Future Use of Park 79 Hotel Remains a Mystery; Will More Affordable Housing Disappear?

By Joy Bergmann

A residential building that the city says operated as an illegal hotel for years has been sold, and now appears to be empty. The new owners of the Park 79 at 117 W. 79th Street, Fairstead Capital, won’t say what’s next for the property, but hanging in the balance are 108 units of permanent affordable single room occupancy (SRO) housing. SROs are small apartments with few amenities — the bathroom is often shared — with regulated rents.

Larry Goldstein of DLRH Associates, the building’s previous owners, told WSR that tourist operations ended in 2016. In November 2015, the City had issued 13 transient use violations against DLRH for serving tourists instead of renting to permanent tenants as required by the building’s Class A SRO Certificate of Occupancy. All of the violations were upheld in administrative court, according to the Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice (MOCJ). In April 2016, DLRH paid $51,600 in related penalties, according to the Office of Administrative Trials and Hearings.

Goldstein would not disclose the price he and his partners paid for the rental building in 1985. But when the $22.5 million sale to Fairstead Capital closed in July 2016, “the property was not delivered vacant,” he said.

A couple of long-term tenants had remained in residence, according to Larry Wood of the Goddard Riverside Law Project. One was relocated to a studio apartment on 75th Street; the other has, “negotiated a significant buyout through a private attorney.”

The relocated man, Ray Zaccarino, 82, has signer’s remorse. “I was dumb. I was gullible and I thought they were being nice,” he says.  After living in a two-room apartment at the Park 79 for over 20 years, the retired actor considered the management as extended family.  Zaccarino says that after the Fairstead sale, one manager took him to lunch and “put a piece of paper in front of me and I signed it.”

Zaccarino says he did not seek legal advice, doesn’t have a copy of the agreement and does not believe it includes any cash settlement beyond reimbursement for some new furniture. He is, however, living rent-free with paid utilities in his new place. But knowing that the holdout tenant may be receiving a huge sum has him kicking himself. “I would like to have had more money to give to animal charities and relatives,” he says. “I’m very depressed!”

A Fairstead spokesperson said the company won’t comment on its plans for the building or arrangements they make to relocate tenants.

Speculation has been that Fairstead will pursue a residential conversion of the Park 79 to luxury rentals or condos. There are considerable costs to cover. A Department of Finance spokesperson confirmed that the 2018 property tax bill for the site will be $709,269. Fairstead could reduce or eliminate its taxes if it chose to redevelop the building as affordable housing through various HPD tax-incentive programs.

Roderick Jones, the executive director of Goddard Riverside, said in a statement that his organization has worked for decades to preserve affordable SRO housing in Manhattan. “I hope this is returned to a SRO through a long public-private partnership benefiting the current owners, lower income workers, the surrounding neighborhoods, and employers of hourly wage workers needing affordable housing.”

Assemblymember Linda B. Rosenthal says “Optimally, those units would be restored to the former hotel-regulated status. The new owner of the building is the beneficiary of the previous owner’s illegal hotel activity, which caused the building to be nearly empty today. Presumably, the new owner was well aware of the tax burden at the time of purchase, and it’s incumbent on Fairstead Capital to ensure that the units are restored to affordability,” she said.

Apartments meant to be used as affordable housing have increasingly been turned into short-term lodging, city officials say. Multiple buildings with Class A SRO Certificates of Occupancy have been fined for operating transient hotels. According to the Department of Buildings’ web site and the MOCJ, the Morningside Inn received transient use violations in March of 2015 and November of 2016, and has racked up $126,000 in total unpaid penalties for various infractions. The Park West Hotel – formerly operating as Astor on the Park – has $158,940 in total outstanding penalties including transient use violations from January of 2015 and June 2017. And the City’s lawsuit continues against Hank Freid seeking the ceasing of operations at his Hotel Marrakech, Broadway Hotel and Royal Park Hotel. In 2016, a court ruling against the Imperial Court Hotel established a precedent that SRO buildings cannot rent rooms to tourists for less than 30 days.

“The City is bringing an unprecedented number of nuisance abatement lawsuits against intransigent illegal hotel operators and winning record-setting seven-figure settlements, said MOCJ spokesperson Patrick Gallahue. “Landlords who ignore administrative fines are being made to pay a steep price.”

Thanks to Steven for the tip. A quote from Roderick Jones was edited for clarification after publication at Goddard Riverside’s request.

NEWS, REAL ESTATE | 68 comments | permalink
    1. Bruce Bernstein says:

      this speaks to the myth that all this UWS development is creating more housing. It is not. It is creating a few units for the ultra-rich while subtracting units for the poor and middle classes.

      Just look at the Williams, which used to house 600 working class and middle class seniors. How many units will be in the new condo rehab if the building? And how many of the rich people will actually live there?

      • richard says:

        If someone can’t afford a certain neighborhood why do you think they have the right to live there? Are “rich people” not allowed to live where they want but those that aren’t rich can? Simple supply and demand and market economics my friend. I can’t afford to live on the beach in Malibu. Should we require them to build houses I can afford so I can live there?

        • Johnny UWS says:

          somehow a ring of Archie Bunker ignorance it this overused reply, kind of if you dont like the US move, I’m sure the reply comes from someone who is either economically comfortable or rent controlled themselves. Its a shame people dont care for their neighbors and a shame that they are my neighbors.

        • dannyboy says:

          But the long-term residents are being KICKED OUT!

          “”We are judged not by how we treat the powerful. But how we care for the least among us.” — Joe Kennedy III

          • James says:

            Be careful how you define long term, I grew up hear and want more supply so I can raise my family here. Why should we protect housing for people of retirement age, lets create housing for families and workers who drive the economy.

            • dannyboy says:

              “Why should we protect housing for people of retirement age, lets create housing for families and workers who drive the economy.”

              That ‘economy’ was built by those people, and now that they are ‘people of retirement age’ you want them gone for your sake?

              Should we kick the ‘people of retirement age’ to the curb or just let them float off on an iceberg?

            • James says:

              The economy is being built by putting debt on the backs of future generations, yet people in their 20’s, 30’s and 40’s can’t find places to live.

            • dannyboy says:

              Again with the “The economy”?

              You want to kick out “people of retirement age” to make room for “people in their 20’s, 30’s and 40’s”?

              What kind of person thinks this way? I find out more about people reading WSR Comments than I every imagined possible.

        • Minx says:

          I agree with you Richard – I don’t live in a penthouse on 5th Ave because I can’t afford it, so why should some be given below market rate apartments while most others have pay market. I live in a building with a number of remaining rent controlled tenants who pay well under $1000/mth for apartments which rent for between $5000-$6000/mth. The market isn’t meant to be fair.

          Also, when developers buy up buildings like this and renovate them they clean them up and improve the neighborhood in the process. Which is something I am definitely in favor of.

          • dannyboy says:

            “hanging in the balance are 108 units of permanent affordable single room occupancy (SRO) housing. SROs are small apartments with few amenities — the bathroom is often shared — with regulated rents.”

            Minx, leave these people alone. Stop harassing the powerless.

            • Minx says:

              Dannyboy, I am not harassing the powerless, rather asking why we should have to put affordable housing in desirable areas? The 108 units are exactly hanging in the balance either, I would be good money that they are going to be turned into condos (as I said, the market isn’t fair).

              Also, establishments like this, are more often than not a blight on the neighborhood. I live near two halfway house type establishments in the 90s and they are horrible – there is constant trash (beer cans mostly) and EMTs are called at least once a day. Low cost housing is subsidized by others, and hurt those that make enough to not qualify for such housing, but make too little to afford to live comfortably. Rent regulation is an outdated safety net that no longer works.

            • dannyboy says:

              “Rent regulation is an outdated safety net that no longer works.” Minx

              A false meme (A pervasive thought that replicates itself, a virus of the mind especially contagious to the impressionable).

