Trump Tower is many things: a less-than-impressive example of modern architecture; a current hotspot for protestors; the location one of the city’s most famous publicly owned private spaces; and, of course, the current residence of the First Lady of the United States.
But it’s also, for many people, home: The building has more than 250 condos, including the gilded penthouse that Donald Trump and his wife, Melania, call home. Some of those condos have sold to less-than-savory characters over the years. Many of those units are currently for sale or for rent, but at least one resident went another route for making some cash off of the building’s newfound notoriety: Airbnb.
The New York Times reports that, for a period of a few months, the owner of a Trump Tower one-bedroom was renting it out on Airbnb, charging between $300 and $450 per night for the pleasure of staying in the Midtown skyscraper.
Though, as the Times notes, Airbnb doesn’t give specific addresses for apartments when booking, there were plenty of clues that would have tipped potential guests off to its location. Specifically:
The listing boasted that the apartment was in “the most secure and unique building.” Photos on the listing show the building’s jet black exterior and jagged cuts. “Politically neutral please,” the listing said. “It is a specific building, so please — political opinions cannot be shown,” it noted, suggesting that renters not engage in any political displays inside the building.
But there are larger problems at play than whether or not someone wore an anti-Trump T-shirt during their stay, namely the whole issue of security. Guests who booked the room allegedly went through security screenings before being permitted into the building (two of them compared the experience to being screened at the airport), but the Secret Service may not have known of the listing’s existence. (They would not confirm to the Times.)
A former Secret Service agent told the Times that “it wasn’t the job of security to determine who is or is not allowed into a building—only to screen them for potential threats.”
Trump Tower, meanwhile, doesn’t permit its residents to use Airbnb to rent out their apartments—though renting apartments the old-fashioned way is permitted. (There’s currently a 55th-floor unit, just a few floors below the Trump family penthouse, going for $13,000/month.) Airbnb, for its part, has taken the listing down.
So what is it like to stay in Trump Tower? One of the guests, an English software engineer, called the experience “surreal.”
“You can hear [protestors] shouting from high up in the building,” the guest told the Times. “I remember sitting in bed thinking, ‘I can hear them, I wonder if [Trump] can hear them.’”