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The Sky's the Limit: Passion and Property in Manhattan (English Edition) [Kindle Edition]

Steven Gaines
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  • Sprache: Englisch
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Praise for Steven Gaines: 'Hugely entertaining' - Washington Times 'Breezy, irreverent...amusing...Gaines has found...the Hamptons a place worthy of its own unauthorized biography, replete with scandals, scurrilous characters, assorted bacchanalia, and all manner of wretched excess' - The Wall Street Journal


From the author of the bestselling Philistines at the Hedgerow, a mesmerizing inside account of the high-stakes world of Manhattan residential real estate Steven Gaines takes us from New York's most expensive condominiums and co-ops to the offices of its most powerful real estate brokers to reveal the outlandish displays of ego, bad behavior, and status hunger that come into play when the best addresses in the city are on the line. With his signature elan, Gaines weaves a gossipy tapestry of brokers, buyers, co-op boards, and eccentric landlords and tells of the apartment hunting and renovating adventures of many celebrities-from Tommy Hilfiger to Donna Karan, from Jerry Seinfeld to Steven Spielberg, from Barbra Streisand to Madonna. Gaines uncovers the secretive, unwritten rules of co-op boards: why diplomats and pretty divorcees are frowned upon, what not to wear to a board interview, and which of the biggest celebrities and CEOs have been turned away from the elite buildings of Fifth and Park Avenues. He introduces the carriage-trade brokers who never have to advertise for clients and gives us finely etched portraits of a few of the discreet, elderly society ladies who decide who gets into the so-called Good Buildings. Here, too, is a fascinating chronicle of the changes in Manhattan's residential skyline, from the slums of the nineteenth century to the advent of the luxury building. Gaines describes how living in boxes stacked on boxes came to be seen as the ultimate in status, and how the co-operative apartment, originally conceived as a form of housing for the poor, came to be used as a legal means of black-balling undesirable neighbors. A social history told through brick and mortar, The Sky's the Limit is the ultimate look inside one of the most exclusive and expensive enclaves in the world, and at the lengths to which people will go to get in.


  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • Dateigröße: 374 KB
  • Seitenzahl der Print-Ausgabe: 320 Seiten
  • Verlag: Little, Brown and Company (1. Juni 2005)
  • Verkauf durch: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Sprache: Englisch
  • ASIN: B00FORA2N4
  • Text-to-Speech (Vorlesemodus): Aktiviert
  • X-Ray:
  • Durchschnittliche Kundenbewertung: 5.0 von 5 Sternen  Alle Rezensionen anzeigen (1 Kundenrezension)

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5.0 von 5 Sternen Money, Passion & Property in Manhattan 28. Juli 2006
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe
Im Gegensatz zu vielen anderen - ebenfalls sehr interessanten Büchern - beschränkt sich "The Sky's the Limit" nicht darauf die Geschichte nur eines speziellen Gebäudes oder nur eines Stars der Immobilienszene zu erzählen.

Das Buch gibt einen interessanten und auch für Laien leicht verständlichen Einblick in die Geschichte des Manhattaner Luxus- Wohnimmobilienmarktes. Von der Entstehung der ersten Apartmenthäuser über die Entwicklung der Upper West Side bis hin zu den Co-Ops von 5th, Madison & Park Avenue sowie dem grandiosen Time Warner Center.

