Men Living in Homeless Hotels Will Return to Shelters ‘When Appropriate,’ Mayor Says, But What Will Happen to the Hotels?

201 West 79th Street. Photographs by Joy Bergmann.

By Carol Tannenhauser

Sam Domb, the owner of The Lucerne hotel on West 79th Street and Amsterdam Avenue, has put his nearby townhouse on the market, according to the New York Post. But not to worry, Domb said. His decision to sell the townhouse did not stem from what some locals say has been a decrease in the quality of life in the area since the hotel became a homeless shelter for 283 men, many of whom are dealing with substance-abuse problems. “We have no problems at the Lucerne,” Domb insisted.

As for the future of the Lucerne, “I will not renew,” Domb said, before hanging up on the Post reporter. He meant he wouldn’t renew his contract with the New York City Department of Homeless Services (DHS). The contract for the shelter reportedly expires in October.

But using hotels and similar properties as housing for people who lack it may not disappear with the pandemic.

Deputy Mayor Alison Bremen opened that possibility up at a roundtable at the end of June, which the news site THE CITY covered:

We’ve been looking hard at — are there hotels that we could acquire to turn into supportive housing rather than having to build from ground up?…We’re looking both at, are there assets that we own that we can make available to affordable housing or other needs — and are there private market buildings that we could acquire to convert into affordable housing at a cheaper cost.

To add fuel to the speculation, the CEO and Executive Director of the nonprofit running the homeless shelter in The Lucerne, called Project Renewal, wrote an editorial In the Daily News urging the City to buy hotels — made vacant by the decrease in travel and tourism caused by the pandemic — and convert them into affordable, supportive housing. On June 14, Eric Rosenbaum wrote:

We should take this opportunity to convert thousands of hotel rooms to affordable studio apartments. We can do it much faster and at lower cost than trying to build new units by using long-term bond financing at a time when the city’s operating budget is forced to shrink and bond interest costs are at historic lows. Thousands of low-cost studio apartments would be a perfect addition to the city’s affordable housing plan.

The Lucerne is under scaffolding.

The Mayor and his homelessness czar, Steven Banks, once himself a homeless advocate, reiterated that the ‘hotel solution’ was temporary, at an August 7th press event. However, the Mayor’s first statement at the briefing was misleading. He said about the city moving people without homes to hotels, “That really happened earlier in the height of the crisis.” In fact, The Lucerne was converted on July 25th, less than three weeks ago. New York’s COVID-19 numbers have been low and stable in recent weeks (though clearly the virus remains a deadly threat).

The Mayor went on to say, “You’re exactly right to be saying now what’s going to be the next step to bring folks back to shelters as is appropriate. So, the Commissioner will talk about it, but I want to emphasize, at the height of the crisis, there was an honest and real problem of folks being in close quarters and we needed to spread them out for their health and safety. That was our concern for all New Yorkers, including folks who unfortunately lost their home. That’s why we went into some hotels, but that is a temporary reality. We’re going to be coming back from those hotels over time into the shelter system. So, Commissioner, can you give a sense of that approach?”

Steven Banks, Commissioner of DHS said, “I can assure you, we will return when it is safe to do so. That is – this is not a permanent state of operations to be in commercial hotels. We were working very hard, we have a plan to get out of commercial hotels. Before COVID, we had driven down the number of commercial hotels the City was in and we were continuing to make progress in that plan. We opened more than 60 hotels in the last eight to ten weeks in order to deal with this crisis.”

Isaac McGinn, spokesperson for DHS added, “…Of course, our decisions will continue to be guided by public health experts and at the point at which public health guidance determines that clients can be relocated back to our congregate shelters from the temporary emergency relocation sites, we will inform the community.”

NEWS, REAL ESTATE | 144 comments | permalink
    1. Anthony says:

      Using empty hotels like this is a good idea. What’s not a good idea is moving in 300 men that are drug addicts, overnight. This has been billed as a recovery house, but it’s obvious the people there are not in recovery. they are openly doing drugs and drinking in public, aggressively panhandling so they can get their next fix. there’s been at least 3 OD/drug freakouts that I am aware of. Even more odd … why are they not in their hotel rooms? I guess it must be because they need to panhandle for their drugs. otherwise, their needs for food is taken care of I am sure by the program.

      how about moving in some homeless families? or kids? Whenever I see ads to help the homeless it’s always families, women escaping violence, and kids. I think only one of the hotels has a few women there.

      • Kf says:

        Agree. This is not about homeless advocacy. Drug dealers, addicts, and psychotics do not belong here without supervision while in public and treatment services.
        This is not about keeping them safe- they do not wear masks – they are jeopardizing the safety of thousands more.
        I am not a homeowner or business owner, but I care that this hotel for homeless answer will set this neighborhood back 50 years and for years to come.
        Temporary or not, it is causing people to move and shops to close. Why renew a lease in a slum?

        • Anthony says:

          Right, this is precisely the wrong time to turn a good, family-oriented neighborhood into a haven for aggressive drug addicts. The local businesses are, as everywhere, desperate. Restaurants can only serve outdoors and many can’t do it because the homeless approach customers constantly for money, or fight, or urinate near diners (NYP did some pieces on this).

          Plus all hotels are empty now. Why not house the people in an empty hotel by the airports, which I am sure are much cheaper anyway? Which is another issue: I have seen reports that the Lucerne is getting $175 per person per day from the city, which is of course paid by taxpayers. Why not house them somewhere cheaper. it’s outrageous. Taxpayers are paying a lot of money so that drug addicts can get a fix and aggressively panhandle in a (formerly) good and expensive neighborhood. There are many hotels in all 5 boroughs that are empty and I am sure would charge far less than the Lucerne.

          I expect the answer is that no other neighborhood congress person or community board agreed. No one would want this to go on in their neighborhood, which is why this happened covertly, without any input from anyone in the UWS community.

          • Ton says:

            I do agree a further out, cheaper hotel would be better. I’ve heard reports of drugs being smoked. That old pre-war would go up like kindling.

            Shocked the owner could afford a whole mansion townhouse to live in! I’ve had friends stay at the Lucerne. It’s nice but dated, he’s getting more for the rooms than he might without FEMA.

