A recent rally in favor of the shelter. Photo by Peggy.
The city had expected to finish moving homeless men out of The Lucerne Hotel on 79th Street by this weekend, but the timeline has now been interrupted.
The Department of Homeless Services has paused transferring the men after reports in the Daily News, The City and elsewhere showed that the Lucerne transfer and another shelter transfer in Queens were causing a chain reaction of human misery throughout the system, with children and people with disabilities suddenly having to pack their bags.
“As the Mayor said this morning, at this time, while Commissioner Banks and Corp Counsel Johnson are reviewing the situation, we are not moving any clients from these locations as part of this initiative (moves in the normal course, such as to permanent housing, for example, may proceed),” a DHS spokesman said in a statement.
The story of The Lucerne has played out over about six fraught weeks, with community groups battling over the placement of the shelter. A nonprofit called the West Side Community Organization raised more than $100,000 and hired lawyer Randy Mastro to fight the placement of the shelter. After saying the shelter would only be moved when it was safe for the men to go back to dorm-style rooms, Mayor de Blasio suddenly decided last week to move it out of the Upper West Side. The Legal Aid Society, however, has challenged that decision.
The society says it is pleased with the city’s pause.
“We continue to negotiate on next steps and we hope the City will arrive at a solution that ensures that every New Yorker in shelter can be safe and healthy and receives the accommodations that they are entitled to as prescribed by law,” said Judith Goldiner, Attorney-in-Charge of the Civil Law Reform Unit at The Legal Aid Society, in a statement.
The West Side Community Organization, however, appears convinced that the move-out will go forward as planned.
“We understand and expect that the City will honor its commitment to move folks out of the Lucerne and into state-accredited shelters with proper services on-site by the end of this month,” Mastro said in a statement. “As the Mayor has explained, SRO hotels should only be temporary housing, and what’s happening on the Upper West Side is ‘not acceptable,’ so this move will be a win-win for this neighborhood and this vulnerable population.”
Defund Legal Aid Society
I just doubled my donation to Legal Aid. Keep it up!
the purpose of Legal Aid and other similar public defenders is to stick up for the most vulnerable and under-served. So they are doing their job, and I’m glad they are.
Mastro has a lot of chutzpah claiming the move is a “win” for the men in the Lucerne. That is sheer nonsense.
uh they are a private non-profit corporation. But thanks to your comment, I’ve decided to donate to them!
They get major funding from NYC. $270 million in 2019 with $40 million of that coming from the state, the rest from the city, so I’m not sure what you’re getting at. They can be defunded.
FYI: Private non-profits can still be funded through government grants.
From their website “The Legal Aid Society’s Criminal Defense and Juvenile Rights Practices, which are constitutionally mandated, are supported by government funding, while the Civil Practice relies heavily on private contributions.”
Making the transfers so outrageous, DHS never planned on making the moves,
I live on West 79, near the Lucerne. There are Blacks and Latinos living happily in my building, and I’m happy to have them here. The problem with the City’s placing so many homeless men here is that they have no long-term personal stake in the neighborhood: they do not take part, do not contribute. They do not fit in. As a taxpayer, I am willing to have increased taxes——whatever it takes to provide safe, clean and appropriate accommodations. But the Lucerne location is not a smart decision: neither good for these men nor good for us residents. Move them out now! The City could have, and should have, built suitable residences long ago in vacant areas, where these homeless would be able to begin new life.
And who are you to say they don’t fit in? As far as I know, we are not gated on the UWS. This city is for everyone, regardless of your obvious prejudices.
People pay a fortune and high taxes to live on the UWS and they should be able to do it without homeless people living in the streets, pedophilia, drug use, etc! Nothing to do with being racist but to do with quality of life where you have paid money to be!
Elizabeth, I’m pretty sure that Jerry was being ironic and sarcastic at the same time.
Everyone? The city streets are not there for open drug use and skid-row shanty towns. Nor are homeless pedophiles permitted to be near playgrounds. Not in the UWS or any community in NYC. That’s what the UWS is dealing with now thanks to this misguided program.
