Rosenthal Says She Opposes Additional Homeless Hotels, and is Demanding Sex Offenders Be Removed

Photograph by Joy Bergmann.

By Carol Tannenhauser

Pledging to “prioritize the safety and well-being of Upper West Siders,” City Councilmember Helen Rosenthal sent an email blast to her constituents on Wednesday, outlining the demands she is making of the City regarding the three hotels in the neighborhood — the Belleclaire, Belnord and Lucerne — that have recently been converted to homeless shelters.

First, I have told City Hall that under no condition will we accept any more temporary shelters. Approximately 500 shelter residents have been placed in commercial hotels within a few blocks of each other — approximately 100 at the Belnord (209 W. 87th St); 100 at the Belleclaire (77th & Broadway); and now almost 300 at the Lucerne on Amsterdam Avenue (at 79th Street).

I have also told City Hall that we will not accept any registered sex offenders. In response, NYC Commissioner of Homeless Services, Steve Banks, has stated to me that no registered sex offenders will be allowed to live at the Lucerne.

According to the NYS Sex Offender Registry, there have been 14 registered sex offenders living at the Belleclaire — ten level 2 offenders and four level 3 offenders.

Commissioner Banks has confirmed that all level 3 sex offenders have been moved out of the Belleclaire. And I am demanding that all remaining offenders be moved out as well.

Lastly, I believe there should be fewer temporary shelter residents in our neighborhood — 500 is just too many. I’ve made it clear to Commissioner Banks and City Hall that it will be far more feasible to keep our community safe, and properly serve shelter residents, if there are fewer persons living at the Lucerne.

The Department of Homeless Services has said that it cannot bar all sex offenders from living at the shelters, as long as they are not “residency-restricted,” a classification generally reserved for offenders who have committed the most serious offenses. It’s not clear whether Banks’ statement to Rosenthal overrides that policy.

Rosenthal reiterated that she was not party to the latest decision by the Department of Homeless Services (DHS) to move 283 single, homeless men into The Lucerne, and was notified just days before the move was made, on July 27th. She had been criticized by some community residents for not preventing the shelter from coming.

DHS says it is moving homeless people to hotels to stem the spread of COVID-19 because social distancing is easier when people can be split into separate rooms. Some neighborhood residents fear these shelters will become permanent, but Rosenthal pledged to “fight any attempt to keep (them) here longer than necessary.”

Meanwhile, she said, “I will be intently focused on The Lucerne, and the other two temporary shelters, for the duration of the pandemic.” She also included the following information.

NEWS | 119 comments | permalink
    1. Anonymous says:

      There is a phone app which allows you to track the crimes that are happening in your neighborhood in the city and for those who are concerned, you might want to look into it. We really should know what is going on. Over the weekend for example, there were numerous things that happened in the 70’s that I would guess not many people are aware of. I am very surprised that those in power would allow the UWS to be overloaded with homeless and drug addicted people. There are many families here. Many kids walk around. It isn’t fair. A lot of stuff is happening on the UWS in the 60s-80s and something needs to be done about it. At least put a cop on every other corner! Once you see how many things are happening up here, you might agree.

      • Nicholas Cage says:

        Who did you vote for in the last city elections? And you’re still surprised?!

    2. Public says:

      Just observed EMS van & Eyewitness News van on West 77th street 12:30pm? Those poor victims.
      Homelessness on the UWS predates Hon Helen Rosenthal give her a little credit these are very unprecedented times COVID19 is no joke! Stay Safe

    3. eric grossbardt says:

      The Belnord Hotel is on west 87th street. The address in the article is for the condo building in 86th street.

    4. Martin says:

      Want to know what’s hilarious about all this? These homeless and addicts are being moved to a family neighborhood because they need distance between them with regard to Covid, right? But I’m sure all day long they are mingling with each other probably without masks! Is Project Renewal enforcing a 6ft apart distancing between them. I doubt it. Are they not walking together all day long at close distance? Probably. I’m not pointing my finger at them, I’m pointing my finger at the typical poorly administered and poor decision-making that takes place. One starts to wonder whether the most important thing is not protecting anyone, the homeless or the neighborhood, but instead MONEY that the players involved are making, including the hotel owners. Why are things run so poorly in cities that supposedly care?

      • Enough says:

        It’s deblasio’s progressive fantasy, and we get to live in it. Hopefully the UWS’ers with an actual stake in the community and neighborhood will learn a lesson but i’m not counting on it.

      • Bruce E. Bernstein says:

        reply to Martin:

        Even if they’re not following the rules exactly, anything at the Lucerne is much safer for the residents than being in the congregate shelters. Just common sense.

      • anonymous says:

        I suggest calling the number that has been listend and definitely demanding answers. First and foremost most of the rooms are two people to a room. Not single rooms. You have a right to know what their policy and procedures are to determine if the people in the hotel are protected, and if the community will be protected.

      • Anonymous says:

        Thanks for your posting.
        What’s the phone app?

      • old timer says:

        Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan (D., N.Y.) coined the phrase “defining deviancy down.”* Moynihan’s thesis was that, as a society, America has been “re-defining deviancy” so as to exempt conduct previously stigmatized, and quietly raising the “normal” level for behavior that was abnormal by earlier standards. Rosenthal is defending all actions except for child molestations as acceptable for the city to place homeless on the UWS,

    5. ben says:

      The definition of “too little too late”.

