A Manhattan Supreme Court judge recently ordered that the jazz mecca’s colorful interior furnishings and fixtures, including the striped walls of its legendary Zebra Room, be returned to Ricky Edmonds, landlord of its home at 286 Lenox Ave., sources said.
Notar planned to revitalize Lenox Lounge, where jazz greats including Billie Holliday, Miles Davis and John Coltrane once performed — but which had fallen on harder times recently.
But in the early morning of Jan. 1, moving men disguised as cops barged in and hauled everything out, leaving the place “completely stripped and bare,” according to a $50 million lawsuit Edmonds filed against former Lenox Lounge operator Alvin Reed.
Reed had run the place for 30 years but said he couldn’t afford a rent increase from $10,000 to $20,000 a month. The businessman, who owns the lounge’s famous name, plans to open a new Lenox Lounge a few blocks north at 333 Lenox Ave. — but it will not include any of the original fixtures.
Notar, who was not a party to the suit, reportedly planned to call his place Notar’s Jazz Club. But by any name it would have lost much of its mystique without the old interior and parts of the façade.
“It’s been returned to its rightful home,” said Walker Malloy real estate broker Rafe Evans, who represented Edmonds in the lease to Notar. Some of the contents are in a warehouse and some back inside the Lounge site, sources said.
It was unclear how Notar would use the vintage elements in his new place. He recently filed with the Buildings Dept. for interior work but was traveling today and could not be reached.
Messages left for Reed and Edmonds were not returned. The answering machine at the office of Reed’s lawyer, Tyreta Foster, was full and could accept no more messages.