Judge Denies Attempt to Block Lucerne Move, Clearing Way for Homeless Men to be Transferred Downtown

The Lucerne.

The homeless men living at The Lucerne Hotel can start to be moved to a Radisson downtown after a judge denied a motion by opponents to stop the move. The 235 remaining men are expected to be moved starting as soon as Monday.

The lawsuit by a group called Downtown New Yorkers Inc. composed of residents living near the Radisson will be allowed to continue and the next hearing is set for Nov. 16. But by then the men from The Lucerne will almost certainly have fully relocated.

The men were moved to the Lucerne at the end of July as part of a city program to put people experiencing homelessness in hotels, which would make it easier for them to socially distance and avoid Covid-19. Many of the men at The Lucerne had been in treatment for drug addiction, and some Upper West Siders complained that the men continued to use drugs in the open and otherwise act out in public. Opponents started a group to urge the mayor to move the shelter, while others battled to allow the men to stay.

The conflict has led to all sorts of strange alliances. The downtown group fighting the shelter uses some of the same arguments as a group of people on the Upper West Side — known as UWS Open Hearts — who were fighting to keep the shelter on the UWS. And shelter opponents on the Upper West Side have been embraced by right-wing media personalities, a peculiar twist for a neighborhood that had historically been considered liberal. In general, all the groups involved — for and against shelters in the neighborhood — have couched their arguments in what’s best for the men experiencing homelessness.

After the judge’s decision, the UWS organization that had organized against the shelter celebrated the move, saying it would be good for the men.

“The West Side Community Organization was pleased to learn that the Court has rejected efforts to prevent the relocation of the vulnerable population currently housed at the Lucerne to a location that is better equipped to serve their needs,” the organization said in a statement sent by their press rep.

NEWS | 85 comments | permalink

LEAVE A COMMENT

Your email address will not be published. Please limit comments to 100 words and keep them civil. We delete comments that don't adhere to community guidelines.




This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

    1. Scott Rademaker says:

      Yes!

    2. Fingers crossed on the UWS says:

      I’m thrilled BUT I still refuse to get excited until it actually does happen. Remember, this is not the first time the move was only a day or two away & then something happened last minute to postpone it. Let’s all keep our fingers crossed that it does actually happen on Monday but also anticipate that some glitch could postpone it yet again. But here’s hoping!

      • It’s official... says:

        I just walked by the Lucerne hotel and learn this by the two guards outside…they we’re talking about it that everyone be out starting Monday morning at 9:am. Buses will arrive. The Homeless residence in the Lucerne Shelter hotel have just been notified this morning.

        • Neighbor across the street says:

          They were about 5 white vans this morning taking a number of the homeless people out. I think I counted about 25 of them. And there’s another five vans right now taking more out at 12 noon……There about 20 lined up next to the white vans and another bunch inside standing in line to come out. I live across the street at 200 W. 79th St. They all with bags and garbage bags…No one is protesting! LOL!

    3. blacklikeu says:

      I bet 10 to 1 the move does not happen.

    4. Otis says:

      Best news I’ve heard all day. Let’s take our neighborhood back!

      • Sid says:

        What a terrible sentiment. You live in a city, not a gated community. This isn’t YOUR neighborhood, this is a neighborhood for all.

        • MAD says:

          If that’s true, then tell me why they don’t observe basic human behavior, like not pooping and peeing in the street, fighting, breaking bottles late at night (evidence on our sidewalk this a.m.), stealing, and the rest of the documented behaviors.

          • UWS for life says:

            The antisocial behaviors are distressing, I get it. But the men at the Lucerne were treated with such immediate and forceful disgust by the neighborhood that I don’t really know why anyone would think they would reciprocate with being quietly respectful. You think I’m scum? Fine, I guess I’m the scum that just pooped outside your brownstone. You raised thousands of dollars to hire lawyers to get rid of me and you’re thinking I’m going to quietly step off the curb to let you walk by? You can’t treat people like garbage and expect them to take the high road.

            • John E. says:

              UWS for life, the only ones treated with “forceful disgust” were those causing trouble.

