Around the winter holidays a lot of people flock to the impressively-decorated department store windows on Fifth Avenue. In 1939 Bonwit Teller hired their first artist as window display designer: the eccentric Salvador Dalí. Dali designed two themed windows for the store one representing Day and the other Night.
Jasper Johns and Robert Rauschenberg exhibited their modern artworks behind fashionable mannequins regularly through the 1950s.
In 1961 Andy Warhol hung five paintings behind department store models and announced the significance of his own artwork – lowbrow subjects with a cheeky take on consumerism.
The paintings were based on comic book strips and newspaper advertisements, and the stylishly dressed mannequins in front played directly with the idea of art as advertising.
In 1979 Donald Trump bought eleven-story Bonwit Teller department store with the goal of constructing the first super-luxury high rise property in New York. Trump paid $10 million for the department store and additional $5 million for air rights over the adjacent Tiffany & Company building.
HRH Construction was the contractor on the building and Barbara Res, one of the only women who had been assigned to oversee a major New York City construction site was the construction executive.
|Atrium in Trump Tower
enabled the Trump Organization to build a taller tower.
Trump was granted permission by the City of New York to build the top 20 stories of the building in exchange for operating the atrium as a public space, owned by the city. At the time, the building was the only skyscraper on Fifth Avenue with its own retail space.
The grand opening of the Atrium and stores was held on February 14, 1983. The gold and marble Atrium sits at the base of the sixty foot waterfall–the center piece of Trump Tower.
The Atrium has played host to many prestigious events including Luciano Pavarotti, Miss USA and The First Minister of Scotland, to name a few.
|4-th floor garden
There are two outdoor landscaped terraces on upper levels. The fourth floor terrace at the southeast corner of the atrium is a petite garden space with trees, planters and comfortable polished granite ledge seating. The recently renovated and more ambitious landscaped terrace on the north side of the fifth floor is currently less used than its fourth floor counterpart.
|5-th floor garden
There are 263 luxury condominiums on floors 30 through 68 and residents have a private entrance on 56th Street. 95% of the condominiums in the tower were sold in the first four months after it opened. The high prices attracted many rich and famous residents. . Michael Jackson rented on the 63rd floor during the summer of 1994. In 2006 Bruce Willis has moved into an apartment in Trump Towers at a cost of $55,000 per month. The star decided that he wanted a home in New York while working on the film Perfect Stranger with Halle Berry.
|Waterfall and tables in the atrium
He wanted to find an apartment big enough for his three daughters to be with him as well.
Donald and Melania Trump occupy top three floors of the building with breathtaking views of Central Park and Manhattan. Trump $100 million three-level penthouse decorated in 24K gold and marble, was designed by Angelo Donghia in Louis XIV style.
I used to visit the Atrium almost every time when I was in Midtown. There is a small café on the lower level where you can grab a sandwich and a cup of tea and occupy the table near the waterfall. There is also a Starbucks on the second floor.
But it was before Donald Trump became president - elect.
The extreme security measures began going up around the landmark Fifth Avenue skyscraper on Election Day, when authorities brought in a fleet of heavy Sanitation Department trucks filled with sand to wall off the front of the glittering, 664-foot glass tower and protect it from a potential car bomb attack.
The Federal Aviation Administration has already declared a no-fly zone over the Midtown skyscraper until Trump is sworn in Jan. 21.
Later the trucks were replaced with concrete barriers to keep away protesters and thwart potential car or truck bombs.
The NYPD and the Secret Service are negotiating how to secure Trump Tower, the President-elect’s home and headquarters.