Trump Tower: Inside the President's New York Penthouse
From centillionaire to billionaire and now President of the United States, Trump has expectedly become the subject of much worldwide attention since his inauguration. The businessman, however, started making headlines whilst still an entrepreneur, with prized assets such as his three-story New York Penthouse, which he valued at $200 million.
Spanning 10,996 square feet and 3 floors according to Forbes, Trump acquired the property piece by piece, starting with a triplex apartment when Trump Tower first opened in 1983. He later expanded his penthouse, merging it with pieces of two of his neighbours apartments. In 2017, Forbes valued the property at $64 million. "I own the top three floors - the whole floor, times three!" he then told the magazine.
In the past, Trump's neighbours have included famed singer Michael Jackson, to whom Trump leased a space in his penthouse at some point during his ownership. Decorated with 24-karat gold and marble elements in the style of Louis XIV, the penthouse is connected by a private elevator to Trump's office on the 26th floor. "This is a very complex unit, building this unit, if you look at the columns and the carvings, this building, this unit was harder than building the building itself" Trump told a biographer in 2014.
Louis XIV is not the only historical character that comes to mind when you see the photos of Donald Trump’s penthouse interior. Reminiscent of Midas, a King from ancient Greek mythology who had a love affair with everything made out of gold, and who ended up turning everything into gold with the power of his touch - which proved to be his ultimate undoing.
A fine example of the modern day royalty, Donald Trump also likes gold. Nearly everything in the penthouse from the platters and vases to the lamps and even the crown moulding is accentuated with 24 karat gold that offers a gorgeous backdrop to some of Trump’s favourite classical art and décor.
Without shying away from personal touches like family portraits and crested pillows, the home has a strong Greek influence with Athenian style vases, a bronze statue of Eros and Psyche, one of the great love Greek love stories. A comparison with the king of antiquity is apt - classical art dominates the penthouse. There is a painting on the wall where Apollo is led in his chariot by Aurora, the Greek goddess of the dawn, suggesting Trump sees himself the mould of the Sun God Apollo, Zeus’s son, and one of the most powerful of the gods, making another perfect historical allusion.
There is also family time with a portrait, which appears to show his father Fred Trump, and possibly his siblings. His father also features on the central table, while the choice of book - Muhammad Ali’s Tribute Book is expensive, and is worth $15,000.
The lounge room exudes perfect symmetry: candelabras, two candy bowls, as well as a Vogue and Vanity Fair book are placed strategically on each coffee table. A massive candelabra on the ceiling is another classical reference. The chairs are, of course, Louis XIV inspired, in common with the apartment. Donald and Melania’s breakfast room is packed with intricate details including a gold rimmed glass of orange juice sitting on top of a gold tray, a gold-rimmed tea cop, and an antique clock. The furniture also belongs to Louis XIV Imperial French style.
There is a fountain in the background of Trump's sitting room behind a semi-circle, ivory couch. A crystal chandelier lights up its beauty as it is planted on the tableau ceiling above. It shows a scene of Greek, or perhaps Roman gods, and seems likely to be Apollo again, who is often portrayed crossing the heavens in his chariot.
Melania's office is neat and well-organised. A Louis Vuitton case of jewellery that has a price tag of nearly $10,000 sits on couch containing Melania’s grand jewels. President’s wife designs and sells a collection of watches, rings, bracelets and earrings for QVC. They all feature her signature ‘M’. Her style mimics pieces that she herself owns such as the sun design flower earrings and a gold-linked watch. She often uses mother of pearl and pave-style crystal accents in her watches.
A reproduction of Renoir's ‘La loge’ painting is hung from the wall above the couch. The original is in the Courtald gallery in London. La loge means the theatre box, and some art historians argue that the woman represents a mistress rather than a wife being taken to the theatre. Renoir painted it aged 33, when he was in dire poverty, and it was exhibited in 1874 at the first Impressionist Exhibition in Paris. The exquisite desk is fashioned in classical 17th century French fashion.
Still to this day the primary residence of the Trump family, their penthouse sits just a few blocks south of Central Park, near the flagships of Harry Winston, Louis Vuitton and Tiffany. Trump Tower was also featured in The Dark Knight Rises where the building was used as a headquarter for Wayne Enterprises, Batman's holding company. Located 58 stories high, the penthouse offers a view across New York City and New Jersey.
Currently valued by Forbes at $3.1 billion, Trump serves as the United States' 45th president since January 20th 2017. Having sparked controversies throughout the world due to his polarising views on a number of domestic and foreign issues, he has recently led a series of reforms to have US conglomerates bring back a large portion of their cash back to the United States.
After getting a start at his father's real estate development company, Trump started his Manhattan real estate crusade, acquiring part of the Commodore Hotel in 1978. Following this, Trump embarked on building Trump Tower, which was completed in 1983. Five years later, Trump bought the Plaza Hotel for $407 million and invested $50 million into its refurbishment. At the same time, Trump started branching out of Manhattan, building in Palm Beach, Atlantic City and ventured int golf.
Trump's net worth is still predominantly tied to his New York-assets though, with $1,6 billion in real estate. The billionaire has another $500 million in real estate in another cities, in addition to $570 million worth of golf clubs and resorts according to Forbes. His branding business, which includes hotel management and product licensing is currently valued at $200 million. "Money was never a big motivation for me, except as a way to keep score. The real excitement is playing the game." Trump said in his book, The Art of the Deal.