Donald Trump’s Secret ‘Public’ Gardens Gave Him Extra Height at Trump Tower

Posted On Mon, June 20, 2016 By

Posted On Mon, June 20, 2016 By In Celebrities, Policy

In light of his media-circus presidential campaign, there seems to be endless exposes about Donald Trump’s past real estate drama. From his failed attempt to own the Empire State Building to a lost battle with China over two bi-coastal skyscrapers, the Donald’s development empire has very often skirted the rules. The latest saga dates back to 1979, when, as Crain’s uncovers, Trump struck a deal with the city for a zoning variance to build an extra 200,000 square feet, or 20 stories, at Trump Tower. In return, he agreed to create a public atrium, as well as 15,000 square feet of public gardens. But these gardens, which yielded almost all of the 244,000 square feet of office and residential space that Trump still owns in the tower (worth roughly $530 million), are hidden, hard to access, and not maintained.

Trump Tower gardenA garden at Trump Tower, photo by Eye on Miami

The gardens and atrium at Trump Tower are POPS (privately owned public spaces), of which there are more than 500 across 320 buildings in the city. Some of the better known examples are Midtown’s Sixth-and-a-Half Avenue, Zuccotti Park, and those along Water Street downtown. They’re also found at least five buildings that, although he doesn’t own them outright, bear the Trump name — Trump Soho, Trump International Hotel and Tower, Trump World Tower, Trump Palace, and Trump Plaza.

If you’re wondering where the gardens at Trump Tower are, you’re probably not alone. As Crain’s explains, the Tower “barely acknowledges they exist. The building’s public entrance on Fifth Avenue doesn’t mention them, though it features signs inviting people to the Trump Bar, Trump Grill, Trump Café, Trump Ice Cream Parlor and Trump Store.” There are signs for the gardens above the lobby elevators, but getting this far past security guards is usually a challenge. Reporter Aaron Elstein tried six times over two weeks to enter the gardens, where he was routinely told they were closed for the day or because of rain. However, the agreement with the city dictates that the gardens be publicly accessible during the times the building’s retailers are open for business.

Once he finally was granted access, Elstein found a drab fourth-floor garden “blocked by a velvet rope and locked double doors” and a larger fifth-floor garden that, although full of 21 table-chair sets and bench seating for 64, felt “underwhelming” and had several dead tress and a non-working fountain. Technically, the Department of Buildings is responsible for ensuring building owners maintain their public spaces, but this is usually quite lenient.

Trump Tower Atrium

The agreement also says the atrium, which draws one million visitors a year, must be open to the public from 8am to 10pm daily and can only be closed four times a year pending prior authorization. During his campaign, Trump has closed the atrium for press conferences so many times that the Department of Buildings opened in investigation last month as to whether he’s in violation of the agreement. And on Thursday, the city’s Office of Administrative Trials and Hearings will make a determination on another related issue. At the beginning of the year, Trump Tower received a $4,000 fine for removing a 22-foot-long bench in the atrium and replacing it with a kiosk selling “Make America Great Again” merchandise. Though a $10,000 fine could be imposed for failing to put it back, the bench is still missing.

[Via Crain’s]

RELATED:

Lead Trump Tower photo via Flickr

Tags : ,

Neighborhoods : Midtown East

  • M.P.

    Don the Con strikes again.

  • Jim

    Why would anyone with half a brain care about this nonsense. The liberal “Nut Cases” in the media have lost what little minds they had to begin with.

MOST RECENT ARTICLES

  • Brooklyn cheesemongers to open their underground 1850s brewery tunnels for one night

    Brooklyn cheesemongers to open their underground 1850s brewery tunnels for one night

    Thirty feet below street level, Benton Brown and Susan Boyle of Crown Finish Caves age their deliciously moldy wares in ...
  • Explore historic LGBT sites in NYC with this interactive map

    Explore historic LGBT sites in NYC with this interactive map

    To broaden people’s knowledge of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community’s history in New York City, the NYC LGBT ...
  • ‘Cash Cab’ will return later this year; Paul Manafort’s shady NYC real estate dealings

    ‘Cash Cab’ will return later this year; Paul Manafort’s shady NYC real estate dealings

    New York-based designer (and 13-year U.S. citizen) Karim Rashid said he had a “crazy journey” getting by US Border Control at JFK. ...
  • ‘Fearless Girl’ statue will remain on Wall Street for another year, but officials say that’s not enough

    ‘Fearless Girl’ statue will remain on Wall Street for another year, but officials say that’s not enough

    Image via Metro / Getty The drumbeat for making the statue of Fearless Girl a permanent fixture in Lower Manhattan ...
  • Investor flips Trump’s childhood home for double what he paid, likely selling to Chinese buyer

    Investor flips Trump’s childhood home for double what he paid, likely selling to Chinese buyer

    When Manhattan real estate mogul Michael Davis bought Donald Trump’s childhood home sight-unseen for just under $1.4 million in December, he ...
  • ‘Narnia’ apartment in Park Slope has a hidden door and built-in swing

    ‘Narnia’ apartment in Park Slope has a hidden door and built-in swing

    The listing calls this apartment a “gateway to a modern version of Narnia”–and it’s hard not to agree. A designer ...
  • 15 indoor air-purifying plants for your apartment or home

    15 indoor air-purifying plants for your apartment or home

    Our ongoing series Apartment Living 101 is aimed at helping New Yorkers navigate the challenges of creating a happy home in the big ...
  • Justin Timberlake and Jessica Biel are bringing sexy back to Tribeca with new penthouse buy

    Justin Timberlake and Jessica Biel are bringing sexy back to Tribeca with new penthouse buy

    Although Justin Timberlake was spotted scoping out an $18.5 million Greenwich Village penthouse last month, he chose Tribeca to call home ...
  • First look at the interiors of Waterline Square’s trio of towers

    First look at the interiors of Waterline Square’s trio of towers

    As 6sqft reported in November, a trio of glassy residential towers is rising on the five-acre waterfront site between West 59th and ...
  • Frank Lloyd Wright Fallingwater lookalike asks $3.5M in Greenwich, CT

    Frank Lloyd Wright Fallingwater lookalike asks $3.5M in Greenwich, CT

    Designed by local architect Dimitri Bulazel, this 4,675-square-foot four-bedroom home at 51 Pecksland Road in Greenwich, CT was clearly inspired by Frank ...
  • Elegant co-op in an UES mansion still has its original leaded casement windows

    Elegant co-op in an UES mansion still has its original leaded casement windows

    This two-bedroom co-op occupies the parlor and garden floors of 4 East 82nd Street, a stately Carnegie Hill mansion. Despite ...
  • Kickstarter campaign raising $10,000 for a 15-foot inflatable ‘Trumpy’ rat

    Kickstarter campaign raising $10,000 for a 15-foot inflatable ‘Trumpy’ rat

    As a symbol of resistance to the Trump administration, Chelsea-based contemporary art gallery BravinLee created a Kickstarter to raise $10,000 ...

SIGN UP FOR OUR NEWSLETTERS

Thank you, your sign-up request was successful!
This email address is already subscribed, thank you!
Please provide a valid email address.
Please complete the CAPTCHA.
Oops. Something went wrong. Please try again later.