Thursday, October 14, 2010

Bedbugs found in small area in basement of Empire State Building

First came King Kong. Now, bedbugs are trying to conquer the Empire State Building.

An infestation of the creepy crawlers has hit the city's most iconic building, the Daily News has learned.

The little critters invaded an employee changing room in the basement, prompting building officials to call in exterminators.

"There were guys there last night, spraying down the place," a source told The News yesterday.

An Empire State Building official said the bedbugs were discovered last week after they hitched a ride into the building on an employee's clothes.

"Like so many other buildings in New York City, the Empire State Building had a small incident of bedbugs," the building said in a statement. "The occurrence was specific to a uniform storage area in the basement of the building. The area has been treated and fully cleared."

Tourists streaming into the city's tallest building were sickened to hear it was visited by parasites.

"That's nasty and gross," said Allison Schoenfeld, 23, of Long Island, after returning from the Empire State Building's observation deck.

Her pal, Phalyn Kazmaerczak, said a building that charges so much for a view from its top should pay more attention to pests.

"That makes me think they're not cleaning when they should be, said Kazmaerczak, 23, of Buffalo. "You would think that for $20 a ticket, it should not be infested with bugs."

The bedbug epidemic has hit businesses and homes across the five boroughs in recent weeks.

In a clear sign it's not taking the problem lightly, the city recently allocated a half-million dollars to eradicating the bugs.

Among the spots reporting recent infestations were an AMC movie theater in Times Square, the Brooklyn district attorney's office, a Victoria's Secret store in Lenox Hill and the Time Warner Center.

Even with the widespread assault on the city, the infestation at the Empire State Building stunned its visitors.

"It's disgusting," said Valerie Mercier, a 21-year-old student from Quebec.

People who work in the majestic tower also were disgusted to hear bloodsuckers had inhabited the building.

"You would think in a building like this you wouldn't have these issues - but unfortunately that's not the case," said one man who works in the building and declined to give his name.

"That's just not good."

BY Rich Schapiro