After their Payless visit, a quartet of Iranians were rousted by the NYPD over an alleged anonymous report of a weapon in their car. Police couldn't immediately verify that account.
"They just wanted to show them, ‘We are watching you,' " the insider said. "You know how New York City is."
The cut-rate shopping sprees come despite an assortment of landmarks within walking distance of the hotel: Central Park, Rockefeller Center and Carnegie Hall.
While their leader directs endless vitriol at the United States, the Iranian visitors did make sightseeing trips to one unlikely destination: The Statue of Liberty.
"They're having a good time here," said the insider. "Especially the families. For them, it's like a vacation."
--By Joe Stepansky, Rich Schapiro, and Larry Mcshane / New York Daily News