Comments of the Week: Right-Wing UWS? ‘Homeless Hotels,’ Mopeds Cancelled

A word of explanation: some comments below and posted on WSR exceed the 100-word limit we ourselves set. If a lengthy comment offers new information or perspective, or raises provocative questions, we will sometimes let it through. This is not an invitation to extend the length of your comments! Most long ones will be cut. —The Editors.

re: Sean Hannity Says Upper West Side’s Homeless Hotels Are Part of a ‘New York City Nightmare‘

Bruce E. Bernstein says:
Are UWS residents really as right wing as the comments imply? I know very few people like this in real life. There are some but they are few and far between.

UWSHebrew says:
…I know those guys and others, like ex-servicemen and ex-NYPD detectives who live right here, and buy bagels every weekend, same as you. More of us right-wingers in your midst than you could know…

re: Some Homeless Residents Coming to UWS Hotel Are Being Transferred From Another Hotel Where it Didn’t Work Out And Drug Use Continued

Kate says:
I love this neighborhood, but reading this piece makes me want to move further uptown. That people who are comfortable and privileged can so proactively want to withhold a basic human right like shelter from a group of human beings is appalling. Housing the homeless in hotels has long been done all over the city, but this NIMBY stuff terrifies me. New Yorkers have proven during COVID that we might be one of the only true societies left in the U.S.; when crisis hit, we leaned into the very meaning of community. While I’m a young single woman always highly mindful of safety, the extent of any perceived risk is so much less than the extent of established need of those who have less than I do, and who did not have the advantages I had purely out of luck.

Peter says:
Yes, we all live here. Under a social contract. The social contract that governs how we spend our city’s resources, i.e., tax dollars, time and effort. The same contract that forces us to have community board hearings to determine whether the addition of a 2×2 ft coffee table to a sidewalk cafe is appropriate or unnecessarily infringing on someone’s rights or safety. Or commit vast city resources to establish that a new building can be 14 stories but not 15. Or conduct a myriad of surveys and assessments and public hearings to determine the impact of adding a science wing to a museum.

The same social contract under which matters that may reasonably be expected to affect the quality, safety of life here should be debated, given due consideration, and those most likely to be impacted should be able to voice their opinions. Not swept under the rug by unknown and unaccountable city bureaucrats on a Friday-for-Monday basis. Vulnerable population? Vulnerable to what? The covid-19 that the City claims to have under complete control? What was the spread and impact on these men at the peak of the crisis? How did they protect them then? Why now, at its supposed nadir?

re: Revel To Shut Down Until Further Notice After Second Rider Dies

Shara Feinstein says:
You don’t see this problem with Vespa and Motorcycle drivers because they invest in owning them and wear helmets and drive safety. It is a shame because having more transportation options would have been great. No helmets, no masks, no responsibility means we all lose out.

chuck D says:
This is why we can’t have nice things.

re: Photos: Upper West Siders Commune With Turtles, Cats And Each Other

Fred Kepler says:
Beautiful photos. Even behind the masks, I could sense the smiles!

COLUMNS | 30 comments | permalink
    1. Hal says:

      I am not against alternative means of transport. What I am against is bicylists and food messengers on electric bikes not abiding by the traffic rules ie riding against lights and street direction, riding on sidewalks at all and the wrong way, not stopping at red lights. Very dangerous for pedestrians and nothing being done to address. Will it take 2 deaths also?

      • Erica says:

        If they enforced traffic laws for cyclists, require insurance and registration, like in major European cities, it would work. And before people jump on me, I have lived in Europe and was required to have my bike registered and insured, and you can bet they ticketed just like cars.

        And I fully support @ Kate above. While I agree the neighborhood should have known in advance, that wasn’t Helen Rosenthal’s fault, this is how the Department of Homelessness does business. BUT, these are human beings and they deserve, by right of birth, a safe place to live. The way people that are unhomed are spoken about reeks of elitism.

    2. Newcavendish says:

      Interesting comments about NIMBY and the social contract. The problem is if we try not to be NIMBY, reciprocity from the beneficiaries should be forthcoming. As is, the homeless hotels are prone to groups of aggressive people hanging around, loud noise from radios on the street (noise pollution), and, of course, the drug issue. If the city wants the UWS to accept these neighbors it should require civil conduct from them.

    3. Pedestrian says:

      The social contract assumes reciprocity. Having said that the Mayor and the City Council have refused to take the homelessness problem seriously but have been happy to spend hours working on tax breaks and millions and in some cases billions of dollars in benefits for developers and billionaires. Their focus on those issues have pushed aside the real problems that exist on the street. Blaming residents for wanting to feel safe on the streets is a smoke screen for avoiding the real problems that exist.

    4. notsofast says:

      Re comment above from UWSHebrew:

      Does “right-wing” necessarily imply hateful & vicious? Just asking.

