Tuesday, April 27, 2010
Illegal Harlem hostel shut down
A Harlem building was shut down by the city Thursday night, leaving more than a hundred tourists from all over the world with no place to stay.
The Department of Buildings issued a vacate order at the L-Hostel on 117th Street and 7th Avenue, citing the six-story residential building was illegally converted into a hostel.
The owner says he has owned the building for five years, and insists it's legal.
Tourists forced out into the street say they have no idea where they are going to go.
"They came in this afternoon and told everyone to leave. People come and they make reservations, and all day long they are coming off the planes and getting here and they have no place to stay, and all the other hostels are kind of full because no one has been flying these last five days so it's hard already to find a place," said one displaced tourist.
"I have the approved plan, and I was shocked by the fact that they are forcing us to kick people to the street with no reason," said the building's owner, Gal Sela.
Sela says he has not been able to get in touch with the DOB.
Many of the tourists have been staying there for the last week or so because they have not been able to fly back to Europe, thanks to the volcano ash cloud.