      • CRW says:

        six men were loitering outside the Lucerne with no security in sight. and were impinging on the Nice Matin dining area as well as blocking the sidewalk. The next day there were 5 security types outside during th morning hours. This is a terrible blow to our lovely neighborhood, already reeling from people moving away and small businesses failing. No notice is to our neighborhood by the city is WRONG!

    2. John says:

      After reading this I feel like I am at the end of a Judge Judy episode where no one learned anything.

    3. nhu says:

      ‘…and are there private market buildings that we could acquire to convert into affordable housing at a cheaper cost…’

      What does she mean by ‘acquire’? Eminent Domain?

      Travis Bickle would be proud of the new Upper West Side – http://u.pc.cd/epq

    4. Astrid says:

      I saw someone openly shooting up heroin today on 72nd and West End. In addition to homeless encampments complete with mattresses and mountains of garbage. Hundreds of active drug addicts just roaming the streets, our new “neighbors.”

      RIP Upper West Side.

      • SNY says:

        Verdi Square, whose volunteer gardeners spent countless hours cleaning it up and beautifying the landscape, is turning into Vagrant Square In the evenings. Trash littering the place! And the area around the now closed LPQ food kiosk hasn’t been cleaned up.
        Folded chairs shabbily shoved and fallen into a corner.
        Tree pits along Broadway are dirty. Why haven’t tree guards been added on EVERY tree between 79 & 86 St.? In any European city shrubs and flowers would be at the base of every tree along a major boulevard! Along Broadway on the UWS…no way. Graffiti covered fire hydrants and postal boxes. Filthy, dirty and vandalized newspaper racks scattered on street corners. The Village Voice racks, and others should be taken away!
        Who cares?
        Nobody, That’s the problem.

        • cjBerk says:

          SNY: you are so right! Everything i’ve noticed and reported to Linda Rosenthal. Finally one “learning annex” news box with rats and garbage was removed from 72nd/WEA BUT it took forever and 4 filthy unused boxes remain. WHY? I dont see these on the UES or west village. We all agree something is very wrong here. but what to do? I’ve tried-I cant defend this city anymore. I certainly cant recommend living on the UWS. It’s a nightmare.

        • esp says:

          You sure have a lot of fingers to point at who should do the work. Why don’t you dry putting them to good use and contribute yourself.

        • UWSider says:

          You know it used to be called Needle Park? Check out the movie with Al Pacino.

    5. UpperWest says:

      I think it is clearly the case that the city would want to turn at least one of these hotels into an SRO, despite the very checkered past of that model in these very buildings.

      I would guess the Belleclaire is most at risk; someone should ask Shimmie Horn his plans. He’s been remarkably quiet about all of this sitting out in New Jersey or whichever suburb he’s in.

      The city may not be a good financial position to be acquiring such places, though, and so might opt for cheaper alternatives, but that just doesn’t seem to matter to them.

      • World Peacenik says:

        Some hotels were previously SROs. The tenants were displaced to make way for tourists.

        This just reverses that.

        • UpperWest says:

          And as I experienced as a resident those particular SROs had huge negative effects on those around them, quite apart from being a bastion of peace and love.

          As hotels, they employed and threw revenue into city coffers, which, *if used well*, could help people much more.

          Of course, instead we have waste like Thrive.

          • JerryV says:

            The Lucerne Hotel was used not only for tourists but also for for relatives of people who live in the neighborhood but who do not have enough room to put these relatives up in their apartments.

          • Liz says:

            Yes instead of revenue creators we have revenue gobblers–how much should a society invest its non-productive members? are you using thousands in city monies each month?

            • World Peacenik says:

              You summed up the entire discussion with this phrase: “should a society invest its non-productive members?”

              Making it about money?

    6. CrankyPants says:

      There will be a special place in Hell for this administration and its cronies after what they have done to the once beautiful UWS.

      • UWSHebrew says:

        CrankyPants, you’re my kind of WSR poster.

        • MBR says:

          How about getting another cruise ship outfitted for them? They would still get services but wouldn’t be hurting themselves the neighborhood as they are now. The ships of hospital services, dining facilities or in-room service, etc. It would be much cheaper than the $2M per night they’re spending.

          • Robert Levit says:

            Good idea. Run for Mayor please.

            • hdm says:

              I second that. And another option (as has been mentioned by others)–to use airport hotels–seems ideal. Cheaper, spares the neighborhood of open drug use, constant harassment, and dangerous psychotics (not all psychotics are dangerous to others, of course, but the UWS has become riddled with drugs and danger.) And airport hotels surely have space–no one is traveling!

        • Not so simple says:

          Yes, because you are both of the opinion that positively everything is partisan.

    7. Oona says:

      The more that sell or move the better. Yuppie Puppies arrival made the UWS unaffordable for families and their children who lived here for generations. Let the wealthy go & let the middle class find affordable housing close by their families once again. Let police, fire dept members, school teachers, sanitation workers and all the people who keep the City move back into the neighborhoods they support and work. Most of all, let real estate owners stop gouging renters for buildings they never live in only purchase to make obscene rents from renters.

      • davidaron60 says:

        I agree. It looks like the cycle is already beginning.

      • lalaland says:

        Unfortunately that ship has sailed. If you think real estate prices will drop down to pre “Yuppie Puppie” levels you are sadly mistaken. Also, cost of living expenses are like taxes, they never go down (unless you are a corporation!)

        • World Peacenik says:

          I hope that you haven’t made your living arrangements based on this economic theory of up, up, up.

      • Marc says:

        It’s adorable how much people romanticize the idea of the city IMPROVING once the evil wealthy leave. Newsflash, those evil wealthy people pay the overwhelming majority of taxes in this city. Without them, the city budget is screwed. Your imagined utopia is going to be more of a run-down, crime-infested pit.

        • davidaron60 says:

          This is simply not true. There were periods when this city, UWS included, was for the working class that built it. Learn your history.

        • Oona says:

          Sorry Marc, I lived here in the 70’s we did just fine without the influx of “wealth” which knocked out all our family businesses, affordable family restaurants, and prevented any of our family members from being able to raise the next generation close by grandparents and other family members.

