Old Lady Nearly Killed by Hotel Shower Is Angry in $100 Million Kinds of WaysFirst 79-year-old Ethel Tropez endured the floods of Hurricane Katrina in her hometown of Live Oak, Texas (no, we are not making these names up), and then she comes to New York City, all refugee style, and is promptly scalded to within an inch of her life by her shower at the swanky Chandler Hotel in midtown.
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The Donald Sued for $4 BillionDonald Trump is getting hit with a lawsuit for a whopping $4 billion in Las Vegas. The plaintiff, Nights at Vegas, Inc., is a licensed management company that handles the leasing of many properties in the Donald’s new Trump International Hotel & Tower. According to legal papers obtained by TMZ.com, their complaint is that the real-estate mogul, who runs a competing leasing organization for units in the building, won’t let them use his own name in order to market the rentals. In other words, they can’t use the Trump brand to drum up interest. Trump’s own leasing agency charges owners more (50 percent of rental income, as opposed to the 20 percent that Nights at Vegas charges), which put it at a disadvantage without the no-branding rule. Still, both the suit and Trump’s marketing mandate come as a surprise. This may officially be the first time in history the Donald has ever asked people to stop saying his name.
Trump Sued for More Than He’s Worth [TMZ.com]
the morning line
WMD Found — in Midtown
• A soda-size can of phosgene, the deadly chemical Saddam used to kill countless Kurds in the eighties, was discovered stashed away in a U.N. office yesterday, but no one has any idea how it got there after weapons inspectors brought it back from Iraq in the mid-nineties. Reassuring. [NYT]
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Raising the Standard
The High Line, as the headline read on Adam Sternbergh’s May cover story for New York, brings good things to life. One such good thing: André Balazs’s High Line–straddling Standard Hotel, which, according to the photo that showed up on Curbed today, seems well along its way to fruition. As it happens, a Daily Intel spy tells us it’s magnificently behind schedule and overbudget. But, then, it’s in the meatpacking district; of course it’s too expensive.
High Line Construction Chronicles: Standard Anything But [Curbed]
Related: The High Line: It Brings Good Things to Life [NYM]
Inside the Chelsea: The Sun Through Yellow Curtains
We read all about the Chelsea Hotel, and we walk past the hulking building on West 23rd Street from time to time, and we’ve always been vaguely curious about what the place looks like inside. (Not curious enough to actually walk in the door, mind you. But curious.) Apparently we’re not the only ones: Agence France-Presse obliges today with a handful of interior shots of the storied building, pegged, obviously, to the hotel’s recent de-Bardification. Above, what was apparently Madonna’s room when she first came to New York in the early eighties. After the jump, a few others.
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Know Your Hipster HoteliersAfter the Times’ recent front-page exposé that rent in New York is apparently expensive, requiring tenants to have multiple roommates or live in non-standard housing — who knew? — Metro New York today follows up with a tale of hipsters finding suitably hip solutions to the city’s affordable-housing crunch. It seems a Lower East Side couple, Jessica Delfino and her boyfriend, have retrofitted their nine-by-fifteen-foot living room as a stand-alone mini-suite, and they’re renting it out at $70 a night: the world’s smallest boutique hotel. Wacky! And not a bad business model, considering this is the second free PR plug the place gets this year. But the funny thing is, neither of those PR hits tell the whole story.
Hotel Gansevoort Will Have to Find a New Way to Annoy Neighbors Andrew Berman, chief of the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation, notched a victory Friday as self-appointed Sheriff of Downtown Tastefulness. For weeks, he’d organized protests and demonstrations near the well-lit, eight-foot-high ads around the Hotel Gansevoort. Today he sent a letter to Buildings Commissioner Patricia Lancaster declaring that the city had seen the light. Berman says the city plans to tell hotel developer Michael Achenbaum that his illuminated signs break the zoning law because they stand at less than a 90-degree angle to Hudson Street. The two-page letter notes that if Achenbaum turns the signs to the legal pitch, “this would of course turn the signs toward the windows of the Hotel, and we hope that the Hotel will simply choose to remove the signs.” Now even if that does happen, it’s not as if the meatpacking district will morph into a redoubt of elegant restraint. But fear not Berman’s letter CCs all local elected officials and nameless “community groups” with hints of further battles. A round at Pastis, anyone? —Alec Appelbaum
Letters from the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation [PDF]
• Turns out models can speak — at least in Ridley Scott’s new Prada movie. [Fashionista]
• Bottega Veneta has designed the interior of a penthouse suite at the St. Regis. [British Vogue]
• Model Paulina Porizkova has joined the cast of Dancing With the Stars. [Flypaper]
• Naomi Campbell left Premier Models, where she’s spent most of her career, for IMG. [All Company News]
Tom Brady Does Not Love New York, or Bridget MoynahanTom Brady put his New York pad up for sale as soon as he found out ex-girlfriend Bridget Moynahan was pregnant. Speaking of officially pregnant: Naomi Watts. Speaking of maybe pregnant: Christina Aguilera. Hillary Clinton, or someone from her office, got mad at David Geffen for throwing a party last night for Barack Obama. Former As Four designer Kai Kuhne flipped out after his credit card was denied at Sway. A Chelsea nightclub doesn’t want handicapped customers upstairs.
