Trump Tower, a Home for Celebrities and Charlatans

Pre-opening reports of Prince Charles and Princess Diana moving in turned out to be false, but that didn’t stop Mr. Trump from using them to his advantage. The “sale that never occurred,” as Mr. Trump called it in “The Art of the Deal,” was “the one that most helped Trump Tower.”

Trump Tower, at 721-725 Fifth Avenue, opened to the public on Feb. 14, 1983, when the man who would become the 45th president was in his first flush of flame. It was 58 stories, but that didn’t stop the developer from promoting it as a 68-story building, to the chagrin of its chief architect, Der Scutt. The first 19 floors housed commercial enterprises; the first residential floor, the 20th, is listed as the 30th.

With its grand atrium, made largely of Italian Brecchi Perniche marble, and with retail tenants that eventually included Gucci, Landau jewelry and the Trump Store, the building is not exactly homey. “When we were there, most people seemed to own more as an investment,” said Marina Fareed, who lived there recently with her husband, Qazi Shaukat Fareed, a Pakistani diplomat. “It was not full-time people.”

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Mr. Trump in 1980 with a model of Trump Tower before it was built on the site of the Bonwit Teller building.

Credit
Don Hogan Charles/The New York Times

The completion of a grand tower in Midtown’s high-end retail district cemented Mr. Trump’s status as a force to be reckoned with in New York while also setting him apart from his father, the developer Fred C. Trump, who made his fortune with an empire of middle-class housing units in boroughs outside Manhattan.

“Not many sons have been able to escape their fathers,” Donald Trump told The New York Times in 1983.

Until he moved into the White House in January, he made his home in the building. His primary residence was a three-story penthouse apartment…

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