Besonderes Augenmerk wird auch auf die Charaktere gelegt, so widmet sich ein Teil des Buches - der meiner Ansicht nach spannendste - dem lokalen Immobilien "Who is Who". Von Edward Lee Cave über Prudential Douglas Elliman's Dotty Herman, "Broker to the Stars" Linda Stein und Dolly Lenz - der 3-Milliarden-Dollar Brokerin - bis hin zum aktuellen Star der Szene - "Manhattan's Real Estate Assassin" Michael Shvo.
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5.0 von 5 Sternen Get comfortable + move into this book for an engrossing read 19. Juni 2005
Von Larry Mark MyJewishBooksDotCom - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe
I approached this book with indifference. But by page three, I was a convert, and engrossed in this vuyeuristic story of opulence and property on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, an area the contains the greatest concentration of personal wealth on Earth. I never knew the names behind these social register families, the newly-rich strivers, the surnames who raise most of the funds for New York's cultural institutions, and the re-branded real estate brokers who serve these super rich co-op owners. Gaines throws in the juicy stories of how Nixon was rejected by buildings, how Vanderbilt sued for entry into a GB (Good Building), how Streisand got stuck with her place for years, and how the powerful and wealthy are brought low by dictatorial co-op boards. There are stories of well positioned board packages, the mistakes of wearing the wrong clothes or being a pretty divorcee at board interviews, and how one should say that they love dogs if the board president is the largest funder of the ASPCA. Gaines uses the story of Tommy Hilfiger and his "board package" to show the evolution of upper east side real estate - namely the acceptance of some "garmentos" in to the best good buildings. Of course, when Hilfiger finally got a place, his divorce forced the apartment to be flipped (and flipped again.) When people say a book a juicy, this is the sort of book they mean. It is hard to put down, and it illuminates a world few of us will ever experiences.
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5.0 von 5 Sternen How the Super Rich Buy Manhattan Real Estate 18. Juli 2005
Von Izaak VanGaalen - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe
Real estate seems to be the number one topic at dinner and cocktail parties. Everyone has a story about how incredibly real estate prices have risen and how someone has made a killing. Nowhere is this phenomenon more over the top than in Manhattan.

Steven Gaines is an investigative journalist who, in a previous work has examined the mansions and millionaires of the Hamptons, now focuses on the exclusive world of Manhattan co-ops.

According to Gaines, the "good buildings" and the "best addresses" run along Fifth and Park Avenues. One such good building is located at 820 Fifth Avenue. Gaines tells us that everyone was shocked when the board of the co-op approved Tommy Hilfiger. Its not that he didn't have the $100 million liquid assets needed to qualify, but the fact that he designed baggy gansta rap clothing.

Gaines gossipy anecodotes are told mainly from the point of view of some of the carriage trade brokers that do the deals. Many of the brokers are very hard-working and much more sensible than their clients.

Dolly Lenz, for example, was the highest earning broker for Prudential out of a sales force of 58,000 nationwide. Not only does she work in the rarified atmosphere of Manhattan co-ops, she also has the distinction of having sold the most expensive house in the New York.(Burnt Point in the Hamptons was sold to the CEO of Kinray for $45 million.) Working seven days a week and the ability to thumb-type 80 words per minute on her Blackberrry, she still finds time to have dinner with, say, Bruce Willis or Barbara Streisand.

Another good story, had to do with the San Remo building, possibly one of the most exclusive buildings in Manhattan. Steven Jobs of Apple Computer bought the top two floors of the North Tower and spent five years and $15 million renovating it. The other tenants were so frustrated by the renovation that they brought action limiting the amount of time renovations could take. Jobs lost interest in the building and offered it to Bono of U2 for the cost of the renovation. Bono, smelling a bargain, snapped it up.

Gaines is very good at analyzing the social distinctions between the different buildings and neighborhoods and the people who inhabit them. Although it may not add much to the sum total of human knowledge, it does entertain and give insight into the otherworldly ordeals of the super rich.
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5.0 von 5 Sternen Buying in a Manhattan 'Good Building' 28. Juni 2005
Von John Matlock - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe
Among the many excesses that New York City can claim is one of the most rediculous real estate systems in the world. The sub-title of this book says a lot, there is a passion in the real estate business in Manhattan. In a space of only a few square miles the rich (sometimes famous, sometimes not) have created a strange sub-culture that exists just like others around the city.

