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Story highlights

Trump spent more than three months away from New York City

His name was once synonymous with the Big Apple

(CNN) —  

Donald Trump, a man who for decades was synonymous with New York City, will return to Manhattan for the first time as President on Thursday.

His 107-day absence, friends say, is the longest stretch he has spent outside of New York since he was born in Queens in 1946.

Yet the President isn’t returning for long. He is scheduled to meet Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, who will join Trump at the 75th Anniversary of the Battle of the Coral Sea aboard the USS Intrepid, the aircraft carrier-turned-museum parked along Manhattan’s West Side.

Friends close to Trump and former campaign advisers tell CNN the homecoming could be clarifying for the President, a one-time New York standard whose name is plastered around Manhattan – usually in gold. Some acknowledged his loneliness and longing for New York.

“Donald Trump has lived, eaten and breathed New York City for 70 years,” said Michael Caputo, a former campaign aide who lives and works in New York. “And for him to be away from what really makes him tick for so many years, it’s a sacrifice for him.”

Trump, though, won’t be doing New York his (old) way this week. After speaking on the Intrepid, the President is expected to forgo a trip to the eponymous Trump Tower and instead will head to Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, New Jersey, where he will likely spend the weekend.

Of course, Bedminister is home to Trump, too. It is where his daughter was married and where the then President-elect interviewed job prospects for his new government after winning November’s election. Trump also wants to be buried on the property.

A White House official declined to discuss the President’s travel plans, saying only that Trump was eager to return to the city.

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The lack of time in New York is significant, given the way the city shaped Trump. His personal story is intertwined with the constantly changing history of the metropolis.

A city that shaped him

As President, he has regaled reporters with stories about riding in between the subway cars (something that is illegal), joked about how he was a mainstay on the New York tabloids and told friends that he misses the slice of New York he had become accustomed to. His aides, sensing that longing, have tried to bring aspects of New York to the White House.

Growing up the son of a prominent developer in Queens, Trump longed to move to Manhattan early in his life. He and his friends, without their parents’ approval, would ride the subway into Manhattan and marvel at the circus-like atmosphere that seemed to teem from Times Square and other areas in New York, friends say.

As soon as he could, Trump moved to New York and built his real estate empire into a springboard for his national rise to fame. Trump was a mainstay at New York events, on radio stations and local television. He plastered his name on anything he owned, seemingly marking his territory in the city he once longed to frequent.

While his boisterous ventures eventually begat his presidential campaign and all of it was centered around New York, the people who make up New York haven’t always loved Trump back.

Trump Tower has been beset by protests for months and the people of New York have largely rejected his presidency. Every borough of New York City – except Staten Island – voted against Trump in 201