Sorry, no vacancies. Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi will stay at his country's mission in New York after massive protests dashed his plans to bunk at the posh Pierre Hotel.
Law-enforcement authorities said yesterday preparations were underway for Gadhafi to stay at the Libyan Mission to the United States, according to The New York Post. Earlier Friday, it was reported that the luxury Helmsley Hotel in Manhattan cancelled a long-planned banquet when it learned another unpopular autocrat, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, was scheduled to attend and give a speech.
Gadhafi's had a difficult time trying to find a place to rest his head when he comes to New York for a meeting of the UN General Assembly.
First he wanted to pitch a tent at a Libyan property in New Jersey. But after his warm welcome home to Abdel Baset al-Megrahi, the only man arrested in the 1988 bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland that killed 270 people, including 38 Jersey residents, New Jerseyans told him in no uncertain terms he'd have to find another spot.
After that, it was widely reported Gadhafi had booked rooms at the swanky Pierre Hotel on 5th Avenue, where authorities had denied that he would be staying, reports the Post.
Pierre guests, however, told the paper they were informed this week that Gadhafi might be making a pit stop. And they were not pleased. Some threatened to leave.
"It makes me feel uncomfortable. He is a terrorist," Bony Sarfati, 42, of Paris, told the Post, noting that hotel employees told her to expect his check-in yesterday. "Forgiveness may be a nice gesture, but he's still a terrorist, so I feel very uncomfortable being here."
Not far away, guests at the Barclay Hotel on E. 48th Street were in a tizzy over reports that Holocaust-rejecting Ahmadinejad allegedly was bunking there during his New York visit, reports the Post.
Foreign parent companies own both hotels, but both are publicly traded and have important stockholders based in the United States. Officials from three shareholders declined the Post's requests for comment.