              Who in their right mind would not be disgusted by people urinating, defecating or shooting up in public view?

              Stop with the excuses for this type of behavior. Do you really think they would have been good neighbors if we had sent them flowers or fruit baskets?

        • Katherine says:

          No, it’s not a neighborhood for people openly defecating in the streets, peeing in the streets, masturbating, shooting up, fighting, panhandling, harassing women, punching people.

          No one sane wants that here.

        • John E. says:

          Yeah, it is OUR neighborhood! If we’re paying rent or bought a co-op or condo and established roots here, we get to call this OUR neighborhood.

          As much as I have sympathy for the homeless, this is not their neighborhood. It would be nice if some of them start acting civil. You wonder why all the NIMBY grumbling.

        • The KMan says:

          Sorry Sid. Of course it’s OUR neighborhood and we want it to return to being a safe, family oriented one. I’m so tired of avoiding the area of the Lucerne for safety reasons. Talk to the small business owners who were harassed by some of the residents and had to deal with this on a daily basis. Relocation is long overdue but I’m a skeptic and will only believe it when I see it.

          • CGK says:

            It is my neighborhood too, it is perfectly safe. I welcome our homeless neighbors.

            not so thrilled about people with your attitude being neighbors of mine,

        • Adam says:

          Not sure where you live Sid, but to have your neighborhood that was once clean, safe and friendly turn into a drug infested free for all where you can no longer feel safe going out at night, or seeing the types of things we have to see even during the day all change that way in less than 1 week of them moving in there, you’d better understand. No, it is not a gated community, but when you pay a LOT of money to live in this neighborhood and it changes so dramatically like that all because of them living in there. It has been a very scary and sad time.

        • Untoldstories says:

          Ok Sid, perhaps you’d like to pick up my option on the malignant covert narcissist I took off the streets on the UWS and supported completely for the past two years. He keeps threatening me with housing court if I try to dislodge him. Im also out about $25k cash but I won’t ask for that back in the transaction. Let me know where I should drop off all the clothing I bought him. Along with Himself.

          • charles becker says:

            What was the quid pro quo when you took this individual of the streets? Please explain how this individual hid his narcissistic character from you.

      • Peggy says:

        This was there neighborhood before you moved in and made housing costs go up.

        • John E. says:

          Hey Peggy, if you live here on the UWS then you’re just as guilty for pushing housing costs up and making it YOUR neighborhood and not THEIRS.

          And that can apply to pretty much every neighborhood in Manhattan.

          So what do we do about that? Build more affordable housing? How is that going to happen now with the financial state the city is in? And pushing people out of the city who pay a big portion of the taxes here will make the problem even worse.

          • Bruce Bernstein says:

            Nobody is being “pushed out” except poor and working class people, who can’t afford to keep living here… a major cause of homelessness, btw. People cheered the essential workers who kept the city running but then have no problem forcing them to live many hours from their jobs.

            This thread is also full of vast exaggerations as to how many people are defecating on the street, etc. and those tend to be street homeless, who by definition are not living in the Lucerne. these are the same old prejudicial myths.

    5. JS says:

      Perhaps the Lucerne will be used for homeless families?
      It would be better for children and families to be in a residential area instead of Times Square hotels.

      BTW with respect to location, downtown may actually be better, more practical for adults – more space in the area, closer to some city service offices, about 8 blocks from the hospital, more subway lines at Wall Street and Fulton Street etc

    6. Susan says:

      Whoever that judge is, THANK YOU.

    7. Rwc says:

      “The West Side Community Organization” is it racist group filled with white privilege who refused to allow the upper West side to be kind open hearted and share the prosperity of living in a safe neighborhood in the middle of a crisis and pandemic that is still ongoing.

      • Annie says:

        Many of the members of the group are not white. Look around your neighborhood, can’t you see many of us come from diverse backgrounds? Can you not see also, that many of the homeless in the hotels ARE white. Those who bring up racism when talking about this are just diverting from the real issues.

    8. Lucerne Resident says:

      This neighborhood has been on edge long enough. It’s time to let the folks at the Lucerne have the services they need as opposed to warring factions arguing over their location. One thing that I believe all can agree is that Helen Rosenthal does a TERRIBLE job of representing her constituents. She must go…

    9. What difference does it make says:

      Thank God!!

