RIVER NORTH — Although only the first four letters of Donald Trump's last name have been installed as part of a massive sign going up on his namesake tower, the sign has already left a bad taste in the mouths of some Chicagoans.
"Donald J. Trump putting his name on his building is extremely tasteless, but typical of him," 1st Ward Ald. Joe Moreno posted on his Facebook page Thursday. "Way to ruin a perfectly nice example of modernist architecture."
"I'm not saying he doesn't have the right," Moreno said later Thursday. "It's his money, and he can do what he wants to do, of course. That's not the point. The point is ... it's kind of tasteless.
"The guy was basically born on third base," he added, but can't help trumpeting his own achievements.
The sign was approved by the city last year with the support of Downtown Ald. Brendan Reilly (42nd), who didn't respond to requests for comment.
Criticism is nothing new for the self-promoting New York City-based developer or for the Trump International Hotel and Tower, the 92-story hotel and condominium at 401. N. Wabash St.
Reasonably well received by architecture buffs upon its completion five years ago at an estimated cost of $850 million, the Trump Tower has caught a new round of flak over the last month with the installation of a 20-foot-tall "TRUMP" sign on its Chicago River facade. As of Friday morning, only "TRUM" had been erected.
Real estage blog Curbed Chicago called it simply a "big dumb sign," and some folks walking Downtown Thursday agreed.
"It's tacky. It's big. It's obnoxious, just like Trump," said Don Paul of River North outside the building on Thursday. "He's got a big ego and he just continues to feed it wherever he goes."
Trump, through his media representatives, declined to comment on the sign.
Luis Dial, an Oak Forest construction worker who works Downtown, said people don't like the sign.
"They just don't want to see his name," he said. "For me, he's doing something right 'cause he's rich as hell."
"I’m personally all for signs," Exley said. "They are an important and informative part of our urban landscape, are frequently used to denote patronage, civic identification, commerce, instruction, and of course, to advertise."
Exley pointed out that the Trump Tower replaced the old Sun-Times building, which he said was "a very poor building, which also had a very big sign on it, [and] I don’t recall any whining about that."
His only objection was that the sign was really unnecessary, in that "the 'Trump' appendage doesn’t make the slightest bit of difference. We already see it from everywhere and call it the Trump building. The job had already been done."
"I think it's cool," said Tim Halliday, of Naperville. "I noticed it when I was driving in."
Halliday said the main objection was in people being oversaturated with Trump's media presence, adding, "He's in New York ... he's everywhere."
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