          • duffy says:

            NYC was literally bankrupt in 1975. The 70s were the worst time. 500k jobs lost from ’69 to ’74. Everyone on welfare. Crime everywhere. Urban blight. Seriously Oona, get your history straight. No one wants to go back to that.

          • World Peacenik says:

            I’m with you.

            5 generations

            Grandpa spent his final days in the Williams near all of his grandchildren.

            Those grandchildren have now moved away because this is no longer a neighborhood.

            Who’d have thought that Brooklyn Heights and Van Cortland would be preferable to the UWS?

            But, then again, who thought that the Williams would become condos, with the elderly kicked to the curb?

            I guess my grandchildren will visit the UWS as long as we hang on here,even without much community.

        • Spock says:

          Stop making sense 😉

        • esp says:

          “…a run-down, crime-infested pit.” Aka, a description of every 40+ hedgefunder.

      • guruJuice says:

        Be careful what you wish for. A negative demand shock in housing usually leads to wage loss for everyone in the affected area.

        Research clearly shows that restrictions on housing stock raise wages in a local market. Higher wages are paid because the area is deemed to have desirable amenities or features. Normatively, UWS is considered a nice place to live and correspondingly demands higher prices.

        However, if the housing supply in the UWS suddenly increases due to lowered demand from COVID or crime, housing prices will naturally decline on basic supply/demand principles. But paradoxically, the lower prices may still fail to improve affordability, since local earnings and wages will also decline.

        Put another way, the police, fire dept members, school teachers, sanitation workers – all the people you suggest who might benefit – will see rents prices go lower. But, they still may not be able to afford an apartment, because they will lose jobs, or receive a pay-cut.

        • World Peacenik says:

          Or

          Everyone, as represented by the WSR comments, rush to the exit (think Larchmont) at once.

          Prices drop to the value of the apartment absent speculative demand.

          School teachers get to live near their students.

          Everyone wins!

          • John says:

            As tax’s increase so do rents average tax on a one bedroom on UWS 1,000 plus a month not including common charges.

        • Oona says:

          Spurious argument – civil service employees salaries as well as many professions are paid the same amount regardless of where they live. Teachers salaries, sanitation workers etc. salaries are fixed and therefore do not fluctuate.

          • Christina says:

            Not so! There are teachers in public schools on the east end of Long Island that are paid at different rates. Many are not unionized.

          • guruJuice says:

            Property tax makes up 29% of NYC’s annual $88 billion dollar budget. Due to COVID and a spike in Medicaid spending, NYC is already expected to have a massive budget shortfall of 34% with $23.8 billion loss in revenue. The estimates don’t factor in a decline in property values. If they do, we can expect another $2-10 billion drop with a 2-3 year lag.

            Although city workers are paid the same regardless of whether they live in the Bronx or on Central Park West, their pay is directly tied to city budgets, which fluctuate and are subject to collective bargaining agreements. For example, NYC police, fire, and other uniformed city workers negotiated a new contract in 2018 that phased in an 8% pay increase over 3 years. If there is a massive budget shortfall, police, sanitation, education, and other general city workers can expect hiring freezes and other cuts. If there is a massive October squeeze, as many expect, layoffs are in the cards. Simply put, the consequences of any budget gaps will be borne by the labor unions.

            tl;dr – Because property tax makes up 1/3 of City revenue, declines in property values will exacerbate local wage loss for both private and public payrolls.

        • guruJuice says:

          Exactly as predicted.

          “De Blasio has threatened to lay off up to 22,000 city employees in October unless municipal unions agree to $1 billion in labor savings.”

      • Upper Jess Side says:

        And these civil servants are going to be OK living around drug addicted mentally ill folks with no supervision?

      • Cranky says:

        I hate to tell you but it’s partly city regs that have driven up the cost of real estate: huge property tax increases to fund the maw of the ever-growing budget; required Local Law 11 work every ten years; increased oversight by fire and sanitation departments requiring expensive physical alterations to be “in compliance”; outlawing of cheap oil which required installation of new furnaces and purchase of more expensive fuel, etc. etc. So a lot of things other than yuppie buyers have driven up the prices!

      • Citycatsman says:

        Oona, what parent in their right mind would move their family to a neighborhood where addicts shoot up on the corner….with piles of human excrement and garbage strewn about….where mentally ill addicts sucker punch and stab people randomly, anytime, anywhere? If you think teachers, police and firefighters are clamoring to leave Valley Stream and move to the 20th and 24th precincts, you have drunk the wrong cool aid. When the high end taxpayers bail out, and the city treasury continues to shrink, the UWS will resemble The Walking Dead more than the happy, middle class utopia you fantasize about.
        I own my apartment In the lower 100’s and love my City and the neighborhood where I’ve lived since 1976, but this is breaking my heart.

      • Truth Matters says:

        Oona – please humor me and tell me how many folks you know personally that work for NYPD, FDNY or sanitation? My guess is few if any because they all exist in a totally different world than the upper west side (Staten Island, Queens, Brooklyn, Long Island). I happen to know quite a few and I’m sorry to tell you that none will be trading their nice middle class outer borough lifestyle for a tiny apartment in a quickly deteriorating part of Manhattan, even if a bit cheaper. I think it’s time to drop the “everyone wants to live in the city” fantasy..

    8. Jack McDade says:

      The reason there are THREE such hotels within blocks, when many hotels lie empty throughout the city in less populated areas with less risk, is due to the fact that the local council members did not object (and it has been reported that Rosenthal’s CoS assisted with the contract at the latest in the Lucerne) and the hotel owners were happy to ignore any concerns of the local community that has served them for years. The Lucerne owner had every choice — this wasn’t a government taking. And he has been insanely compensated with tax dollars as he jacks up the prices and caused mayhem in the community. Would be very interesting to learn if any of these hotel owners sought or received pandemic fund assistance from the government on top of this abuse of taxpayers and community.

      • SaveTheUWS says:

        All 3 hotels received Federal loans. Also note that no other hotel besides these 3 in 10024 received Federal loans.

