Plaza Hotel Sues Over ‘Eyesore’ Bike Rack Near Entrance

New York’s Plaza Hotel sued the city and Citigroup Inc. (C) for putting a block-long bicycle rack in front of the entrance to the landmark property at the southern end of Central Park.

The rack, which was installed in June, is an “eyesore” and is “festooned with corporate advertising” for Citibank, the sponsor of the city’s new Citi Bike bicycle-sharing program, according to a copy of the Oct. 11 petition obtained by Bloomberg News. The filing by the managers of the Plaza condominiums on behalf of unit owners, including the hotel, couldn’t immediately be confirmed in New York State Supreme Court in Manhattan.

The city’s Department of Transportation didn’t tell the condominium managers about the location of the rack in advance, gave minimal notice to the hotel, and refused to consider alternate sites, according to the lawsuit.

“The bicycle rack is not only an eyesore, stuck squarely in between two of the city’s most famous designated landmarks, but it came at the expense of a full lane of traffic,” the managers of the hotel said in the petition. “This has created a hardship for the condominium, the residents of the residential section of the condominium, the hotel and its guests and residents by causing severe traffic congestion at peak times, such as just before and just after major events at the hotel such as weddings, parties and conferences.”

Andrew Brent, a spokesman for New York-based Citigroup, declined in an e-mail to comment on the suit. The Plaza said in a statement that it doesn’t comment on pending legal matters.

Installation ‘Proper’

“While we haven’t seen the papers yet, we’re confident the installation was proper,” Kate O’Brien Ahlers, a spokeswoman for the city’s Law Department, said in an e-mail. New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg is the founder and majority owner of Bloomberg News parent Bloomberg LP.

The Plaza has played host to socialites and celebrities since it opened in October 1907, and is the only New York City hotel to be designated as a National Historic Landmark. It reopened in March 2008 with 282 hotel rooms and 181 condominiums after a two-year restoration that cost more than $400 million.

The bike-sharing program began in May with the arrival of the first of 6,000 bikes at more than 300 docking stations in Manhattan and Brooklyn. The program is set to expand to other parts of Manhattan and Brooklyn and into Queens, with a goal of 10,000 bikes and 600 stations.

The case is Board of Managers of the Plaza Condominium v. New York City Department of Transportation, New York State Supreme Court, New York County (Manhattan).

To contact the reporter on this story: Chris Dolmetsch in New York State Supreme Court in Manhattan at

cdolmetsch@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Hytha at mhytha@bloomberg.net

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