It was supposed to be his legacy. Today it’s a mere shadow of his dream—but he declared victory anyway.
From Politico Magazine's
THE CITIES ISSUE JULY/AUGUST 2018
“I also think he recognized this was a defeat that he had to turn into a victory, and he enlisted us in a way that did that for him,” Gratz says. “And we went along with it because we knew we could have a major impact.” Someone was going to build there, they decided, and they wanted some say over it. “And that park and those designs and that street grid and all the urban features are there not because he has any clue how to do these things, none, zero, zip—nor does he care—unless he’s forced to. And we forced him.”
What, then, could the “resistance” today learn looking back at Trump’s experience on the Upper West Side?
“You have to find a way to get him over a barrel,” Gutman told me. “You have to back him into a corner or get him over a barrel.”
And what did Trump learn?
“Did he learn from the Television City debacle that he shouldn’t get too big, too fast, too loud? No,” Sexton says. “He put something out that was so big, so fast, so loud, it scared the hell out of people, and they mobilized to oppose it—that was an actual tactical blunder by him. But it doesn’t seem like he learned the lesson of not doing that anymore.”
And why would he have? Ultimately, Sexton says, he wasn’t punished.
“So maybe what he learned,” he says, “is—yeah—think big, talk big, make a big splash. And let the other guys fight to keep up with him.”
On the Upper West Side, Trump was overbearing, tactless and tone-deaf. His proposals were extreme, offensive and ill-conceived. Many of the people who fought him thought they beat him. They prevented him from doing what he actually wanted to do. But those buildings were built. That money was money he made. It’s the Trump paradox: He’s the most successful failer of all time. Because what really happened with what became Trump Place was that he created such a disturbance for so long that his opponents literally did his work, designing his development for him, which saved him, which enabled him to maintain a veneer of credibility, .......