Wow. Please read your second sentence again. Do you not see how racist that sentence alone is? Who are you to judge your neighbors based on color and ethnicity?
“Wow. Please read your second sentence again. Do you not see how racist that sentence alone is? Who are you to judge your neighbors based on color and ethnicity?”
Sure looks like David Kleinberg-Levin does exactly that.
Yes, typical, “put them somewhere else, so I don’t have to see them or be reminded of their existence”. It’s like DKL has never read any other public comment on the subject, well public comment that can be commented upon.
Merely identifying people by their race is not intrinsically racist. Saying it is just piles on. People are indeed different (not better or worse) and we allowed to say so.
Yes, in vacant areas, or, as others have frequently suggested, in purely commercial areas or next to an airport–areas with no street life, good place to stroll, supermarkets, drug stores, bodegas, parks, playgrounds, etc. Because if you are homeless and/or battling substance abuse you don’t deserve to be near such good people as us.
Lol isn’t this just the classic template.
1. Absurd generalization as to why one is not intolerant thus achieving the opposite.
2. Self-promotion and praise for self-sacrifice
3. Blame somebody else
This is monumental incompetence on the part of all the parties involved. Once the decision was made to move the residents out of The Lucerne, obviously no strategic plans were developed to ensure that their housing situation would be safe, secure have no negative impact on others. Instead another chaotic crisis ensued, disrupting the lives of women and children in the proposed shelter. All involved in this fiasco should be fired. If only that could include the mayor!
May the pause become permanent.
may you have to watch them defecate and masterbate and make lewd comments to women and spit at us. enjoy!
The correct spelling is “mastUrbate”.
Your closing period belongs inside the closing quotation mark, as would a comma. Common mistake.
I, for one, applaud the decision and hope our new neighbors can stay as long as they need.
We should welcome all in our neighborhood, and be thankful those in need have a safe shelter at night.
Let the Trust Fund babies cry about their property value.
Guess what – it is going down, regardless of whether these shelters remain!
put your goodness to work and and take a couple of the men into your home
Apparently we’re all listing our credentials and where we live so I am also a minority (and an immigrant) living here in the UWS. I’m all up to date on my taxes and have judiciously paid them every year since arriving in the US.
Now that that’s all out of the way, I am fully in support of these men being allowed to stay at the Lucerne. Stable housing is a human right.
Yes, me too. And yes, I live here. I live around the corner from The Lucerne. This city is for everyone, and the UWS should be no different.
Everybody wants to help, but when that help is too close for comfort it becomes a strain. People saying that those in the Lucerne do not contribute to the community need to understand that maybe they don’t because they can’t.
Trust Fund babies? Any of those that are (I think they choose the UES, or Soho, not the formerly family-friendly UWS), left in March to the Hamptons. They’re still there.
Love it..”Let the trust fund babies cry”..unfortunately they are not here anymore… It’s just us who work hard and just want to be safe and not have to look over our shoulder while walking or be concerned that our car windows are not smashed..trust fund babies use garages…people like me park on the street or used go to the bodega on Broadway and 79th to get milk, unfortunately this 24 hour store now closes at nigh because the nice folks who own it and came to this country are sort of kinda of tired of being robbed….trust fund babies..sure..
I presume you don’t pay taxes & based on your ‘priveledge’ scored yourself a rent controlled apt w/below market rent. As a MINORITY paying TAXES in the UWS I don’t agree these hotels should be used as SRO’s and rather long term homes should be sought for these men to properly begin their lives.
PS—this is not the UES, there are very few ‘trust funds’ to be had in the UWS.
The correct spelling is “privilege”.
Your closing period belongs inside the closing quotation mark, as would a comma. Common mistake.
How is this repeated commment helping anything? Useless and hostile. Also, for all you know, Agnes could have emigrated from Great Britain, in which case this punctuation would be correct.
Do you even live here?
How sickening to read that the men at the Lucerne don’t “fit in.” I live diagonally across from the hotel and I’m Jewish. I know all about traditions of who “fits in” and who “doesn’t fit in.” I welcome the men at the Lucerne and welcome the efforts of Project Renewal to help these men.