    10. More reason to push for legislation to #EndAbusiveTransfers, such as when they say “the new shelter will better serve your needs” and it proves false as soon as you get there.

    11. DAVID KLEINBERG-LEVIN says:

      Thank God for the move! Best for these homeless men and best for the local community living around the Hotel Lucerne. To have inserted into this residential community several hundred strangers with no long-term personal stake in the flourishing of this community was from the very beginning a mistake. Nobody benefited from it.

      • charles becker says:

        It is never over. If there is a second and or 3rd wave of corona virus people will come from all over the US to NYC. Remember the city is under court order to provide these people. These people have better living conditions than many people living in private industry.

    12. z says:

      Hopefully the move will give the cops and emt’s a much needed break. Now they can focus on The Belleclaire and street homeless, and other assorted crimes, vandalism, burglaries, robberies, assaults,car break-ins, etc.

    13. Newcavendish says:

      Can we stop wasting the city’s rapidly dwindling cash resources on this now?

    14. Vince says:

      It’s not over until it’s over. There are other things that can block this….again, and again.

    15. LongtimeNYer says:

      What about the Belleclaire?!

      • FYI says:

        Belleclaire hotel and the one on West 96 Street already started the move last week down to midtown and two other shelters. Actually this one should be empty right about now.

    16. Leon says:

      Move the homeless men who are not drug addicted downtown and give them resources to stay clean and find jobs. Move the drug addicted somewhere they can receive services and not have access to drugs – preferably not a densely populated area.

      And the Open Hearts group can find a new pet cause that makes them feel good about themselves. There are plenty of existing groups on the UWS that can use help.

      And let’s pass laws so police can resume properly doing their job and penalizing those who repeatedly violate quality of life laws.

      • Bruce Bernstein says:

        reply to Leon:

        the comment about the Open Hearts group is snarky, dismissive, condescending. Open Hearts is defending the most vulnerable population, the homeless. The right wingers also claim they are doing what is good for the homeless, but that is an obvious subterfuge. No one believes them so the tactic is to treat Open Hearts as self-concerned and fraudulent, and to anonymously disparage them. The homeless men seem to like what Open Hearts has been doing.

        The Open Hearts leaders have the courage and compassion to get out on the public stage and take a stand that some might dismiss. I give them a big three cheers.

    17. Joyce Visceglia says:

      With proper supervision and medical care these men should be allowed to live in our communities whether north south east or west .
      With Compassion and good management we will
      as New Yorkers treat every person with the respect all human beings are entitled .
      That’s what makes New York City unique and why we choose to live here.

    18. What Happened To My UWS says:

      How do the people who forced these folks out sleep at night? No compassion, no empathy? The hate and the anger and the fear they have spread. Shame on them for the lessons they have taught their children. All the energy and money expended on this could have been used for the good of others. A great opportunity squandered.

      • Annie says:

        I volunteered in a mental institution for many years. Perhaps it naive to believe that those with mental health/addiction problems are benefiting from staying a hotel where they are not being provided with mental heath services and structure. They are not necessarily being protected from Covid either, if mask wearing and social distancing are not being enforced. It sounds as if they will be receiving more of the services/supervision they need downtown.

    19. Farnham Maxwell says:

      Was the judge’s name JULIUS HOFFMAN?
      (Reference: The Chicago 7 Trail..1968
      )Directed and written Andrew Sorkin.. 2020

    20. Amy says:

      Wow. I’m ashamed of the UWS. At the very least don’t gloat & realize that there are actual humans who live in those hotels whose lives will be upended yet again. And these residents need stability most of all. At the very least have a bit of empathy. Shame.

      • Susan says:

        Amy, these are hotels. They are not shelters. No residents can expect “stability” there for more than a few months, which they got.