    5. curious says:

      its really not complicated. if a city doesnt provide a decent/high quality of life for people, then people gradually leave. this time its happening in droves. other people can rant & rave about privilege all they want, but if you cant keep your city safe, families of means walk… and that is happening in the 10s and 100s of thousands right now. all that can change that is to provide a clean, safe city to live in. if the city doesnt care to do that, people will keep leaving. its a vicious cycle right now – of our friends my wife & talk to, 3 out of 5 families that left during march, arent coming back this school year. they want to 1st see if the city can clean itself up and control crime. if not, these moves become permanent. sad stuff from our alleged leadership

    6. Leon says:

      You chose the two extremes of WSR for the Hannity post – Bruce Bernstein, who lives in super woke land, and UWSHebrew, who is as conservative as they get here (though compared to the rest of America actually isn’t that bad).

      Most of us fall in the middle. That would generally make us moderate Democrats, though Bruce can’t tell the difference between that and MAGA loving deplorables.

      Unfortunately, it is the Bruce’s of the world with their tone deaf extremism who are alienating the moderate Republican swing voters and will leave us with four more years of Trump.

      • World Peacenik says:

        Clearly “Leon” and “Nyclady” have proven Bruce’s observation accurate with their comments of “Bruce Bernstein, who lives in super woke land” and “It certainly is the Bruce’s of this city and country who are giving us no choice other than to vote for Trump.”

        Their entire premise is to act and vote AGAINST things. No responsibility to vote FOR anything.
        Even provides complete deniability for the mess this creates.

      • davidaron60 says:

        Google The Lincoln Project.

      • Bruce E. Bernstein says:

        response to Leon:

        What a mean, nasty diatribe! A little while ago Leon took umbrage at my responding to one of your posts with some arguments, with no personal attacks. And now we get this. Double standard?

        An observant reader will note that Leon doesn’t mention a single point where I am “extreme”, he just throws around right wing terminology like “super woke”. And somehow I am responsible for “moderate Republicans” still voting for Trump.

        There is little doubt that many of the comments about the Lucerne are demeaning, dehumanizing, classist and implicitly (or even explicitly) racist. I’m not the only one who has noticed this, and Elizabeth and several others have made excellent postings on this point. I am not saying ALL the comments are like that. But many are. Why, Liberal Leon himself referred to the homeless placed in the facility as “the worst of the worst.” Painting with a pretty broad brush, that.

        I’m sure that there are some bad actors in there. But the coverage in WSR has shown that there are also many very good people who are just trying to recover.

      • Bruce E. Bernstein says:

        Response to Leon (continued)

        btw, i have said that I think the recent influx of homeless in three facilities in a relatively small area is too much, too many. I think there should be some sort of compromise.

        Finally, Leon takes a little too much pride in how progressive the UWS is, and loves to put down the rest of the country. he’s at least partially wrong on both counts. The majority of the country is anti-Trump, including large sections of the Southwest and Midwest. And we do have a serious racism problem on the UWS. if we didn’t, there would be no opposition to a no-brainer like school desegregation.

        • Leon says:

          I believe I did give you positive feedback for your comment saying that there are too many homeless facilities in our area. But to throw out all of your “ist’s” to describe those of us (and there are many of us) who strongly oppose this is ridiculous.

          As I noted in my reply to another poster below, having these huge groups of recovering addict homeless men helps neither them nor us. They need help. Being thrown into a hotel in our neighborhood is not helping.

          By worst of the worst I am referring again to recovering addict homeless men. And by using the term “recovering” I am likely being generous, but I believe there are plenty of them who truly do want to recover. I think the opposition would be much less if it was truly down-on-their luck people, including women and children.

        • Leon says:

          As far as your “wokeness” goes, you post enough here that your beliefs are clear. And your final comment about segregation and racism proves my point. I have gone to school, lived and worked in purple or red parts of the country. And trust me, the UWS is about the least racist place I know. Is it perfect – definitely not.

          People in these other places think we are oversensitive and take things way too far. I have spoken to multiple people who despise Trump but are afraid to vote for a Democrat because they think the Democrats will devolve to the extreme end of the party. Do you ever converse with Republicans? I don’t agree with them – I’m 100% for Biden. But we need to learn to choose our battles and moderate our beliefs, at least until November.

          • Jay says:

            Republicans and Democrats are the same thing. Just depends on the master they serve. Neither one has the majority of people of this country best interests at heart when they vote.

    7. Anita says:

      I’m wondering what neighbors might do to help the Lucerne group feel more welcome. Trying to overcome drug addiction is hard enough.

    8. Viv says:

      I looked up how the Upper West Side compares with other neighborhoods in the amount of homeless shelters. According to this chart, I would say that the Upper East Side and Greenwich Village/SoHo in Manhattan; Sheepshead Bay, Bensenhurst, and Bay Ridge in Brooklyn; and all neighborhoods in Staten Island all could bear to host more homeless shelters than they do.
      So I would suggest to the authorities that they move their homeless shelter to one of those neighborhoods

    9. Jerem says:

      Right wing?? We’re moderate Democrats. We are liberal, but aren’t stupid or blind to reality.