        Belleclaire: $350,000 – 1 million
        Belnord: $350,000 – 1 million
        Lucerne: $1 – 2 million

        #savetheuws
        projects.propublica.org/coronavirus/bailouts/

    9. Ben David says:

      Thanks to WSR for informative and fair reporting on the ongoing situation.
      Again, the problem is not that the residents dropped secretly into the UWS are homeless. The issue is that some of them need medical and psychiatric care for addiction and mental illness. They are being permitted to buy and use drugs and alcohol. Supervision is almost nonexistent, with “guards” saying that they can’t do more than break up a fight—and only on the hotel premises. Our mayor, with the tacit approval of all our elected officials, does not care that he has unleashed addicts, unstable individuals, and pedophiles on to our streets. All of this was done due to the coronavirus, but by now we have all seen that most of the offenders in the streets are not wearing masks.

      • Sammy says:

        Ben this is 100% my take. I have no problem with them being here if they are being rehabilitated. A lot of them are. they have jobs and are really trying to get their lives on track which I admire. That can not be easy. I don’t know the hard situation a lot of these men are coming from. The problem is a lot aren’t being rehabilitated. project renewal is not doing a damn thing to help them. Shouldn’t they be in treatment during the day or other activities to help them “renew” their life? It’s like protect renewal just dumped them and left. They are on the streets all day drinking. Where is project renewal to provide services.

    10. Juan says:

      This has worked out as well as possible for the hotels. They were looking at fixed expenses and no revenues. So they got the government to bail them out. They are making a fortune on this – because of the pandemic, the Comptroller’s office was not able to review the contracts so I’m sure the rates are usurious.

      So the owners make a fortune on this to cover their costs and then some. Then when things hopefully return to normal they can use the excess funds to do a refresh on the hotel, change the name, put up fake Yelp and TripAdvisor reviews for the newly renamed hotel about how great it is, and go on with their lives.

      • LK says:

        Juan, this is the best possible scenario for us. Other scenarios include:
        1. Housing other homeless populations.
        2. Being sold to the city for SROs…

      • Jake fellmen says:

        Yah make. No sense you tell nothing. But. Lies. About the. Ppl at the hotel they mine they bi and yah folks need to especially yah rascism lady’s and. Men yah just. Mad. We in a. Nice hotel we. Buy food. In the. Neighborhood and. We DNT. Steal we. Are. Human and everybody. Here. Is. Not. On drugs about 90 of ppl here. DNT. Get. High. For your information so stupide

        • Leon says:

          I periodically have intelligent, non-controversial posts get censored (they are under 100 words, though that rule also seems to get very loosely enforced). Others have noted the same problem. But this gibberish gets through? Could someone from WSR explain? Thanks.

    11. Dorota Nieradka says:

      Thank you Eric Rosenbaum.

    12. Disgruntled UWSider says:

      We should not have to fear for our safety walking down formerly upscale-seeming West 79th. After someone woke up a passed -out junkie lying next to Irving Farm, he got up and ran lurchingly straight toward me completely out of his mind. I booked it into the bodega around the corner and he followed me in there. Thankfully he got distracted and I was able to run out and home. At least I wasn’t stabbed or punched like others have been. But it was unsettling.

    13. Sheldon Chambliss says:

      Its a good idea but they need help from the drugs

    14. Jon says:

      How much has Sam Domb contributed to deblasio? A lot. This is corruption. The city comptroller has no authority to inspect the contracts because our corrupt mayor invoked emergency powers.
      If you root for property prices to decline as people move you are saying that you want the community to fracture and crumble. That’s what happened in Newark. Maybe that’s the future you want. Idiotic.

    15. Angelica says:

      Govornor’s Island has lots and lots of empty houses. And it’s an island. Just saying.

      • Ginger says:

        You’re kidding right? Please look up Governor’s Island as of today. Then come back and tell us again you think there is a lot of housing. In a million years they’re not going to allow drug and alcohol users in the newly million dollar renovations.
        On another note. These are not homeless men. They were living in a, supposedly, rehab center. Bring on the true homeless families. Chances are excellent we won’t be in danger when crossing Broadway or sitting at a restaurant.

    16. CG says:

      I can see it now. Five years hence. Vacant storefronts with leftover scaffolding on every block under which live homeless encampments. Boarded up permanently closed restaurants. Cars gone. Bike lanes galore. Hotels as shelters. UWS moonbat liberal heaven. Dystopia 2025.

    17. SJ says:

      Two weeks ago, Mayor DeBlasio told Errol Louis on NY1 that the three UWS hotels will continue to house the homeless “until there is a COVID 19 vaccinatation.” After they are vaccinated, they will return to the shelters.

      We know the number of sex offenders but not how many have records for violent crimes.

    18. Maureen says:

      I’m confused as a former greater nyorker. Where did all these homeless come from exactly? Can DeLazio provide state numbers vs. former locales? Pre 2020 to earlier years? No one has provided a detailed explanation yet from mayors office. They weren’t all here before so where did they come from while he’s busy painting black lives matter? Rikers?

    19. Steven says:

      The contract may end in October but remember something called Squatters Rights. Once a person has lived in a dwelling for more than 30 days they do not legally have to leave even though they are told to. If any of them refuse, the hotel will have to take each of the residents to court & file to have them evicted. Something like that can take anywhere from 9-12 months.

      • Anonymous says:

        Not when it comes to the homeless. When they say we have to move, we have to move, no matter where its at, otherwise the police will come and physically remove us. There are no laws protecting us in that regard because by entering the shelter system we are submitting their policies. The only choice we have is to go back into the streets. I’ve never seen anyone successfully stay in a shelter when they refuse to leave after Bellvue officially transfers them.

        • Concerned UWS says:

          I’m curious, where are shelter residents expected to use restroom facilities during the day? My understanding is that they are not allowed to return to their room so are forced to relieve themselves in the streets. This seems inhumane and can certainly lead to other health issues for shelter residents as well as the broader neighborhood. Thank you.

    20. Ex-UWsr says:

      Most of those comments are just ridiculous; UWS residents waking up to a situation that has affected many neighborhood in the city and that is now affecting their cherished neighborhood. The UWS is not a no man’s land for people that are different from their residents’ ethnicity, religion or income. There have been homeless shelters in residential areas in Harlem for example for years and who has been talking about those? The UWS is part of the city and needs to welcome its share of those issues, like other neighborhoods do and deal with. The UWS should work to include those men in the neighborhood and give them a chance and build a community instead of living in fears…

      • UpperWest says:

        The UWS *already had* a disproportionate share of supportive housing, shelters, etc, prior to the new arrivals. To suggest it is shirking its burden somehow is absurd.