Thank you. Right there with you.
Has a single “they don’t belong here” commenter actually tried speaking with any of the Lucerne residents? They’re doing the best they can. Quite a few have full-time jobs which don’t pay enough for them to afford housing.
Yes, Bob. Thank you for your comment. I too am Jewish, and I am sickened by what is happening. The way people are dehumanizing the homeless men who are living at the hotel is disgusting. We all know (or should know) what happens when people start to dehumanize vulnerable groups of people. And yet, there are many here on the UWS who are following that path anyway.
And for all that question where I live, I live around the corner from The Lucerne. I walk by the hotel regularly – day and night. I am not scared. The hatred and fear-mongering towards the homeless has got to stop.
Tell me about those Project Renewal efforts. Because it doesn’t seem that people at the Lucerne are getting much in the way of help or anything beyond a room.
thank you Bob Lamm, well said. I also found this point, in the same comment, really telling:
“There are Blacks and Latinos living happily in my building, and I’m happy to have them here.”
He’s “happy to have them here.” i wonder if they’re “happy to have him”?
My thoughts. I don’t know the solution here (I’m not a policy expert or an elected or appointed government official), but reading “they don’t fit in” made me scared. Hearing my blue state, blue city, and blue neighborhood I’ve chosen to live in start using such “them vs us,” or “they don’t belong here” and they need to be “moved to vacant areas” language is discouraging. Sounds a lot like recreating ghettos and we know that has never never led to good outcomes, in this country or others.
Thank you for this comment. A truly disgusting sentiment for those to deem who “fits in.” This is the most diverse city in the world, not some gated whites-only neighborhood in a suburb from the 50s.
People who want to live in gated communities, LIVE IN GATED COMMUNITIES. People who don’t, want a safe neighborhood. This is not about racism, or a so-called “gated community”, it’s about removing the element that has turned the sidewalks of the Upper West Side into a third-world slum. For the taxes I pay, I have the right to not view people going to the bathroom, putting needles into their arms, or being VERY aggressively panhandled. If you’re a young female, it’s much worse. Mastro, go to court!
No one denies that we are entitled to have safe streets, etc. However, it’s far too easy to select groups of individuals (e.g., “the homeless”), many of whom are probably law-abiding and respectful people. The moral approach would be to enforce laws against illegal behavior regardless of which “groups” appear to be contributing the most to it. But it’s much easier to remove the homeless.
No one denies that we are entitled to have safe streets, etc. However, it’s far too easy to select groups of individuals (e.g., “the homeless”), many of whom are probably law-abiding and respectful people. The moral approach would be to enforce laws against illegal behavior regardless of which “groups” appear to be contributing the most to it.
Back and forth, back and forth. Confusion and chaos. That’s what you get with an incompetent showboat in charge.
Lightbulb. How about the people in midtown move into the Lucerne instead of whatever far flung location they were slated for. And the men at the lucerne go to the midtown location as promised?
“How about the people in midtown move into the Lucerne instead of whatever far flung location they were slated for. And the men at the lucerne go to the midtown location as promised?”
The midtown location, which isn’t in midtown, is not set up for those using wheelchairs.
You’re treating people as swappable widgets. That’s what De Blasio did when he decided that to cave and remove the men from the Lucerne. He clearly had no idea where they were going.
It is such a sad commentary on our neighbors to see this strong outcry against providing this much-needed shelter for the homeless. How much better and more humane it woudl be for voices to be lifted to provide the shelter while simultenously stepping up action to keep the whole community safe and secure.
Thank you, yes.
Let’s be clear, West Side Community Organization raised $140,000 in order to hire a top tier $1000k /hr lawyer to kick homeless people out of the UWS community. This is an epic fail on the part of the West Side Community to have a positive impact. Is there any portion of funds actually going to help people? Or 100% toward kicking people out of our community that it deems undesirable?
A healthy community is one that welcomes and embraces everyone. A safe community is one that looks out for and supports each other. A beautiful community is one that celebrates differences and embraces those in need. Building a strong community does not have to be synonymous with kicking people out. We can choose to be a model for other communities, and put our resources towards positive initiatives that help others.
