The Real Deal New York

Kevin Bacon’s days at the Empire State Building may be numbered

June 16, 2011 01:56PM

The Malkin family is feuding again over a piece of the Empire State Building, this time with Skyride Associates, which runs the 16-year-old helicopter tour simulation ride on the second floor.

According to the New York Times, the unlicensed street vendors who sell and promote the Kevin Bacon-narrated attraction have been the target of a recent police crackdown outside the building, having been issued 14 summonses and hit with six arrests since April, and Skyride believes the Malkins are the cause.

On Monday, Skyride, which emerged from bankruptcy in February and pays more than $3.5 million annually in rent, filed a petition in State Supreme Court in Manhattan to stop the crackdown, as it says its vendors have never before needed licenses to sell tickets. Yesterday, a judge granted the company a temporary restraining order.

Walter Threadgill, Skyride’s majority partner, told the Times that he thinks the Malkins are trying to oust the 15-minute attraction because it doesn’t fit with their recent efforts to revamp and rebrand the building with more upscale tenants. (The Real Deal chronicled the Malkins’ attempts to transform the building in the April issue.)

Threadgill, who is on the hunt for a new location because he doesn’t expect the Malkins to renew his lease in 2014, says he’s heard the landlord’s staffers refer to Skyride’s mostly African-American and Hispanic employees as “riffraff” and “people from the hood.” Anthony Malkin called the allegations “baseless.” [NYT]

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