Michael Gross is the author of Unreal Estate, Rogues’ Gallery, 740 Park, and Model: The Ugly Business of Beautiful Women. A contributing editor of Travel + Leisure, he created the blog Gripepad and has written for Vanity Fair, Esquire, GQ, New York, The New York Times, The Daily Beast/Newsweek, Huffington Post, and other publications.
His most recent book, House of Outrageous Fortune is out this month from Atria Books, of our sister company Simon & Schuster. The book is about the most outrageously successful, insanely expensive, titanically tycoon-stuffed real estate development of the twenty-first century: 15 Central Park West. With his breadth of real estate knowledge, there’s no one more suited to countdown the five most glamorous buildings in New York City.
#5. 740 Park Avenue
New York, NY 10021
The quintessential Park Avenue cooperative house is also a defining piece of jazz age architecture with its sleek aerodynamic design, complex roofline, and bank-like façade. It’s New York’s richest building, not only in terms of its design and construction, but also due to the wealth of its residents and the rich narrative of its story, which begins years before it was built.
#4. Grand Central Terminal
89 E 42nd St
New York, NY 10017
Grand Central Terminal never fails to take my breath away. Some hate the former Pan Am Building behind it, but I see it as the perfect backdrop for the awesome station façade with its huge arched windows, the statue of Commodore Vanderbilt at street level and crowning sculpture of an American Eagle surrounded by Roman Gods
#3. Fifteen Central Park West
New York, NY 10023
Fifteen Central Park West is a merger of the best of modern and classic apartment house architecture. It’s limestone sheath seems impregnable, but also glows in the dark, its courtyard is a tiny semi-private gem it shares with pedestrians, and its roofline is a modernist giggle. And like 740 Park, it is filled with people of wealth, taste and power—sometimes all three at once.
#2. “The Row”
Washington Square North
New York, NY 10003
“The Row” is a series of connected townhouses on Washington Square North, never ceases to delight me. The 19th Century block, frozen in time, mixing Greek Revival and Federal row houses, is redolent with history. Though some of the houses survive only as facades, they convey the illusion of an earlier, more genteel time perfectly.
#1. The Chrysler Building
405 Lexington Ave
New York, NY 10174
The Chrysler Building is the most glamorous building in New York, the most important and eye-catching piece of our iconic skyline, with its needle top surrounded by an Art Deco cowl, its stainless steel gargoyles, its marble and chrome lobby, and the legendary (and long defunct) Cloud Club, 67 stories in the sky. It’s Gershwin set in stone to me, the perfect image of a city that never stops reaching for more.