FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Inside the House of Trump

Manhattan’s answer to Götterdammerung is the fissure between the Trumps (Donald and Ivana), and its Wagner is Liz Smith. An age–the great eighties speculative boom, particularly in real estate–is dying, and the atmospherics of this decline are being appropriately reported in the genre revised in the mid-seventies to honor the great boom: gossip columns.

Trump flourished exactly in step with the reordering of resources and consumption that began to take shape at the end of the seventies. From a desperate city, he exacted tax concessions, as did all other developers. To New Money, he offered sanctuary without shame. “From Day One,” he wrote in The Art of the Deal, “we set out to sell Trump Tower not just as a beautiful building in a great location but as an event. We positioned ourselves as the only place for a certain kind of very wealthy person to live–the hottest ticket in town. We were selling fantasy.” Trump gives an entertaining account of our times simply by reporting who bough the 263 apartments on offer:

At first the buyers were the Arabs…Then, of course, oil prices fell and the Arabs went home. In 1981 we got a sudden wave of buyers from France…François Mitterrand had been elected president…After the European cycle, we got the South Americans and the Mexicans, when the dollar was weak and their economies still seemed strong…During the past several years, we’ve had two new groups buying, One is American–specifically Wall Street types, brokers and investment bankers who’ve made instant fortunes during the bull market frenzy…The other new buyers are the Japanese.”

Trump Tower stands at the center of an island that now famously displays its linked dioramas of wealth and misery: the rich in their castles, the homeless on the subway gratings, and indeed in the old rail tunnels below the gleaming bulk of the ci-devant Commodore–one of Trump’s early real estate ventures.

There’s always been harmony between real estate and the Fourth Estate. As Trump fondly recalls, the City Planning Commission once frowned on his plans for Trump Tower. Then he invited the Times’s chief architecture critic, Ada Louise Huxtable, to look at his model. On July 1, 1979, she wrote a column in the Arts and Leisure section that contained what Trump gratefully calls “several terrific lines,” including the observation that “it is a undeniably handsome structure.” In Trump’s view, “perhaps no one had a more powerful influence,” and four months later the City Planning Commission unanimously approved his plans.

This is excerpted from Alexander Cockburn’s The Golden Age is in Us.

Screen Shot 2016-03-03 at 5.05.31 PM-1

More articles by:

Alexander Cockburn’s Guillotined! and A Colossal Wreck are available from CounterPunch.

Weekend Edition
August 17, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Daniel Wolff
The Aretha Dialogue
Nick Pemberton
Donald Trump and the Rise of Patriotism 
Joseph Natoli
First Amendment Rights and the Court of Popular Opinion
Andrew Levine
Midterms 2018: What’s There to Hope For?
Robert Hunziker
Hothouse Earth
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Running Out of Fools
Ajamu Baraka
Opposing Bipartisan Warmongering is Defending Human Rights of the Poor and Working Class
Paul Street
Corporate Media: the Enemy of the People
David Macaray
Trump and the Sex Tape
CJ Hopkins
Where Have All the Nazis Gone?
Daniel Falcone
The Future of NATO: an Interview With Richard Falk
Cesar Chelala
The Historic Responsibility of the Catholic Church
Ron Jacobs
The Barbarism of US Immigration Policy
Kenneth Surin
In Shanghai
William Camacaro - Frederick B. Mills
The Military Option Against Venezuela in the “Year of the Americas”
Nancy Kurshan
The Whole World Was Watching: Chicago ’68, Revisited
Robert Fantina
Yemeni and Palestinian Children
Alexandra Isfahani-Hammond
Orcas and Other-Than-Human Grief
Shoshana Fine – Thomas Lindemann
Migrants Deaths: European Democracies and the Right to Not Protect?
Paul Edwards
Totally Irrusianal
Thomas Knapp
Murphy’s Law: Big Tech Must Serve as Censorship Subcontractors
Mark Ashwill
More Demons Unleashed After Fulbright University Vietnam Official Drops Rhetorical Bombshells
Ralph Nader
Going Fundamental Eludes Congressional Progressives
Hans-Armin Ohlmann
My Longest Day: How World War II Ended for My Family
Matthew Funke
The Nordic Countries Aren’t Socialist
Daniel Warner
Tiger Woods, Donald Trump and Crime and Punishment
Dave Lindorff
Mainstream Media Hypocrisy on Display
Jeff Cohen
Democrats Gather in Chicago: Elite Party or Party of the People?
Victor Grossman
Stand Up With New Hope in Germany?
Christopher Brauchli
A Family Affair
Jill Richardson
Profiting From Poison
Patrick Bobilin
Moving the Margins
Alison Barros
Dear White American
Celia Bottger
If Ireland Can Reject Fossil Fuels, Your Town Can Too
Ian Scott Horst
Less Voting, More Revolution
Peter Certo
Trump Snubbed McCain, Then the Media Snubbed the Rest of Us
Dan Ritzman
Drilling ANWR: One of Our Last Links to the Wild World is in Danger
Brandon Do
The World and Palestine, Palestine and the World
Chris Wright
An Updated and Improved Marxism
Daryan Rezazad
Iran and the Doomsday Machine
Patrick Bond
Africa’s Pioneering Marxist Political Economist, Samir Amin (1931-2018)
Louis Proyect
Memoir From the Underground
Binoy Kampmark
Meaningless Titles and Liveable Cities: Melbourne Loses to Vienna
Andrew Stewart
Blackkklansman: Spike Lee Delivers a Masterpiece
Elizabeth Lennard
Alan Chadwick in the Budding Grove: Story Summary for a Documentary Film
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail