|Fans hope to save
New York hotel|
Celebrities, labour unions and ordinary fans are joining forces to try
to save one of New York's most famous hotels.
The Plaza Hotel is due to close down on 30 April, and to be turned into
a department store, apartments, and a smaller "boutique" hotel.
The Reverend Jesse Jackson is leading a rally to save the hotel on
Monday, with actress Susan Sarandon also expected.
Built in 1907, the hotel has 805 rooms and employs about 950 staff -
many of whom have joined the protests. A standard room can be obtained for
The presidential suite costs $15,000 (￡7,850), but does sleep 10, and
comes with its own chef, a 2,000-bottle wine cellar, and a
chauffeur-driven Rolls Royce.
The famous building - the only US hotel to be designated a national
landmark - hosted the wedding
of Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta Jones in 2000.
The French Renaissance-style hotel was also where International Olympic
Committee delegates were put up last month during their visit to assess
the city as a potential host for the 2012 games.
The hotel was bought in October by Elad Properties, an Israeli
developer hoping to take advantage of the booming property market in
Manhattan, where luxury apartments are selling for an average of $1.2m
But fans of the old building are vowing to stop it. They are attempting
to have the interior of the hotel given landmark status so its use cannot
Besides the celebrity regulars, the braided doormen and the waiters,
the hotel is also set to be missed by New Yorkers.
Kristin Perkins said she had come to the hotel for possibly the last
time, to celebrate Terry Trebling's 47th birthday, and to bring along
"We come to the Plaza for tea on our birthdays," Ms Perkins told
London's Times newspaper.
"So we heard the place was closing and we were very, very sad. We had
to bring Grace along because she will never see it again. It is such a