    6. AC says:

      too late , , , On my way to work this AM at 6:30 AM (entering southbound IRT at 79 Street) you can already see an increase number of people just hanging out on corner. Sitting on the island benches along B’way, in front of the Church steps, and just chatting it up on the corner. It brought back a flashback of the 1970’s – Woolworths, Food City, and the seedy element that came along with that time period.

      I feel as if the 40+ years of progress made was wiped out in a matter of months.

      • XStacy says:

        WOW – what a trip in the wayback machine…i ‘member holding my grammy’s hand and walking swiftly – you are 100% on the money with this sadly….

      • Bruce E. Bernstein says:

        reply to AC:

        people “hanging out on the corner”? sitting on the benches on Bway? “chatting”?

        this is proof of the terror that has been unleashed on the UWS?

        we’re in the midst of the greatest economic downturn since the Great Depression. But i’m sorry you have to see a few poor people sitting on benches on your way to the subway.

        • Punchy says:

          You got it Bruce. All these homeless now living at the Lucerne and Belleclaire and sleeping on the streets are bunch of hardworking responsible people who are suddenly down on their luck because of Covid.

          • Bruce E. Bernstein says:

            hide your eyes, Punchy!! you don’t want to see any poor people chatting or sitting on benches!! we can’t allow that in NYC. that lousy De Blasio…

          • TrollHunter2000 says:

            Don’t waste your time. Dude’s a troll.

      • Dorian says:

        Well said. I had to run the gauntlet through the drug dealers at both ends of 80th St., but at least there was a Woolworth’s and a grocery store.

        I, too, am having flashbacks to 198p, and it ain’t pretty.

      • Dorian says:

        Well said. I had to run the gauntlet through the drug dealers at both ends of 80th St., but at least there was a Woolworth’s and a grocery store.

        I, too, am having flashbacks to 1980, and it ain’t pretty.

        Really. 500 drug addicted and mentally Ill men, sprinkled the the random registered sex offenders within 9 blocks.

        I am weary.

    7. Catie says:

      As a person with 3 college degrees, I would like someone to explain to me levels of sex offenders. Are there some that are better than others? All the sex offenders at Belleclaire attacked children under 12, one as young as 4.
      Does anyone care what level they are?
      We, on the UWS, must unite and show these politicians that we are a voting force. That’s all they understand. If we remove one from office, the rest will fall in line.
      Finally, if you believe one word of anyone in the DeBlasio administration, please get in touch with me as I have a bridge in Brooklyn to sell you.

    8. Catie says:

      Scott Stringer lives in this neighborhood. Hey Mr. Comptroller where is the accounted for $1B you gave Mrs. Mayor for THRIVE? that could have built affordable housing for these people.
      Where is the transparency these Progressives talk about?
      I want to see the contracts you signed with the owners of these hotels, the Domb family. Did you sell out the community your children live in?
      Don’t even ask for MY VOYE FOR MAYOR. You live here and you let it happen. Your silence says it all.

    9. Catie says:

      UWSiders please sign and post the petition any where you know we will get signatures. We need at least 5000 or these shelters will not be “temporary”. You know this corrupt administration.
      Use link in comment above this one.

      • HelenD says:

        Is the link to the petition being posted anywhere else? I’m not very social-media savvy but there must be a faster way to get more signatures.

    10. UpperWest says:

      At 2:45pm there was a Medical Examiner/Forensics Investigations van outside the Belleclaire along with a cop car.

      That can’t be good news.

    11. West Seventy-Seconder says:

      In New York, homeless people have a right to shelter. Some homeless people are registered sex offenders. If you accept that the two statements above are true (regardless of whether you’d like them to be otherwise), then the thrust of this comment section, and the petition, is “but I don’t want them near me”. The casuistry that supposedly progressive people use to argue that this is anything more than NIMBYism is breathtaking.

      • UpperWest says:

        Not at all. Going from “right to shelter” to “it’s a great idea to shelter in existing residential neighborhoods in numbers that cause evident issues locally” is surely a stretch. Label it whatever you want, but the idea that there ought to be a defined process by which sites are selected with a goal causing minimal community disruption is sound and consistent with the notion of good governance.

      • Ted says:

        As the naturalist Ingrid Visser said, “we are all hypocrites”. In 60 years I’ve only known one person who truly lived his principles. His name was Dwight Conquergood. He was a professor at Northwestern. He gave away most of his money and lived among the gang members he studied. Do anything less @West Seventy-Seconder and you’re just a poseur.

        • Bruce E. Bernstein says:

          an assignment for Ted:

          identify the name of the logical fallacy you just used in arguing with West Seventy Second.

          • Ted says:

            I don’t know Bruce but I’m sure you’ll tell me. And while I welcome the critique, my point remains that at some point virtually all of us are NIMBYists. So if one persons tolerance for having sex offenders as neighbors differs from another it doesn’t automatically make the entitled, elitist jerks. Maybe they have little kids, maybe they were victimized. I am weary of all the holier than though comments by people who in all likelihood would not welcome these recovering addicts and sex offenders to share their homes. Most of my neighbors on the UWS are committed to giving back and social justice and yes they have limits. That only makes them human.

