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NYT on Donald Trump’s Real Estate Empire: ‘It’s a Very Successful Garage’

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This article was originally published by the New York Times

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It is impossible to miss when you fly into New York City and spot the golf course in the shadow of the Whitestone Bridge. It is hard to avoid when you stroll along Fifth Avenue, or venture past the skating rink or carousel in Central Park. And it is there in bright lights, no less, when you pass the sleek hotel near the entrance to the Holland Tunnel: the name of Donald J. Trump.

Mr. Trump has embraced his roots as a New Yorker as being crucial to his presidential bid, and in so doing, the Republican candidate has given the impression as he crossed the country that he is a force to reckon with in the city of his birth.

But while Trump remains a visible brand name around the city’s five boroughs, it is much harder to discern his imprint as a classic power broker, someone who is feared and can make things happen with a phone call or a quiet aside with the right person at the right time.

His real estate holdings in New York are modest; he did not make the top 10 in lists of major condominium developers and power players in real estate in the city, as judged by several publications. He does not belong to trade groups like the Real Estate Board of New York or the Association for a Better New York. He rarely interacts with top politicians or government officials, or contributes to campaigns. Discussions about a bid for governor in 2014 never got off the ground.

Though he portrays himself as a major developer, his companies’ highest profile ownership stakes in real estate in New York include an office building on Wall Street; part of another on Avenue of the Americas; commercial space at Trump Tower on Fifth Avenue, where he lives; and parking below the Trump Plaza on East 61st Street.

“It’s a very successful garage,” he said in a telephone interview.

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