            • Bruce Bernstein says:

              in response to Minx, who said:

              “…establishments like this, are more often than not a blight on the neighborhood. I live near two halfway house type establishments in the 90s and they are horrible – there is constant trash (beer cans mostly) and EMTs are called at least once a day.”

              this is such an elitist view of “blight”!

              Constant trash? you mean in bags, or on the street? if on the street, the building should simply put a recycling can there, and maybe talk to people about where to deposit beer cans. But your next complaint makes me think you are exaggerating, as people complaining about poor neighbors tend to do.

              EMTs called once a day… what blight! maybe they have seniors and/or people with health problems in the building.

              it seems like you desire a gated community where you don’t have to see or hear anything but the most pleasant sights and sounds. But… apparently you’re not rich enough to get into such a community. Guess what… the people above YOU on the income scale might see YOU as “blight.” it’s all relative.

              maybe you should try getting to know some of your neighbors in the “halfway houses”. And are they really “halfway houses”, or supportive housing, which is different? Maybe it would do you some good to find out.

              We have supportive housing on my block — W 95th between W. End and RSD — and it is a great addition to the neighborhood. Veterans housing. I’m glad it’s there.

          • rothmere says:

            Short answer because it for very good reason been a tradition and the result of good law strenuously arrived at in the public interest. Youre correct the market is not fair and this market is rest stabilized for a reason. The only pulse many representing politicians have is that of their large donors not the electorate.

        • Bruce Bernstein says:

          Rich-ard said:

          “Are “rich people” not allowed to live where they want but those that aren’t rich can?”

          that has to be one of the dumbest arguments i’ve ever seen posted on WSR… and i’ve seen a lot of dumb ones.

        • Madd says:

          Up until around 10 years ago (post 9/11) NYC made room for ALL walks of life. Now it caters only to the boring and rich folks. People could afford to live in the city and the diversity is what made the UPW a great and cool place to live. Any area filled with only rich spoiled brats and their servants will have no cultural value or style. What the developers and greedy landlords are doing is ruining New York City by turning into a city like Dubai or a friggin’ shopping mall! What will be left for the tourists to see too??

          • Sherman says:

            I guess anybody willing to work hard and pay top dollar to live here is a “spoiled brat”.

        • dana says:

          When you find yourself defending the rich, a red flag should pop up in your mind. Think twice.

          • dannyboy says:

            The biggest change on the UWS has been the influx of those who serve at the pleasure of the rich. Many of these “Professionals” have sold their fealty and it shows in comments here.

            • Bruce Bernstein says:

              response to DannyBoy:

              I think there is a lot of truth to what you say… and well said.

              I wish there were “like” buttons on the comments.

            • Paul RL says:

              You should let Bruce ghost-write your comments, Dannyboy. I might not always agree with him, but at least I understand the points he makes!

            • Woody says:

              I would welcome that especially if he does it without the excessive and unnecessary use of quotations and definitions.

            • Bruce Bernstein says:

              in response to PaulRl and Woody:

              sorry, guys, but i’m glad D-boy is out there fighting the right wingers, and i’m not gonna let you guys drive a wedge between us! We need more outspoken people like him (there are more and more of them on this site).

              sure, sometimes he writes a little conversationally. but you’ll find he makes excellent points, many that i didn’t think of.

            • dannyboy says:

              Paul RL,

              You have made it apparent that you are unable to understand my Comment, but admire Bruce who thinks my Comment is well said.

              Clearly Bruce understands my comment. Maybe you should find someone who could help explain the comments to you.

            • Paul RL says:

              Of course Dannyboy should be more outspoken on what he believes in. The diverse opinions of the WSR and UWS is part of what makes both so great. And you may not believe me, but I was actually paying you a compliment on your ability to deliver opinions and rebuttals.

        • Jill Epstein says:

          Thank you.

        • UWSsurfer says:


          I have lived in both Malibu and Beverly Hills. I have lived on the UWS for over 16 years.

          Human decency and affordable housing is more important than posh addresses.

          Foreign, money-laundering, luxury condo owners don’t trump struggling neighborhood families.

