Eyesore? Donald Trump defends new Chicago skyscraper's sign

CHICAGO, IL - JUNE 12: Workers install the final letter for a giant TRUMP sign on the outside of the Trump Tower on June 12, 2014 in Chicago, Illinois. Many in the city are opposed to the sign including Mayor Rahm Emanuel who has called it tacky and tasteless.

Scott Olson, Getty Images

Chicagoans are waking up to a remade cityscape Friday, thanks to real estate mogul Donald Trump. The skyscraper he owns there, the second tallest in the city, now bares his name in mammoth-sized letters that also light up at night, reports CBS News' Dean Reynolds.

The letters are impossible to miss -- each one 20-feet high and all five stretching nearly half a football field across, looming almost 16 stories above the Chicago River.

However, Chicago Tribune architecture critic Blair Kamin isn't very impressed. Kamin calls the sign a "wart."

"A wart is putting it politely I think," Kamin said, adding that he thinks it's out of place.

Chicago has earned a reputation as an architectural marvel whose skyline is dotted with masterpieces like the Wrigley building, Tribune Tower, and the corncob-shaped Marina City.

"We can see that the Trump letters are almost up. T-rex, T-rump. Oh, I don't know," a tour boat announcer said.

Kamin and other critics said inserting Las Vegas-style signage in the middle of stately old skyscrapers is jarring to the eye and vexing to the sensibilities.

"It's a showcase of greatest hits in architecture, and Trump did a pretty good job with his building fitting in," Kamin said. "But now the other shoe has dropped. Godzilla is here and the Trump sign is on the building."

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who is also trying to hold off some sweeping design changes at legendary Wrigley Field, says the trump sign is tasteless and has asked his staff to see if there might be a way to remove or at least shrink it.

"I'm surprised that he said that. I'm really surprised," Trump said. "And again, he approved it. It was approved by his administration."

If you thought the criticism has given Trump second thoughts about his sign, then you don't know Trump.

"I just think that Chicago has other problems that they should be worried about. Not a sign," Trump said.

"The fact is that people really love it and they love the building," he said. "It will become a very iconic sign. It's a very high quality, very beautiful sign that I think enhances the building greatly."

He likened it to the famous Hollywood sign that adorns the hills over Los Angeles, and he suggested that some of the complaints about his are really just cheap shots.

"If it weren't me, they'd be saying 'Isn't that wonderful?' But because it's me, they get some publicity, free publicity like this critic. Nobody ever heard of him," Trump said.