      • Concerned UWS says:

        You being an ex-UWSider are surely aware that the UWS has always provided various types of shelters and supportive housing. We are a generous community. The issue is the crime that some, not all, of these men have brought to our streets. And regardless of mental health issues, economic hardship, or housing struggles, Illegal drug use is illegal. Selling illegal drugs is illegal. Stealing is illegal. The UWS does not welcome illegal behaviors from anyone.

      • LifelongNYer says:

        You can be welcoming…EXCEPT that some have exhibited really bad public behavior.
        When a social contract is broken…it crosses the line.
        And in the ultra progressive Upper West Side, even very liberal individuals are increasingly getting fed up.
        That’s the issue. Period.

      • UWSproud says:

        You can be welcoming…EXCEPT that some have exhibited really bad public behavior.
        When a social contract is broken…it crosses the line.
        And in the ultra progressive Upper West Side, even very liberal individuals are increasingly getting fed up.
        That’s the issue. Period.

      • Anthony says:

        This has NOTHING to do with ethicity or anything other than actual bad conduct.

        We don’t care how they look. We care that they are urinating openly in public, passed out in a drug stupor, aggressively panhandling residents (basically intimidating them by violating personal space and refusing to take no for an answer), angrily shouting at people who walk by, using hard drugs openly. Many of the worst offenders I have seen have been white.

        And no other community is dealing with this. Sure, other neighborhoods have these things in isolation, but NONE have had 300 aggressive drug addicts that happen to be homeless move in overnight.

    21. Ellen says:

      There is no regard forte residents and businesses in the area .
      This is an ill conceived plan, creating havoc.The Mayor seems to have no problem destroying the City even further, which will only keep tourists and visitors away. This is a disgrace.

    22. Neal H Hurwitz says:

      283 is part of the problem: TOO MANY in one location of a family-oriented community!!! And who is doing on-site help and supervision?— I read it was the hotel clerks, which is absurd if true.— One thing is also clear: this is a local pol failure. And Gale Brewer should have intervened as well.

    23. Simon says:

      Take a look at the salaries for the executives at Project Renewal. Plenty of $200k+ salaries for less than 40 hour work weeks. https://projects.propublica.org/nonprofits/organizations/132602882/201931349349306538/full

      • Pedestrian says:

        Indeed. I expect that there is a clear connection between the Administration and the program.

      • Wow! Who knew there were those kinds of salaries in supportive services?? Even the secretary was making $111,887 + $10,301 (OT?) back in 2017, when this was dated.

        Where can I go sign up? I can type… well, a little.

      • Balebusta says:

        Sorry, but you think CEOs and physicians who are working for an organization with an annual revenue of over 80 million dollars, getting paid btwn $150-250K a year is somehow greedy or unfair or a misappropriation of funds? Have you ever been the CEO of anything? The responsibility and liability and accountability is tremendous. This is a strawman argument you are making here. We are not talking about a hedge fund CEO making millions while paying janitors pennies…this is not a Bezos situation of a billionaire exploiting others. These are reasonable salaries for the jobs and if anything the physicians (most of whom likely are saddled with med school debt), are being underpaid for the work they are doing. I’m not not asserting that Project Renewal is well run, nor am I saying it is poorly run, because I don’t have that data…but using these salaries to make some kind of point about the org as a whole is an argument built on pillars of sand.

        • Simon says:

          I have no idea what you are talking about. I don’t know anyone who makes $234k for an under 40 hour work week. Most of these executives do not work 40 hours from what I can see. This is supposed to be a non-profit!

          • Amy Kass says:

            In business school (Columbia) we were always taught, “there’s no profit like non-profit;” the biggest scams around.

    24. Don says:

      I hear that there are rooms available at The Carlyle, The Pierre, The Sherry Netherland, The Plaza and The Mark. I’m sure that the Upper East Side would be delighted to fill up those empty rooms and put them to good use!!!

      • JerryV says:

        Don, You forgot to mention the Trump Tower on Fifth Ave. Now that Trump has changed his residency from New York to Florida, he no longer has need for his huge apartment on Fifth Ave.

        • Hold dem pols accountable says:

          For the one who proposed housing drug addicts in Trump Tower: This is a Democrat run city, the silly “luxury hotel for drug addicts” policy is strictly the brainchild of Democratic Mayor DeBlasio, with assists by Democrats Helen Rosenthal et al. in Democratic NYC govt. What has Trump to do with this particular policy?

    25. Pedestrian says:

      I have no faith in anything the Major says. He has no plan to deal with the homeless. He has no plan to deal with the issues that this callous Treatment of both the homeless and the neighborhood is just one more example of an administration that fails to appreciate the needs of anyone but big time developers, billionaires and lobbyists.

    26. lk says:

      Put the homeless on Randell Island or Goveners Island away from the Gentrified Upper Westside thats a hell of a bussiness deal that went down on the upper westside with these hotels, with the homeless issue… when we took a hit because of covid and now this is upon our city what about working people and children do not count! Bad! Not Welcome do not sugar coat this!

    27. Susan Karp says:

      It’s exhausting to respond to this level of public official incompetence and lying. The homeless should have been moved from the congregate shelters at the height of the pandemic in March, April and May, when they were at high risk. Then they should have been moved back to the shelter in July and August, when NYC cases are below 1%. The Mayor did the opposite. Had he been running for re-election, this never would have happened. He didn’t protect these people, who certainly needed protection last spring. All he did was disrupt the UWS.

