The Trump Files: Donald Wanted to Build an Insane Castle on Madison Avenue

It was supposed to have a moat.

Ivylise Simones

For indispensable reporting on the coronavirus crisis and more, subscribe to Mother Jones' newsletters.


Until the election, we’re bringing you “The Trump Files,” a daily dose of telling episodes, strange but true stories, or curious scenes from the life of presumptive GOP nominee Donald Trump.

If Donald Trump had gotten his way in 1984, a New Yorker wouldn’t have had to travel to Atlantic City to visit the Trump Castle. The real estate mogul wanted to build a castle-like skyscraper right in Manhattan—complete with a moat and drawbridge.

The New York Times described the planned luxury condo building as “a 60-story castle, Trump Castle, six cylinders of varying heights with gold-leafed, coned and crenelated tops to be built at 60th Street and Madison Avenue.” A Miami Herald story from 1986 even claimed that the bridge was to be guarded, like an urban Riverrun. Architect Philip Johnson, who proposed the building’s moat and drawbridge, told the Times that the medieval defenses were “very Trumpish.” He added, “Trump is mad and wonderful.”

Sadly, the fortress on the Upper East Side was abandoned when Prudential, which owned the site, decided not to proceed with the project. “We didn’t want to do a deal that depended on selling apartments for $1.5 million each to break even,” a Prudential executive told the Los Angeles Times. And when the Trump’s Castle casino opened in Atlantic City in 1985, it was a boring old rectangle with not even a single coned top.

Read the rest of “The Trump Files”:

Thank you!

We didn't know what to expect when we told you we needed to raise $400,000 before our fiscal year closed on June 30, and we're thrilled to report that our incredible community of readers contributed some $415,000 to help us keep charging as hard as we can during this crazy year.

You just sent an incredible message: that quality journalism doesn't have to answer to advertisers, billionaires, or hedge funds; that newsrooms can eke out an existence thanks primarily to the generosity of its readers. That's so powerful. Especially during what's been called a "media extinction event" when those looking to make a profit from the news pull back, the Mother Jones community steps in.

The months and years ahead won't be easy. Far from it. But there's no one we'd rather face the big challenges with than you, our committed and passionate readers, and our team of fearless reporters who show up every day.

Thank you!

We didn't know what to expect when we told you we needed to raise $400,000 before our fiscal year closed on June 30, and we're thrilled to report that our incredible community of readers contributed some $415,000 to help us keep charging as hard as we can during this crazy year.

You just sent an incredible message: that quality journalism doesn't have to answer to advertisers, billionaires, or hedge funds; that newsrooms can eke out an existence thanks primarily to the generosity of its readers. That's so powerful. Especially during what's been called a "media extinction event" when those looking to make a profit from the news pull back, the Mother Jones community steps in.

The months and years ahead won't be easy. Far from it. But there's no one we'd rather face the big challenges with than you, our committed and passionate readers, and our team of fearless reporters who show up every day.

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate

We have a new comment system! We are now using Coral, from Vox Media, for comments on all new articles. We'd love your feedback.