Trump Tower is one of the heppest buildings in midtown Manhattan, and has been since its completion in 1983. It is located at 737 Fifth Avenue, on 56th Street right by Central Park, and is named after its rich bastard kingpin, the venerable Donald Trump. Designed by big-time architect Der Scutt, who designed several of Trump's developments in the Big Apple, Trump Tower is sixty-eight stories of bronze glass, shaped like a jagged triangle so that all of its palatial apartments can have window views of New York. The tall, erect majesty of Trump Tower would make you think that Trump's compensating for something... or maybe it's just that he likes to own large, shiny objects.

Anyway, Trump built Trump Tower to fill a very real supply gap in Manhattan real estate. While there were a lot of posh places to live in Manhattan before Trump Tower, most of them were old, and highly protected by vintage rent control laws that ensured they would continue to be inhabited by reclusive beatnik artist types. Trump's idea was to let unconnected people with lots of money buy massive condominiums right in the middle of New York City. His tenants have included oil sheiks, keiretsu executives, and South American aristocrats, as well as an odd smattering of wealthy Americans. Trump himself has a humongous apartment on the top floor of the tower: apparently, he had an option to keep the top three floors as a castle in the sky for himself, but elected to sell the two below him instead, and keep all his really massive toys back in Lake Worth, Florida.

The bottom floors of Trump Tower are open to the public as an ultra-trendy shopping mall carved out of granite and brass. Trump threw millions and millions of dollars into the atrium to create one of the most awe-inspiring displays of pure opulence in the city: I'm sure that if he could have gold-plated the entire thing, he would have. Virtually every high-end designer you can think of either has, or used to have, a store in Trump Tower: it's not the best retail space in the world by any means, as most of its shoppers are just tourists looking to have their jaws pulled open by a ten thousand dollar pair of gloves. This is somewhat depressing, as Trump Tower is right next door to Tiffany & Co., and if you can't sell expensive stuff next door to Tiffany, you're in trouble.

Trump Tower was the only big skyscraper in its immediate vicinity back in the early 80's: now, it's surrounded by the IBM, Sony, 712 Fifth Avenue, and 9 West 57th Street towers, all of which fall around the same height as Trump's capitalist mecca. So the building isn't quite as awesome as it used to be, but it's still one of the best displays of why terrorists see New York as the evil hive of American capitalism.

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