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People Are "Embarrassed" To Live In New York's Trump Place Buildings

"There was a cachet to it, but I think that's gone."

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Julia Reinstein / BuzzFeed News

Residents of Trump Place, a marble-coated community of high-rise apartments on Manhattan's reliably liberal Upper West Side, told BuzzFeed News they found it "embarrassing" they lived there — and some want the candidate's gold-plated name removed from the building's exterior.

The complex stretches alongside the Hudson River, and the Trump Organization's website describes it as the "crown jewel of the Upper West Side."

Donald Trump started developing the residential community in 1974, and construction began in 1994. It changed hands multiple times — it was controlled by investors in Hong Kong and China for a while — then went to the Carlyle Group and Extell Development Company. Finally it was purchased by real estate company Equity Residential in 2007.

Still, nearly a decade after the property changed hands, the words "Trump Place" emblazon the outside of the building. Equity would not explain the arrangement and the Trump campaign didn't respond to a request for comment.

"This is an Equity Residential building, owned and operated," an Equity Residential spokesperson told BuzzFeed News. "It’s been that way for 10 years, and there’s no real authority issue to Trump."

Gary, a renter for 13 years, said he takes "great pleasure in walking all over" an entrance mat bearing Trump's name.

Julia Reinstein / BuzzFeed News

He also said that there have been "moves here and meetings with management to remove the name, but it's too legally entailed."

When the building changed owners in 2007, Gary said he asked Equity Residential why they kept the name.

"They said, 'Oh, we thought you all liked it in New York,'" he said. "The truth is, we never thought of him."

Resident Mallory Gibson said, "Uber drivers have commented on how it is the Trump building when dropping me off at night and then given me a bad rating while I was still in the car!"

Normally she forgets her home's namesake, she said, but whenever Trump is back in the news — like recently, when he implied in a 2005 recording he has sexually assaulted women and after some came forward and accused him of unwanted groping — "it reminds me and I get very embarrassed to be living there."

Others in the building have mentioned wanting Trump's name removed, she said — "or at least having our rent lowered since we have to deal with it!"

And Ilene Yoffe, a resident who was on her way to volunteer for Hillary Clinton's campaign, said if she "could go up and cover it with black paint, I would, but I don't want to get arrested."

"It's an embarrassment. He's an embarrassment," she said. "When he comes back to New York, he's not very welcome."

Robert Stern — along with nearly every resident interviewed — would not call the building "Trump Place."

Julia Reinstein / BuzzFeed News

"It's not the Trump building, it's Equity Residential," he said. "He doesn't have any ownership."

Another resident said it's "annoying" that he "always has to defend it to friends."

"They'll say, it must be nice to pay your rent to Trump's political campaign, though it doesn't really go there," the unnamed resident said.

And a teacher at a school that rents from the building — she's a Bernie supporter who is now voting Clinton — said the 3-, 4-, 5-year-olds have "made a few comments about it, like ‘He’s a bad guy.'''

Of course, not everyone feels this way. One man, who declined to give his name, said he's a Republican who's voting for Trump and the building's name "doesn't bother me."

Julia Reinstein / BuzzFeed News

Another woman said she'd "rather the building say 'Trump' than 'Clinton.'"

Kirsten, a 14-year resident who plans to vote for a third-party candidate, said, "You can still see the remnants of Trump" in the building.

Julia Reinstein / BuzzFeed News

"Everything is marble, but the walls are really thin and sort of shabby," she said. "I always say, if he runs the country like he made this building, we're in trouble."

Still, every resident said that overall, they were happy with the building's condition and complimented its staff.

One woman who said she's lived in the building for 10 years is "not happy" about the name — though she was fine with it when she first moved there.

Julia Reinstein / BuzzFeed News

"There was a cachet to it," she said. "But I think that's gone."

Julia Reinstein is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.

Contact Julia Reinstein at julia.reinstein@buzzfeed.com.

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