Comments of the Week: Miracle Larry, La Caridad, The Lucerne

re: Video-Miracle Larry Kelly Survives Excruciating 128-Day Battle With COVID-19 and Gets a Big Neighborhood Welcome

Mai says:
Congratulations & best wishes to Larry, and to his welcoming & caring friends. I crossed CPW the other day with one of his friends who was holding a sign announcing his recovery & return from the hospital after 128 days. She was thrilled, and was letting everyone know the good news about him. It’s the kind of thing Upper Westsiders do, and it is the kind of news we need so much now. It made me happy all day.

re: La Caridad, A Cuba-Chinese Staple on Broadway, Closes After 52 Years 

Amelia says:
I am so going to miss that restaurant. Home to my pork ribs in black bean sauce and fried plantains. You could see a portrait of the UWS there. Cops and bank employees and kids and every race and ethnicity. And the same sweet guys ladling yellow rice and black beans. I wish there were a way to reach them and thank them.

Stan Weinstein says:
I started eating in this restaurant in the late 50’s when it was not even La Caridad maybe. There was sawdust on the floor, a counter on the left when you walked in and the restroom had a curtain instead of a door. The food was always great. I ate there when they expanded and when they retracted as well. So much to say. So sad it’s gone. A true loss.

Gwenda Blair says:
I had my first sweet plantain egg foo yung (an off-the-menu specialty) at La Caridad in 1972 and have been addicted ever since, as have my children and grandchildren. Vaya con dios to the wonderful staff.

Cornella says:
Now you tell me: Sweet plantain egg fu young! That’s my path not taken.

Stephen Dickstein says:
The sign of a great restaurant is not just what you liked but what you could count on. Caridad was remarkably consistent from its humble 12 seat taxi stand beginning to its bustling cosmopolitan ethnic expansion. Through all those years Mr. Lee was a gentle task master who served up big portions along with a big heart. After leaving the city, traveling the world, I have never found an exact replica of the garlic strewn, deep fried pork chops, golden browned sweet plantains served with a generous serving of rice & beans. If there were such a thing that meal alone would have achieved an all time Hall of Fame Status. Respect, Mr. Lee! You and your institution will be missed.

re: Lucerne Hotel to House 283 homeless men recovering From Substance Abuse

Will says:

Jerry says:
283 homeless men are to be added to a largely wonderful neighborhood with a population of  215,000 and most of the first 20 comments are overwrought, replete with hand-wringing and hysteria. Those reactions sadden me. I love the UWS, have lived here for 40 years, would not live anywhere else. But this isn’t Disneyland! It’s a real city, a densely-populated urban environment with all kinds of people, ethnicities, socioeconomic levels, life circumstances, mental health and substance abuse issues. As a New Yorker/UWS resident you really ought to be able to deal! Otherwise, perhaps you are better-suited for a gated community in the suburbs.

Wendy says:
Give me a break. What place of privilege? Um… a place of privilege in which I chose a neighborhood for my family and pay high taxes. I give to charity and spend time feeding families in homeless shelters (do you???). It is wrong to move a men’s shelter (not families but men) — filled with men who are trying to kick abuse problems — in the middle of a family neighborhood. Crime is up. Things are shut. The City is on its knees. Don’t add this to the mix and tell me to check my privilege.

UWSider says:
I’m not sure if one security staff for every 15 residents is supposed to make me feel safe or is a sign of how dangerous the population is.

Bobby Laurant says:
I work every day helping the homeless. And I have to say, 90% of them display more respect and kindness than half the “normal” people who live on the UWS do.
These are human being who’s circumstances are different. Do you know that many of the newly homeless right now are people who can’t afford where they are living and lost their jobs to COVID. Please educate yourself a bit before you make such a broad statement. Trust me, from what I’ve seen living in this neighborhood for so long, your children are in greater danger by people who live in the lofty buildings, who don’t pay attention when they pull in or out of their garages because they think they are too entitled to look both ways, or the ones who don’t put masks on themselves or their children and present a great risk to all of us.