I welcome our new neighbors and am proud to speak up against the narrative that there are certain sorts of people that don’t fit in or don’t belong on the UWS. Upper West side is for everyone.
Such a beautifully expressed sentiment. Everyone is welcome, indeed.
How do you feel about drug dealers? Prostitutes? Public masturbators? Sex offenders? Arsonists? Murderers? Cannibals? War criminals? Or the mere public defecator – either due to mental illness or to spite our privilege.
I’d love to hear you speak in defense of these. After all, they’re just misunderstood subsets of “everyone.” At the very least, please put something on YouTube. I want to learn how to embrace, celebrate and welcome their beautiful difference.
You should ask the Mayor’s wife what happened to the 800 million dollars that was allocated to help the homeless. Where. Did. That. Money. Go?
@UWSHebrew, you really sound like a clear as day racist and misogynist with that last comment about the mayors wife. You also sound like someone who shouldn’t be living in NYC. Maybe you should leave since you don’t like what is going on. Clearly you aren’t cut out for the city.
But I like Zabar’s.
Perhaps. You. Can. Donate. Your. Extra. Periods.
reply to UWSHebrew;
Do facts concern you?
Operation Thrive is a mental health project, not aimed at homeless, though there is overlap.
About 1 minute of searching gave me a detailed budget for its activities.
“Chirlane McCray, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio’s wife, was entrusted in 2015 with running a new initiative in the city called ThriveNYC, a program that attempted to address issues of homelessness, substance use, depression and suicide, all centered around mental health and with a price tag of $250 million per year in tax payer dollars. Now, four years later, there are serious concerns and calls for official inquiries into the program because no one can determine if it’s actually been successful. What’s more, due to a general opaqueness when it comes to the program’s budget, ThriveNYC has apparently left that nearly $900 million unaccounted for.” source: “Bill De Blasio’s Wife and The Case of the Missing $850 Million in Taxpayer Money”
Thank you for posting. I was going to do the same. UWSHebrew seems to go radio silent when facts are presented. Isn’t it fitting that the first Thrive program mentioned is its partnership with the NYPD, a group he supports no matter how egregious its behavior is? I’m guessing UWSHebrew doesn’t think the support for police officers, including suicide prevention, should be defunded even in light of Thrive’s association with Chirlane Mccray. (The Mayor’s wife does have a name.)
I don’t understand why they can’t be put in an area that is empty like midtown. Only10% of office workers are back. No tourists. They would be better off there. Business will probably be happy to welcome customers.
You have some nerve trying to push them off on the taxpaying residents of midtown. Of which there are many.
Although I generally agree that this was a bad decision, things are not so dire for the residents on the UWS that this should have ended early.
Especially if it’s causing havoc downstream, what’s the real harm in allowing the men to stay at the Lucerne through the contracted term, which is just a few weeks away anyway?
Many of the bad conduct on the UWS is not by the people at the Lucerne.
i think a lot of the worst problems that people were rightly complaining about and which showed up overnight have been addressed.
walking around the area, if I didn’t know, it wouldn’t occur to me that bad conduct has skyrocketed or that there are more obviously homeless people in the neighborhood. it looks pretty much the same as it did 4 months ago.
The problem isn’t the homeless. The issue which the media is missing are these men are NOT getting the help at the Lucerne. We’ve had men die, OD and mentally breakdown because it’s a HOTEL and not equipt to handle it. They need to be in a fully functional shelter. I’m not sure why this isn’t being talked about. Shame on the protesters. You are not helpeing them. They need help. They need medical and mental professionals in a facility that can help them. Unfortunately, the protesters and the media are making the problem worse and even have blood on their hands. It’s just terrible all around.
Let’s see if the WSR will post my comment since it tends to post more offensive ones than the one I tried to post before. I live near the Belleclaire hotel and walking up and down those streets is horrible. There is the smell of urine and weed first of all. The one day, they were talking across the street with each other (in front of the t-mobile store and the hotel). I don’t mind it but when they are screaming on top of their lungs and screaming obscenities then it becomes an issue. There are many kids that walk around that area. Another day, they were blasting a boombox early in the morning. They also litter everywhere even though there are trash cans right on the corner for them to dispose of. They sit and block the streets having the time of their life. They should either relocate or given rules they need to follow for them to stay there.
