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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 3 December 2012
This is a book for real estate mavens, readers of the gossip pages of the New York Post and historians of high-end co-ops in New York City.

740 Park Avenue is the iconic pre-war co-op building, where pre-war stands for pre-World War 2 but really means pre-1929 crash. 740 is a Candela apartment building and you do not get much better than that. Built by Jackie Kennedy's grandfather, it survived the last depression, just, and went on to greatness. The residents are now discreetly wealthy. Past residents were just as wealthy but not always as discreet. And it is the past residents which this book is concerned with, succinctly described by the book's sections:

1. Old Money
2. Oil Money
3. New Money
4. Borrowed Money
5. Other People's Money

The building was developed by James T. Lee and his partners, Lee being the grandfather of Jackie Bouvier, later Kennedy and Onassis. Building began a month before the crash of 1929 but for many of the residents the Great Depression was something that happened elsewhere. The building filled with old money including descendants of the Mayflower and an old Knickerbocker family plus the usual bankers and financiers. In 1936 Junior moved in. Junior was the son of John D. Rockefeller, founder of Standard Oil and once the richest man in America. Over the years new money followed the oil money and the old money. The Bronfmans of the Canadian liquor company Seagram arrived in the beginning of the 1960s, followed by the financier Saul Steinberg, an early corporate raider, who bought the Rockefeller duplex. In 2000 business problems forced Steinberg to sell his beloved apartment.

Like most of Park Avenue the building is a co-op where the building is a private company in which the tenants own shares. It is also a cash-only building where mortgages are not allowed. Thus there are no public sales of apartments and no public record of who lives there, but as many of the residents are among the most powerful people in the world whose names regularly appear in the press, they are hardly anonymous. As a co-op the board decides who buys into the building and having the money is only the first hurdle. Thus Barbara Streisand, as an actress and a singer, was not considered. Others to be refused include Joan Crawford, Neil Sedaka, a junk bond tycoon and a Russian plutocrat.

Personally I found the description of these past residents too detailed and I often found that I did not care about them, but as a social history of wealthy New Yorkers I am sure others will find it fascinating, particularly as the book is over 500 pages.

These apartment buildings replaced the old mansion houses of the rich. In the early part of the twentieth century these were modern and the future. Now the future seems to be glassed-skinned condo-towers, whose stories will never be as interesting.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 23 September 2010
As the cover says "740, Park Avenue is the pinnacle of social ascent, the best-known and most lusted-after apartment building in New York City.........." and that's about it really. For those who are fascinated by and are covetous of that rarefied collection of individuals whose wealth or their parents or spouses hand-downs, that can afford the obscenely extortionate 'key-money' and the rigours of appearing before the Co-operative Approval Inquisition, then this is the book for you.

Again quoting from the book's blurb "Tantalizing....intimate....intriguing. Sneaks the reader past the doorman," and gives you the low down, likes, dislikes, eccentricities, dalliances, background and excesses of the most famous of its residents.

Although wholly inconsequential in the general game-plan of life's relevancies, "700, Park" does cater to our more basic envy and 'nosey' instincts and to this end has been well researched and written.
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on 10 November 2014
Really pleased with the book and even though it is second hand it is in really good condition
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on 21 February 2016
Readable in the extreme.
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