Press Release

740 PARK begins with the tumultuous story of the building’s construction. Conceived in the bubbling financial and social cauldron of 1920’s Manhattan, 740 Park Avenue rose to its dizzying heights as the stock market plunged in 1929 — the building was in dire financial straits before the first apartments were sold. The builders include the architect Rosario Candela, the scheming social-climbing developerbusinessman James T. Lee (Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis’ grandfather), and a raft of financiers, many of whom were little more than white-collar crooks and grand-scale hustlers. Once finished, 740 became a magnet for the richest, oldest families in the country: the Brewsters, descendents of the leader of the Plymouth Colony; the socially-registered Bordens, Hoppins, Scovilles, Thornes and Schermerhorns; and top executives of the Chase Bank, American Express, and U.S. Rubber. Outside the walls of 740 Park these were the people shaping (and raping) Depression America. Within those walls, they were indulging in all of the Seven Deadly Sins.

As the social climate evolved throughout the last century, so did 740 Park Avenue: after World War II, the building’s rulers eased their more restrictive policies and began allowing Jews (though not to this day African-Americans) to reside within their hallowed walls. Nowadays, it is bursting with new money, people whose fortunes, though freshly-made, are large enough to buy their way in. At its core 740 PARK is a social history of the American rich, and how the locus of power and influence has shifted haltingly from old bloodlines to new money. But it’s also much more than that: filled with meaty, startling, often tragic stories of the people who live behind 740’s walls, the book gives us an unprecedented access to worlds of wealth, privilege and influence. This is, truly, how the other half — or at least the other one hundredth of one percent — lives. Some of the startling facts include the sale of John D. Rockefeller Jr.’s apartment for a reported nearly $30 million and the story of how the Chrysler Building came to be sold by the Chrysler automaker’s family children because a Chrysler was foiled in her attempt to rent a co-op at 740 Park.

1 2 3 4 5