A lawsuit by Manhattan’s Plaza Hotel over the placement of a Citibike bicycle rack near its entrance opposite Central Park was dismissed by a New York state judge who ruled the choice of location was rational.
The managers of condominiums at the Plaza sued the city and Citigroup Inc. on behalf of unit owners, including the hotel, saying a block-long rack placed in front of the landmark property at the southern end of Central Park is an “eyesore” covered with corporate logos.
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, the plaintiffs claimed.
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 Citibike bike-sharing program began in May of last year with the arrival of the first of 6,000 bikes at more than 300 docking stations in Manhattan and Brooklyn.
New York State Supreme Court Justice Cynthia Kern dismissed the suit in a decision dated today, saying the station was placed at the location in accordance with the program’s guidelines and based on technical considerations and an “extensive public input process.”
The city’s Transportation Department placed the rack on the Grand Army Plaza because it’s “centrally located, safe and convenient for the public to use and” doesn’t interfere with existing businesses or utilities, Kern said.
Steven Sladkus, an attorney representing the Plaza, declined to immediately comment, saying he’s still reviewing the decision. Dani Simons, a spokeswoman for Citibike, declined to comment. An e-mail to the city’s Law Department and a call to Citigroup’s media line weren’t immediately returned.
The case is Board of Managers of the Plaza Condominium v. New York City Department of Transportation, 101392/2013, New York State Supreme Court, New York County (Manhattan).