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Troubles have been unending. After much maneuvering to get NBC to move its headquarters into what Trump originally called Television City, the network decided to stay in Rockefeller Center. Mayor Ed Koch rejected Trump's demands for a 20-year tax abatement, mocking the builder as "piggy, piggy, piggy." Trump in turn called Koch "incompetent" and "a moron," and threatens to help anyone who can unseat him in next fall's election. Citizens' groups on the West Side mounted major opposition, charging that the project would cast a deep shadow over a large area.
A celebrated urban-affairs expert who requests anonymity says of the whole idea, "This will be one of the great disasters in New York history. It will be a disaster of historic proportion because it will shape the look of New York for generations. It's not just that it will blot out sunlight, it will blot out values." And, argues Marshal Berman, a political-science professor at the City University of New York, it will substitute the values of "Dallas and Dynasty, people wearing diamonds and furs and being driven around in limos. The vision is of New York as an international center for wealth, where anyone with capital feels at home, and anyone without capital has no place." So after years of wrangling, the $5 billion project is still no more than the proverbial gleam in Trump's eye.
It has often been observed that men who make a great deal of money generally have very limited ideas about what to do with it. Trump's biggest personal expenditures have been on extravagantly luxurious residences. The builder of Trump Tower, whose first Manhattan apartment was a dingy single room overlooking a water tower, originally reserved for himself a $10 million triplex penthouse, but when he first saw yachtsman Khashoggi's pad in the nearby Olympic Tower, which was approximately the size of a Persian Gulf sheikdom, he naturally wanted one just as big or bigger. So he went back to Trump Tower and awarded himself an adjoining triplex, and then started tearing out walls.
The resulting 50-room, $10 million confection takes up all of the 68th and most of the 66th and 67th floors of the tower. The building actually has only 58 floors, but Trump felt that wasn't sufficiently impressive, so he skipped some floor numbers to give his tenants a psychic boost. "He would have loved to build another ten floors," says architect Scutt, "but he couldn't because of zoning rules, so he changed the numbers."
"If it turns out the way I think it will, there will be nothing like it," Trump said as he took a reporter on a tour of the possibilities about a year ago. The sun streamed in on a scene of chaos. The walls were bare plasterboard. Plaster dust powdered the new bronze window frames. Wires dangling from the ceiling barely hinted at the chandeliers that Trump envisioned. But Trump sounded rapturous about the workmanship on a newly installed door. He gently shut it and opened it again. "Look how it fits," he said.
Trump was captivated by onyx and used it liberally. He had onyx baseboards installed along the walls. His own bathtub was of lilac onyx (with gold-plated faucets, of course). "Onyx is like a precious jewel," he said, "many grades above marble."