In Sandy response, some Red Cross, FEMA workers stayed in plush NYC hotel
Published November 14, 2012
The Wall Street Journal
Relief workers who rushed to New York after the superstorm created a logistical challenge: finding accommodations for thousands in a tourist-clogged city in the throes of a housing crisis.
For two of the biggest aid organizations, the solutions included government-owned ships floating in the harbor, storm shelters, friends’ apartments—and a luxury hotel in Lower Manhattan.
Representatives for the American Red Cross and the Federal Emergency Management Agency said they have placed workers at the Soho Grand since the storm, paying a discounted nightly rate of $310 a room.
By the time Red Cross staffers check out of 45 rooms at the Soho Grand, its tab at the boutique hotel will have run to about $181,000, said spokeswoman Laura Howe.
“The room block expires on Friday,” she added, “and we will not be renewing.”
The hotel, noted by Time magazine in 2010 as a “favorite of the city’s entertainment and fashion elite,” is one of 40 hotels where some of the 6,000 relief workers sent to the area have been staying, Ms. Howe said.
Most are staying at midlevel hotels such as the Hilton Garden Inn or the Hampton Inn.