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

It was supposed to have a moat.

Ivylise Simones

Facts matter: Sign up for the free Mother Jones Daily newsletter. Support our nonprofit reporting. Subscribe to our print magazine.


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”:

REAL QUICK, REAL URGENT

Minority rule, corruption, disinformation, attacks on those who dare tell the truth: There is a direct line from what's happening in Russia and Ukraine to what's happening here at home. And that's what MoJo's Monika Bauerlein writes about in "Their Fight Is Our Fight" to unpack the information war we find ourselves in and share a few examples to show why the power of independent, reader-supported journalism is such a threat to authoritarians.

Corrupt leaders the world over can (and will) try to shut down the truth, but when the truth has millions of people on its side, you can't keep it down for good. And there's no more powerful or urgent argument for your support of Mother Jones' journalism right now than that. We need to raise about $450,000 to hit our online fundraising budget in these next few months, so please read more from Monika and pitch in if you can.

payment methods

REAL QUICK, REAL URGENT

Minority rule, corruption, disinformation, attacks on those who dare tell the truth: There is a direct line from what's happening in Russia and Ukraine to what's happening here at home. And that's what MoJo's Monika Bauerlein writes about in "Their Fight Is Our Fight" to unpack the information war we find ourselves in and share a few examples to show why the power of independent, reader-supported journalism is such a threat to authoritarians.

Corrupt leaders the world over can (and will) try to shut down the truth, but when the truth has millions of people on its side, you can't keep it down for good. And there's no more powerful or urgent argument for your support of Mother Jones' journalism right now than that. We need to raise about $450,000 to hit our online fundraising budget in these next few months, so please read more from Monika and pitch in if you can.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly 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