Donald Trump’s Jet

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.

trump-jet.jpgI’m not a huge fan of Donald Trump. I’ll admit that. Trump is the classic case of a guy born on third base who thinks he hit a triple.

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 laws&#185. 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.

&#185 – 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.

Beauty’s Only Skin Deep

Even in the newsroom, there’s always gossip and chatter. Today, one main topic of discussion was the engagement of Donald Trump and the immense diamond given to his fiancee. As would be expected, the soon-to-be Mrs. Trump III is much younger than “The Donald.”

I certainly don’t know, but I would expect this to be a relationship which is defined in agreements drawn up by lawyers, for Trump’s benefit.

I have known the Trump name for a long time. My grandparents lived in a huge apartment complex in Brighton Beach, Brooklyn – not far from Coney Island. It was called Trump Village and was built by Donald’s dad, Fred. Back then, the Trump name was associated with housing for the masses, not the monied.

If I remember correctly, my grandparents lived one floor below the top in a building that was 23 stories tall (I’m sure my mom or dad will read this and send me the correct number). There were thousands of families crowded into this little enclave with nearly no parking for residents and less for visitors. Two separate elevated train lines snuggled up against the building, and the terrace view showed the expanse of the Coney Island Subway Yard.

Donald Trump’s name first came to my attention when he rescued New York City’s Central Park skating rink. It was a project which languished under mismanagment of the Parks Department. Trump moved in and voila – it was done.

In that one move, Donald made a name for himself.

He also made a name for himself in other ways. I remember, but can’t find the story now, Trump making life difficult for some elderly, rent controlled tenants in a Midtown Manhattan building he was refurbishing. Stockholders in his Atlantic City casinos haven’t benefitted from The Donald’s guidance either.

One of my co-workers said, “Who wouldn’t marry Donald Trump?” I think that really meant who wouldn’t marry his money? But money is only a small part of a larger package.

Lack of money can make you unhappy. But the opposite doesn’t apply. Money, by itself, can’t make you happy. Trump has two failed marriages behind him. If money was the end all, he’d still be on number one instead of aiming toward number three.

By the way, the same applies to beauty. Who is more beautiful than Halle Berry? Her most recent marriage just broke up.

I know Trump was a major (maybe the major) reason behind the success of The Apprentice. Still, I see him as an empty suit. I don’t know why exactly. I do know if he and I shook hands, I’d count my fingers afterward.

Am I misreading him? Maybe. Looking back at what I just wrote, I wonder if I’m too judgemental? I don’t see him as a man with many redeeming features. And, I don’t know why the charm others see in him evades me.