California couple describe bedbug 'nightmare' at Upper West Side hotel

NEW YORK CITY -- A couple from California thought they were on a dream vacation to New York City, but they found a massive bedbug infestation under the mattress at the Astor on the Park Hotel on the Upper West Side.

They spoke with Eyewitness News sister station WABC-TV in New York.

The trip was a gift from Elgin Ozlen's mother, and the couple was supposed to take in the sights and sounds of the city, and see the ball drop on New Year's Eve in Times Square. However, because of the bedbugs, Ozlen said it will be a trip that he and his girlfriend will remember for all the wrong reasons.

"We were expecting a vacation to remember the rest of our lives, and we will definitely remember it for the rest of our lives, but it won't be a pleasant memory," Ozlen said.

After staying in a hotel room infested with bedbugs, the dream vacation immediately turned into a nightmare.

Ozlen said he shot video of the infestation, while staying at Astor on the Park on Central Park West. The couple arrived on Wednesday, and by Thursday, there was an infestation of bedbugs where Ozlen's girlfriend slept. Ozlen then goes on to say that the room was the third room the couple had been in, after the first two did not have heaters.


The California man says they had planned to be in Times Square to see the ball drop, but that never happened. Also, on New Year's Day, his birthday, they had tickets to see the Rockettes, but instead there was a change of plans.

"On my birthday, I'm in the hospital, and I'm washing the best clothes that I brought that I own for this vacation, and during that process many of the clothes became damaged, because they're not meant to be dried," Ozlen said.

It cost hundreds of dollars to have the couple's belongings cleaned. Meanwhile, Ozlen said his girlfriend's body is still inflamed and she is furious that the bites and scratches may lead to permanent scarring.

He also said she can't eat because she is nauseous, but she is not the only one.

"It's disgusting. I don't really feel like sleeping here," one hotel guest said.

Katie Phillips, a tourist from Australia has been staying at Astor on the Park for a week, and said her stay has been "near perfect" - a clean room with no complaints. After seeing the bedbug video, she says it was "pretty disturbing."

"If we had seen that a couple of days ago, we probably would have checked out and gone and stayed somewhere else," she said.

WABC-TV tried to reach out to the Astor on the Park Hotel, but they declined to comment. The Department of Housing has not yet released a statement.

Ozlen said the hotel was apologetic, and they did refund him, but he said it is not about the money. Instead, it is about the memories that he came for that he never got, and the memories that he is now stuck with.
Copyright © 2022 WABC-TV. All Rights Reserved.