book for the longest time, and was totally disappointed. Name after name after name, apartment description after apartment description after apartment description. I think, in his effort to include all of the building's history, Mr. Gross went into so much detail that no real stories emerged. I felt guilty quitting reading it--I only reached page 62--but I got tired of waiting for the interesting parts to appear. I rarely don't complete a book I have...more
Gil
This is a really fun book that gives you an insight into a super-exclusive building in Manhattan. The book describes what life is like as a "blue-blood" and talks about the lavish lifestyle that different apartments in Manhattan have.

It also talks very candidly about the co-op board application and interview process and talks about very high profile co-op board rejections in modern history.

I'm glad I picked up this book and It was a worthwhile read.
Bonnie Kassel
Still digesting this one as it was pretty overwhelming with famous names and intriguing stories. Well researched and well written, admittedly probably more interesting for a New Yorker as many of the names are big players on the scene and familiar to us. But the back stories are not and they're so damned revealing. I naively always think of Europeans and South American men as having affairs and mistresses on the side, but the serial marriages in this privileged world astounded me. Marry, have tw...more
judy
Somewhere in this book is the phrase "gilt by association". That pretty much sums it up. This is a social history of New York told through a single building. From the 1930s when ownership of a magnificent 740 apartment was determined by pedigree and social standing to today, when the condo board is mainly interested in your balance sheet, a devotee of New York will recognize the names. If that's not you, you'd be better off skipping this book. Pictures,sadly,are almost non-existent (Goggle inclu...more
Emily
This is a massive 510 page book about the scandalous lives of Manhattan's elite... oh wait that's the Gossip Girl slogan, but it applies to this book as well. First built as an apartment house by Jackie O's grandfather, and famous for requiring residents to have at least $10 million cash in the bank, 740 Park has been home to some of the biggest movers and shakers in the world, with a serious concentration on old money (mostly from Gilded Age robber barons), but nowadays it's all about the new m...more
Deane
I bailed out on this book at exactly the halfway point (50% on the nose, according to my Kindle).

I had such high hopes, but the book was essentially just a recitation of the lives of the people who lived at 740 Park Ave. Chapter after chapter was a dissection of these people's lives, to the point of extreme tedium. Some colorful characters existed there, certainly, but I kept thinking of genealogy listings you see (and immediately skip over) in the Old Testament.

I don't know what I expected, rea...more
Alexander Santiago
Truly, the rich ARE different from you and I. An interesting read behind America's (and New York's) wealthiest address. Spearheaded and financed by Jackie Kennedy's maternal grandfather (she and her sister grew up in the building), it is a veritable who's who of America's wealthy, powerful, and "royal" families. Of course, it highlights many of the faults, foibles, and idiosyncracies of those who resided behind the guilded walls of 740 Park: from its old money WASP beginnings that eventually gav...more
Liz Duncan
If you already have a good sense of all the people involved in this book, it's a wonderful story. However, there are so many people mentioned that hinged on so many others that I lost interest fast.
Linda Gustaffsen
Would have been better if the characters could have been a little more fleshed out. It slowed down about 1/4 of the way in and never picked up. I finished it but it was a struggle.
Fiona Akins
It was an interesting topic and impressive compilation of research; however, the book was actually structured as a relentless, detailed account of hundreds of people's lives, including excessive back stories. There also lacked a strong overarching analysis drawn from all that research - which could have been the book's most interesting contribution. Why should we care about all the rich people living at this exuberant building, and how has our society allowed and coped with their privilege?
Neal
Interesting if overly long account of the lives of the 1% living in one of NYC's most famous addresses.
Marcella
Definitely a Bonfire of the Vanities, National Enquirer wicked sort of guilty pleasure read about the rich and famous at a famous, fabled New York address. These people turned out to be so sad and pathetic. Anyway, I found I wanted to read more on Rosario Candela so there is an upside to slogging my way to the end. I think if I am ever able to afford a Candela apartment I will have reached the pinnacle of material success. They sound so beautiful with space to just wander from room to room with...more
Ainsley
I had high hopes for this book, but it turns out that 740 Park is a not particularly interesting building filled with not particularly interesting people, and 740 Park is a not particularly interesting book filled with not particularly interesting stories. What a disappointment. I considered giving it two stars instead of one only because I read Sex on the Moon shortly afterwards, and 740 Park is at least better researched, better written and omits long descriptions of the residents' sexual enco...more
Heidi
One of the very few books I couldn't bring myself to finish. Tedious recitation of facts about so many different nondescript rich people that I couldn't keep them all straight.
Adam
Sometimes when I watch the stock ticker rolling onward at the bottom of CNN I think to myself, "Boy, someone's getting rich and it sure isn't me!" On the other hand, if getting rich means engaging in the goings-on of this NYC apartment-supreme, then I'd just as soon ask Bill Gates to keep it. Exposing the underbelly of the American rich, "740 Park" paints a disturbing yet all too realistic portrait of the use and abuse of money, power, sexuality and art-deco.
Ian
This books started off great.. Giving the historical context of New York City at the construction of this infamous building. I was very much interested in the cultural aspects of Upper East Side society. However, about mid-way through the book, it devolved into a laundry list of tenants/inhabitants and at that point I stopped reading (which is a rarity for me). However, it was well written and the prose was certainly readable.
Lydia
If you like history, architecture and New York City, you'll like this book. Lots of interesting tid-bits about some of New York City's most famous citizens. Some of the details were a bit boring, but it was easy to gloss over these without missing the point of the book. Am glad I took the time to read it, and I also looked up several of the sames and places mentioned.
Kelly Sherrer
Interesting read, especially for anyone with an interest in Manahattan, etc.
When you read it, don't worry about keeping track of the tenant names. As the book progresses through time, the apartments are sold.....characters from early on don't "reappear"...I spent too much time trying to keep track of people rather than enjoying the information.
Nora
Jun 01, 2013 Nora marked it as to-read
Got to page 264 before had to return to library - interesting read. Quote from People mag on back of book kind of says it "a gossipy history with revealing tales." Dominick Dunne writes "This is social history at its best." So, somewhere between those two quotes is where I would fall - may come back to this one to finish it, in the future.
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This book list is a work in progress. Michael Gross is recognized as one of America’s most provocative writers of non-fiction–its “foremost chronicler of the upper-crust,” says curbed.com. His latest book Unreal Estate, to be published November 1, 2011, is a west coast version of his bestseller, 740 Park, this time exposing the most exclusive neighborhoods of Los Angeles–Beverly Hills, Holmby Hill...more
More about Michael Gross...
Model: The Ugly Business of Beautiful Women Rogues' Gallery: The Secret Story of the Lust, Lies, Greed, and Betrayals That Made the Metropolitan Museum of Art Unreal Estate: Money, Ambition, and the Lust for Land in Los Angeles Genuine Authentic: The Real Life of Ralph Lauren My Generation: Fifty Years of Sex, Drugs, Rock, Revolution, Glamour, Greed, Valor, Faith, and Silicon Chips

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