A Tour of
New York’s Trumptown
By Carleton Varney
Donald Trump has become a household name – from condo towers and hotels, to casinos, and now into the world of politics. The Donald, as his first wife Ivana named him and called him, is always in the spotlight, as is the Tower in which he and I both live. Mind you not together, but different floors and to be sure in different spaces. Our apartments are not equal in size, square footage that is. My digs are simply much smaller and do not occupy a complete floor or floors as does the Donald.
When thinking of the Trumptown area of New York City and the restaurants and sights to see and visit in the neighborhood, let us begin with a map of the Trump Tower area. Our tower sits on the northeast corner of 56th Street and 5th Avenue on the land once occupied by the fashionable store called Bonwit Teller. When I think about Bonwit Teller, I always recall the store’s violet flower designed shopping bags with which the store fashionistas and design managers like the late Mildred Custin packaged the loveliest accessories in America. Trump Tower is also the next-door neighbor to the ever-fashionable Tiffany and Co., yes, the store with the aqua boxes and bags. And it is of note that the Donald’s youngest daughter with wife #2 Marla Maples is named, appropriately enough, Tiffany, now age 21.
When visiting the Trump Tower on the 5th Avenue side, you will find the flowing waterfall fountains and the arcade where Trump accessories and shirts are sold, and first daughter Ivanka has her bijou shop with her fine jewelry design. The apartments at Trump Tower occupy floors 31 thru 68, the Donald occupying the very upper three floors. Shopping in Trump tower land is rich with Tiffany next door and Gucci occupying the premise on the corner. Directly across the street you’ll find Armani with a restaurant as well. On the opposite corner is Harry Winston, the very crown jeweler of all. And for all the young hipsters, there is an Abercrombie and Fitch, a popular spot where a bare-chested dude will greet you at the door. And did I hear that the bare chests are soon to be covered? Sad news for some!
Visiting Trump Tower land requires a visit to the Sony Wonder Technology Lab at Sony Plaza at 56th and Madison, a not-to-be-missed adventure where you and your family will be introduced to the land of new music and video waves. The famous Plaza Hotel, once the very best of New York hostelries, has become a condominium/hotel unit with hotel rooms now only facing 58th Street (the dark side of the street with no park views). The park view side of the landmark building is now all condominium space and the once Edwardian Room has become a men’s fashion shop. Alas, the Plaza Oak Room has been closed and don’t look for the once great Oak Bar, it too is shuttered. But the great news is the marketplace in the basement of the property, once in days past the Polynesian restaurant ‘Trader Vic’,
the marketplace restaurant of Todd English is in place and it is accompanied by a number of restaurant stands, including one that sells the best Boston clam chowder and a great new England lobster roll. One can spend an afternoon just food shopping in the building and even shop at the Chez Eloise. Eloise, the creation of artist Hilary Knight, is truly the character of the New York scene. The late Kay Thompson, the author of the book “Eloise at the Plaza,” modeled the character after her goddaughter Liza Minnelli who definitely spent many days and hours in the hotel doing what today might be termed naughty naughties. Read the charming storybooks and find out what naughty naughties truly are.