            PS I don’t really care if you think its an absurd reduction or a slippery slope. If you want to teach logic, there are jobs for that.

      • Enough says:

        Not all of us are progressives. Some of us learn from history, and some just don’t want a bunch of drug addicts in the area.

        Being a neighbor is about building a community together, not just living in the same physical space

      • Peter says:

        NIMBYism about sex offenders near our children, drug dealers on our corners, and filth in our streets?

        You bet. We won’t cede an inch.

        You should seriously question your priorities.

      • Lulu says:

        This program is widely understood (even by the leftist of the left) to have been hideously bungled by the Mayor and DHS, which for a while was declining to provide services to the residents it placed in hotels “because of Covid” and then be “hotels not appropriate set up for services.” So, if you want to have insanely low standards for your elected officials that’s your problem but it is hardly “breathtaking” that others seek accountability and efficacy.

      • Patricia says:

        I have to agree. What has happened to the UWS Liberals. We should be caring for these people not maligning them. What would John Lewis do?

    12. Catie says:

      Their good luck became our predicament. However article shows how they united, took back their neighborhood and protected their children. local politicians are hoping the more time that passes the more complacent we will become.
      So what are you going to do UWS?

    13. Catie says:

      Helen D Respectfully you missed my point – a sex offender is a sex offender – I don’t care about levels. I don’t want them anywhere near my children.

      • HelenD says:

        I wasn’t defending them. I honestly thought you were asking a question, and before I looked it up I thought the levels were based on offenses.

    14. Debbie z says:

      After listening to Jerry Nadler responding to a question about antifa as a relates to what’s going on in Seattle and Oregon the other day, his response could be used for what’s going on in our neighborhood. These are all peaceful people. What crimes? These are all peaceful and nice folks who are just expressing themselves. That’s what we’re all about. It’s the police‘s fault. It’s trumps fault. Look what happened yesterday to the police car on 83rd St. and Columbus Avenue. Is this the kind of neighborhood you want to live in? Do some thing about it. Stop NIMBY because It’s rather hypocritical and disingenuous.
      If you’re unhappy with what’s going on in our neighborhood, vote for folks who have your interests. That means, vote Republican which goes against your grain However, you can’t be upset with the results since this is what you knew you were getting. You made your bed now you sleep in it

    15. Steven says:

      Here is my problem with this. I walked by the Lucern twice today and the residents are hanging outside with NO MASK over their face. A security man said that once they are outside the hotel they have no control over that but it shows that they have no respect for their neighbors & the neighborhood. They should be told that if they are seen outside the hotel without a mask on that they can not stay there as a resident. The no mask on the street is what I take issue with and that needs to be addressed.

      • anonymous says:

        According to the initial email noted in the first article on this situation, it was said that it would be 18 security officers and there would be regular patrols are the perimeter of the Lucerne to prevent loitering in the area. If a guard told that to you then they are clearly not doing what they said was going to be done and this needs to be brought to the attention of the Head of Security for Project Renewal. You defintiely don’t need a guard collecting a check for doing nothing.

      • West Ender says:

        Masks are not required to be worn outside *if* one can safely maintain the recommended 6 feet of distance. If you and they are able to do that then they don’t have to wear a mask. (Not saying whether they should or not, simply stating facts.)

      • Elizabeth says:

        So do you tell every single non-homeless person you see on the street without a mask that they can’t live in our neighborhood?

        It’s not your right to dictate orders to people just because they are homeless.

        You are not the ruler of their world.

        These comments towards other fellow human beings so ugly.

        • Bruce E. Bernstein says:

          reply to Elizabeth:

          You go girl!! 😉

          Your commentary has been on target.

    16. Catie says:


      Please sign and post where other people who want to sign can see it.
      I don’t care about the politics or NIMBYism or any other criticisms of the morality of the situation. So don’t bother commenting on it.

      please SIGN

      • Debbie z says:

        Catie— where should these people go? If you’re unhappy then you move. These folks are just as entitled to live on uws as you and your family. That’s the beauty of living in nyc— many different neighborhoods with different cultures and values. UWS is known for its progressive and liberal views.

        • Rebeca says:

          Debbie, not just Catie, but most of us with children will move out, and then there will be more room for homeless. When they will move in, perhaps they will enjoy the park that our taxes improved, perhaps they will support local cafes and businesses as well. Perhaps they will improve their ways and stop drug abuse and sex offending, maybe they will become better neighbors than us.

          • Debbie says:

            Rebeca, I totally understand and I agree with you. The issue right now as in immediate is stopping and getting rid of the homeless shelters in OUR neighborhood The bigger picture in the macro sense is how did we get here? And moving forward, what are WE going to do? Are we going to vote everyone out in November? Are we going to vote Nadler? Schumer? Gillibrand? Or Curtis Sliwa? James Schultz? Cathy Bernstein? Are we voting for Trump? Are we all admitting out loud that ALL lives matter and law and order need to prevail? Or are we going to deny and gaslight and be the NIMBYs?