Elizabeth says:
Where is the compassion for our fellow human beings? The shelters are crowded and people living in them are put at a great risk of getting COVID-19. Something is very wrong with us as a society when we don’t think homeless people deserve to be treated like human beings. The hotels are empty, but most of these commentators would rather keep homeless people stuck in a crowded shelter during a dangerous pandemic than share “our neighborhood” for a short period of time. Apparently it’s all talk when we say will sacrifice for the greater good. This whole thing stings of NIMBYism, and before anyone tries to say: “you probably don’t even live in the neighborhood”, I live around the corner from The Lucerne. It’s my neighborhood as well. We need to take care of people. All people.

COLUMNS | 11 comments | permalink
    1. Brian says:

      Another reason to move to Darien…
      Another looney leftist plan to ruin a neighborhood.
      I am out!

    2. Losing our grip says:

      Love it, left facing UWS residents want to give away free stuff and take care of all…but not when it affects them directly. Enjoy while our once safe hood crumbles.

      • This is a city says:

        “Losing your grip” is right.

        This attitude smacks of Giuliani/Bloomberg time wealth, privilege & callousness.

        NYC is for everyone. Not just those with money. Get used to it

        • Wake up says:

          The city was much more prosperous and safer under Republican mayorship. Vote smart, vote red.

    3. Rachel Hager says:

      As a very longtime Upper West Sider who has worked with people recovering from addiction, I am truly horrified by the recent mandated influx of addiction-raddled homeless people with no long term strategy for treatment. Housing alone is not enough. And placing the homeless in already struggling family-oriented neighborhoods on the Upper WestSide is not the answer! If you’re trying to further destroy a community under attack by COVID, congrats. You have. Unless you make. AA or NA mandatory, all you’ve accomplished is introducing more crime and sickness to an already ravaged community! Shame on u!!!!!! Another grand example of NYC—DeBlasio (F-U)—throwing everyone under the bus!! This decision DOES NOT HELP THE ADDICTED HOMELESS POPULATION. IT ONLY PUTS YOUR HIGHEST TAXPAYERS AT RISK!!!!!

    4. Lyriclark says:

      Some really delusional replies to once again using the UWS as a dumping ground for homeless drug addicted men. Into gorgeous old landmark buildings someone gets massive dollars and allows this to happen. Well we ask again and again WHY NOT BROOKLYN THE BRONX STATEN ISLAND QUEENS?? WHY NOT THE VACANT HOTELS NEAR THE AIRPORT OR LONG ISLAND CITY?? This is the way you destroy a neighborhood and in turn our city. Odd how the UES seems cleaner and more peaceful. We are looking more and more like a third-world city and it seems intentional ….now who wants that?

    5. Marge Mattson says:

      I think it is wonderful
      We need to start trying to remedy so many people who have been devastated by drug abuse, racism and entitlement. We (including me) need to regain the compassion of our youth

    6. greg goldstein says:

      Is there a go fund me campaign for la Caridad ? If not yet we need one ! We can save this !

    7. Judy says:

      Many people have been moved by the Black Lives Matter protests, and have been shocked to learn that people of color are often pre-judged as trouble-makers, dangerous, and “less than” in every way. The horrible, oppressive people who perpetuate these unfairnesses…. we’re glad we don’t know anybody like that!

      And here we are.

      As other commenters have noted, addiction is an illness, and a tough one to recover from. These are people who are making the effort to do so. It shouldn’t be necessary to explain how poverty, lack of opportunity, and despair make it a terrific uphill climb.
      But when they have the chance, people will try. And with the right support, many will succeed.

      Now, a few hundred (among the thousands in this situation) will be coming to live near us. No doubt, some of them may misbehave. Do they have to prove to us that they are all saints, in order for us to start from the assumption that they are regular human beings with the usual mix of good and bad qualities?

      I assume that the large number of security staff is less about the unruliness of the residents, and more about the agency’s understanding of the neighborhood’s fears. If so, we’ve proven them to be right.

      With all the detailed rules our new neighbors are being taught about how they must behave among us, and the penalties for not doing so, I’m guessing they may think of us as pretty unfriendly. I hope some of us can give them a warmer welcome than that.

      On Monday, I’m going to start calling to find out how I can help.

    8. Mel Miller says:

      Where was the public discussion?
      Where was the public notification?
      Residents are relying on word-of-mouth and speculation.
      The 20th Precinct is aware but is not happy.
      I’ve been telling doormen and residents of my block (West 79th) and they are stunned.