New York has become home to a brand new tourist attraction – the apartment building where disgraced former IMF head Dominique Strauss-Kahn is under house arrest on sexual assault charges.
A crowd of onlookers and the media are currently gathering around the clock outside the 21-story Empire Building at 71 Broadway, near Wall Street.
The former head of the IMF was moved to the exclusive apartment block from Rikers Island prison last Friday.
Open-top buses slow down as tourists snap photos of his temporary home.
The cost of keeping Strauss-Kahn under house arrest has been estimated at $200,000 a month due to the amount of armed surveillance.
He is not allowed out of the building, except to attend court, doctor visits and weekly religious services, providing these are not between 10 pm and 6am. Prosecutors must be notified at least six hours before he goes anywhere. He is allowed up to four at a time plus family.
It’s not known when he will be moved, though prosecutors have said the security company advised that Broadway apartment would be available for only three or four days.
Strauss-Kahn once stood a chance of becoming his country’s next president, but now stands accused of attacking a housekeeper on May 14 in his $3,000-a-night suite at the Sofitel in Manhattan.
He is alleged to have chased her down a hallway in the suite, forced her to perform oral sex and tried to remove her stockings. He is scheduled for arraignment on June 6.
Last week he resigned as managing director of the International Monetary Fund. His wife Anne Sinclair has stood by her husband since the arrest and is staying with him in the apartment. She is understood to have helped secure the $5 million bond the judge added to the $1 million bail agreement.