          • dannyboy says:

            “luxury condo owners don’t trump” – UWSsurfer

            See the connection???

            Luxury Condo AND Trump!

      • UWSsurfer says:

        There are so many ugly, high-priced, hi-rise
        condos sprouting up that are ruining the UWS.
        And, they are empty!

        Can someone tell me what is that strange
        pre-fab looking, boxcar apartment that
        is plunked down on the roof of a high-rise
        apt building on the east side of Broadway
        around West 76-78th St?

        It looks nothing like the design of the apt building itself.It’s a dark gray box.

        Is it the contractor’s temporary office?

        I saw some tourists gawking at it and expressing my same thoughts.

    2. UpperWestBilly says:

      This building has been a nightmare on the Upper West Side ever since I moved here in on West 80th Street 1968, it’s not one thing it’s another, it should be torn down and we developed and done with, please !!!!!

      • dannyboy says:

        “it’s not one thing it’s another” – UpperWestBilly

        “A nation’s greatness is measured by how it treats its weakest members.” -Mahatma Ghandi

        • Denton Taylor says:

          ““A nation’s greatness is measured by how it treats its weakest members.” -Mahatma Ghandi”

          Yeah, cuz India really does this well. lmao.

    3. nycityny says:

      Linda Rosenthal’s comments make no sense. That the new owner benefitted from the illegal use by receiving an empty building likely figured in how much was paid for it. So it is not “incumbent” on the new owner to do anything but what he wishes.

      And why would a new owner want to restore units to their former rent-regulated status? Most owners do what they can to remove such status and this new owner already obtained a building without it.

      And what does the owner’s knowledge of the property tax obligation have to do with anything? That too would have figured into the purchase price.

      Complete economic nonsense spouted by a politician.

    4. dannyboy says:

      “Speculation has been that Fairstead will pursue a residential conversion of the Park 79 to luxury rentals or condos.”

      To answer your headline question: “Will More Affordable Housing Disappear?”, reflect on this quote:

      “The test of our progress is not whether we add to the abundance of those who have much; it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little.” —FDR

      • James says:

        We need to change the definition of affordable housing. It should not be for the retired or indigent, but for people with jobs that can’t pay $3m for a 3 bedroom on the UWS. Not sure any of you know the market but try to find a family apt for $2m and you can’t. Stop complaining and tear all of the rent controlled apts down.

        • dannyboy says:

          James, you garner no support for demanding to “tear all of the rent controlled apts down” so that you can purchase a “3 bedroom on the UWS… family apt for $2m”

          You want people out of their apartments so you can buy one?

          Really sickening to hear this from my “neighbors” on the New Upper West Side.

    5. Asking for a Friend says:

      Is this what people mean when they talk about ‘affordable housing’? SRO with shared restroom facilities?

    6. Scott says:

      I’m curious — if these buildings aren’t suitable for transient/tourist use, why are they fit for permanent resident use? Why are our elected officials privileging one class of residents over another?

      • dannyboy says:

        You must have stayed in a motel or hotel.

        Clearly those rooms are way different than an apartment or home.

        • rothmere says:

          ..Dont forget the new trend with ‘micro’ apartments. Either that or they take the walls down and re-lay floor plans, right?

        • Scott says:

          You didn’t answer my question. How is a room fit for permanent residents unfit for hotel occupants? This smells like midtown hotel lobbying to me.

          • dannyboy says:

            Hotel residents ask for their own toilet,for one.

            • Scott says:

              Not true at all. I live near a bunch of budget tourist hotels with shared bathrooms. Some get very good reviews on Trip Advisor. You don’t know what you’re talking about, but you sure post a lot.

            • dannyboy says:

              You don’t know what you’re talking about – Scott

              Now there a cogent argument. Discuss much?

            • Tim says:

              You’re right on SO many points Scott. Many people are unfamiliar with international hostels and such. Shared bathrooms and even kitchens are not uncommon in the rest of the world. People need to travel more before they comment ignorantly.