      And let’s be honest, no one living on the UWS really believes half the stuff they say, or don’t act on it. Because, why pay UWS prices when you can live in East NY, or closer to the UWS, north of 130 street? It’s because they want to live in a safer, cleaner neighborhood. If that is so, and it is, why is it wrong to not want hundreds of homeless drug addicts to move in? Contrary to the ultra progressive narrative, 99.9% homeless people aren’t regular folks that lost a job. They’re drug addicts or drunks, or mentally ill, and having sympathy for them and wanting to help them doesn’t mean i want hundreds of them to move in all at once.

      • Leon says:

        Very well put. I totally agree. 99.9% might be a bit extreme but you are generally correct. Perhaps this sounds heartless but if we are truly interested in helping them, the vast majority of them should be sent to a detox center in the middle of nowhere with plenty of trained medical professionals to truly help them. Then once they are cleaned up I think most of us would have less of a problem with them re-entering society.

        The current solution doesn’t help anyone.

      • World Peacenik says:

        Having a real community would bring you that safer, cleaner neighborhood.

        But there just ain’t no community judging by these comments.

        I, for one, don’t want to be a rich person living in a poor country.

    10. Briant Judkins says:

      I know that was a stirring clip on, “Last Week Tonight,” when a social contract is referred to, but other than very simplified versions used for philosophical discussion by Locke and Rousseau (most notably at least), there is no social contract. There are so many variables that work in opposition to one another each day to create the countless power dynamics that are far from immovable. To reduce this down to the idea of a social contract works only when you are a philosopher looking for generalized themes, not daily interactions in a specific neighborhood…

    11. Michael uws says:

      No UWSider need apologize for extreme care in vetting local/national politics or their representatives esp on neighborhood level. No need to carry water for NIMBY snowflakes, and their identitarian hair pulling narratives at the very thought that discrimination must be applied to humanitarian and criminal justice standards and must at all costs be reflected in every opinion or it’s a far right; (but far left? no problem). Remem we get the govt we deserve. And moreover very few in WSR comments suggest univesally leaving folks undergoing reasonable standards of distress to their worst possible fates. Rmember that social services and law enforcement intersect. On the contrary putting up peo in relative luxe hotels (who are not fubar category) is very much like the redemptive process we’d all like the criminal justice system to reflect. Good surroundings often produce good behavior and I for one hope that some enjoying these assets & peaceful havens versus shelter environments can take next steps to affirmative improvments in their lives.

    12. stu says:

      I don’t know for sure the deal struck with the owners of the Lucerne, but I can tell you from personal knowledge that the ones who most benefit from the “homeless” hotels you find around the city are the private landlords of those properties. These deals are exempt from the typical municipal requirements that regulate city contracts (bidding etc). There are a very small group of owners who are grandfathered into these allowances and they make a TON of money operating the hotel shelters. I can guarantee you that the Lucerne owners are making a pretty penny from this deal.

    13. Steinway Sos says:

      After all the NYPD commissioner lives on the UWS. That is as culturally conservative as you get.

    14. Valerie says:

      The homeless hotels raise a question of degree. How much influx of a homeless addicted and/or mentally ill population can a neighborhood sustain? “Dumping” the homeless anywhere does not help anyone. I have worked with homeless populations. Where are the resources to help us deal with this sudden influx? How is it that the FEMA funds that are paying off hotels big time are absent for any care taking of severe addiction and mental illness? It is NOT heartless or “conservative” to ask these questions and to ask why our neighborhood families are subjected to three hotels in a small radius with NO additional resources or security? The Broadway malls should have social work tables set up; Or addiction counseling- Instead of the parties of brown-bag drinking (no one wearing masks). This homeless dump is irresponsible and it is reasonable to be alarmed for our community.

    15. Black Lives Actually Do Matter (even if they are Black and Alive) says:

      The PS87 PTA president and co-president sent out an email to all PS87 parents today with vague allegations of loitering (read: Black people outside), racist and classist innuendo how “loitering” (Black people outside) results in syringes being left in playgrounds, and literally that we residents (read: white) should be afraid of being raped by the residents.

      Extremely shameful — I’m ashamed that I ever gave that PTA a dime. My next check will be to Project Renewal, the organization running The Lucerne shelter. That’s an organization that truly needs it.

      • Leon says:

        Actually, a significant number of these homeless men are white. I might disagree with your take on how we respond to the influx of homeless people into our neighborhood, but I respect your right to feel differently about how we treat these men and what the best solution is.

        But turning this into a racial issue is grossly irresponsible. It takes away from the fight for racial equality in light of the numerous instances of racism that really are unfortunately still taking place.

    16. Tuileries says:

      I was accosted on Columbus and abused with the most obscene racial epithets—and I’m a white woman.

    17. MikeyK says:

      Good point from commenters about the Social Contract going in both directions. Yes, the homeless should have the help they need, but they need to conduct themselves better. They are way too aggressive asking for money, and also stealing from our local stores should not be tolerated. I don’t like NIMBY attitudes, but there are limits to what one is expected to endure.