Building owner riffed over stripping of Harlem's iconic Lenox Lounge facade and Art Deco interior fixtures sues for $50 million

Building owner riffed over stripping of Harlem's iconic Lenox Lounge facade and Art Deco interior fixtures sues for $50 million
Friday, February 15, 2013

Owner of the jazz hotspot, Alvin Reed, had ransacked bathroom doors, mirrors, a patch of the famous Zebra Room once featured on 'Mad Men' and 'American Gangster,' and other fixtures in the dark of night on New Year's Eve, say court papers filed by building owner. The club was once the stage for Billie Holiday, Miles Davis and John Coltrane until it closed on New Year's Eve.


By Joe Stepansky AND Dareh Gregorian / NEW YORK DAILY NEWS

A $50 million battle has broken out over a former jewel of Harlem. The owner of the building that housed the iconic Lenox Lounge says his former tenant ripped off the bar’s facade and Art Deco interior fixtures when he moved out on New Year’s Eve.

The tenant, Alvin Reed, and his movers had “taken everything from the premises,” including fixtures, banquettes, mirrors, the bathroom doors — even a patch of the wallpaper from the club’s famous Zebra Room featured on “Mad Men” and “American Gangster” — during the dead of night and moved them to Reed’s new club two blocks away, court papers say.

Jazz legends Billie Holiday, Miles Davis and John Coltrane are among the heavy hitters who’ve performed there.

“It’s heartbreaking to me that it was vandalized the way it was,” said architect Huntley Gill, who’s helping building owner Ricky Edmonds try to restore the club.

Reed, who’s owned the club since 1988 and hopes to reopen this summer, only took items that “were part of a bill of sale that was transmitted when he purchased the business and the furnishings,” said his lawyer, Tyretta Foster. Reed has said he was forced to move when Edmonds jacked up the rent.

“I saw some guys taking the last few things out, it was completely hollow inside. There was nothing,” said lifelong Harlem resident Hope Kelly, 39. “It’s depressing, it hurts.”

The suit seeks $50 million and the return of the fixtures and furnishings.

Restaurateur Richard Notar is planning on opening a new jazz spot at the old site this spring.

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