    21. Disappointed but standing strong for the men at the Lucerne says:

      These comments and the hate group who tries to speak on behalf of the UWS do not represent us. You have shown your true colors for the worse as an unwelcoming racially narrow xenophobic cabal. I would much rather have the homeless men as my neighbors than many of you. Yes I live here and have kids and my kids have also met the men at the Lucerne. They are human beings like you and I and they deserve a home, peace and security and to be free of the hate engendered by so many of you. The pandemic was enough of a threat on this vulnerability. The fact that they had to withstand your hatred was more than anyone should have to bear. Truly disappointed by this move.

    22. Anita says:

      Otis, feeling no empathy doesn’t have to be your permanent state. People change all the time. Give it a try. Your life will be very different. Just sayin.

    23. Orin says:

      Very disappointing news that this is happening as many of you are celebrating . What does this say about our UWS community ? Sad commentary.

    24. Sarah says:

      Twenty years from now people are going to be denying they were involved in this. Shame, shame, shame.

    25. Tess Kadavil says:

      The UWS already houses 5X the number of homeless beds of the average district in NYC. These “temporary” hotel shelters are supposed to be just that, temporary. Or they are in violation of fair share laws that exist to stop exactly the problems created on the UWS. The politicians and the fake altruists who refuse to acknowledge the crime, safety issues and also ignoring fair share laws. Every reasonable person must ask why?? Follow the money, folks. Pretty simple to see who’s getting money from the hotel association.

    26. Timothy says:

      I am glad that each man will finally have his own room at the Radisson! This should be very helpful in regards to Covid!

    27. Ben S. says:

      God forbid someone working a low-wage job should reside within a block of your million dollar pied-a-terre — or worse, that you should have to actually see them walk by when you’re trying to enjoy a cappuccino at your favorite boutique cafe. Now the horror is over, and you can go back to pretending that this isn’t a city in which there are millions of people who are food and housing insecure.

    28. Tired UWSer says:

      Fully agree with the comment that the UWS houses and supports the homeless and very low income 5 times the amount in other neighborhoods. Financial district, Soho, UES all have 1 or none. if you have a complex about helping, go do more charity on your own. We are allowed a clean environment if we work hard and spend our money on high rents for a nice neighborhood. No one pushed anyone out. We were filled to the brim already. Let the UES and Fidi take their share for once. I’m not cruel, just smart. Use some damn common sense. Sick of your holier than thou attitudes.

    29. UWS Mom says:

      Look, understand this may be frustrating to the people
      asking for help from the city looking for a place to live. But we cannot even afford to pay teachers their deferred payments right now … surely we can be a little more fiscally responsible with the tax dollars we pay and stretch them out by filling in available space …

    30. UWSgirl says:

      Great news! Anyone know when the belleclaire is supposed to clear out?

    31. Andre says:

      The UWS shows it’s true MAGA colors. There’s no difference between DJT’s vilification of Mexican immigrants and how these men were disrespected. At least we know how the UWS really feels about diversity and social justice.

      • Totally Fed Up on the UWS says:

        Of course, yet another delay just like all the others. And next week it will get delayed again. These people are never leaving, it will just go on forever.

    32. C says:

      The funiture should be professionally cleaned and carpets and mattresses thrown out and replaced with new ones. It is not fair to have unsuspecting, future paying customers use same mattress as probably all of them (esp families) would decline to stay there if informed upfront that the same mattress is being used. There are many stories that talk about a house that is damaged due to prior residents use of drugs. The fumes, etc seeps into wood and everything.

    33. Brook10024 says:

      Sit down, virtue signalers. How dare you suggest that tax-paying residents don’t have rights, too–the right not to feel threatened in one’s own neighborhood chief among them. Don’t dismiss that feeling, which is as real as anything. Feeling compassion for these men while also asserting my right to feel safe are not mutually exclusive. Good riddance to such sanctimonious and simplistic thinking.

    34. blacklikeu says:

      I offered 10 to 1 that the move will not happen. Read comment # 3.
      Lucky for whomever did not take me on.
      Read this link from just now – 12:20am 10.19.20 –

      https://nypost.com/2020/10/18/city-halts-transfer-of-homeless-lucerne-hotel-residents/

      • Steven says:

        I knew it as well. I was not keeping my hopes up as I knew it would get delayed again. If we had a quarter for every time their move was delayed we’d all be a lot richer right now. Till next week, when it gets delayed again.

