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"There are lots of problems here," says one tenant, a psychiatrist who did not want to be named because she doesn't want her patients, including inmates, to know where she lives. "There's horrible noise at 7:30 on Saturday morning, people pounding on pipes and yelling in hallways." Simoncini says renovation is progressing "as thoughtfully as we can do it."
Long-term tenants are not the only ones complaining about the Allerton. In October 1997, Marymount Manhattan College sued the PMG affiliate running the hotel, claiming that a block of 250 rooms it had rented for students was "so deplorable," 14 students left the college forever almost immediately after move-in day.
According to the suit, now pending in state supreme court, students found drug needles in medicine cabinets, excrement in showers, locks that were easily picked or, conversely, locked them inside their phoneless rooms for hours. Students, mostly young women, reported that roaches crawled on them while they slept or studied. Marymount paid its first-month rent of $174,850 plus a security deposit and is suing to get it back.
In court papers, the hotel's lawyers generally denied the charges and noted that Marymount had agreed to take the hotel "as is." "I go to the hotel almost every day but I don't see those conditions," says Simoncini. "Major renovation leads to problems like dust and elevator disruptions. I think people will say a lot of things to get out of a lease."