          • Shona Keir says:

            So move out. Maybe the UWS will return to a place of greater acceptance, like it used to be. New York City is not the suburbs. Please stop trying to make the UWS into one.

        • GetReal says:

          Just as entitled? With the tax dollars to show, right? Get real.

        • UpperWest says:

          Really? The Upper West Side is known for liberal values like open, reasoned debate. Not saccharine slogans. Any sensible policy surrounding the placement of addicted men ought to take into consideration the impact on the local population. They are “entitled” to be here? Nonsense. They can be placed anywhere, including low-density areas without large populations of kids. What criteria were used here? Are they consistent with criteria used in other areas? If not, why?

          • Debbie says:

            Entitled. Yes. The correct word. People have entitlements. Private property owners are entitled to lease out their property to whom ever they wish. The owners do the Lucerne worked with the city and agencies to house these gentlemen at these locations. You don’t like it? I don’t like it? Then let’s do something about that. But at the same time let’s drill down to the real issue. I’ve been reading this blog for years laughing at the hypocrisy most of you spew. NIMBY. Most of you are the same folks who scream “defund the police and Black Lives Matter”, yet you don’t care that private property is being destroyed in any area of this great city. You complain that stores are closed. That this restaurant went out of business and oh how sad that is. WAKE UP!

            “They’re mostly peaceful protestors. There are no rioters”. Jerry Nadler said so, so it must be. (Gaslight) VOTE. VOTE with your conscious and let’s be united on saving our cities and bringing law and order and common sense back to the county

            • UpperWest says:

              They are not so entitled. The owner of the Lucerne can do what he pleases, yes, but the money paying for the residents is public money (FEMA, city, who knows what, we’re not told). That is then the point of accountability, and the end of the “entitlement” argument. That public money (should) answer to the residents. To extend to how I must have voted, or how I think to get to the “entitlement”, as if I gifted it to city politicians: you also know nothing of my view of what “progressive” does or ought to mean or, for that matter, “defund” (and whether that is sensible) so asserting that I must have some view there I am now contradicting is nonsense.
              I see your point about the need to vote one’s views and see what is happening in the neighborhood, but don’t contort my words or infer my views to make it.

        • ConcernedUWSer says:

          I cannot believe you told someone if you don’t like it, move. And the audacity to say the homeless are entitled to live wherever they want. Are they paying remt and taxes? How are they ”entitled”? I want to live places I can’t afford so I work hard every day. I’m not entitled to be living ANYWHERE. And if someone needs assistance, great, let’s help on our terms. NO ONE is entitled if they can’t pay for it. Accept help in whatever manner it is given and try hard. No one is entitled and that way of thinking is why this city is a pit now.

          Hope my comments make it in today.

        • Ellen Shell says:

          We live here because we can afford to live here. This is called capitalism and that is how our society still works. Housing in an upscale neighborhood isn’t an inalienable right or entitlement guaranteed by law or the constitution and nobody who lives here or In any upscale neighborhood should ever be made to feel badly for what they have. If you have guilt for what you have that is on you.

          Where else can they be housed? What about the hotels by the airport? What about the Javitz center, what about Wall Street, areas more isolated where, perhaps, given their commitment towards pursuing a sober lifestyle, they can get the help they need without all the distractions and temptations that exist in a residential neighborhood that has been trying to make a go of it despite incredible odds. It seems a bit thoughtless to plop a bunch of men struggling with drug and alcohol abuse into a hotel across the street from 2 liquor stores, and surrounded by outdoor restaurants and bars. And 2 pharmacies. All within easy eye shot.

        • Astrid says:

          “These folks are just as entitled to live on uws as you and your family.”

          When they start paying as much rent and taxes as us and our families, then they’ll be just as entitled to live here.

          • Eric says:

            “When they start paying as much rent and taxes as us and our families, then they’ll be just as entitled to live here.”

            Nice fantasy, but sorry.

            The ‘they’ you speak of do not need to pass any kind of rent/taxes test you have invented to plop down anywhere they like and they certainly do not need your permission. They do not need to care about how it inconveniences you, how it lowers the value of your apartment, shocks your children, nothing. They cannot be forced to go live on the edge of an outer borough, to be warehoused out of sight, or any some such solution. If they are sex offenders they must comply with the rules of their release, if they commit a crime they can be arrested.

            The rent you pay gives you a say in things that happen inside the front door of your building. You get a say in how you want your tax dollars to be spent every so often when you cast your vote vote.
            THAT’S IT. Those are the limits of the control levers to which you are ‘entitled’. By all means write, call, and try to influence the elected officials … after all you (or at least your neighbors) put them in office.

            The streets are NOT ours. The ‘neighborhood’ is NOT anyone’s property. The UWS is NOT a gated community. It’s an unpleasant truth but that is the way of things.

            • Lulu says:

              That’s one part of the equation. The other part, as those of us who were born here or at least lived here in the 1980s know is that people who pay high rent, or mortgages and whose tax dollars are the lifeblood of the city can and do leave when the city adopts the attitude that they have no claim to live safely. Anyone who cares about this town, who is invested in it, knows we are in competition not only with the suburbs but other cities for talent, tax base and businesses. At least one of the major banks has been quietly exploring getting out because of the very conditions and plenty of big retailers are trying to get out of their leases. Without a tax base all of these questions become immaterial.

