A “thrilling” (Financial Times) fly-on-the-wall account of the ferocious ambition, greed, and one-upmanship behind the most expensive real estate in the world: the new Manhattan megatowers known as Billionaires’ Row—from a staff reporter at The Wall Street Journal
“Deeply informative, delightfully entertaining, and addictively readable.”—Diana B. Henriques, bestselling author of The Wizard of Lies
A CEO Magazine Best Book of the Year • Longlisted for the Financial Times and Schroders Business Book of the Year Award
To look south and skyward from Central Park these days is to gaze upon a physical manifestation of tens of billions of dollars in global wealth: a series of soaring spires stretching from Park Avenue to Broadway. Known as Billionaires’ Row, this set of slender high-rise residences has transformed the skyline of New York City, thanks to developer-friendly policies and a seemingly endless gush of cash from tech, finance, and foreign oligarchs. And chances are most of us will never be invited to step inside.
In Billionaires’ Row, Katherine Clarke reveals the captivating story of how, in just a few years, the ruthless real-estate impresarios behind these “supertalls” lining 57th Street turned what was once a run-down strip of Midtown into the most exclusive street on Earth, as legendary Trump-era veterans went toe-to-toe with hungry upstart developers in an ego-fueled “race to the sky.” Based on far-reaching access to real estate’s power players, Clarke’s account brings readers inside one of the world’s most cutthroat industries, showing how a combination of ferocious ambition and relentless salesmanship has created a new market of $100 million apartments for the world’s one-percenters—units to live in or, sometimes, just places to stash their cash.
Filled with eye-popping stories that bring the new era of extreme wealth inequality into vivid relief, Billionaires’ Row is a juicy, gimlet-eyed account of the genius, greed, and financial one-upmanship behind the most expensive real estate in the world—a stranger-than-fiction saga of broken partnerships, broken marriages, lawsuits, and, for a few, fleeting triumph.
About the Author
Katherine Clarke is a reporter at The Wall Street Journal, where she covers the high-end real estate market across the United States. Previously, she wrote for the New York Daily News and The Real Deal.
“Some years hence, anthropologists or aliens will look to a half-dozen spindly towers that rise improbably high above the southern edge of New York’s Central Park when trying to understand this particular age of hyper-wealth. In the meantime, the rest of us can consult Billionaires’ Row, Katherine Clarke’s thrilling chronicle of those towers and the people who built them.”—Financial Times
“Based upon extensive accounts from New York’s power brokers, this fast-paced narrative cracks open the cutthroat world of $100 million apartments for the global one-percenters.”—Robb Report
“A rollicking account . . . The Wild West has nothing on the cowboy builders, bankers, and buyers who populate Clarke’s tale. . . . Engrossing.”—Air Mail
“Katherine Clarke knows the world of real estate down to the ground—indeed, down to the bedrock! But she carries that knowledge lightly as she describes the swashbuckling egos, the daredevil deals, and the tsunami of wealth that are imposing skyline-shaping changes on one of the world’s most iconic cities. I loved this book.”—Diana B. Henriques, bestselling author of The Wizard of Lies
“A necessary book about how not to build a city . . . Katherine Clarke has the rare ability to make you understand both the personalities and the numbers behind our modern Towers of Babel along 57th Street; the result is a coolly devastating portrait of the game of greed and ego that has permanently scarred the skyline—and the psyche—of New York.”—Thomas Dyja, author of New York, New York, New York
“Thrilling, incisive, and a lot of fun to read.”—Eliot Brown, bestselling co-author of The Cult of We
“A captivating portrait of the powerful mix of ego, money, and competition that—a century after the construction of the Empire State and Chrysler buildings—continues to transform the city’s skyline.”—Kate Ascher, professor, Columbia University, and author of The Heights
“This book is a study of how wealth and ambition trump all when it comes to the Big Apple.”—Julie Satow, author of The Plaza
“To rewrite Oscar Wilde, even as high as the stars, you’re barely out of the gutter.”—Michael Gross, bestselling author of 740 Park