By Yvonne Vávra
Upper West Siders gathered on Sunday at 2pm in Riverside Park at 75th Street to paint “Stars of Hope” to promote and reclaim hope, love, and empathy, and raise awareness and support for all New Yorkers without stable housing, organizers said.
The event was planned by the group Upper West Side Open Hearts, an initiative committed to supporting the residents in temporary hotel shelters at The Lucerne Hotel, and the Belleclaire, Belnord, and The Park West.
UWS Open Hearts criticized Mayor de Blasio’s recent decision to relocate residents from their current hotel shelters on the Upper West Side to other shelters in the city, starting with The Lucerne.
For many of the men, this would be the fourth time since June that they would be removed from one neighborhood and transferred to another in the middle of a global pandemic, UWS Open Hearts says. As it stands, the move will also dislodge a number of disabled families from another shelter in Brooklyn to accommodate the men from The Lucerne.
The first step was painting the stars. Neighbors donated the supplies.
Then they brought them to The Lucerne, and hung them.
Last was a walk to Gracie Mansion from The Lucerne to deliver the message in person.
Dancer/actress/filmmaker and author of an extremely popular essay on WSR, Marianne Hettinger took the following video of a speech made by a resident of The Lucerne, who calls himself Da Homeless Hero.