            • Bruce E. Bernstein says:

              very well said, Eric.

            • GetReal says:

              What is the actual point of this rant?
              And of course Bruce agrees with you.

              This site is getting unreadable for someone who falls near the middle. I guess it mirrors much of what is going on in the country. Extreme hysteria on both sides of the coin.

            • Bruce E. Bernstein says:

              reply to @Getreal:

              Eric gave a superb lesson in Citizenship 101. I assume that was the point of something that was very far from a “rant.” Your rights are not dependent on how much you pay in taxes.

              And by the way, if you are a condo/coop owner, you are most likely heavily subsidized by the govt. It’s called the mortgage interest deduction.

              And the really lucrative source of city monies are COMMERCIAL property taxes.

              If you think people who pay more taxes have more rights, you do not “fall near the middle”, no matter how you consider yourself. You are more of a free market Steve Forbes style extremist.

            • Eric says:

              GetReal, I apologize if my tone (I still forget that caps mean shouting not emphasizing) seemed like a rant. I share your frustration at the way every topic is argued from the edges.

              Being a “we’re living in a society here” kind of person, I get set off when people speak as if there aren’t already settled rules and legalities in our society. So when someone talks about what someone is ‘entitled’ to I am moved to try and get real about what, for better or worse, the rules of the road really are.

              As for being long-winded … As the preacher said; “I could write shorter sermons, but once I start I get too lazy to stop.”

            • GetReal says:

              Thanks for the well-reasoned response, Eric. No need to apologize. Have a good weekend.

    17. Lulu says:

      Midtown has been like some new circle of hell since June. Walk out of the front door with my kids to see people sprawled on street like corpses and others shooting up in their necks, toes, between fingers. Dealers on ever corner, who threaten residents. Sexual assault of minors, stabbings, fights, harrassment, robbery, burglary, Meanwhile people smash up outdoor dining, threaten patrons, defecate in front of diners. The UWS has no idea how bad it can get. 500 in your zip code? Try 500 on your block and 1300 in one precinct.

      • Abdul Sayeed says:

        “There’s a great big beautiful tomorrow, shining at the end of every day!
        So there’s a great big beautiful tomorrow..

        — What, did I walk into the wrong theater?

      • UpperWest says:

        What part of midtown? West midtown?

    18. mark says:

      Rosenthal says a lot of things, but DOES almost nothing

      • ThrivingNYC says:

        She and all other rubber stamped politburo for the last deBlasio years (yes, you voted this mayor in) should be thrown out and shunned for the rest of the political careers.

    19. RAWilson says:

      So the owners of the Lucerne received $1 – $2 million in Federal bailout loans in April AND still decided to accept FEMA money in connection with Project Renewal for these drug addicted men? Can someone please investigate?

    20. Sheila ONeil says:

      And what about Karl and his “friends” who continue to harass pedestrians on 79th and Broadway right by the Apthorp and several subway entrances. He and they continue to live in the walkway while terrorizing all who pass. Why is nothing done?

      • UpperWest says:

        Genuine question: where does Karl live? I think he has a place to go at night, but where? Is it in the neighborhood?

    21. ST says:

      Rosenthal should have opposed additional homeless hotels before the Lucerne. Too little too late. As always.

    22. Denise says:

      I call Project Renewal this evening because a Lucerne resident was sitting on the Broadway Island on 79th Street having just purchased a bag of something that he was rolling into a joint. The Security Guard was standing on the corner staring downtown. The phone number was answered by an answering machine. I left my name, number and a message about the dope dealing, but no one ever called me back. So much for rehab.

      • GetReal says:

        Call 311 next time, who may transfer you to 911 since drugs are involved.

      • yoyomama says:

        How do you know that guy was a Lucerne resident? Did you ask him? I’ve seen a drugged out guy dancing on that 70th/Bway island for months.

        Let’s not assume everyone smoking pot publicly or loitering has just moved into one of the UWS hotels.

    23. Susan says:

      I find it hard to believe Ms. Rosenthal was unaware of the Homeless Services utilizing not 1, not 2, but 3 hotels for the homeless?! Somehow this does not seem believable. Did she think that it might go unnoticed with the recent mass exodus of UWS residents during Covid19? Only now with the valid pushback and concerns are empty promises being circulated.

    24. Jessica says:

      I think something political happened here to help the hotels at the expense of the neighbors AND these homeless residents… i cant imagine if I was a recovering addict that I would want to live in a dense population of strollers, and cheerful families. That would depress me! I mean, aside from hoe scary ot feels for us and our children- ISNT THIS AN AWKWARD PLACE FOR THESE MEN?!?! Do they want to be in this area?!!! I cant imagine. This must be some arrangement for the politicians and the hotels. Because there must be countless empty hotels in the outskirts of our 5 boroughs- with larger rooms- more spread out- and far less expensive – that wouldve been obvious better choices to house our needy population. What caused these organizations to work with City Hall and FEMA funds to choose a more expensive hotel in an expensive area- with dense population already in this scary covid environment- full of frolicking children and schools- How was this choice made for these 3 hotels?!?! Makes absolutely no practical sense except that there must be some partnership with the owners of these institutions- or kick backs- what is the part we are missing???? Are we all guinea pigs? The neighborhood residents of children and families- as well as the homeless needy men- NEITHER GROUP must be thrilled to be side by side like this?!?!

