Bad News Showers On Longacre

Bad News Showers On Longacre
Everything but the Kitchen Sink
Chelsea Clinton News, November 9, 1995
by Al Amateau

More trouble has befallen the Longacre Hotel on West 45th Street, long plagued by drug dealing and prostitution and recently taken over by a court-appointed receiver.

A fight that started in the lobby of the hotel at 317 W. 45th St. at 9 p.m. on Oct. 28 ended in a stabbing in front of a topless club across the street. Three nights later, pots and pans and a bathroom shower head apparently hurled from a high floor or from the roof of the hotel, rained down to the sidewalk where the club bouncers were standing. Midtown North police said bouncers of the club, Private Eyes, had apprehended the suspect just after the stabbing and held him for arrest.

Attempted Murder Charge

Charged with attempted murder was Demba Sow, 29, one of several Senegalese residents of the hotel.

The victim, Hector Ruiz, was taken to St. Vincent’s Hospital with a stab wound in his side but was released this week. Police did not disclose the reason for the dispute, but residents said it pitted Ruiz and his wife, residents of the hotel for the past few months against several Senegalese residents.

Ray Cline, manager of the Longacre for Dartmoor Realty, the firm retained by the receiver Harry S. Malakoff said this week that he had served eviction papers on Sow and two of his friends on grounds ranging from non-payment to creating disturbances.

The incident occurred after Cline promised residents of the hotel more security. Cline renewed the promise this week, saying he was negotiating with the Guardian Angels, the anti-crime youth group who are being evicted from their present office on 46th Street, west of Eighth Avenue, and would provide them office space in the hotel.

Residents, however, remained skeptical. Bob Kalin, an organizer with the tenant advocacy group Housing Conservation Coordinators (HCC), was meeting this week with residents and with Cline. “The problem seems to be that everyone and his brother who wants to walk into the hotel can get in,” he said, adding that tenants are seeking a role in choosing strategies to enforce security.

Tran Dinh Truong, former operator of the Longacre, lost control of the building two months ago after defaulting on an $800,000 mortgage. Truong, who operated the drug-ridden Kenmore Hotel on East 23rd Street until last year when the federal government took control of it, now owns the Carter Hotel on West 43rd Street. He could still regain control of the Longacre if he pays the mortgage.