Good-Bye, Norma Jean. Hello, Real-Estate Tell-All!

Real estate gossip inside prime real estate–what better way to pass a Wednesday evening?

John and Denise Calicchio hosted a book party for High Rise Low Down, a new 360-page dish spilling the secrets of Manhattan’s ritziest apartment buildings. The fete filled but one section of their three-part duplex in 820 Park Avenue.

A pinkish Warhol print of a smiling Marilyn Monroe mounted behind the dining room table set the evening’s tone: Happy, glitzy, and all that Gotham jazz…

A-list real-estate types like broker-to-high-society Larry Kaiser IV, Stribling’s luxury guru Kirk Henckels, developer Bill Mack of Time Warner Center acclaim, and at least one Rudin gabbed and drank with the likes of songwriter Hal “Raindrops Keep Fallin’ on My Head” David and designer Vera Wang, who sliced through the crowd in what looked like a threadbare poncho and a winter hat pulled snugly over her head.

Champagne, white wine, and margaritas were served, along with hors d’oeuvres and a helping of speculation about the book’s juiciest bits.

Its three authors–Eunice David (Hal’s wife), Kathryn Livingston, and Denise Calicchio (nee LeFrak)–made brief speeches standing on the lower steps of the duplex’s beige-carpeted, winding staircase, which led to a cozy upstairs lounge with its own–thoroughly stocked–wet bar and views of Park Avenue.

The best of the evening came last: Mr. David, leaning on a black baby-grand piano, sang his lovely Burt Bacharach hit “What Do You Get When You Fall in Love?” The song’s answer is ominous for real estate fans: “A guy with a pin to burst your bubble/ That’s what you get for all your trouble.”

David Patrick Columbia’s New York Social Diary has plenty of photos from the evening. Look for a review of High Rise Low Down: Who’s Who and What’s What in New York’s Most Coveted Apartment Houses in The Observer‘s new real-estate section in early February.

– Tom Acitelli and Max Abelson Good-Bye, Norma Jean.  Hello, Real-Estate Tell-All!