      • Will says:

        You know the neighborhood is made up of more than just strollers right? There are plenty of us who live here who aren’t wealthy families and we’ve been here for a long time.

      • FED UP AMERICAN says:


        • UWSHebrew says:

          New Zealand is not allowing visitors or immigration, they have zero cases of Covid-19. I heard that before this pandemic, it is difficult to immigrate to Australia, as they only want professionals, people with skills. So if you’re in the arts, etc., you are denied. Don’t know if that’s true though.

    25. Louise says:

      I want to be compassionate but am distressed that the day after arrival I passed at least 15 disheveled men many no masks – Sitting on steps – all within 2 blocks from these new locations. I walk to and from work in this part of our upper west side neighborhood. Now I am scared and feel tremendously unsafe. What recourse do we have to this disturbing change to our neighborhood? I work hard to afford living here and resent that this has happened without any say on our part.

    26. Anonymous says:

      Without a vaccine and without treatment, all we have to fight COVID are masks. Yet Project Renewal’s protocol (see H Rosenthal website) says that Lucerne residents will be “ENCOURAGED” to wear masks. I called the Lucerne to report that a crowd of 7 men were standing very closely together- WITH NO MASKS – on the median of Broadway and 79th. In order to cross the street you had to wait for the light inches from the group. Project Renewal says that they can’t do anything once the men leave the Lucerne. This puts everyone – neighborhood residents and the Lucerne residents – at increased risk for COVID. The UWS is now a Petrie dish! Call Steve Banks!!!

    27. David says:

      Good job trying to lead after the fact Helen. You’re done. Not getting my vote again.

    28. Roni Gordon says:

      Helen Rosenthal was not at all concerned or did anything when the Hotel Belleclaire became a homeless shelter including fifteen level 1-3 Registered sex offenders among them.

      During a Zoom meeting yesterday Gale Brewer. Linda Rosenthal and the local community board leader participated.

      Helen Rosenthal never even bothered to attend. So much for her new found concern.

    29. C says:

      I asked over and over, with no answer. Where is the $850 million that was given to Mrs. DiBlaso for her “fixing the homeless” problem????
      And we’re supposed to feel safe walking in the streets and letting our children go to school on their own?

    30. Brian says:

      Unfortunately, Helen was asleep at the wheel and – according to her – didn’t know in advance that this was going to happen. So much for local representation protecting the interests of its community. I noticed though that she didn’t miss the opportunity to pat herself on the back by emblazening her name on the side of the West Side food pantry truck on 86th street. Something like “made possible by Helen Rosenthal.” Right, with your tax money as her resources, of course. Give me a break! Another example of the failure of our government officials failing to protect its constituents. GRADE “F” earned in civic duty.

    31. William Dunn says:

      Helen Rosenthal, AOC, DeBlasio and their like will never be satisfied until they transform this city and country into the socialist paradise of Venezuela.

      The was once the richest county in South America now it’s a miserable hellhole.

      We’re well on the way.

    32. Michael says:

      It’s about time our elected officials stop posturing, placating and talking ….. and actually do something!!!. The homeless and addicted must be taken care of, but they must be taken care of properly, in the ideal environment with the proper support. Will the Lucerne offer that? THINK OUTSIDE THE BOX. Be creative.

      • Bruce E. Bernstein says:

        reply to Michael:

        do you know anything about how effective, or conversely ineffective, Project Renewal is? They are running the program in the Lucerne.

        If you are really primarily interested in taking care of the homeless, i would first look at the facts.

        We have supportive housing for formerly homeless veterans on my block (W. 95th). It is run by Bailey House and Harlem United. it is a superbly run facility and i am glad it is there. I think most of the residents of the block feel the same way.

        i raise that to show it matters who is running the project, and how they are doing so.

    33. Robert says:

      Perhaps we can lobby the governor, since it doesnt seem like any city official including our community board plan on taking action. Stating they will get rid of a few “known” offenders does nothing. The streets were in horrible condition before Covid hit. Now its simply unbearable. The entire street should be empty of people living on them and proper shelters should be used, not hotels. People wouldn’t have purchased apartments next door to shelters, they purchased them next door to hotels. It must be illegal what the city is trying to do!

    34. Valerie says:

      It is so fascinating to read these comments. There’s a legitimate debate to be had over whether it’s the best use of resources to house these men at the Lucerne. But my, what ugliness so many of you are betraying.

      Question: those of you who are so concerned about sex offenders– have you researched the presence of non-homeless sex offenders in your building? Block? Neighborhood? Are you trying to run them out of town the way you are doing to these men? Or is it only smelly, raggedy sex offenders that ruffle your feathers?

