Fussy Pussycat to Hungry Hotelier: Hands Off Old New York! Me-OW!

It’s an interesting strategy: To prove he’s telling the truth now, Mr. Kremer must convince the court of his prior deception to keep creditors away from the nightclub. An accountant and an attorney familiar with the Pussycat duo’s old business dealings are lined up to testify in support of Mr. Kremer’s claims; yet Mr. Chang’s attorney said neither witness has showed up for depositions. The trial is scheduled to begin later this month.

“Whatever it takes, I will prevail,” Mr. Kremer told The Observer. “I’m a fighter.”

Indeed, the Russian émigré, who somewhat resembles the actor Bob Hoskins with a mustache, might seem a formidable opponent.

 

TO HEAR HIM TELL IT, the Pussycat Lounge has outlasted all sorts of rivals, including the Irish mob, which once ruled the block and regularly fired shots at the bar’s windows for withholding payoffs. (Note the bulletproof glass out front.)

The venue also outlasted the tumultuous 1990’s, when Mayor Giuliani’s administration enacted strict new regulations that, court records show, effectively wiped out nearly a quarter of the city’s adult-themed businesses. In 2002, Mr. Kremer successfully sued the city to keep his club open despite the new restrictions.

But can he survive the indomitable Sam Chang?

A friend and “communications consultant” to Mr. Kremer, Robert Malmad, suggested that perhaps the two sides could reach a compromise, in which the Pussycat Lounge is saved and even somehow incorporated into Mr. Chang’s hotel next door—a sort of lascivious version of the Waldorf-Astoria’s own Bull & Bear bar.

“Having such a landmark as part of your hotel complex kind of makes sense,” said Mr. Malmad, whose background is in advertising. “Even if it becomes just an over-priced cocktail lounge to suck in the tourists, and the girls are wearing these deep décolletage tops and bending over a lot when they’re serving drinks.”

“I don’t think that’ll ever happen,” said Mr. Chang’s attorney, Mr. Park. “Not too many people outside of Las Vegas or Reno want a strip club in a brand-new hotel. That’s not what the developers are going for here.”

With additional reporting by Alex Jacobs.