Trump’s towering penis envy

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Trump Tower on Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

Trump – the Donald, that is, our president wannabe – owns several tall buildings. I will not attempt here to say how tall or how many. His website shows quite a number, but other sources make it more clear that some, though bedecked with the Trump moniker, are no longer owned by him. Others he clearly wishes he’d built, and at least one of those I’d want to claim, too. It is 40 Wall Street, the building that back in 1930 raced the Empire State Building into the sky. Here’s what Trump’s real-estate website has to say about the Manhattan Company Building:

The majesty of New York’s financial district and the style and elegance of Trump come together to create an incredibly impressive, landmark property at 40 Wall Street.

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40 Wall Street, New York (Trump)

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Trump Hotel & Tower, Chicago (Trump)

You can tell the copywriter did not want, for obvious reasons, to make the mistake of being too clear on who didn’t build it. (“You’re fired!”) Reading how “majesty,” “style” and “elegance” have “come together to create” the building, a visitor to the Trump website might be forgiven for concluding that Trump built it – until, reading on, the visitor learns the fact that, “[c]omprised of 1.3 million square-feet of office space distributed over 72 stories, this 1930 property was once the tallest building in the world.” (That is, until the Empire State caught up with it in 1931!)

The tallest Trump tower is the Trump International Hotel & Tower, in Chicago, at 92 stories rising 1,389 feet, which became “the tallest completed residential building in the world” in 2009. Trump’s tallest tower in New York City is Trump Tower, whose 68 stories rise 927 feet at East 56th and Fifth Avenue, and which Trump’s website points out was “[o]riginally, the tallest all-glass structure in Manhattan” when completed in 1983 and remains “one of the most distinctive buildings in the world,” a judgment that is, at the very least, debatable – a debate that cannot be won with a throw-away line about the elegance of the Trumpian hand.

I was frankly surprised to learn that the Trump International Hotel in Las Vagas is the only Trump tower with the Trump name emblazoned at the top of the building. Admittedly my analysis is based on the photos in the portfolio on the Trump website – but I don’t think anyone will blame me for assuming that the architect of the website would, for obvious reasons (“You’re fired!), use photos that were yugely clear on that small matter.

I offer evidence but I take no stand on what Freud might say about Trump’s infatuation with tall buildings. (Don’t tell anyone, but there are 20 buildings in the world taller than Trump’s tallest. The tallest building in the world is the Burj Khalifa at 2,717 feet, almost twice the height of the Trump International Hotel & Tower in Chicago. Shhh!)

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Tallest buildings with Trump name, over 500 feet. (Chicago Tribune)

About David Brussat

This blog was begun in 2009 as a feature of the Providence Journal, where I was on the editorial board and wrote a weekly column of architecture criticism for three decades. Architecture Here and There fights the style wars for classical architecture and against modern architecture, no holds barred. History Press asked me to write and in August 2017 published my first book, "Lost Providence." I am now writing my second book. My freelance writing on architecture and other topics addresses issues of design and culture locally and globally. I am a member of the board of the New England chapter of the Institute of Classical Architecture & Art, which bestowed an Arthur Ross Award on me in 2002. I work from Providence, R.I., where I live with my wife Victoria, my son Billy and our cat Gato. If you would like to employ my writing and editing to improve your work, please email me at my consultancy,, or call 401.351.0457. Testimonial: "Your work is so wonderful - you now enter my mind and write what I would have written." - Nikos Salingaros, mathematician at the University of Texas, architectural theorist and author of many books.
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6 Responses to Trump’s towering penis envy

  1. Pingback: Y’all Ever Notice Trump Is a Size Queen? | MEL Magazine

  2. Pingback: Y’all Ever Notice Trump Is a Size Queen? – Reacle

  3. Architects have been thumping Trump’s buildings for 35 years, ever since he glassed up the Hotel Commodore. Tall structures have been recognized as phallic symbols since the Pharaohs erected obelisks in their own honor.


  4. I would love to see people picketing in front of Trump Tower with signs that say, “Build a wall here, and make Trump pay for it.”


  5. James Kelley says:

    It seems that you may be another one of these East Side liberals that looks for any ridiculous excuse to Trump thump. I’m not expressing and opinion about architecture (of which I have no knowledge) or politics. I just thing the title and the last sentence of this article suggests, well, liberal envy.


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