Why are you not surprised that the city has halted the removal of the homeless men, many of whom are drug addicts and have alcohol abuse problems. Once these men were moved into the Lucerne the DHS really had no intention of relocating them to a proper shelter that would provide these men with the necessary medical, health and social services that they need. None of these men have ties to the neighborhood. Therefore, relocating them to an appropriate shelter should not be an issue.
Once again, the DeBlasio administration is reactive and not proactive. The homeless men had no say when they were moved into the Lucerne from a shelter in Hell’s Kitchen due to their disruptive and aggressive behavior. Why then shouldn’t they be moved to a more appropriate shelter/location?????
Wait, how about using the Lucerne as a luxury hotel? That would work.
On second thought, let the junkies stay and ship Rosenthal out of the neighborhood.
A bad performance of “Musical Chairs”
What do we get for the 3 billion plus city funding for the homeless? Why can’t we have a better strategy for handling and helping the homeless? The city is filled with homeless people who do not seem to be doing well mentally or have acceptable hygiene before the pandemic. Mayor de Blasio keeps saying it is the pandemic. While true, this was happening in the city before the pandemic. Mayor de Blasio, DHS, and the controller should make this budget more transparent to the citizens of the city and taxpayers.
This “chain reaction of human misery” is a situation created by the city, who mismanaged the homeless from the start. As for the new inhabitants of the Lucerne, they were given the chance to live peacefully in UWS and couldn’t do it. Sadly, they brought violence, vagrancy and open drug use to the neighborhood. Accept reality and move these men to a place where they can get help without harassing local residents.
Sorry, Dom, but repeating untruths over and over do not make them true! The only place the 283 men who were placed at the Lucerne “brought violence, vagrancy and open drug use to the neighborhood” is on this comment board! In the real world, on the actual streets of the UWS, we already had instances of all of that prior to the men being placed here…and yet remarkably our local police precinct commander recently reported that crime decreased in the last month.
I don’t care whether these people are allowed to stay at the Lucerne but this back and forth on the part of the de Blasio administration is infuriating. They’re so incompetent.
Leaving out a critical element of this story is irresponsible.
There are three (3) other hotels in a <1000 ft radius of Lucerne houseing homeless people without incident or complaint.
The issues with Lucerne are the high concentration in such a small area, and that this group had previously been evicted due to behavior problems.
By excluding this information this article presents a biased story.
Well, here we are in a typical New York muddle. Litigation and confrontation rather than really addressing the problem, with a little political chanitlly on top. If the city had done this correctly in the first place, it could have mitigated the UWS’s legitimate concerns (especially but not only those of nearby businesses) and headed off some of the NIMBY responses. Now we’ll get the political churn, litigation and waste of money and the ill-managed shelter and the ongoing confrontation, rather than really addressing the issues either for the dependent population or for the UWS.
Exactly! I see competing factions constantly finger-pointing and name-calling and the media picking sides while polarizing and distorting. We should not expect effective change from our elected officials, but what about promoting dialogue and cooperation in our neighborhood? For instance: Who is going to ensure hotel residents abide to mask wearing and social distance protocols should COVID numbers spike? Can hotels provide residents with rules to ensure that those engaging in antisocial behavior are evicted and moved to a less densely populated neighborhood? Could homeless women and families move in in place of those individuals? If we address such issues, wouldn’t more people (community, businesses, homeless) benefit in the long term?
Totally agree with this comment. It’s a total cluster you know what now. This has been handled wrong from the get go.
Does anyone know what happened to the 15 or so sex offenders staying at other hotels in the neighborhood ? And are people currently living at other hotels in the area planning to stay permanently ?
“Does anyone know what happened to the 15 or so sex offenders staying at other hotels in the neighborhood ? ”
It was more like 1 or 2 sex offenders with residency restrictions, and they were moved out more than a month ago.