    28. Concerned UWS Resident says:

      “Misleading” is one way to characterize De Blasio’s statement. The fact of the matter is that moving hundreds of homeless men, many with drug and mental health issues, into dense, residential, family-oriented neighborhoods was done in secret, stealthily, overnight and in some cases literally under the cover of darkness. No representatives of the neighborhoods have been informed, much less consulted. The residents and local officials have been completely shut out and blindsided. No documents regarding the contracts with these hotels are released to the public, even though this is our, taxpayers’ money being spent. In short, it is run like a terrorist operation. I wonder why if it is such a great thing…

    29. The KNan says:

      Aggressive panhandlers from the hotels give an unsafe feeling and tone to the neighborhood. Men are nodding out in the street, unable to cross the street. My daughter avoids neighborhood playgrounds at certain times because intimidating men from the hotel suddenly appear and linger. One of the bigger jokes is that this was done for Covid concerns yet these residents are not wearing masks except around their necks as if they necklaces. Have similar homeless men with drug problem been dumped in De Blasio’s Park Slope neighborhood without any prior discussions? I doubt it. UWS’ liberal tradition and reputation made the city feel we’d lie down and take this after at the most a small flurry of opposition. We need to continue objecting to this ridiculous decision that’s brought down the quality of life and safety of our neighborhood.

    30. CO says:

      I’ve researched this issue with my contacts at different homeless agencies/services, and it seems that the consensus is that the City made these decisions and did not consult the agencies on how best to transition their clients into a new living situation. In the shelters, the men were living communally, so it was easier for the carers at those places to oversee their activities, preventing drug use and even drug sales, fighting, etc. The city did not provide funding to transition the oversight strategy from this type of living to one where the men are in individual rooms behind closed doors. Therein lies a very big problem. Drug use, sales, and violent activity takes places behind closed doors and spills out on to the streets. There is no communal space for the staff to work with their clients or to manage them in any way. They will never say this on the record, but they agree it is a disaster, and they never would have moved people like this where much more staff is needed to oversee these types of clients. It is the city administration including the city council – people like DiBlasio, and even Corey Booker who spoke out so strongly for it during the worst of the crisis, and are now putting their heads in the sand when it is time to discuss the fact that while their intentions were good and needed, the implementation, like so many things in this administration, created as much if not more of a negative effect. It’s a lack of management that is the issue. It is a disservice to the clients of the shelters, and it is a disservice to people like me who are not being elitist when they now have to fear for their teen daughters to walk in those areas in broad daylight. We’ve had several run ins where I had to physically place myself between my daughter and men acting violently with the intention of physically touching her. Unfortunately, we’ve stopped going to the area around the Lucerne for our evening meals and treats.

      • Tipping Point says:

        CO, I’ve heard a version of this as well with Project Renewal trying to pass the buck to DHS for the hasty move to the Lucerne. I can only say, shame on Project Renewal for allowing this to take place. The chair of its board Geoff Proulx of Morgan Stanley should call for an independent review of the way Project Renewal has handled this. Like many others here, I am a supporter of homeless programs but feel the way this is being handled—the timing of the move, the size and characteristics of the new population—has done damage to the city’s efforts to build community support for much needed outreach.

        • Da Homeless Hero says:

          You’re right. I’ve tried to respectfully share my concerns with Project Renewal before our move. While I appreciate the accommodations, the reality is that I know we need on-site services for mental health and substance use issues. As well, a filtering process should have been in place to distinguish between those who are at low-risk of breaking the good neighbor policy or those who are at high-risk. Those who are need a higher level of care should be placed somewhere else. Project Renewal is trying to straighten things out but I wonder if it’s too late.

      • Da Homeless Hero says:

        The shelters were drug dens with open drug sales and use. The security was there to protect the property. Overdoses took place daily and death was the result of quite a few overdoses. Fights were a constant. The shelters were very unsafe and if you suffer from substance use disorder the struggle becomes harder in those shelters. I’m in the hotel and can tell you that usage is not as prevalent in the hotel as it was in the shelter which is why you may see more usage in the streets. Wellness checks are done around the clock.

    31. simon says:

      Just to give an idea of what is going on out there, the citizen app is showing about 2-3 assaults per day in the 70’s alone on the UWS for this week so far. At least 2 of those involved knives.

    32. Stef Lev says:

      This may be too much of a conspiracy theory, but it seems both Trump and de Blasio have a death-wish for Manhattan.

    33. LongtimeNYer says:

      This is all the fault of the Mayor and Councilwoman Rosenthal.

    34. Liberal Independent says:

      Interesting to see Progressive Liberals up in arms when tactics they use on others to suddenly infect a wholesome family enclave with active drugs and mental instability are now used against them in a similar way by another progressive liberal entrenched and gone mad with unrelenting power.

    35. UpperWestsiderforLife says:

      In the early 90’s we would have taken care of that problem asap. The neighborhood locals would have ran them out of the area no questions asked, by any means necessary.

      • World Peacenik says:

        “The neighborhood locals would have ran them out of the area no questions asked, by any means necessary.”

        Can you explain? The implication is horrifying.

    36. Joan K Cohn says:

      This is a very complex problem. The city should provide psychiatrists, social workers psychologists, job counselors and computer teachers. Without tackling the whole issue, there will be no long term success.

    37. FedUpUWSer says:

      I’ve seen a lot of comments cheering the fact that the drug addict/sex offender influx will make UWS property values fall and again make the neighborhood an affordable place for middle class workers like teachers and police officers to live. Why are you insulting these people by taking for granted that they’d want to live in a neighborhood where you can’t walk down the street without seeing a homeless man masturbating or defecating or hassling you for money? They may not be billionaires, but they’re stable, hardworking middle class people with self-respect.

    38. nhu says:

      In parts of NYC where residents let the NYPD do their job the violent homeless people are dealt with accordingly. The cops who made this arrest know that citizens and local elected officials will support them. The 8-year old girl, let that sink in, was attacked yesterday and the perp was arrested today. But will he be released without bail???

      https://www.silive.com/crime/2020/08/source-man-20-taken-into-custody-in-connection-with-attack-on-girl-8-in-new-dorp.html

    39. Buddy Revell says:

      Quite a few zombies walking the streets around 79th street today. Shirtless guy on 79th and broadway blocking entire crosswalk on the south end. This is our uws folks. Get used to it or be prepared to be called racist or classist by your woke lib neighbors…

    40. E Jacobs says:

      From information in this article, it seems a good probability the owner of the Lucerne, Mr Domb, may not renew rental of the hotel with the city but may _sell_ the Lucerne to one of its agencies. He’s already moved his home out of the neighborhood according to WSR today. Housing people in trouble, in 3 Upper West Side hotels within a 4-6 block range was nasty and suggests city officials don’t consider residents of the immediate locations.

