In the early 60s, my grandparents sold their little Cape in Laurelton, Queens and moved to Trump Village in Brooklyn. This huge and unwieldy cluster of co-op apartments, erected for the middle class a few blocks from the ocean in Brighton Beach, was built by The Donald’s dad, Fred.
I’ve got nothing against Fred. My grandparents were glad to have this apartment to call home.
On the other hand, I remember stories of Donald as a landlord, doing his best to make life difficult for older residents in luxury Manhattan buildings, renting at below market rates under New York City’s controversial rent control laws¹. He didn’t come off as a sweetheart to me. In fact, he came off with no heart to me.
Can I maintain a dislike for decades? I guess so.
The reason I bring this up tonight is because Helaine and I are sitting here watching the Olympics. A few moments ago a promo for The Apprentice came up, with video of Donald’s beautiful 727.
It struck me funny that it’s Trump’s plane, because the callsign is VP-BDJ. All US registered planes begin with “N”. The “VP” designation means it’s registered in a British Overseas Territory.
There are loads of photos of VP-BDJ – and it’s a beaut. The shining colors belie the age of this airplane, first delivered to American Airlines a few days before I turned 18–back in 1968!
My question: Why is this plane, Donald Trump’s plane, registered outside the United States? It seems to be based at LaGuardia Airport in New York. I hope it’s maintained there… crewed there… certified there… taxed there. I suspect it’s not.
I hate it when success is built on avoidance rather than accomplishment. That’s what I’m scared of here.
¹ – When I went to double check the facts about Trump, an entry of mine came up first in the Google search! Did I have it wrong? Was I sustaining my own cruel fable about Mr. Trump?
As it turns out, a deeper search found this revealing story, published in the New York Times on June 4, 1983.