Hurricane Sandy: Hotels and landlords make quick cash by charging $700 a night for a single room in New York
Profitable hotels and landlords make quick bucks when Sandy charges $700 a night for a single room in New York
- Craigslist is full of rooms going for high prices
- With the marathons canceled, some owners are trying to recoup their losses
- Some landlords refuse to participate in the hunt for profit by offering rooms and facilities to those in need
Greedy landlords and hoteliers seeking to make a quick buck from the thousands without power or displaced by Hurricane Sandy took advantage of people’s desperation by charging exorbitant prices for lodging.
Yesterday morning, Craigslist was full of posts for expensive rooms, with an ad promising people the luxury of a one-bedroom apartment with electricity for “only” $700 a night.
“Stay in comfort and style until the power comes back on,” the Post reported.
It wasn’t just Craigslist vultures. The Red Carpet Inn in Bushwick normally charges $99 for a Friday, but asked $500 through hotels.com, according to the New York PostThe New York Palace Hotel in Midtown had also increased its rates from $100 a night to $600.
Marathon weekend is one of Hilton Garden Inn’s busiest times of the year
The Plaza Hotel in Manhattan raised its prices from $100 to $600
A manager at that hotel urged the Post that they were not taking advantage of the hurricane’s aftermath.
“We don’t charge them extra,” said the unidentified manager. “It’s just because of the hurricane that we had high occupancy, and when we have high occupancy rates go up.”
When power was restored to lower Manhattan and the New York City Marathon was canceled, prices began to fall rapidly.
Downtown hotels that recently claimed to be fully booked suddenly offered rooms at their normal rates.
As recently as Friday, tourists trying to book rooms in New York City were directed to hotels in New Jersey through a travel website.
Even with the ability to squeeze out every last penny, there were still people trying to do the right thing.
A Staten Island hotel owner refused to evict storm victims so he could book marathon runners with reservations.
The New York City Marathon is one of the busiest weekends of the year for the Hilton Garden Inn in Bloomfield, owner Richard Nicotra said.
But with thousands without power and temperatures plummeting, Nicotra surrendered the rooms to storm refugees.
Vultures: Some people advertised rooms for as little as $700 a night to people displaced by Hurricane Sandy
“These are my neighbors,” Nicotra said ABC news. “Am I going to kick out my neighbors who have lost everything, who have no place to go, for someone to come here to run a race?”
He even organized a local resident’s wedding at the hotel. Contracts with the NYC Road Runners Club – the marathon’s official sponsor – are the lifeblood of Nicotra’s business, but his bosses still supported him in his decision.
Nicotra called both the club and individual guests to explain the situation, amounting to a total of 180 guest cancellations.
“Well, of course they weren’t happy about it,” he said. “But we’ve asked them to watch what’s going on in Staten Island on TV.”
Although he couldn’t offer them rooms, Nicotra promised as an alternative a free cot, free meals and a free shuttle to the starting line.
“This was bigger than all of us,” Nicotra said. “But we said to them, ‘Come and we’ll take care of you.’