      There’s the other frequent refrain about how much you all pay to live here in both rent and taxes, how nice it must be to live rent-free at the Lucerne, how dare they live on the UWS without paying what you do. So second question: do you apply this test to the rich kids of the UWS? The ones who live off their parents’ money, who benefit from tutoring and SAT prep without lifting a finger to pay for it, whose idea of effort is traveling to Vietnam for the scenery and oh yes, volunteering at orphanages? Do these questions hit a little too close to home?

      My point is– plenty of people benefit from things they didn’t “earn”. Direct as much ire in that direction as towards these poor men, not a single one of which I would wager wants the life they have, even if it means living at the Lucerne.

      Final tip: try growing a soul.

      • Steven Marc says:

        I have researched them all give me a break and stop making excuses…Wow you all are so Naive, our beautiful neighborhood is being destroyed, what are we going to do to protect our CHILDREN? HELLO? Tell them we are sympathetic? There is no plan. THERE IS NO PLAN! We are not protected. DeBlasio, Nadler and very very sadly the Democratic Party has failed us. I care about challenged people I do, but I have had it. What do we tell our children to duck? or run

      • Elizabeth says:

        Yes, this. Thank you Valerie. I am so disgusted at some of the commentators.

        Where is their humanity?

      • Sean says:

        The issue here is that the collection of sex offenders are being pushed onto the community without oversight and process.

      • lynn says:

        Could you tell us what you’re doing to help any of these homeless men? If in reality, if there were as many people concerned about their welfare as there are posting messages in this forum, then why do we already have hundreds of men living ON THE STREET on Broadway from 72nd to 86th? Someone mentioned that ‘tie-dye-guy’s’ encampment on 72nd had doubled in size since Thursday morning. There is an entirely a new group of men (what a coincidence) who are clearly encroaching on his ‘territory,’ and they are much more aggressive and volatile. I will never understand how anyone can defend bringing more homeless men to this area when we can’t get the existing problem under control.

        • HelenD says:

          I mentioned it, and 311 is disregarding any homeless complaints, even after I told them the sidewalk was blocked and there were open flames at the encampment.

          “It does not fall under the Police Department’s jurisdiction.”

          If Gebhard’s doesn’t mind their customers sitting next to piles of garbage then what’s to be done about it? I do wonder about the people who are planning to move into the new luxury building next to Joseph’s. Are they even aware how much things have changed here in the last 6 months? 🙁

    35. George stein says:

      Prior to Monday, I would see a handful not wearing masks. Now, there are more people without masks and noticed it was men from The Lucerne. Check out the 79 st area.
      This is a Public health issue. The long term neighbors are doing their part. Thanks to everyone.

      How can we get our new neighbors to follow the rules?
      Can the supporter of new neighbors help enforce the rules? Or it is ok to be anti maskers?

    36. Ryan says:

      This is a start. What about the Level 3 offender in the Belnord? Also there’s probably a lag on the registry but since 7/29 there are actually 4 MORE offenders registered at the Belleclaire now, two level 2 and two level 3. Finally, a lot of people have made this point but it deserves repeating, all but three (2 unreported) of these sex offenders have committed crimes against minors. Not as if 10024 didn’t have sex offenders before, but, starting with a count of 4, actively importing 19 more doesn’t make a ton of sense.

    37. Anonymous says:

      Consider this: Times Square is empty.

      Sheridan, LaQuinta, Marriott, Holiday Inn, Hilton, Radisson, Renaissance, Crowne Plaza-all are at the top of their game, in an industry that prides itself on having been in the business of safely housing ample numbers of people simultaneously for decades….They’re all there. Is it that they’re corporations and don’t need the money in the same way smaller hotels do, so they can afford to stay empty?

      In earnest, why are these hotels not being used, especially considering they’re in a part of the City that is NOT crowded with people at the moment? Wouldn’t that be a smart public health move for all involved concerning contracting/spreading the virus?

    38. davis beckham says:

      After an uproar by herconstituents she is now trying to backpedal and soft soap her remarks.
      “Rosenthal pledged to “fight any attempt to keep (them) here longer than necessary.”
      Your words again are shown not to bebelieved.
      Longer than necessary means years to come if not forever..

      • Helene S. says:

        My 96 year old dad in a wheelchair out for his morning air on Broadway was surrounded and taunted by men not wearing masks and seemingly with issues. Today they could not go to Broadway to sit on 79th or 80th as the benches were full. And there was someone in a mattress in front of the convenience store in 79th and Broadway. I think we can all agree this isn’t safe for anyone. Mask adherence and closer supervision are necessary. This volume of new residents with a range of needs is too much for this neighborhood. This is about scale, supervision and safety during what is still a dangerous pandemic. There have to be alternatives that are good for all. I appreciate The Rag sharing the news and the phone numbers to call. I will be reaching out to officials and program leaders tomorrow and hope other West Siders will as well

        • Denise says:

          I spoke with Charles Mulham at Project Renewal and one of their security guards and was told that their jurisdiction ends by DSW on 79th Street. If something is happening on the Broadway benches I was advised to call the police. The Security Guard also suggested that if we are unhappy with groups of men hanging out there, we might want to have the benches removed.

    39. C Dufford says:

      Open your eyes, open your hearts. Are residents of the upper West side so out of touch with the REAL world that they are incapable of treating eachother with the dignity and respect that they would expect in return.

