Michael Reckord | A visit to Donald's Trump Tower
Donald Trump could well become the next president of the United States - and thus the most powerful man in the world. So when I was in his home town, New York City, recently, I thought I should drop in on him.
I arrived at the prestigious Trump Tower on New York's renowned Fifth Avenue to see five or six people on the other side of the street taking pictures of the 68-storey building where Trump lives and has the headquarters for his presidential campaign and business empire.
After taking a couple of pictures myself, I walked across the street to the tall, uniformed black man standing guard at the Tower's huge front entrance. Mr Trump was not in, I heard, but I was free to tour the place. Anybody could.
You can learn a lot about a person by examining his home, so I pushed my way through the heavy glass door. If it was so easy to get into the building, I was wondering, why did 19-year-old Stephen Rogata (aka Michael Joseph Ryan) choose the hard way? The story was all over the news.
Days before, Rogata, of Great Falls, Virginia, had used four powerful suction cups to help him climb up the tower's glass faÁade, and after nearly three hours, had reached the 21st floor when policemen reached out from a window and grabbed him. He was charged with reckless endangerment and criminal trespassing then taken to Bellevue Psychiatric Hospital for evaluation.
Trump Tower, comprising residential, office and commercial spaces, offers panoramic views of Fifth Avenue, Madison Avenue, and the more distant Central Park. Across the road from that park, though, at Columbus Circle, is another Trump building - The Trump International Hotel and Tower - which I also visited.
In Trump Tower, I saw its three dining facilities, the Trump Grill, Trump CafÈ, and Trump Bar. Both Nike and Gucci have their flagship stores in the Tower, and I spent some time admiring the jewellery in the Ivanka Trump Fine Jewelry Boutique near the ground-floor entrance.
The 60-foot waterfall flowing down the eastern wall of the building is a sight to behold. Actually, I found the whole building, in which a golden glow predominates, a marvel.
Remember NBC television's The Apprentice? It was shot in the Tower, which contains the board room where Trump barked the famous phrase "You're fired!" to at least one person as each episode ended.
When Rogata made his climb, Trump was in Virginia, but I was luckier. I almost saw him.
On leaving the building, I saw a crowd gathered near the door. They were held back by a couple of iron barriers at the corner of the 5th Avenue and 56th Street corner of the Tower. A police car and four NYPD cops partially blocked the latter street.
None of those things had been there when I entered.
"What's going on?" I asked a man in the crowd."An accident?"
He shook his head. "Trump."
Just then I noticed three large, black SUVs coming down 56th Street towards us. The private entrance to Trump Tower is on that road.
It was time to head for an off-Broadway play I was going to, and I decided against trying to get an appointment with Trump that day. I walked away from the obviously well-run Tower with a lot more respect for the owner than I had previously - as a landlord, anyway.