            • dannyboy says:

              Scott’s assertion: “Why are our elected officials privileging one class of residents over another?” is just not true. The Courts have determined ILLEGAL hotel activity.

              Tim, have you read the reporting that has been published in the WSR?

              As to your assertion: “People need to travel more before they comment ignorantly.” This is again just not true. I have been traveling intenationally for almost 50 years; have you visited Burma in previous decades?

              Clearly you must mean yourself when writing “they comment ignorantly”.

          • B.B. says:

            Think you are misunderstanding what Linda B. Rosenthal and others are pushing new owners to do by restoring/remaining a SRO.

            It isn’t so much that the hotel as currently constructed is “unfit” for “transient/tourist” trade, but that the powers that be want it to remain as “affordable” SRO hotel housing. That and it was previously being operated as a hotel without valid paperwork.



            Hotels in general have long been and still are converted into residential housing; the Plaza and now Waldorf Astoria are recent proof. However to change hotel or even a SRO in whole or part into a residential building requires a change of certificate of occupancy. In the case of the latter owners must file a certificate of no harassment with the state (or city, not sure), testifying that they did not coerce or otherwise push former SRO tenants out of their units.

            Once a building is converted from a hotel or even SRO into residential apartments it is highly unlikely it will ever go back, hence the wailing and moaning about loss of “affordable” and or “supportive” housing.

            For the record prior to one or more zoning laws by NYC to replace the old tenement housing, it was fairly common to have apartments where there was only one common lavatory on a floor (or maybe entire building). This and or the “bathtub” was a huge sink in kitchen that served all purposes.

    7. Christina says:

      SRO’s are hardly affordable housing! They always have been more to the tune of Flop Houses! They were attracting down and out people. NOT people who were or are looking for affordable housing like rent stabilization or the 80/20 program! Don’t sugarcoat and glamorize SRO’s! I grew up next to a few up here on the UWS!

      • Bruce Bernstein says:

        response to Christina:

        I’m sorry you had such disdain for your neighbors in the SRO when you were young. did you ever meet or interact with any of them? if not, you probably missed out on a positive experience… and an important learning experience.

        And by the way, people who are “down and out” need affordable housing just as much as middle class people. how do you think people end up homeless?

    8. Bruce Bernstein says:

      theoretically, one of the better things about a democracy is that the democratic majority can use political power to makes things better and easier for those less well off. autocracies and monarchies tend to focus on the needs of the rich.

      but our “democracy” has grown less and less democratic, and along with that, economic inequality has gotten more and more extreme. So many now question WHY government should be used to make the lot in life of the less fortunate — the poor, the working class, the middle class — a little easier.

      • dannyboy says:

        “So many now question WHY government should be used to make the lot in life of the less fortunate — the poor, the working class, the middle class — a little easier.”

        Because they benefit!

        Cui Bono?

    9. Rob G. says:

      Can’t speak for the Park 79 but when the more badass SROs are converted or torn down, their neighborhoods improve. The Camden Hotel on 95th street was a good example, that block became much safer when it was emptied out and torn down. There are still some bad ones along Broadway in the 90s & 100s that are no picnic to walk by, hopefully they will go away someday too. The city should keep its nose out of this – it’s nonsense.

      • dannyboy says:

        Our neighborhood includes the people who were living in Park 79. Those people are called “neighbors”.

        “The city should keep its nose out of this – it’s nonsense.” Rob G….of course the City needs to get involved to benefit tenants because they are Citizens of the City.

        Think about Neighborhood, Neighbors and City Citizens before you propose kicking people to the curb.

    10. Sherman says:

      This is a step in the right direction.

      This building is located in one of the most desirable and expensive sections of the UWS. There are plenty of cheaper sections of the city these people can move to if they can’t afford to live here.

      Los Angeles also has a housing problem but nobody is suggesting moving the poor to Beverly Hills.

      The liberal insistence that everyone has a divine right to live in a neighborhood they can’t afford – or simply choose not to pay the fair market value of living in these areas – is the root cause of NYC’s perennial housing problems.

