From the Central Park ice rinks to the Plaza hotel – Nobody knew that Donald Trump owned these iconic New York City landmarks. The former president also bought the Empire state building

Donald Trump owns or has owned a number of New York’s most iconic sights, including the Empire State Building. Photo: @Shippinbot, @@DIEBO37/Twitter

Trump Hotels are just the cherry on top of Donald Trump’s real estate ventures. He reached dizzying heights of fame – fame that ultimately propelled him all the way to the White House – by doing deals with some of the world’s biggest names in property, often for iconic pieces of real estate. And while other members of his family have shown a preference for Florida, the Donald’s long-time home of New York is where he has had the most visible impact by far.

The two ice rinks in Central Park are among the attractions owned by Donald Trump. Photo: @wollmanrink/Instagram

Central Park attractions
One of the most magical things about visiting NYC in the winter is getting to experience ice skating in Central Park. It’s become the spot to ring in the festive season and even a popular place to pop the question.

Trump manages both the Wollman Rink at the south end of the park and the Lasker Rink on the north end. But the Donald’s operation is a year-round affair as the Wollman Rink turns into Victoria Gardens from June to September where visitors can enjoy an amusement park filled with rides, food concessions and live music entertainment. The Trump Organization also manages the Michael Friedsam Memorial Carousel, the fourth such carousel in this spot since 1871.

40 Wall Street
While few tourists know this building – also known as the Trump Building (not to be confused with Trump Tower) – it was built in 1930 and, formerly known as the Manhattan Company Building, was once the tallest building in the world at 283 metres (927 feet). Designed by architects H. Craig Severance and Yasuo Matsui, it is situated opposite the New York Stock Exchange and still sticks out as a green jewel in the city’s skyline thanks to its rusted copper roof.

Purchased by the former president of the Philippines Ferdinand Marcos in the 1980s, after the February Revolution of 1986 toppled his reign, the building spent years vacant until Trump bought it in 1995. He claims he only paid US$1 million and has invested US$200 million in renovations since. The building is mainly recognised for its beautiful exterior but inside the tower is 1.1 million square feet of office space spread across 70 floors.

Via Instagram / @jgrestaurants

Jean-Georges Vongerichten has restaurants in 11 countries, with the same number in New York City alone. But what the map on your phone may not tell you is that the celebrity chef’s signature Central Park restaurant sits on the property of The Trump International Hotel. The place is one of only five two-Michelin-starred establishments in the city, so tourists flock there and it’s where Trump has often chosen to host politicians and business associates. The menu at the 1 Central Park West restaurant blends French, American and Southeast Asian ingredients and is a favourite among celebrities.

The Empire State Building in New York City is lit up in the colours of the Indian flag in 2019. Source: Source: Federation of Indian Associations (FIA)

Empire State Building
This famous landmark was completed in 1931 and remained the world’s tallest building until the original 1 World Trade Center tower was completed in 1970. In 1991, Japanese billionaire Hideki Yokoi acquired the land the 102-floor skyscraper was built on for a reported US$42 million and later transferred it to the Trump Empire State Partners. In 2002, Peter L. Malkin’s Empire State Land Associate purchased the land from Trump’s business for US$57.5 million. The 86th floor observation deck remains one of the city’s most popular tourist attractions but few visitors today have any idea of the building’s previous connection to Trump.

Palm Court at The Plaza Hotel New York is known for its elaborate afternoon teas. Photo: The Plaza via AP

The Plaza
Donald Trump didn’t have a cameo in Home Alone 2: Lost in New York for no reason. Trump used to own The Plaza Hotel where Macaulay Culkin’s character Kevin stayed. The property opened in 1907 and Trump bought it at a 1988 auction for US$407.5 million. He said later: “This isn’t just a building, it’s the ultimate work of art. I was in love with it.” According to Bloomberg, Trump sold the place seven years later in 1995 at an US$83 million loss.

Note: This story was originally published on SCMP and has been republished on this website.

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