Donald Trump thinks he's a great guy, and that is no more evident than in the lobby of 721 Fifth Avenue, the eponymous Trump Tower where for the last decade two kiosks selling the businessman's merchandisecolognes with names like Success and Empire, and more recently, t-shirts bearing the slogan of his presidential runhave stood. That all seems as innocent as it can be, but there's one small problem with all of this: the lobby of Trump Tower is a privately-owned public space, meaning that it's governed by the city, and the city has to approve any changes to the space. Trump's kiosks were never approved by the Department of City Planning. The city-run organization is now taking action to remove the kiosks from the public atrium (h/t NYT).
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The city issued new violations in July that were heard in front of the Environmental Control Board on Thursday. A decision has yet to be announced, but a vice president and special council at the Trump Organization, Michael Cohen, told the Times that he doesn't expect the ruling to be in the organization's favor. Cohen said he believed the organization was in compliance when they filed plans to remove the bench and install the kiosks with the DoB, but not with City Planning.
Instead of wait for the decision, the Trump Organization is expected to dismantle both kiosks and replace a black marble bench that was removed from the atrium after Trump deemed it a nuisance to the lobby in the '80s. "We have had tremendous difficulties with respect to the bench," Trump explained in a written statement to the Department of Buildings in 1984, "drug addicts, vagrants, et cetera have come to the atrium in large numbers ... Additionally, all sorts of 'horrors' had been taking place that effectively ruined the beautiful ambience of the space which everyone loves so much."
Cohen suspects it will take two to four weeks to remove the kiosks and replace the bench once work begins. "Mr. Trump is always compliant with all rules and regulations," Cohen said.
The lobby of Trump Tower was dedicated to the city as a privately-owned public space in 1983 as part of an agreement that allowed Trump to build an additional 20 stories.
· Trump Tower to Remove Disputed Kiosks From Public Atrium [NYT]
· Trump Replaces Public Seating With Eponymous Merchandise [Curbed]
· All Donald Trump coverage [Curbed]