      • dannyboy says:

        No one deserves to be kicked to the curb so that Sherman has a “better”* neighborhood and pricier coop.

        *Sherman your idea of a “better” neighborhood is what most here abhor.

      • Jen says:

        What a bunch of nonsense. There’s a big difference between wanting to move into a posh neighborhood when you don’t have the means and being kicked out of the neighborhood where you lived for 30-40 years.
        The people who lived here for 30 years made neighborhood better and more attractive for us, newcomers, who came and bought the places for market price (unfortunately Sherman was one of us 🙂 )
        Now we want to kick these very few people out?
        Let’s have a bit of compassion and humanity.

    11. Bronx Boy says:

      Look, I’m a libertarian, but all you people saying the rich have the right to live where ever they want are missing the point.

      Our elected officials are supposed to represent US, the people who put them into office. There’s no reason they can’t use zoning and other laws to require new construction/renovation be designed to maintain the character of the neighborhoods in which they’re placed.

      The kinds of projects that are going up are generally offering housing that nobody who has a job paying anywhere near the average income a New Yorker could earn can afford. Why do we have to approve projects that would mainly be of interest to people investing flight capital? We should be seeking to draw new tenants that will support our existing local businesses and care about the community.

      When the inevitable bust comes, those towers full of $2 million apartments will end up being semi-abandoned, they won’t pay their taxes or maintain their exteriors (which is exactly what happened in the 70s, but the tallest buildings were only 12 stories).

      We wouldn’t let somebody put a factory or a nuclear power plant on Riverside Drive, why should they be able to put these toxic towers up that will end up driving us out of our neighborhood, along with everything else that made it cool in the first place.

      • Bruce Bernstein says:

        response to Bronx Boy:

        you make many excellent points. But i’ve got news for you… you’re not a libertarian, at least on economic issues. neither am i, and i recognize the self-centeredness of the philosophy.

        • Bronx Boy says:

          Bruce Bernstein: technically you are correct, but I used the little ‘l’ in libertarian; not the party but the concept that MOST things can be done better by individuals and free enterprise than by government.

          This is not one of those things.

      • dannyboy says:

        Bronx Boy: “Look, I’m a libertarian, but all you people saying the rich have the right to live where ever they want are missing the point.”

        The rich have created their own Reality. In Their Reality, they did not move into the UWS that existed when they arrived (In that UWS there were people and a community; a Neighborhood). Those people and their neighborhood do not exist in the Rich Reality. The Rich Reality just wants to remake the entire neighborhood as they want it…

        …and they think f-’em!

      • Bruce Bernstein says:

        response to Bronx Boy: (I always put that before my comments now because of the delay in posting comments on WSR… sometimes a comment can slip well down the thread, and it’s not clear what the comment is referring back to).

        i, too, was using the small-l libertarian, not referring to the libertarian party.

        Libertarians believe in almost absolute sanctity of private property, that any interference at all in “free markets” violates that sanctity, and is an attack on “liberty.” (for the record, i think this is nonsense.)

        in advocating the use of zoning regulations to promote certain types of housing at the expense of other types of housing, you are flying directly in the face of libertarian ideology. Housing is not a peripheral point in their analysis. And, in fact, most libertarians are currently pushing for ENDING zoning regulations, not just in NYC but throughout the country… if not ending, severely rolling them back. they say this is the solution to the housing crisis.

        we can see many people who hold or are influenced by this philosophy on this blog. “Why can’t the developers build whatever they want? it’s their money! you are telling people how to spend THEIR MONEY.”

        And now some people are even advocating TEARING DOWN rent stabilized buildings.

        when you think about it, there are many major spheres where the “free market” alone does not solve problems. what about employment? libertarians are against any sort of fair employment laws. if a private company wants to discriminate based on race or gender or other reasons, that is fine, they say… the “free market” will solve the problem.

        • dannyboy says:

          Money Rules people!

          Money Over people!


        • Bronx Boy says:

          Bruce Bernstein I agree with your practice of putting the name first, especially since they don’t send email alerts when somebody responds to you.