Gramercy Park’s Park Chinois: Imitation Is the Highest Form
A room at the Gramercy Park Hotel: $500. The steak-frites at Balthazar: $30. Being able to order the latter while staying in the former, at any hour: Priceless. Grub Street’s Daniel Maurer is reporting that when Park Chinois, the hotel’s restaurant, finally opens in the spring, its 24-hour room-service menu will offer facsimiles of classic dishes from many well-known New York restaurants. The list isn’t close to final, but Grub Street’s got the inside track on some likely contenders.
Gramercy Park Room Service: ‘This Next One Is a Nobu Cover’ [Grub Street]
Giuliani Plans Join Wallets, Dildos as Hotel Detritus
When the Daily News reported on secret Rudy-for-prez plans earlier this week, the paper said the document had been left behind in a hotel. If so, that’s no surprise to New York hoteliers, who say guests abandon stuff all the time — with wallets, passports, jewelry, and clothes high on the list. Top rankers also include sex toys, which Times Square’s 700-room Hotel Carter doesn’t bother to return to owners. “We just throw them down the chute,” says the hotel’s Erwin Leumanglas. Lest you think jettisoned dildos are unique to low-budget joints, the five-star Mandarin Oriental gets its share as well, says Tony, a security guy there. “People are traveling and want to take care of their personal business, so to speak,” he says. At the touristy Roosevelt, a foreigner once left a revolver in his safety deposit box, according to telephone operator Christine Matthews. At the swank Palace a year ago, staff found in the restaurant bathroom a certain movie star’s “very, very high-profile prenuptial agreement,” says the hotel’s PR guy Pete Holmberg. (“We don’t know how it got there, but the couple is still together.”) And as if the Chelsea Hotel’s rep wasn’t already strange enough, it seems a guy once left a python in the bathtub there. “It was 1988, 1989,” recalls front-desk manager Jerry Weinstein. “The maid had an alcohol problem, so when she said she saw a giant snake, no one paid attention to her.” But the vision was real. “We called the ASPCA,” says Weinstein, who doesn’t remember the identity of the snake’s owner. “Just some very weird guy from Long Island.” —Tim Murphy
the morning line
‘Suicide in Buffalo Would Be Redundant’
• Blackouts, school closings, downed trees and power lines — and that’s just on the first day of snow! Bewildered Buffalo registers two feet of the white stuff, making for the snowiest October day on record. An auspicious beginning, that. [AP via NYT]
• Hey, you know what hasn’t happened on the Upper East Side in a while, if by “a while” you mean 48 hours? Raging flames and mass evacuations. Behold, then, a three-alarm fire in a historic — and thankfully unoccupied — townhouse on 70th and Park, six blocks from the Lidle crash and eight blocks from the Bartha place. Does God not like UES anymore? [AP via amNY]
• Istithmar, a Dubai-based investment firm, buys the W Hotel in Union Square, paying a per-room rate that beats the prices paid for the Plaza and the Essex House. The company already owns the Knickerbocker and Helmsley hotels and could well be the final bidders for Stuy Town. Cue the eighties-style the-foreigners-are-taking-over-New York hysteria. [NYS]
• Some Muslims are reportedly offended by the new Apple store on Fifth Avenue, finding its architecture too similar to the Ka’ba, the sacred edifice in Mecca. They should see the Rubik’s Cube. [ZDNet via Curbed]
• And Con Ed has released a “definitive,” 600-page report on the July blackout in Queens. We’ll only need six words to capture the gist. It was all someone else’s fault. The cited number of affected customers (6,800) also differs wildly from the city estimates (over 100,000). Damage control? On it. [WNBC]