    41. David C says:

      On the bright side, NYC can ill afford to buy, maintain, and operate hotels at this point. This idea is a classic case of putting the cart before the horse. Before making such an investment, NYC needs to fix its homeless system to properly identify those who are suitable candidates, and those who are unsuitable without extensive rehabilitation first. We all know that supervision ends at the doorway of these facilities, and it must be extended out into the surrounding neighborhood.

    42. ConcernedUWSider says:

      God willing, my comment will be posted: ‘

      SARA LIND is running for Helen Rosenthal’s seat. She WANTS these homeless shelters to STAY. She created a petition to KEEP these problematic people here and wants to shame those who resist having our neighborhood turned into a drug infested dangerous neighborhood.

      Please please please remember this in NOVEMBER. I am not saying anything that isn’t public and on her Twitter. I am just pointing out her views for everyone to take note. It’s public knowledge. Hope my comments are posted.

    43. Elder says:

      Are the 671 residents of the Lucerne, Belleclaire and Belford being tested for COVID19 on a daily basis?
      These hotels seem like a hotbed for transmission.

      • Boris says:

        What leads you to believe that this is even a possibility?

      • Da Homeless Hero says:

        I can’t speak for the other hotels but Project Renewal just did two days of testing for Covid -19. This is following testing that was done before we came to the Lucerne. The testing is voluntary but there are incentives. I did see quite a few people take advantage of the testing and suppose they will do more periodically. Within the hotel everyone is required to wear a mask and practice social distancing. The problem is when they leave the hotel. In most cases it’s two people to a room so that could cause a problem.

    44. Senior says:

      Back in the Wild Wild West Days when the Hotel Endicott was shoot-up central and Verdi Park was needle park the city did something about the rampant crime, drug use and crazed people that plagued the streets. Not only were rehabilitative facilities set up throughout the city but upstate as well. There are defunct army bases, vacant conference centers which might be set up as therapeutic centers . The solution of using hotels was horrendous back then and it is now. It has also failed in SF and Seattle.
      I also shudder to think how quickly COVID19 could spread in these hotels. Even in apartment buildings people don’t want to ride the elevators or speak to their neighbors unless they are social distancing and wearing masks.

    45. Blue Collar says:

      No fdny, nypd or sanitation workers WANT to live in a tiny city apartment. Especially in the declining upper west side. Get a grip.

    46. Dom says:

      Everyone in the UWS who voted in Blaz’s second term deserves all the discomfort they get. You know who you are. You brought it upon yourselves. You made this sandwich. Now you can eat it.

    47. A-Lincoln-Sq-Resident says:

      Have anyone heard from Gale Brewer and Scott Stringer on their comments about the declining condition on their neighborhood? Both prominent local leaders are long time UWSers and property owners. They have been mum about the influx of hotels-turn-homeless-shelters problems; are they okay seeing quality of life and property values declined in their own neighborhood?

      Gale Brewer Is known for her stubbornness when it comes to financial matter, did she not know about the list of UWS hotels that the City was/is turning into emergency homeless shelters? If she wasn’t inform prior, it is a wake up call and get involve on this matter now.

      Next year, Gale Brewer will likely run for City Comptroller when Scott Stringer runs for Mayor, can we depend on our fellow UWSers Gale Brewer and Scott Stringer to act as our advocate???

      • LK says:

        No. As you noted you didn’t hear their voices now when people need them most. They’ll pander to you later, but we need to know who is on our side now? Other than the immediate goal to clean the neighborhood now, we need to have a very clear understanding who can represent us going forward.

    48. Victoria Arnstein says:

      Diblasio has no idea how much he hurt my home a gem like nyc. I pay high rent. We try to raise our kids and get this mess? Appalling. Is he delusional? Bring back Police please we have kids going to school. We need safety.

    49. Sam says:

      I’m just a dad who wants to make sure his kids are OK.
      My 13 yr old daughter was accosted the other day on Broadway and 78th. Homeless man grabbed her arm, and she was very upset. I am not sure if he was trying to rob her or just harassing her. I’ve given up calling Rosenthal, she obviously doesn’t care at all about kids. The police’s attitude was she wasn’t robbed and she wasn’t sexually assaulted, so there was nothing to do. I don’t understand this new normal, where children are being grabbed, and now it’s just OK. Our elected officials are completely silent. Or saying everything’s OK like Rosenthal. I can’t believe they get paid to do nothing. I literally feel like we are on our own with no government services. Sure, I’m going to vote this November 3, but that’s months away. Now my daughter is scared to walk by herself. Really awful.

    50. Vote em out! says:

      1) Rosenthal is up, thank God!
      but Sara Lind wants to keep the shelters.

      2) Where is Nadler? I know he lives on the west side, but he’s never seen. His silence is baffling. Voting him out!

      3) DeBlasio loves our agony. Term limits yay!

      4) Cuomo, actually think the guy cares. How do we let him know that the tax base will leave?

    51. George says:

      OK, I know in the big scheme of things, most people won’t think this is a big deal. But my dog stepped on a needle and it wasn’t fun taking it out. Pretty ridiculous that the taxpayer is paying for these people to get treatment, and yet all they do is come out onto the street and shoot up all day.

    52. Barry says:

      Let me get this straight, the Homeless moved into hotels to socially distance so they wouldn’t get Covid.

      Yet, they all congregate together outside sitting on the benches on Broadway, drinking, doing drugs, and not wearing masks. Doesn’t that sort of defeat the purpose.

      Just curious, do I, the taxpayer Count?
      I know they’re counting on my tax dollars to pay for this, but do I have any rights not to get sick from coronavirus from people who refuse to wear masks and aggressively panhandle me every single day?

    53. Rory says:

      I am really getting sick and tired of reading these classist remarks about how fabulous will be for the middle class when the rich leave because of all the drug dealers and crime. My son was robbed of his cell phone on 80th and Broadway last weekend. But that must make you classist so so happy that an 11 year old got robbed. Disgusted by this social justice group!

