Trump Castle, Madison Avenue
Born: 1983. Died: 1984.
“Lunacy.” That was real-estate brokers’ contemporaneous description of Trump’s intended follow-up to his flagship Trump Tower, on Fifth Avenue in New York: a 60-story luxury residential complex, designed by the renowned if erratic Philip Johnson to mimic a medieval castle. The project included six cylindrical towers with crenellated tops, spires, and gold-leaf adornment, plus, at street level, a drawbridge and a moat. Announced in 1983 for a site on Madison Avenue between 59th and 60th Streets, it was to be called—inevitably—Trump Castle. Prudential Insurance had bought the land, on which sat an eight-story building, in 1981. The company then brought Trump into the project and gave him a 49 percent stake for free because, as a Prudential executive later explained, “his name had magic in it.” While Johnson’s castle design was, as architecture, a world away from Trump Tower’s black-glass slickness, Trump was enthusiastic. As “a source close to the developer”—probably Trump himself—told New York magazine, “After Donald did Trump Tower, there’s not a lot left for him to do in this business, so he just wants to do something great.”