The difference here is that these people are the people you would expect to be secure in their lives, not filled with petty gossip and rivalries. But that's not the case. A good bit of the book is about the co-op board who has the right to accept or reject a new prospective purchaser. For instance no attractive divorced women need apply, the wives of the existing tennants don't want their husbands riding in the elevators with them. Likewise, no single men, we, after all, don't want gays in our building. I was surprised to read a lot of this. I would have thought that the civil rights legislation would have prevented such actions. But perhaps that was only to be applied in the South.

Very interesing side of the housing market.
9 von 10 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
3.0 von 5 Sternen Real Estate in the Big Apple 21. Februar 2006
Von Loyd E. Eskildson - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe
Fifth Avenue is the address against which all others are measured, according to Gaines. It is 6.5 miles long, mostly high-end retail space and skyscraper office buildings. On the 1.5 miles facing Central Park there lives the greatest consolidation of private wealth assembled in one place.

Some would say 820 Fifth Avenue was the best address - certainly its co-op board has taken a very aggressive position and repelled three billionaires, including Revlon Chief Ronald Perelman. "The Sky's the Limit" provides insights into co-op board motivations and methods, as well as those of the city's most successful real estate agents.

820 Fifth Avenue has 12 apartments (one/floor), with 7,000 square feet each. Prior residents include a former N.Y. governor, Arthur and Mrs. Murray, Alfred Sloan (former G.M. Chairman and CEO), Pierre Lorillard (tobacco magnate). Co-op applicants are required to provide detailed and certified financial statements (purportedly to ensure that they can cover any unforeseen maintenance required), and respond to a number of lifestyle questions (boards are very concerned about how their new neighbors and their families will comport themselves). The finished product can weight 5 lobs, and cost $10,000 in accounting and legal fees. Co-op boards are likely to look disfavorably on public figures (likely paparazzi disruptions), those who are single (who know what the spouse will be like; questions about attention-grabbing lifestyle), too many Jews (give me a break - I'm just the reporter here), and overly-ambitious renovation plans (long-term noise, dirt). Finally, an interview is also required - timeliness and appropriate attire are important! Gaines reports that about 5% of applicants are turned down. However, he also tells us that many boards are exclusively represented by a selected real estate agent, and one of their primary jobs is to pre-select those who are brought before them.

The original intent of the co-operative plan was to life a million immigrants out of tenement housing - eg. 20 families in sub-divided, freezing housing, sharing one toilet. Under the initial 1879 proposal groups would band together and build a fireproof house, with separate living quarters for each family. However, problems with neighbors and the practice of leasing units out for parts of the year prevented the practice from taking off - by '53 there were only 162 co-operatives, vs. 5,797 apartments in NYC. There are now over 3,500 in Manhattan and 10,000 in all five boroughs.

Condominiums developed partly to avoid co-op boards, and between 1985-1988 over 15,000 were built. At first it was thought that realtors would play little role in their sale, but events have proven that idea wrong. Gaines provides considerable detail about how several successful realtors work, and fight amongst each other.

Finally, it was also interesting to read how even New York City real estate has had its low points - eg. the latest being in the late 1970s, thanks to high-crime, high welfare numbers, and the city being on the edge of bankruptcy. Top units at that time fetched only about $250,000 - vs. today's commonplace $10+ million.

Surprisingly interesting!
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4.0 von 5 Sternen Better than what it was supposed to be 10. November 2005
Von L. Dunkelman - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe|Verifizierter Kauf
The hype about The Sky's The Limit lead me to believe this was a book about New York City real estate brokers. It is, but the real heart and sole of this book is a history of some of the most famous streets and buildings in New York- and its a much better story than those of the brokers.

After reading the book I cannot look at the buildings I see in New York the same way- I know so much more. What a story behind the Ansonia Hotel on Broadway! The history of the Chelsea Hotel will bowl you over. Fishing from apartment windows on Sutton Place-years ago. Great stuff.

Don't expect to be ready to get your real estate license after you read this, but you can expect to appreciate some of the very rich history of this great city!
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