    54. Dave says:

      My wife has an autoimmune disease and has been very careful about going out. She always wears a mask. She cannot afford to get sick. However, thanks to no oversight of the homeless, she has been put in many very difficult situations as men with no masks are getting into her face demanding money. I have called 311 over and over again and nothing has changed. I am at my wits end, and she has decided that she cannot go out side anymore. I don’t know how this is fair that she is a prisoner in her own apartment. I truly cannot believe how awful our Elected officials are and what a sleazy owner of the Lucerne is that he puts money over people’s safety.

    55. Tired of these crooked politicians! says:

      Follow the $$$$
      Sam Domb and DeBlasio.
      Payoffs. Kickbacks.
      Both should be in jail

    56. SidneyCalhoun says:

      The Are Alot Of Location’s..Throuout…NYc The The Mayor& Steve Bank’s-Could Place The Homeless-The City Bring’s – The Underserve- Into These Well- To Do Neighborhood’s..These Places-Where The Well To Do Live-Wont Symphatize-With The Homeless Situation- Instead-They Racial Profile- Because You Don’t Look like Them- And That Is Dicrimination. I Have An Active 2010 E- LivingIn A Hotel- Recieve SSI-Attend School& Lanlord’s- Wont Rent Unit’s- Falsiying The Case-Covid/As The Reason For Not Renting Their Apt. I ask- The Mayor& Steven Bank’s..To Reach-Out- To Me On Housing-Sro/1BedroomApt..So I Could Break This Homeless Cycle. Also Mayor Deblasio- Wife Charlene Mccray- Implementd A Mental Health Program-In 2018- Could My Name? Be’ Place On An Intake- Waiting List? I Was Approve-2010 E-For Level#1-Level #2 Housing. Please Reach-Out. In Your Leisure Time. Thank You Good Day.

    57. CA says:

      This debacle is causing a double financial burden for residents. This is a structural change that will have years have impact: 1) our property values will suffer, which has multiplier effects on our economy with less wealth to spend. 2) fewer hotels in our neighborhood, where tourists bring outsized spending power to support local businesses.

      Whatever politicians are driving this will not win re-elections.
      This is all terrible for the UWS.

      • World Peacenik says:

        To be honest, “This is all terrible for the UWS [Monied]”

        so speak for yourself, not The UWS.

        • LK says:

          Glad it’s working out for you.

          • World Peacenik says:

            I have been trying to explain my comment, but WSR destroys them.

            I won’t put much effort in this time, as it does seem futile, but here’s my Sysophrysian
            effort.

            The Commentor’s conclusion was that “Whatever politicians are driving this will not win re-elections.” [because] This is all terrible for the UWS.

            I noted that not all UWSer’s share identical concerns; namely 1) our property values… 2) tourists bring outsized spending power.

            So it would be best not to generalize and assume everyone will vote based on those 2 issues.

    58. UWSSurfer says:

      The bellweather that warned us that the police would do nothing to control drug-addled, drunk, aggressive, masturbating, harassing homeless guys who poop & pee on the sidewalk was back when the cops did nothing against Tie-Dye Guy and his raucous crew.

      They camped out under the Ansonia’s scaffolding shed and moved around
      within a few blocks causing trouble everywhere they went.

      I haven’t seen Tie-Dye in months. But a Westside Rag commenter said that families were in line at the ice cream store on Amsterdam and a homeless guy yelled, “Suck my d*ck” to a little girl. That was always Tie-Dye’s line. He might be living at the Lucerne now.

      I bet the 2 guys who owned the antique store that had to close due to the luxury condo
      being built next door to the Lucerne, are
      feeling much better about having to move out before this all happened.

      • TrueTrue says:

        Saw 5 move outs (and no move ins) happening just now while outside for about 10 min. August 15th leases I suppose, but interesting nonetheless.

      • lynn says:

        I’ve seen Tie Dye on my block since March, 72nd btwn WEA and B’way. He’s been encamped in front of my door under the scaffolding. Last week he had a serious mental breakdown, screaming obscenities at someone who was trying to help him. His belongins are on the other side of the sidewalk and across from the door, and his sofa (that magically appeared out of nowhere) is just inches from the front door. The guardian angels were supposed to speak to this group of men yesterday but it doesn’t seem to have made any difference. A young man was on the sofa in a heroin stupor at noon today, so I called 311 Homeless Outreach, and now it’s almost midnight and no one has come here to speak to him. Very distressing all around.

    59. Concerned UWSer says:

      Everyone on here talking about any of the current city politicians in office right now, I hope you realize that if you vote for them, in any of their musical chair offices, you’ll be bringing more of this decay and danger to our doors. Time for a WHOLE NEW CITY GOVERNMENT. Plus. Sara Lind who is the clone of Helen Rosenthal. God forbid she is elected. They have all done enough damage. Time to take back our streets.

      • Dave K. says:

        Please vote Jerry Nadler out

        PLEASE!

        He has disappeared!!

        • JS says:

          Dave,
          The issue of homeless, the use of West Side hotels is the purview of City Council person Helen Rosenthal. Also the Mayor and Borough President.
          But not Congressman Nadler – not fair to blame him.

          Congressman Nadler has been a diligent, hardworking representative for years. (BTW I believe his wife has been ill.)

    60. Lucian says:

      Mayor de Blasio and incompetent commissioner Banks have lost all believability and credibility. The terrible underhanded way that these pedophiles drug addicts and mentally ill clients were transferred in Mass to the upper West side, hundreds and hundreds and a six-block radius was a disaster. I’ve read articles making light of it by people that do not reside in the area, I live on 79th Street and I’m a parent of two teenagers. I feel unsafe letting them walk around I myself have been accosted. These clients harass patrons sitting in outdoor seating in local restaurants for money. Talk about unsafe many of them wear their masks around their chins as they’re harassing sitting patrons eating at these restaurants. It’s shameful what has been done.

    61. Alice says:

      Does anyone from the Mayor’s Office, DHS, our Community Board, Helen Rosenthal read any of these comments? Does anyone care that we can no longer walk in our neighborhood without being harassed? What about when the kids go back to school? Did they REALLY think that dropping 300 men in a hotel without any structure would work? Can we get the same security detail that our Mayor has? Please?

    62. There is perceptibly a lot to realize about this.
      I feel you made various nice points in features also.