Until last week, anyone with an Airbnb account, a spare $350 to $450 and a dream was able to rent an apartment at one of the most high-profile (and controversial) buildings in the world: Trump Tower.
That is, until the “failing New York Times” ruined it for everyone. Eli Rosenberg, a reporter at the Times, noticed that someone had listed an apartment at the famous building, and got the listing removed when he contacted Airbnb asking about it (rentals for less than 30 days are illegal in New York).
Before he got the listing kicked off the site, Rosenberg booked a night’s stay at the apartment and was initially welcomed by its owner, Lena Yelagina. That is, until she figured out he was a reporter who intended to write an article about his stay. She canceled his reservation and did not answer any questions.
Some lucky people did get to stay in the apartment (which had a five star rating!), and told the Times that they generally enjoyed their stay and didn’t even really mind the security checks in the lobby. “Once you go through it the first time, the Secret Service is something you won’t notice anymore,” one guest said. Guests also noted the sweet sounds of protestors drifting through the windows, and rare sightings of the motorcade and Mike Pence.
Of course, not everyone who booked the apartment actually knew where they were going to be staying; Airbnb does not reveal addresses until a reservation is finalized. “The host sent me the address, and then I called her and said, ‘I can’t find it, I only see the Trump Tower,” one guest remembered.
But the listing itself did provide some clues as to its famous address; “it is a specific building, so please — political opinions cannot be shown” it read. There were also images of the building’s distinct, black exterior.
Sadly, the listing no longer exists. But we have a feeling there will be other opportunities to stay the same building as Trump. After all, given this administration’s willingness to mix business and politics, we fully expect Trump to post an ad for a stay in the White House on Airbnb any day now. [NYT]