By Matt Sedensky | AP News
His name has been plastered on this city’s tabloids, bolted to its buildings and cemented to a special breed of brash New York confidence. Now, with Donald Trump due to return to the place that put him on the map, the city he loved is poised to deliver his comeuppance.
Rejected by its voters, ostracized by its protesters and now rebuked by its jurors, the people of New York have one more thing on which to splash Trump’s name: Indictment No. 71543-23.
“He wanted to be in Manhattan. He loved Manhattan. He had a connection to Manhattan,” says Barbara Res, a longtime employee of the former president who was a vice president at the Trump Organization. “I don’t know that he has accepted it and I don’t know that he believes it, but New York turned on him.”
None of Trump’s romances have lasted longer than his courtship of New York. No place else could match his blend of ostentatious and outlandish. His love of the city going unrequited is Shakespearean enough, but Trump took it a step further, rising to the presidency only to become a hometown antihero.
Trump was born and raised in Queens to a real estate developer father whose projects were largely in Queens and Brooklyn. But the younger Trump ached to cross the East River and make his name in Manhattan. He gained a foothold with his transformation of the rundown Commodore Hotel into a glittering Grand Hyatt and ensured a spotlight on himself by appearing at the side of politicians and celebrities, popping up at Studio 54 and other hot spots and coaxing near-constant media coverage.
By the greed-is-good 1980s, he was a New York fixture. And in a city that prides itself as the center of the world, Trump saw himself as king.
“Trump grew up with a great deal of resentment toward others who he thought had more fame, wealth, or popularity,” says David Greenberg, a Rutgers University professor who wrote “Republic of Spin: An Inside History of the American Presidency.” “Making it in Manhattan — building Trump Tower and becoming a fixture of the Manhattan social scene in the 1980s — meant a lot to him.”
The feeling was never truly mutual, though. Trump left a trail of unpaid bills, jilted workers and everyday New Yorkers who saw through his shameless self-promotion.
He may have been a singular character, but in a city of 8 million stories, his was just another one.
So, for years, Trump’s life here continued as the city raced on around him. Marriages came and went. Skyscrapers rose. Bankruptcies were filed. Trump flickered in and out of fame’s upper echelon.
He may never have been a common New Yorker, packed in the subway on the morning commute or grabbing a hot dog from a street vendor, but for many he remained a benign, if outsized, presence.