The Longacre Saga (Aladdin Hotel)

Note: these articles do not cover events at the Aladdin/Longacre Hotel after 1998. To understand the ongoing problems at the Aladdin Hotel (formerly the Longacre), one must how it got to where it is today.

Antonio Pagan, city councilman from the Lower East Side, long a friend of landlords, ran unsuccessfully in 1997 for Manhattan Borough President. Lying through his teeth regarding his position on Rent Regulations, his record was hard to hide. Among many other things, Pagan appointed Ray Cline to a position on Community Board #5 even though Cline had no known interests within the Board 5 district. In 1995, Cline was hired by Harry Malakoff, receiver of the embattled Longacre Hotel on West 45th Street, as the on-site manager. Almost immediately, Cline’s management created new problems for the hotel and its tenants.

In 1996, Cline was arrested for Illegal Eviction of a Longacre tenant. The charges were reportedly dropped. Whether or not Cline, a former member of the McManus Democratic Club, is to be believed, it is true that Cline and the Mortgagee-in-Possession/Landlord of the Longacre Hotel, Alan Lapes, were harshly criticized by local residents for their admitted involvement in an illegal eviction attempt several months previously (in which police were called but no arrest was made). Cline reportedly insisted the tenant in question (that prompted his arrest) was a “problem” tenant and that there was a court-order in place, but we learned that this particular tenant was actually on the payroll of the landlord and it was his (the tenant’s) job to encourage other tenants to accept buyouts. Cline did not offer that side of the story in his comments, and raised questions regarding Cline’s judgment in having a tenant on payroll that Cline himself now accuses of “beating up seniors.”

In 1997 Alan Lapes, Mortgagee-in-Possession/Landlord of the Longacre Hotel, continued a long series of so-called “improvements,” many of which were done without permits, in violation of the Special Clinton District regulations, and resulted in denying many services to long-term tenants. He renamed the embattled former women’s residence the “Aladdin Hotel” in a thinly disguised effort to attract Disney tourists, advertises a bar for which he has no permits and decorated the hotel in the worst Euro-trash style imaginable and has denied this community over 100 units of sorely needed SRO housing.

What follows is a series of reports from local newspapers on the Longacre:

Tenants Fall Through Cracks at Aladdin
April 25, 1998

Aladdin Hotel: Former Longacre Hotel is Continuing Concern
October 4, 1997

May We Suggest: The Longacre House
A Women’s Residence Fights to Stay that Way
City Limits, December 1984

Foes Take Long View On Longacre
Chelsea Clinton News, October 5, 1995

Bad News Showers On Longacre
Chelsea Clinton News, November 9, 1995

In Brief: Raiding the Longacre
Chelsea Clinton News, November 16, 1995

Notorious Longacre Goes Disney Crazy
Get the beer out, just in time for Mickey

Longacre Long on Problems
Chelsea Clinton News, September 19-25, 1996

Times Square Owner Tries to Oust Tenants for Tourists
Met Council on Housing, October 1996

No Candidate Unscathed at Borough President Forum
Antonio Pagan challenged on Cline appointment
Chelsea Clinton News, March 20, 1997

Cline Controversy
Letters to the Editor, Chelsea Clinton News April 12, 1997

Just Who Is This Guy?
Westside Resident, April 10, 1997 correction and perspective