Selfie tower: Trump's home becomes NYC's hottest backdrop

WILLIAM MATHIS
Associated Press
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FILE - In this Nov. 15, 2016 file photo, a passersby stops for a selfie with a heavily-armed New York City police officer at the main, Fifth Avenue entrance to Trump Tower in New York. Outside Donald Trump's gilded skyscraper, many in the slow-moving sidewalk throng come for the sole purpose of snapping selfies, some to capture a bit of history and others to offer the new president their one-fingered salute. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens, File)

NEW YORK (AP) — Outside Donald Trump's gilded skyscraper, many in the slow-moving sidewalk throng come for the sole purpose of snapping selfies, some to capture a bit of history and others to offer the new president their one-fingered salute.

Trump Tower, always a popular spot for visitors, has become even more of a spectacle since Election Day, with the selfie stick-toting thatch of gawkers mixing with, and sometimes posing with, the heavily armed police.

"OK, you've got your picture, now move along," one officer repeated as he stood guard along a Fifth Avenue that has come to resemble its new nickname: Fort Trump.

But new metal and concrete barricades, scores of police, and pedestrian checkpoints have done little this week to stop the crowds from gathering 26 floors below where Trump has been holed up interviewing potential cabinet candidates and planning his new administration.

"It's history in the making," said Steve O'Neill, a 54-year-old police lieutenant from Tyngsborough, Massachusetts, who made the pilgrimage in part to drop off a photo he had taken with Trump during a campaign stop. "He told us if he became president, we could come and have it signed. So we left it with the guard."

Connie Hunt, a 54-year-old real estate agent from London, Kentucky, said she came to New York to see her beloved Kentucky Wildcats play basketball at Madison Square Garden, but made time for a trip to her chosen candidate's famous home.

"I love 'The Apprentice' the show. He's just famous. He's more famous than a politician," Hunt said. "He's successful in everything he's done and I just wanted to see what he's built, what he's accomplished, instead of seeing it on TV."

Twenty-year-old Leigh Stolarz, of West Palm Beach, Florida, said she was outraged by Trump's victory, finding it unbelievable that someone with his attitude toward women and immigrants could be elected president.

But she said she came to the tower anyway, in part to see how people were reacting. Her own reaction was similar to the thousands of the Trump Tower selfies that have populated Twitter, Facebook and Instagram since Election Day: a disgusted look, rolling eyes and an extended middle finger.

"It seemed like a step back for us when we'd made so many progressive steps," Stolarz said. "I feel like he doesn't represent our country."

Such opponents found a kindred spirt in Paul Rossen, who has stood outside Trump Tower five hours a day, five days a week for the past six months selling anti-Trump pins. He used to sell pins that said "Dump Trump," but since the election he has switched to black pins with a white silhouette of Trump and the words "Not My President."

"The main thing about the protests and this is, it's very good group therapy," he said. "It's a cathartic form of saying, 'I will not submit,' even though we have no choice."

Tourists from outside the United States also stopped by to wonder how the new American president would affect them back home.

Standing across the street from Trump Tower, 48-year-old businesswoman Dorotea Bustamante, of Coahuila, Mexico, recalled Trump's campaign rhetoric about her home country.

"He can't judge all of us as criminals because we're not," Bustamante said in Spanish. "He has to judge each person by their actions."

But she tried to stay optimistic that President Trump might be different than candidate Trump: "He just might surprise me."