Curbed.com, the real estate blog, claims that 30 Lincoln Plaza, currently being redeveloped into pricey condominiums (Curbed mentions a price of $1,185,000 for 647 sq/ft one bedrooms), is infested with bed bugs:

UPPER WEST SIDE—It seems there is a little detail about the condo conversion at 30 Lincoln Plaza that may have been overlooked: “You failed to mention that the building is infested with bed bugs…the management has confirmed this and is handing out pamphlets and they have even had a bedbug sniffing dog in some apartments..who knew! I would think this situation is going to really boost sales on those $1,185,000 647 sq/ft one bedrooms.” Bedbug sniffing dogs?!? Excellent. [CurbedWire Inbox]

While it’s always surprising to find out another building has bed bugs, it’s a good thing that the building management is aware and is taking action. I hope they undertake aggressive treatment throughout. (Imagine, hypothetically, the legal activity that would ensue if some units were infested but did not identify the presence of pests, were not treated, and were sold infested.)

This item from Curbed.com reminds me that a lot of the interesting bed bug “news” in the last four days has been leaked via gossip blogs: legal gossip, real estate gossip, ivy league college gossip (although this one probably had another itchy culprit).

Unlike “real” news–which is covered in the newspapers, and on TV and radio–like the spread of MRSA drug-resistant staph bacteria, which tragically killed a 7th grader in Brooklyn, bed bugs aren’t yet confirmed to cause disease and death. They have been unofficially confirmed to cause distress, stress, anxiety, sleeping trouble–and in rare cases, allergic reactions so severe they can kill. But nothing compared with the threat of deadly MRSA. I saw an ABC news segment here in NYC Friday night–kids at the school that youngster attended, were carrying bottles of purell, and startled parents and teachers were looking on in amazement as they reported washing their hands after using the lavatory (ABC7 produced multiple clips in which the students admitted this was new behavior.) The segment also featured a poster on the door of the school, and though it was not shown close-up, I am pretty certain it warned that the school had been exposed to MRSA and that people had to take precautions not to catch it.

Since bed bugs aren’t on the same level of threat, the reasoning seems to go, we don’t need to actually warn people about bed bugs in specific locations. And so “bed bug reports” are confined to the realm of gossip blogs.

Yes, it is true that hotels, real estate developers and brokers, restaurants, theaters and other businesses that are reported to have bed bugs in the mainstream media, will face worried customers and may lose business. The hotel industry in NYC, in particular, will be hard hit. One can only assume Mayor Bloomberg chooses to avoid confronting and admitting the true number of infested homes and businesses in this city (which I first considered in this post), because it would scare off tourists, who contribute so much to the city, as well as negatively affecting real estate, and maybe even how people spend their leisure time (and money).

But it does not follow that if we do not discuss bed bugs, publicly, then they will go away. The opposite is true: as long as businesses are in denial, or putting up a bed-bug-free front, the problem will keep spreading at an alarming rate, and eventually, I believe, the hit on businesses will be greater.

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