Or use acetylene torches?
The construction of Trump Tower may have been Donald Trump’s greatest achievement, but it was a disaster for the city’s artistic legacy.
To build his skyscraper, Trump first had to knock down the Bonwit Teller building, a luxurious limestone building
erected in 1929. The face of the building featured two huge Art Deco friezes that the Metropolitan Museum of Art wanted to preserve. The museum asked Trump to save the sculptures and donate them, and the mogul agreed
—as long as the cost of doing so wasn’t too high.
But then, according to journalist Harry Hurt III in his book Lost Tycoon
, Trump discovered that taking out the sculptures would delay demolition by two weeks. He wasn’t willing to wait. “On his orders, the demolition workers cut up the grillwork with acetylene torches,” Hurt wrote. “Then they jackhammered the friezes, dislodged them with crowbars, and pushed the remains inside the building, where they fell to the floor and shattered in a million pieces.”