          I disagree with your characterization of libertarianism (with a small “l”). The definition I learned in school was that a libertarian believes the individual is is best-placed to determine what is good for him or herself, and people should be free to pursue life/liberty/happiness without societal interference, except for those matters in which society can do a better job. In this it is significantly different than Anarchism.

          Individuals can’t protect their countries borders, acting alone, and they aren’t particularly good at building highway systems, for example.

          In the case of real estate, developers are interested mainly in profit and, it seems quite secondarily, in their reputations (which allows them to sell more properties in the future). They don’t have much interest in what happens to people who live where they plan to build or in the surrounding areas.

          Zoning laws and other regulations exist almost everywhere, it’s pretty much accepted that municipalities can decide how they want their limited real estate developed. If they are allowed to say you can’t put a slaughterhouse across the street from Grand Central Station, I don’t see why they aren’t allowed to say you can’t put a 40-unit, 40-floor building on Amsterdam Avenue with a starting price of $2 million for a studio.

          I think the question here is whether elected officials and their appointees should be representing the people who put them into office or the potential new residents that might be attracted to these new towers.

    12. Bruce Bernstein says:

      on the one hand, the pro-developed “free market fundamentalists” commenters like to insist that all these huge luxury developments are good for everyone, because they increase housing supply and thus will bring all classes of housing prices down.

      on the other hand, they like to lecture us about how “not everyone has the right to live in wealthy areas.”

      they should make up their mind. they can’t have it both ways.

      and, by the way, people who have been here for DECADES most certainly have “the right to live here” without being chased out, by harassment and other means. this isn’t a feudal society — yet.

    13. UWSsurfer says:

      Mr. Zaccarino,

      In that you said, “I would like to have had more money to give to animal charities and relatives. I’m very depressed!”
      just shows that you are a kindhearted, generous man.

      I wish that you didn’t feel depressed over what happened. In fact, you lifted my
      spirits knowing that there is a man living nearby who thinks of vulnerable animals and his family first before himself.

    14. B.B. says:

      Some people need to do a bit of research before condemning all SRO hotels as “flop houses”.

      First and foremost many SRO hotels once were full service tourist/luxury places of their day. They mostly went up during late 1800’s through early decades of 1900’s when travel was by ocean liners and steam locomotives that either way took a very long time.

      Thus when people arrived in New York or any of the other major US cities they tended to stay for long periods; residence hotels if you will.

      Sadly for many of those hotels changing tastes, two world wars, the Great Depression and other forces caused them to fall out of favor and or otherwise fail to bring in required revenue.

      A good number such as the old Hotel St. Andrew (formerly on corner of 72nd and Broadway, torn down in 1938), where closed and torn down. Others like the Hotel Ansonia, Belleclaire Hotel, Hotel McAlpin, Martinique Hotel, and scores of others limped along as various sort of residence or SRO hotels.

      Not all of these were “flop houses” and SRO/residence hotels served a particular need in a city then and still chronically short of affordable housing.

      Things varied of course but you had many quite nice to grand offerings including Barbizon Hotel. These residence/SRO hotels offered often a safe and affordable place for new arrivals to find lodging. Some never left, others did so after moving onwards in their professional or personal lives.

      What did many SRO hotels in, and in particular on the UWS, mid-town, Chelsea, West Village, East Village, etc… was the rapid deinstitutionalization of the mentally ill that began in 1960’s and reached full throttle by 1980’s.

      These newly released mentally ill were supposed to go into community based group homes; but that never happened in large part. Instead armed with their Medicaid checks many were placed or put into SRO hotels were (sadly) owners were as abusive or whatever: https://www.city-journal.org/html/unending-battle-upper-west-side-13492.html

      What quickly happened was most SROs emptied out of “decent” persons and quickly were filled with more and more mentally ill.

      For the record SRO hotels do not have to be flop houses: https://www.nytimes.com/2016/06/05/nyregion/the-many-lives-of-a-new-york-sro.html