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Travel

Trump Tower becomes tourist magnet

New York is packed with some of the most iconic tourist attractions in the world but there's a hot new ticket in town: Trump Tower on Fifth Avenue.

Americans from out of state, Israeli teenagers, a tourist group from China and Europeans - they have all been seen stopping off at the place that is the nerve center of Donald Trump's maverick campaign to win the White House.

Trump Tower Innenansicht New York USA

Rising up to 58 stories above Fith Avenue

A man reaching for the stars

The presumptive Republican nominee and real estate tycoon lives in a marble triplex at the top of the glass tower, ensconced in a mini-Versailles of gold leaf, columns, moldings and crystal chandeliers with his wife Melania. The rest of the building is home, not just to his campaign for the presidency, but also his Trump Organization business empire, shops and apartments. It was here that the billionaire announced his candidacy in a scene straight out of Hollywood by sailing down the escalator with Melania on June 16, back when no one took him seriously.

Trump Tower Innenansicht New York USA

Door man at the Trump Tower in Manhattan

A pompous glitterworld

Thanks to an agreement that allowed Trump to build 20 stories higher, its massive marble atrium with a huge waterfall wall and dotted with mirrors is a public private space as stipulated by city hall, like 500 others in New York. As a result, passers-by are free to wander in until 10 p.m. on most days - unless extra security is on hand because of events or high-profile visitors. It is a temple to its creator. There is a Trump bar, Trump cafe, Trump restaurant and counters just inside the door selling Trump souvenirs - shirts, ties, cufflinks, scent and his business books. Another boutique sells items from daughter Ivanka's jewelry line.

Trump Tower Innenansicht New York USA

The luxury apartment and office building by Edward Barnes Larrabe features a spacious atrium of 6 floors

For and and against Trump

Air hostess Carmen Smith, originally from Colombia, was one of those who crossed the threshold, becoming, at her 13-year-old son's request, a "Trump fan." A young couple from Michigan popped in especially to buy two trucker hats emblazed with Trump's campaign slogan "Make America Great Again." "There is no perfect candidate but for the situation we are currently in, I do think he is the premier choice right now," says firefighter Steve Dela, adding "I think Mr Trump is an amazing guy, he is a very intelligent man." Domenico Monteleone, an Italian, had only one day in New York but chose to swing by the Trump Tower, hoping to catch a glimpse of its celebrity occupant. "I am a fan of Berlusconi and I think Donald Trump is the American Berlusconi," he tells us. "If America wants to change, Donald Trump must be the next president of the United States because with Hillary Clinton nothing changes."

USA, Trump Tower in New York

Trump Tower is one of New Yorks most visited attractions

He visited on the afternoon that access to the story above was restricted. Security guards wearing Trump buttons watched the crowd in the atrium like hawks as people got excited that the hold-up might mean Trump was coming. But it was Ivanka who swept past, before quickly disappearing into the Trump Bar. Then a man stepped into the elevator. "It's Trump's son," murmured some. "You are wasting your time, you will not see Mr. Trump," said one of the guards. Outside, tourists pose in front of the Trump Tower sign on the facade in huge gold capital letters or next to a liveried doorman. "I always thought it was a joke that he was running for president, then it started to pick up speed, and now I am just generally worried how much momentum he gained," says Ray Fatto, raising his middle finger as he takes a selfie. The building's residents, some of them famous themselves, are protected from the crowd and have their own entrance around the corner on 56th Street. Among them is Jose Maria Marin, the former Brazilian Football Confederation president under house arrest as part of the FIFA corruption scandal. He is accused of taking bribes worth millions of dollars, to which he has pleaded not guilty.

is/ks (AFPE)