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.