There were sex offenders at the Lucerne, Bellclaire and the Belnord. And it shouldn’t matter what level offenders they were OR if there were 3 or 15, it was still a legitimate concern for parents in the neighborhood.
No matter which side you’re on, or no side at all, it’s safe to say, these men shouldn’t have been their to begin with.
There goes the neighborhood. Move them to Gracie Mansion!
send them to Gracie mansion while they look for a new shelter
“We’ve had men die, OD and mentally breakdown because it’s [Lucerne] a HOTEL”
You can document this?
In addition to the unfortunate death of the man at the Lucerne there were also numerous police reports via the Citizen App indicating that police/ambulances were sent to the Lucerne for overdoses, not to mention live video on Twitter.
There. It’s documented.
death at lucerne week ago – https://www.nydailynews.com/news/politics/ny-lucerne-homeless-hotel-death-medical-examiner-20200909-xp3nvniqhfg5zjwczrefrwtity-story.html
Without taking sides, I wish that all parties would see this for what it is. This was a business deal gone bad.
This was a way for DeBlasio to pay back hoteliers for their donations to his “moronically egotistical” presidential run.
Nothing more, it was just a BAD business deal.
Those making a NIMBY argument, or a social awareness issue are truly missing the point of what this is…A BUSINESS DEAL GONE BAD!
If this was about the pandemic they would have moved the homeless at the height of the pandemic, not after we flattened the curve!
Can everyone just settle down from taking sides and allow the neighborhood to return to a nice place to live.
We are in a frigging PANDEMIC right now.
This is not a time for neighbor against neighbor infighting! Please re-unite!
The irony of course is without the great lineage of liberal politicians from Bella Abzug to Ed Koch, politicians like DeBlasio would not even be in politics, and this was the thanks we got!
Not taking sides just want to enlighten all to the reality of the situation!
Yes, agree with you Dan. This definitely looked like a business deal and very targeted to UWS to fill the hotels. The timing, the communication, the execution and everything about it did not make any sense to anyone. So rather than banding together to make things better, we are engaged in name calling each other and attacking anyone who is concerned about the homeless and quality of life issues. Yes, the quality of life issues existed prior to the hotels but with the new numbers added to the neighborhood, it was the straw that broke the camel’s back.
Problem is people who are incompetent like de Blasio or phony like Hellen Rosenthal who did not handle this well. Helen, first said this was mishandled and she didn’t know, to now organizing to have the Lucerne residents stay even though this is not the best environment for them either. It would have been good instead to use her resources (which are the tax payers resources) toward something tangible for the neighborhood, maybe raise money to help the homeless on the UWS or clean streets, or hold workshops, or raise help for the businesses in need, or do something that makes it a better community but instead she has taken up only the Lucerne cause (not that it is not important) but in her case, she is doing it clearly for her own personal interest and agenda. Unfortunately this is the problem with our government leadership these days, that rather than solving problems, they focus on how they can exploit things to their advantage for media coverage. This is not what Bella Abzug or ED Koch did while in office.
All the article says is that a man died. There is no indication of a drug OD. People die all the time. Also, people who do not have access to healthcare are definitely going to be more at risk of health issues. Everyone complaining about the situation on the UWS are just a bunch of racists, you see what you want to see and not the reality. The 70s feel exactly the same as they always have been. Stop being afraid of people of color. They want nothing to do with white people anyway because we might call the cops on them and we all know how that ends up.
I always find it funny when people that don’t live in the area dictate what happens in said area
Though many of the men are trying to get life together, unfortunately many are battling addiction with no demands from the city to be clean or get rehab. And where the drug users move, the drug dealers come too – they are part of the package. That is one of the biggest problems with these men being placed into a more family oriented neighborhood.
I keep hearing this parroted and I have to ask. What neighborhood isn’t a “family oriented” neighborhood? Brownsville? Flatbush? Mott Haven? Jamaica? Washington Heights? The UWS isn’t the only neighborhood with parents trying to raise kids. But apparently is privileged enough to think it is.
Why not house them in Javitz center for now? It’s not being used and it’s enormous.