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.
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Most are staying at midlevel hotels such as the Hilton Garden Inn or the Hampton Inn.