We visited Trump Tower two weeks before Election Day — here’s what it was like

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Kate Taylor

Donald Trump’s business empire may be in danger.

Visits to Trump-branded hotels, casinos and golf courses has seriously slumped since Trump announced his candidacy in June 2015, according to data collected by Foursquare.

A recent report in The New York Times found that some Trump customers are fleeing his brands because of his divisive comments about women, minorities, and immigrants throughout the campaign.

However, there seems to be at least one place where Trump has been able to attract plenty of visitors: Trump Tower.

We visited Trump Tower two weeks before Election Day to see what it was like.


The building is located on Fifth Avenue in midtown Manhattan. Trump Tower serves as both the headquarters of the Trump Foundation and Donald Trump’s primary residence when the candidate is in New York City.

Trump – who owns the building – lives in the penthouse, a three-story residence with floor-to-ceiling marble and a golden front door, according to Bloomberg. The rest of the building is used as offices amd residential space. There are five publicly-accessible floors, which I wandered around for two hours.


On a recent Monday in late October, about a dozen people stopped outside the tower to gawk and snap pictures.

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Kate Taylor

Not every photographer is a fan of Donald Trump’s campaign. Scrolling through the location tag on Instagram reveals dozens of shots of people brandishing their middle fingers at the tower.

Fart.

A post shared by natalia (@naiaiia) on


Protests don’t stop with finger selfies. The tower has been the site of a number of political demonstrations, from both pro- and anti-Trump groups.

#dump or #trump ????????????

A post shared by stephan (@stephanhshs) on


Trump Tower has become a magnet for protesters, especially since a number of women have come forth accusing the Republican presidential nominee of inappropriate sexual behavior.


Pro-Trump crowds also turn out to demonstrate their support for the candidate. In general, employees say the protests are plentiful and the climate has been hectic in the weeks leading up to the election.

#womenfortrump #trumptrain #votetrump

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Trump Tower’s security has tightened due to the presidential race. NYPD officers guard all entrances. Entering the building, every bag is examined by members of the building’s security team.

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Kate Taylor

However, two employees — one at the gift shop and one on on the security team — say that protests have done little to slow business. The workers I spoke to said they believe more people are visiting Trump Tower than ever before.

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Kate Taylor

The Trump Organization could not immediately be reached for comment on how the campaign has impacted business at Trump Tower.


Both times I visited the building in the last month, the building was swarming with tourists (including my grandmother’s 50-member senior tour group). There isn’t much to do except ride in elevators and marvel at Trump’s distinctive aesthetic.

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Kate Taylor

Trump supporters can visit the recently-added Trump gift shop to buy items including Trump “Success” deodorant, Make America Great Again hats, and gold-wrapped chocolate bars.

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Kate Taylor

An employee told me that business is booming at the gift shop, which donates proceeds from all Trump/Pence and Make America Great Again merchandise to Trump’s campaign.

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Kate Taylor

There are also three restaurants —the Trump Café, the Trump Bar, and the Trump Grill, which an employee says is “famous” for its taco salad.

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Kate Taylor

Trump was mocked in May after tweeting: “The best taco bowls are made in Trump Tower Grill. I love Hispanics!”


Ivanka Trump has a jewelry store in the building.

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Kate Taylor

Currently, there are no other non-Trump stores other then Starbucks that can be accessed through the main entrance. Gucci and Niketown are both located in the building but are accessed via separate entrances.


Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz may have endorsed Hillary Clinton for president, but the Starbucks at Trump Tower features a signed photo of Ivanka endorsing Starbucks.

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Kate Taylor

According to a Trump Tower employee, the Trump children are frequent and friendly visitors to the building. Compared to the younger generation, Donald Trump is generally less chatty.


As I order my coffee, a Starbucks employee tells me with a laugh and slight eye roll that both the crowds and the security have escalated since Trump announced his candidacy.

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Kate Taylor

A member of the security team, stationed on the fifth and highest floor accessible to the public, agrees, but says it’s not a bad job, just a busy one. In any case, he says he’s excited to vote for Trump.

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Kate Taylor

There are two gardens located in the tower that are accessible to the public. When I visited, one garden was closed. The other, pictured below, has been frequently inaccessible due to Trump campaign events.

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Kate Taylor

Crain’s wrote in June that the public atrium had been closed for press conferences with such frequency that the Department of Buildings began an investigation on if Trump was violating his city agreement to only close the space four times a year, with prior authorization.


Exiting the tower, I found myself face-to-rear with one man who has used the rise of Trump and the influx of crowds at Trump Tower to build his own brand: the Naked Cowboy.

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Kate Taylor

While the Naked Cowboy became famous over the last decade for his appearances in Times Square, he’s recently become an avid Trump supporter. Now, he stands in front of Trump Towers almost every day singing political anthems with the chorus “make America great again.”

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Kate Taylor

One Trump Tower employee told me the Naked Cowboy takes a shot of alcohol at Trump Grill every morning before beginning his day entertaining outside of the entrance, at times joined with his wife, the Naked Cowgirl.


The Naked Cowboy likely isn’t the lasting image that Donald Trump would want for visitors departing Trump Tower. But, with the election granting Trump a new level of fame and notoriety, people are going to continue to visit the tower and crowd around outside, at least until November 8. And, more visitors means more business for Trump — and more tips for the Naked Cowboy.

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Kate Taylor

If you’ve worked or lived at a Trump property, I want to hear about your experience. Email me at ktaylor@businessinsider.com.