    35. UWS-er says:

      As expected, this mornings Lucern moved was delayed yet again. Here is the story fro this mornings NY Post. This is why I didn’t get my hopes up, because I knew this would wind up happening. And whatever the next move out date will be I’m sure the exact same thing will happen. I give up.

      https://nypost.com/2020/10/18/city-halts-transfer-of-homeless-lucerne-hotel-residents/

    36. Logician says:

      Most comments around this issue have come from the heart, not the mind.

      This program has been insanely expensive – annualized cost of over $60k per individual for just the housing component. The city is resource constrained – using resources in this manner should be a total non-starter.

      These folks need more than just a hotel room. Where are the other services to help them longer term rehabilitate (if possible) or manage themselves / be managed in the best way possible?

      What about extra resources for the community? If city is spending $60k per individual on hotel rooms how about spending a small fraction of that on helping the neighborhood manage the friction of these individuals. I mean a cop in the playground so kids don’t see wasted addicts lying in the bathroom or foot patrol to dissuade people from crapping on the street.

    37. Mr. G says:

      It’s not the homeless people that make me want to move … Its the entitled non-empathetic UWS morons who have no care about the mental health issues these men/women are facing … Pathetic … God forbid one of these people were one of your family members, and this is how you speak about them … Take back our neighborhood? You didn’t build anything up here!

      • UWSgirl says:

        No one in my family would ever be homeless. In my culture, it is shameful to allow your family member or relative to be homeless or a nuisance/burden on other people, whether they are drug addicted or mentally ill. We are a recent immigrant group and most of us are not rich by any means, but you will not find a single homeless person among us in this country. Homelessness in the U.S. is a cultural problem and reflects the breakdown of family values. Also, state mental institutions were shut down a long time ago which was a big mistake. The mentally ill homeless are a danger to themselves and others and just putting them up in a hotel in a residential neighborhood is dangerous for them and us. Would you sir, if you had a mentally ill cousin, aunt or uncle or relation outside of your immediate family who could not keep a job, take them in indefinitely? If not, please keep your virtue signaling yourself.

        • Bruce E. Bernstein says:

          reply to UWSGirl:

          UWSGirl says: “We are a recent immigrant group… you will not find a single homeless person among us in this country.”

          Really? I would love to know what ethnic group suffers no housing dislocation and handles its affairs with no public help. Count me as skeptical.

        • Bruce E. Bernstein says:

          Reply to UWSGIrl:
          UWSGirl says:

          “Homelessness in the U.S. is a cultural problem and reflects the breakdown of family values.”

          Let me be blunt: This posting is transparently racially/ethnically biased. While homelessness cuts across all groups, Blacks and Latinos are greatly over-represented, especially in NYC. This posting nakedly claims that there is a problem with the “culture” of these groups that results in increased homelessness, and thus stigmatizes them. The propagation of myths like this show why the BLM movement is so necessary.

      • John says:

        Why haven’t you moved?

        • charles becker says:

          People who pay top dollar for rentals or co-ops can afford to move. The rest of the long time resident live in a gold cage, not so much anymore, cannot not afford new rentals and are stuck in their current apts. The neue rich can move out and lower their taxes and avoid private school tuition for their children.

        • UWSgirl says:

          Because I love my apartment, building and this neighborhood (or what it used to be) and got a good deal that is hard to walk away from. I’m hoping that current conditions are temporary and am waiting it out. The removal of sex offenders from the belleclaire improved quality of life (I stopped getting harassed so they must have been the culprits) and I’m hoping it will only improve from there. But there are still issues. People hanging out in the broadway islands doing drugs and drinking, blasting music, yelling and screaming and fighting while I’m trying to sleep because I have work in the morning. If they’re not gone soon, I’m out.

    38. Margo Z'Nuff says:

      Just let them stay forever! Enough of this! If you are fortunate enough to be a property owner, then you are rich and can afford to donate one week’s salary per month to keep our homeless neighbors clothed and fed. We are not doing enough! Lord hear our prayer. Shalom.