      • lynn says:

        Open your eyes and read the negative experiences your neighbors are sharing with you. No one said we don’t want to help these men. If they are to be housed in hotels for THEIR safety then they shouldn’t be sleeping on the street, shooting up/drinking, and harassing everyone. It’s THAT simple.

      • Anonymous says:

        Treating people with Dignity, how about treating me with dignity. We no longer have rights, a bench, a street, masks, social distancing,

    40. Matt says:

      Democrats like DeBlasio and Rosenthal are the problem, not solution. Sorry, but I’m leaving the UWS for good this summer. Won’t pay 2020 rents for 1970s crime-filled streets.

    41. Once and Future West-Sider? says:

      To all those commenting upon this article here and similar articles in WSR, and the petition, who are addressing those who do not wish for a large population of mentally ill and/ or addicted men in a small radius of the neighborhood—as racist: I was just accosted by an angry man who shouted the epithet: “ fu__ing white-ass n-word” in my ear on Columbus Avenue. I am trying to focus on what remains positive about the UWS and NYC. But in the end, we know given the choice, quality of life issues win out in the end.

    42. JSW says:

      It is discouraging that the comment section doesn’t seem to include much dialog, instead displaying privilege and calls for checking-privilege in opposition. Homelessness is not a single problem; it is sometimes caused by economic issues that require temporary assistance, but most often is caused by mental health issues or substance abuse, a history of criminality, etc, which require long term or permanent assistance. Everyone must answer the question of what their responsibility is to those needing this long-term assistance, and many answers here reflect little sense of responsibility. I think there is good reason for concern about just how disruptive this very rapid change might be to a neighborhood already experiencing significant disruption. There are also reasons to be skeptical that these steps make much difference with regard to spread of COVID. And finally there is good reason for the UWS to want to do its part to help the city deal with this important issue. As a life-long UWS resident, who remembers well the 1970s and early 80s, my own feeling is this is perhaps a little much all at once, but I have no idea how city-wide the shelter-emptying diaspora is. It would be good to see some reporting on this site about the comparative burden being felt in this relatively small area. I feel a responsibility to share in the burden, but think it’s in no ones interest for that burden to be concentrated too much anywhere within the city.

    43. Viola Kanevsky says:

      Dear Neighbors,

      I have been reading multiple reports of dangerous conditions surrounding the Lucerne hotel and many residents are understandably horrified that there is insufficient oversight of the recovering addicts rehoused at the hotel.

      I strongly suggest that in addition to posting incidents here, the following actions are taken:
      1) report every single incident here:

      2) Start a letter writing campaign and flood both Linda Rosenthal’s and Helen Rosenthal’s inboxes with emails.

      Something like:

      Dear Assemblymember/ Councilmember Rosenthal,

      I am a constituent of your district and a long time resident of the Upper West Side of Manhattan. I am sure that you are aware that several hundred recovering, drug-addicted homeless men have been recently relocated into the Lucerne Hotel on West 79th Street. Since the move, there have been numerous reports of women being harassed, drug deals taking place in the open, and alcohol being consumed by obviously inebriated and aggressive individuals on street corners.

      My family and my neighbors are concerned that this situation is rapidly deteriorating, and is increasingly dangerous to our children and our senior citizens and deserves your prompt attention. Please do not wait till tragedy occurs to demand that these men, who deserve housing, supervision, and rehabilitation, be moved to a facility that can provide all these services without endangering an entire community.

      While I understand that the decision to open a methodone clinic in a neighborhood where there are at least 65 primary and secondary schools and multiple day care and senior centers, was not yours, the power to remedy this grave error in judgement is indeed yours to make.

      Thank you for your prompt consideration of this matter.
      [Signed with your name, address, email, and telephone number]

      If each one of you does this and asks that neighbors and family members do the same, we will not be ignored for long.

    44. Fed up says:

      Shelter residents hanging out on Broadway at 77 st all day every day no masks (or dangling around their necks), no social distancing, sharing joints; how is this stopping the spread?
      Ps: we can’t cross the street without being harassed

      • UWS home owner says:

        Same situation on 79th and Broadway.
        Between the alcoholic crazy homeless guy on one side of broadway. ( he now has a few “friends” with him) and the big group of Lucern men on the other side, it’s difficult to cross the street.
        Another hang out is the Condo A few doors from Lucern.
        Groups of men asking for money.
        Condo hired their own security. This has definitely become a “quality of life” issue.

    45. Ambivalent Upper West Sider says:

      There has most definitely been a migration to Columbus Avenue. Between verbal abuse and a man high and out of his mind attempting to urinate in a doorway, I would say our quality of life has been infringed upon.

    46. Dissident says:

      There are three levels, based upon an offender’s risk of committing another sex crime and harm to the community: Level 1 (low), Level 2 (moderate), and Level 3 (high).

      If an individual remains a danger to society, then what can be the justification for releasing him from incarceration at all? If a convicted felon is no longer a danger to society, and has completed his sentence, what is the justification for continuing to punish him? (I.e., by subjecting him to the humiliation, inordinate difficulty in obtaining a residence, and risk of falling victim to vigilante violence that being listed on a sex-offender registry inevitably results in.)