The Plasterers’ annual holiday trip to Manhattan so far had featured a visit to the 94-foot Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center, a horse-drawn carriage ride through Central Park and a viewing of the Broadway musical “Aladdin.”
But it didn’t feel complete without a stop at Trump Tower, they said last week, after posing for photos in front of a kiosk featuring Ivanka Trump’s jewelry line. They were deliberating whether to eat at Trump Bar or Trump Grill.
“We come to New York every year, but the highlight this year is coming to this building because it’s Trump’s,” said Keith Plasterer, 55, of Carlisle, Pennsylvania, owner of a recreational center.
“We’re on the Trump train,” added his wife, Jamie Plasterer, 50.
Tourists from around the country and globe have flocked to Trump Tower since Donald Trump’s election, eager to visit the 58-story skyscraper that serves as his residence and transition office. After passing through newly implemented layers of security that include X-ray scanners for bags, they’ve joined the chaotic, motley scene also made up of journalists, NYPD and Secret Service officers and, depending on the day, Newt Gingrich, the Naked Cowboy, Kanye West or anti-Trump protesters.
This holiday season, the high-rise has become a must-see destination for Trump backers in between more traditional activities such as ice-skating at Rockefeller Center and shopping on Fifth Avenue. Visitors wearing Christmas-themed sweaters pose by Trump Tower’s giant wreaths and glittering tree.
Trump was out of town and at his Mar-a-Lago, Florida, estate last week, but his absence didn’t deter throngs of supporters.
Hunter Crowder of Charlotte, North Carolina, took photos of himself riding the golden escalator “where it all started,” he said, a nod to the grand entrance the president-elect made at the June 2015 news conference announcing his candidacy.
Crowder, 45, also waited half an hour in line at the Trump gift shop to buy an iconic red “Make America Great Again” cap as a joke for a friend and a Trump teddy bear for his niece. The cap — a $30 campaign contribution — sold out in red later that day and was only available in black.
“I’m in New York to do Christmas shopping and be a bit of a tourist,” said Crowder, adding that although he wrote in Marco Rubio’s name for president, “I support Trump and I want to see him succeed.”
Gene Johnson of Rome, Georgia, sat with his 1-year-old great-granddaughter near the roped-off area where dozens of journalists in recent weeks had camped out in hopes of interviewing Trump, his advisers or the political and business leaders he was considering for his Cabinet.
Johnson, 70, a retired high school administrator, had taken in a performance by the Rockettes and toured St. Patrick’s Cathedral, but he wanted to experience where the incoming 45th president lived and worked.
“I just had to come by and see the tower,” Johnson said. “I think he’s going to do a great job as president. I hope he will keep his promises and not be like the rest of the politicians.”