Homeless Gaddafi forced to rough it in embassy quarters

Autograph hunters should try to get close to the red carpet if they want a token to remember from Libya's Muammar Gaddafi, arguably the most talked-about of all the heads of state who are due to arrive in New York for the annual gab-fest that is the UN General Assembly today.

That would not be the red carpet rolled out from the main entrance of the UN building on First Avenue – the whole area is off limits to tourists – but the one carefully draping the steps to the Libyan Mission on East 48th Street. You are bound to see Colonel Gaddafi at some point, because he will be sleeping there.

This is not quite what the Libyan leader, who is on his first ever visit to UN HQ and indeed to the United States, was expecting. But nothing has been more trying for his diplomatic representatives here than finding the proper accommodation for the Libyan leader to lay his head.

The truth is, no one in America seems very happy to have him sleeping close to hand. That is especially true after the release of Abdelbaset Ali al-Megrahi from prison in Scotland on humanitarian grounds, the only person convicted over the Pan-Am bombing over Lockerbie.

So when it emerged that Colonel Gaddafi would be pitching his tent in the garden of a Libyan-owned mansion in Englewood, a smart suburb across the Hudson in New Jersey, the residents there rebelled so noisily that the plan had to be scrapped. The folk who run New York City had already scotched the alternative of erecting the presidential tent somewhere in Central Park.

Then it seemed that Colonel Gaddafi had secured the three lower floors of the very posh (and pricey) Pierre Hotel on Fifth Avenue across from The Plaza. It had to be lower floors because he will not use a lift. But on the eve of his arrival word emerged that the Pierre had had a change of heart too, prompted by other guests paying large amounts for their rooms who had no desire to rub shoulders with the Libyan leader.

And so it is that he will be bedding down in the Libyan mission, which does not afford the same luxuries at all, even though employees were spotted hauling new pieces of bubble-wrapped furniture into its lobby over the weekend. With as many as 150 people in Colonel Gaddafi's entourage, including his famed squad of armed, female bodyguards, the not very distinguished building will be bursting at the seams.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Arts and Entertainment
Rita Ora will replace Kylie Minogue as a judge on The Voice 2015
tv
Life and Style
tech
Life and Style
Alan Turing, who was convicted of gross indecency in 1952, was granted a royal pardon last year
life
Arts and Entertainment
Sheridan Smith as Cilla Black and Ed Stoppard as her manager Brian Epstein
tvCilla Episode 2 review: Grit under the glamour in part two of biopic series starring Sheridan Smith
Life and Style
life
Arts and Entertainment
Tennis player Andy Murray's mum Judy has been paired with Anton du Beke for Strictly Come Dancing. 'I'm absolutely delighted,' she said.
tvJudy Murray 'struggling' to let Anton Du Beke take control on Strictly
Life and Style
Vote with your wallet: the app can help shoppers feel more informed about items on sale
lifeNew app reveals political leanings of food companies
Arts and Entertainment
The cover of Dark Side of the Moon
musicCan 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition? See for yourself
Sport
New Zealand fly-half Aaron Cruden pictured in The Zookeeper's Son on a late-night drinking session
rugby
Extras
indybest
Voices
A new app has been launched that enables people to have a cuddle from a stranger
voicesMaybe the new app will make it more normal to reach out to strangers
Arts and Entertainment
Salmond told a Scottish television chat show in 2001that he would also sit in front of a mirror and say things like,
tvCelebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Semi Senior Accountant - Music

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Sauce Recruitment: A successful, Central London bas...

English teachers required in Lowestoft

£21000 - £35000 per annum: Randstad Education Cambridge: Qualified English tea...

Business Development Director - Interior Design

£80000 - £100000 per annum + competitive + bonus + benefits: Sauce Recruitment...

Sales Director, Media Sponsorship

£60000 - £65000 per annum: Sauce Recruitment: A globally successful media and ...

Day In a Page

Secret politics of the weekly shop

The politics of the weekly shop

New app reveals political leanings of food companies
Beam me up, Scottie!

Beam me up, Scottie!

Celebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
Beware Wet Paint: The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition

Beware Wet Paint

The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition
Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Can 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition?
Sanctuary for the suicidal

Sanctuary for the suicidal

One mother's story of how London charity Maytree helped her son with his depression
A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits