Da Homeless Hero speaks at a Monday rally at The Lucerne. Photos by Amelia Roth-Dishy.
By Amelia Roth-Dishy
On the very morning when 235 homeless men were expected to be forcibly relocated from The Lucerne Hotel on 79th Street to another hotel downtown, a judge blocked the move — the latest twist in a remarkable legal battle that has gone back and forth repeatedly for more than a month. Three of the men staying at the hotel had sued, asking the court to stop them from being sent to a Radisson on William Street and claiming it would cause them “irreparable harm.”
The saga of the Lucerne is once again in limbo, following months of acrimony. The next court hearing is set for November 16, so there’s a chance that the men will be able to stay until at least then.
The hotel began being used as a shelter in July as a way to protect the men from being exposed to Covid-19. But it caused a rift on the Upper West side, between those who said the men were too disruptive and those who said the community should be more welcoming.
On Monday morning, a bevy of elected officials, community members, and faith leaders gathered in front of The Lucerne for a rally and press conference decrying the move. At the time, they had no idea that Judge Debra James would overrule the city’s decision. Supporters toted signs both broad and specific, including “Black Lives Matter” and “the UWS Is For Everyone.”
The Upper West Side Open Hearts Initiative, which has been supportive of the decision to make The Lucerne into a shelter, organized the event.
“This [move] was orchestrated by a small group on the Upper West Side who have NIMBY, racist ideas and hired a very expensive lawyer,” Helen Strong, a member of the Open Hearts Initiative, said. “I’m hoping today the courts issue a stay on this move and that the mayor realizes that this move doesn’t need to happen at all.”
The rapidly developing nature of the situation meant that many who gathered at 9am, including reporters, appeared unsure whether or not to expect DHS buses. The press conference began around 9:30am. Melissa Sanchez, a member of the Open Hearts leadership team, spoke first and described the community ties and job placements that the men of the Lucerne have developed on the Upper West Side. “They are as entitled to be a part of this community as anyone else,” Sanchez said.
State Senators Brian A. Benjamin and Brad Hoylman both called on the city to address the underlying structural problem of homelessness.
“As far as I’m concerned, we should not be debating about this homeless shelter or that homeless shelter. We should be talking about permanent housing,” Benjamin said.
Among the public figures who stood with Open Hearts volunteers and supporters was Lindsay Boylan, who recently ran against Jerry Nadler in the NY-10 Democratic primary. “The men who are living in the Lucerne matter. Their humanity matters,” she told the Rag. “The city and the mayor have really fumbled on this.”
Janos Marton, a candidate in the upcoming 2021 Manhattan District Attorney race to unseat Cy Vance, was also in attendance.
Lucerne residents DHH and Larry Thomas both addressed the crowd. The men are two of the three plaintiffs in the temporary restraining order, filed yesterday against DHS and the Mayor, which was granted this afternoon and thereby stopped the move. “The fact that we’re going to a place where there’s another group that’s saying they don’t want us there, before we even got there, that’s traumatizing in itself,” Da Homeless Hero said, referring to a group called Downtown New Yorkers for Safer Streets that has already organized in FiDi to block the men’s scheduled relocation to the Radisson. Da Homeless Hero, who has become an outspoken advocate for unhoused New Yorkers and something of a local celebrity, was called back to field questions from reporters.
Council Member Helen Rosenthal arrived late and spoke privately with Da Homeless Hero.
A representative for the West Side Community Organization, which has opposed the shelter, sent the following comment:
“The West Side Community Organization (“WestCo”) is disappointed that a court has temporarily delayed the relocation of the vulnerable population currently housed at the Lucerne to a better facility being converted into a permanent shelter that can best serve their needs. It’s not doing right for this neighborhood, and it’s not doing right by this vulnerable population. The compassionate thing to do is to move them to a proper facility where they will get all of the services they require, not continue to house them doubled-up in an SRO hotel that is not equipped to provide them the services they need. WestCo will therefore continue to advocate against the use of SRO hotels to house this vulnerable population and for them to return to proper, full-service shelters.”
It’s very unfortunate that our elected officials should be looking out for the best interests of the people who live in this neighborhood.
Instead, they are intent on destroying it with their “progressive” values and selfish interests.
see the thing is, I live in the neighborhood and I’m 100% behind them staying. All of you NIMBY’s, although the loudest, aren’t the majority.
NOPE! Our elected officials that WE voted for & got elected into office look out for the residents of the Lucern over us, the people who got them into the positions they are in now. Guess we are the real suckers here.
Move..for the sake of the’ hood..You’ll be happier..
I’m incredibly disappointed in the perceived privilege and entitlement of my UWS “neighbors” posting their bile below, in particular, those who act like the UWS is a gated community now that they live here. Rethink your moral void.
I live in the neighborhood and I support the men at the Lucerne.
You don’t speak for the neighborhood.
Good. They never should have had to fight a court case to stay in the first place. Shame on those who have not been welcoming.
If I did not see drug use near and around the hotel I would not have a problem But……
This is an outrage! Life in a homeless shelter should not be temporary, not permanent. Guess The Lucerne is going to be their permanent free home. Maybe I should sue the city for free $5000 a month apartment.
It is costing taxpayers $120.00 a night per room
All that money goes only to the Lucerne. Zero to helping
provide any resources to help these men?
Not quite. The FEMA contracts for the TEMPORARY placement of some homeless into hotels to provide greater social distancing so that LIVES CAN BE SAVED is STILL temporary. It has only been extended until it is safe for the men to go back to congregate shelters. This always has been and remains, a temporary situation.
It’s not about NIMBY or any other facile meme. It’s about too many converted shelters in too small a radius and the safety issues that have arisen because of it. These lazy advocates should give us some meaningful commentary instead of parroting the same meme over and over again.
I am disappointed that this has been touted as racism. The push back, certainly for me, is about quality of life for the permanent residents, many of whom lived through the same problems in the 80s. Sometimes we old folks just get tired.
You are absolutely right Doe! At one time this was the aspirational neighborhood for young professionals. Now the UWS is supposed to be one of the best places for retirees living in the city. Maybe not…
Agreed. The concentration as compared to other districts is disproportionate. Look at the numbers for District 3 (Chelsea / Midtown south) or District 4 (Midtown / Upper East Side) or District 5 (Lennox Hill / Yorkville) or District 10 (Inwood / Washington Heights).
What safety issues? According to the 20th Precinct, there has been NO uptick in crime of any type, and absolutely no uptick in crimes against persons. Your concern is perceived, not based in reality. In fact, not one single resident of the Lucerne has been accused of much less arrested for, a crimes against any person.
That is patently untrue, Ian Alterman. A drug bust this summer that netted K2, marijuana, cash and a BMW led to the arrest of 12 people, 9 of whom came from the Lucerne. Compstat data shows crime up in many categories, despite the police being unable to arrest. Stick to the facts.
reply to Sue Meehan:
What is your source that “9 of the 12” arrested came from the Lucerne? maybe you are right, but I can’t find evidence of that. the bust itself seemed to be mostly in front of the Belleclaire, not the Lucerne. at least 2 of the 12 were female, so you are claiming that almost all of the rest lived in the Lucerne.
i hope you are being careful to not spread any false information about the men in the Lucerne. there has been enough false information bandied about recklessly.
“the arrest of 12 people, 9 of whom came from the Lucerne.”
How many hours were those 9 people retained?
Are they returned back to Lucerne next day? Crime all over again.
Maybe the UWS is for everyone, but(a) it is unfair for the court to impose a one-dimensional decision not addressing the legitimate concerns of the UWS (including those who wish not to be NIMBY) and (b) the ongoing litigation is an ongoing waste of the City’s resources at a time when its financial state is dire. Could this have been more badly managed? It certainly supports the narrative about the dysfunction of NYC.
That is a pretty presumptive comment. Setting aside that the judge probably took all sides into concern, are you saying that only if she sided with “your side” you would have considered the judge to be “fair?”
Litigation (FiDi) and threats of litigation (UWS) were initiated by the anti-homeless groups.
Why should UWS have the largest number of shelter beds? Why do you blame people who want to live is clean and safe environment? This article is an epitome of hypocrisy!
reply to Alexander:
the UWS DOESN’T have the largest # of shelter beds, even for Manhattan. We were 5th of 12 CBs in Manhattan prior to the COVID crisis. We added 700 beds, but beds were added throughout the city (63 hotels for homeless; we have 3); it is doubtful the rankings changed very much.
Just the facts, please, as Sgt. Friday used to say. (props to any old timers who get the reference.)
There is newer data from July. Go check how many shelters & hotel shelters are in Soho, UES, THE financial district. Try 1-3. That’s fair to the UWS? If we can’t control the street homeless, why should we keep taking more homeless? Broadway is a mess and I’m tired of filth because we can’t control the volume. Thank you, our local leaders for abandoning your businesses on Broadway. Get ready for more vacant stores due to this issue even BEFORE COVID.
Westside Rag, it would be nice if you don’t screen me again.
Le’s get rid of Rosenthal.
Let her run for office in a neighborhood
she would be appreciated in!
She has an agenda and is not the
I still would like to know how much time Helen spends at her second home. Strongly believe all NYC politicians should have to declare yearly the number of happy, homeless-free, parking search-free, and electric bike and electric scooter-free days they passed at their second homes far away from the city.
Then we would know much more, perhaps even the MOST IMPORTANT INFORMATION, about the people we are voting for.
Congratulations MS. Rosenthal..We are a “hood with a ❤️
She’s term-limited – this is her last term
She is a lame duck (won’t run for this office again)
This is part of the problem and why she is not doing what’s best for the neighborhood
Great news. These men should stay at the Lucerne.
I’m glad to see compassion winning the day. These folks need help more than anything and distain for their reality should be condemned.
I’m so grateful they get to stay in our community!
Everyone deserves a safe place to stay during the pandemic.
Common sense, love and kindness wins for today.
If the men are going to stay, convert the hotel into a proper shelter not a housing shell. Offer services that will enhance their lives so that they don’t merely have a place to live. Think about the men as human beings not defective objects. With help, they might help the outlook of the neighborhood.Without help, it doesn’t really matter where they live.
You are right! I live in the neighborhood and the situation is neither as positive or negative as the opposing sides say. It really is case-by-case.
The men at the Lucerne are receiving the same health, counseling, and placement services they received at their previous downtown shelter, and have been this whole time. The idea that they haven’t is unfortunately disinformation that people have been happy to spread. They do need a higher personal allowance and housing vouchers that are adequate to rent an apartment in NYC, though, so that should be the next policy push.
You’re correct. The cost of living in NYC is very expensive. Why do Taxpayers have to pay for someone to live in a particular place? Isn’t it enough they’re getting help?
You are clearly misinformed. The services provided by Project Renewal are very robust. Maybe if you did some actual research to get FACTS, you would realize how wrong you are.
And the men also get external services from groups like Open Heart Initiative and others. So they are very well taken care of where they are, and would actually get fewer services at the Radisson.
Are the services given by Project Renewal? If so, how many participate, and how much? And what are they?
So when this was done initially, and we were told this is temporary – temporary housing to allow Covid social distancing – we were lied to. It was not temporary, but a foot in the door based upon a lie. And it is bolstered by people crying “racism” if you dare disagree with it.
Once they are ‘in’ they will never leave… Isn’t odd that the men didn’t sue when they were moved to the Lucerne from the shelter they were living in?????
What about the people that have an Apt in the Lucerne and pay rent?? What about the irreparable harm that is being done to them????
Let’s not forget, these men are Homeless they don’t have ties to this community or any other community.
It IS temporary. It is only in place until the health data show that the men can be moved safely back to congregate shelters. That was, and remains, the plan.
How much do you want to bet? Why would they change anything? The UWS has accepted each and every shelter, no matter how poorly run and we are inundated with badly managed shelter residents who aren’t always doing right by the neighborhood. Just walk down Broadway (and watch the small businesses leave because WE ARE TIRED OF THE PROBLEMS).
Ever hear of “In agin, out agin, Finnigin”?
That’s what this Lucernne saga is resembling. Blame It On The Bossa Nova”? Or blame in on the politicians?
It is good that the homeless are at the Lucerne, but that should include meals and a recreational facility to aid them.
Just clarifying that we are provided Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner and I was instrumental in securing programs and services 7 days a week in the hotel’s penthouse. We also are securing access to Goddard Riverside with the inclusion of 50 jobs for a community clean up program.
Da Homeless Hero: Has project Renewal offered your a job? You have a gift of being able to speak to, advocating for, and know what services the homeless populations need.
The most important step to helping the homeless is to help them find both meaningful but also lucrative enough jobs that they can secure their own apartments. I believe you already work, but it would be helpful if Project Renewal reimbursed you for your services so that you can secure a truly PERMANENT apartment of your own.
Thank you DHH, for all that you are doing to advocate. I am relieved that you will be able to stay and have lived on the UWS for 40 years.
They get three no-contact meals per day, and lots of donated food as well.
And for recreation, they have quite a bit. And just recently, a local supporter contributed over $250,000 (which was matched to $500,000) to Goddard Riverside to provide activities every day in their facility, as well as 50 paying jobs. All of that would be lost if they are moved.
It will help alot if people actually arm themselves with facts instead of reiterating incorerct information.
So when covid ends, we needn’t expect them to move out then either? Because of the 50 jobs?
What about cable and room service? C’mon people.
isn’t it time for the WSCO to end the lawsuits? they are looking more and more foolish and self-centered. Beyond the substance, i take pleasure in the homeless and their advocates kicking the rear end of their high-priced Giuliani-era lawyer.
If there are safety or quality-of-life issues left (are there any? this has all been incredibly exaggerated), then WSCO should approach Project Renewal and the homeless community and negotiate. You want a cop in the local playground? Great idea. Public drug use problems? Find a solution. But stop needlessly harassing these men, who are just trying to go about their lives.
WSCO: You are losing the battle of public sentiment, and you deserve to do so.
I know I’d be emotionally distressed if I was forced to live in a 3-star joint like the downtown Radisson…
I would definitely love to sit with WSCO and find common ground. As a temporary resident, I want nothing more than to be in an environment that is safe and secure and where the quality of life is good. I’ve been asking for this for months and hope that this can be arranged at some point. All stakeholders should be involved in this discussion.
reply to DHH (and to WSCO):
well, there you have it. One of the leaders of the men in the shelter wants to sit down and discuss with WSCO. Will WSCo reciprocate? (I wouldn’t lose sleep waiting.)
The right wingers on this site, as well as WSCO, say over and over that they care about the well being of the men in the Lucerne. This is a chance to show that your “concern” is not empty rhetoric for the consumption of the news media.
The men have what social scientists call “agency”. Is WSCO willing to recognize that, and deal with them with respect?
why don’t you use the time you spend advocating to remain homeless and live off of other people to working and improving your station? Being a food delivery person, stocking grocery shelves? anything?!?
reply to UWSGirl:
“nah, no one pays for the roof over my head or the food I eat except for me.”
my, my, aren’t you self-sufficient! I guess you don’t have a mortgage, or if you do, you refused the mortgage interest tax deduction, far and away the largest housing subsidy in the US, mostly going to the upper middle class. I guess none of the food you eat received agricultural subsidies. I guess you don’t ride on the subsidized subway. I guess you receive no form of subsidized health care. I guess you never attended public schools or colleges, or received Pell grants or subsidized loans. I could go on. Whatever you’ve accomplished, props to you, but you are not an island.
And perhaps you have never heard the saying, “there but for the grace of God go i.”
Please stop disparaging Da Homeless Hero (DHH). He is doing a great job for the entire community. that’s right, “community.”
reply to Bruce:
You may know a lot of stuff but when it comes to financial, accounting, & tax issues, I can run circles around you and don’t appreciate your snide retorts. Your approach is very one-dimensional and sophomoric in that you don’t take into account competing forces for capital investment and pricing. All you do is label every deduction you don’t like, or benefit from, as a government subsidy. In case you haven’t figured it out already, the government engineers most social policy through the tax system. Calling everything a subsidy is ill-informed and immature. You always conveniently leave out parts of the macro picture that don’t support your argument.
reply to Boris:
the mortgage interest deduction is a government subsidy, period. And it goes disproportionately to higher income people.
Thank you for explaining an additional government subsidy for landlords, which i didn’t know about. It’s interesting that you claim the savings to landlords are passed through to tenants. This might be true to some extent, but I think you might be one to insist that outside of rent stabilization, “the market” (a failed market) sets rents, not cost structures.
You’ll never be accused of accurately explaining the ‘advantage’ that homeowners receive via the mortgage interest deduction. Renters also benefit from the ability of property owners to expense (deduct) their mortgage interest. Without being able to expense that cost (and reduce taxable income), your rent would have to increase to cover that expense.
reply to UWSGirL:
wow, just wow. DHH has to make a justification to you for his activism? Some people are allowed to speak out, others are not? Depending, apparently, on life circumstances.
I have news for you. We all “live off of others” in this society, the rich more than any of us. I would love to examine your tax return and inform you of the wide variety of public subsidies that are in it. And yes, that holds true for me as well.
nah, no one pays for the roof over my head or the food I eat except for me. If someone homeless is sane and able bodied and is not doing everything within their power to help themselves not be homeless, I have no sympathy. Especially when they are put up safely in a hotel and fed 3 times a day for free. Seems like this man is content with his situation as he is spending a ton time doing the opposite.
One of of these men was quoted in the post article saying if he’s forced to move from the Lucerne to the Raddison in FiDi, he will choose the street. LOL. what a joke.
As a PERMANENT resident and parent of young children, I want nothing more than to be in an environment that is safe and secure and where the quality of life is good.
Helen Rosenthal – you are an absolute disgrace and do not represent your constituents!
She represents me fine,
The neighborhood *is safe & secure, with an excellent quality of life.
reply to John re cost:
obviously this is not an ideal solution, financially. However, do you have any actual information on the cost of this to NYC? What if FEMA is reimbursing at 100%? that is entirely possible, as NY State was declared a disaster area and FEMA is reimbursing costs related to the COVID disaster, just like they do after hurricanes in Florida.
i suggest you look into the dollars being reimbursed by FEMA to rich voluntary hospitals, such as Mt. Sinai and Presbyterian. Are you equally concerned with those costs?
CGK I do not think you even live in the area like most pundits. These men could be better served in a facility made for homeless not a hotel made for profit. COVID could be here for decades so this is a permanent shelter costing more per month per person than my mortgage. The cost makes no financial sense in a soon to be bankrupt city.
Wonderful news!!!! Glad our neighbors can stay temporarily. Hopefully permanent housing is made available post-pandemic.
You’re only going to post the racist comments from people in this community who aren’t happy that Black men are staying here.
How do you get to racism from not wanting, drug use, crime and nuisance in your back yard. This comes in all colors or are you stating only blacks have drug issues? That would be racist.
So, the wants of hundreds of troubled, homeless men rules! Free rooms and three squares forever in a pretty ritzy hotel and, just a few blocks away, another large group of peers at The Belleclaire, which recently underwent a multimillion dollar upgrade. No responsibilities attached. The documented and serious concerns of taxpaying residents be damned! Mainly pols and real estate holders benefit from our huge, and hugely lucrative, homelessness industry! The metrics support that statement. We already have more than our Fair Share of homeless shelters according to the City Council. It’s not the worst tragedy occurring in the City, but it does add to an already long list.
Wow. Let me try to unpack this amazing series of misinformation.
“No responsibilities attached.” Actually, there are internal policies which, if they violate them, they are removed from the program. There is also a Good Neighbor Policy which also leads to removal if the violate it. And several have been.
“Fair Share?” Actually, the entire concept of “fair share” has been found to be illegal, so it doesn’t apply, and no one will EVER win a lawsuit on that basis.
But yes, many people and organizations benefit from the “homeless industry,” and that systemic issue must be addressed. But it has nothing to do with the lives of 235 men.
Thank you, Ian, I agree with everything you say. I am a long-time resident of the UWS and am ashamed that people don’t care about homelessness, they just want to shove it somewhere else. These men need stability so that they can move forward, and some of these people just want them out of sight. They have no idea…………..
You don’t think a less condense area such as Broad Channel or Staten Island is better for the men who can’t work? What connection do they have to this neighborood that warrants putting them up here for free?
Thank you. You have both facts, history, and compassion.
As usual the UWS gets it in the neck. It’s not the homeless we need to worry about it’s our perfidious electeds who do no planning and no work unless it’s for billionaire developers and lobbyists,.
We’re never getting rid of them.
The magic “r” word has been spoken. Case closed. Even though this has nothing to do with skin color, but wanting to walk in the neighborhood without seeing people defecating, fighting, shooting up, panhandling, harassing people, shoplifting, breaking car windows, and all manner of delightful behavior.
Let me try this again. The placement of the homeless in hotels was done to create greater social distancing than the congregate shelters provide, thus giving greater protection to the homeless during the pandemic. It was, and remain, a temporary measure, under the mayor’s emergency power. Once the health data show that is safe for them to go back to the congregate shelters, they will go back. A little patience during a pandemic goes a long way.
I find many of these comments disingenuous.
The Lucerne is $175 a night per person.
They are putting two men into a room so it’s $350 a night.
The Radisson is cheaper and it is one person one room which was the whole point to avoid Covid..
Calling BS on that, too, Ian Alterman. The men at the Lucerne were moved to there, NOT from a congregate shelter, but from the Washington Jefferson Hotel in Hell’s Kitchen, and were moved by Corey Johnson when that neighborhood reported an uptick in crime…just like what has happened on the UWS.
I’m sorry, but all of NYC “maintains community ties and job placements” by taking a little thing called the subway. So now that’s not an option for the folks at the Lucerne when they move? What am I missing here?
The Lucerne is NOT a shelter; it is a hotel that was to be used as a temporary solution. I am tired of talking about how much “damage’ will be done to the men being moved. How about the residents of the UWS that no longer feel safe? We were not included or taken into consideration in the decision to move them in – it’s clear some of us have been pushed to our limits and we have a say/opinion now – it’s time to move them out.
Yes…get them out. Our neighborhood has the most vacant stores in the entire city. Rightly so. Who would open a store here. Its dirty, dangerous and ugly. Look at the “new” Fairway using the entire front as a loading dock and garbage dump. and of course the booksellers…Thousands of residents are menaced and threatened by these homeless -why is it a good idea? Sick of it. Get them out and hopefully the hotels will then go into bankruptcy. How to turn a neighborhood into a slum.
Wow! What a bizarre statement! The issue of empty storefronts has been with us for months, even years, prior to Covid and the placing of the homeless into hotels. And it was growing quickly before that.
Dangerous? Uh, what are you talking about?
The ‘them’ you speak of can be anywhere they like and they certainly do not need your permission or prior consultation to be there. They do not need to care about how it frightens you, how it inconveniences you, how it lowers the value of your apartment, or shocks your children. They cannot be forced to go live on the edge of an outer borough, to be warehoused out of sight, or any some such solution. If they are sex offenders they must comply with the rules of their release, if they commit a crime they can be arrested.
The ‘neighborhood’ is NOT yours, mine, ours or anyone’s property. The UWS is NOT a gated community.
If people wanted to live in a gated community they wouldn’t live here. Lol. They’d run to Greenwich or elsewhere. You must be kidding. On a serious note – the way ppl typically get access to a home (again, no gates) is through $$ it’s not free. If the men don’t have money we can help them but not by placing them in the most expensive area. That will use up funds and fewer people will be helped in the long run. It needs to be an economical plan which means house them, yes, help them, yes, but Manhattan? No
Wow Eric, so I guess you’re comfortable with sex offenders living in OUR neighborhood.
What give you the right to preach to others who pay rent or mortgages and have established roots on the UWS? Sorry it is OUR neighborhood. It’s yours too and if you like looking at men urinating, defecating or shooting up and experience aggressive pan handling or risking your health during this pandemic by being near to those not wearing masks, then go ahead and enjoy yourself.
John E., you speak of those “who pay rent or mortgages and have established roots on the UWS? Sorry it is OUR neighborhood”
Nice fantasy, but sorry.
The rent or mortgage you pay gives you a say in things that happen inside the front door of your building.
You get a say in how you want your tax dollars to be spent every so often when you cast your vote (and by all means write, call, and try to influence our elected officials … after all you, or at least your neighbors, put them in office).
That’s it. Those are the controls to which you have rights.
Homeless people have the right to be any place they can in the city of New York within the limits of its laws – which we all want to see enforced.
Feel free to draw whatever mental boundary of the ‘neighborhood’ that makes you feel happy but that’s all in your head. The neighborhood of which you speak belongs to all New Yorkers, even the ones who you find unpleasant to have around. It’s a difficult truth but that is the way it is.
To Eric – so because things were that way in the 80s, the return to that should be acceptable now? Makes a lot of sense…
Eric, so you moved out of Jamaica and I moved out of Inwood. As much as Inwood has improved, I have no intention moving back. You think the whole city is one big neighborhood? Do you wish to move back to the neighborhood you grew up in? Don’t kid yourself. You moved up the ladder like me and many others on the UWS.
Funny, I always felt like an “outsider“ until I moved to the UWS.
John E. writes “Tell me, why did you choose to live on the UWS?”
John, you are exactly right, the city IS indeed one big neighborhood to me.
I grew up in Jamaica, I took the subway to Manhattan to go to high school, I visited my grandparents in Flushing and the Bronx, and when I graduated college 40 years ago I moved to the UWS to be near my work. I was never made to feel like an outsider in any area I ever traveled to.
The UWS was an even more challenged place in 1980 (my father would not park his car on Amsterdam Ave because of all the thefts and break-ins) with richer families just to the east of towards Central Park and poorer families just to the west.
There were plenty of homeless people on the subway stations, church doorways, and on the steps of my walk-up building in those days too but nobody seemed to be feeling that it was the end of upper-western civilization.
Well Eric, I guess my “fantasy” of living in a clean, safe, vibrant and hassle free neighborhood has been dashed thanks to some of our new neighbors.
Yeah, the homeless have right to be wherever they please but those who cause trouble need to be dealt with. Sorry, I moved to the UWS 38 years ago. I earned the right to call it MY neighborhood. In “my head” it was the neighborhood I aspired to live in after graduating college. Now I get to call it MY neighborhood.
Your “mental boundary“ of the UWS doesn’t seem to exist at all. I guess you think this whole city is one big happy neighborhood. Wake up, it’s not!
Tell me, why did you choose to live on the UWS?
Who is sending them to the edge of an outer-borough? They are supposed to go to an updated facility where they can receive proper help and in one of the nicest neighborhoods in manhattan. How anyone can be against that is mind-boggling to me.
Weren’t they about to be sent to Harmonia in Midtown, and the adult families from Harmonia to Flatlands in Brooklyn, and the families with kids from Flatlands to a shelter in the Bronx right by Yonkers?
I have lived in the Upper West Side for 50 years. Until recently, it was unheard of to turn homeless people away. I remember when we had more shelters and SROs than anywhere else. The UWS is now colorless lily white and EXCRUCIATINGLY DULL🤐
Not so Elizabeth! How about Rick Moranis getting punched in he head by some deranged lunatic? How about that woman who got stabbed in the 72nd St. subway station? How about that guy who overdosed in the Duane Reade pharmacy? How can you call these events DULL?
Exciting enough for you?
So the only way to add some color to the neighborhood or not make it so dull is to add hundreds of homeless people to the mix?! When I take my children out we have homeless drunks drinking on steps outside our apartment. Sometimes they are passed out sleeping. We have randoms spare changers everywhere, most smoking bowls. Others urinate wherever the mood hits them. Personally I’m sick of having to protect what my children see every time we walk our neighborhood. What do you tell a ten year old girl as we walk by a homeless man urinating on a tree between 73 and 74th Street? Clearly holding his you know what for everyone to see – including my ten year old daughter. After 20+ years in the neighborhood I’ve never seen such a decline in quality of life for real residents. This was a part time fix. It’s over. Move them out asap.
Not to mention the safest it’s been in 60 years…oh, the horror.
Why UWS rag never published articles about One Block FB group that is organized on UWS? Volunteers from that group clean every weekend streets on UWS. They clean after these men in Lucern and other homeless who dispose their needles and garbage on our streets.
Do you think that it is NIMBY if people want to live in clean environment? Or, it is ‘progressive’ to live in garbage?
There are several men from the Lucerne who actually volunteer with One Block and clean the UWS. The jobs that were offered to us would creat a similar program to help keep the neighborhood clean.
To be fair, the rag did publish about OneBlock:
As for living with garbage and needles – that does seem to be inline with ‘progressive’ ideals. See San Francisco…
Lindsey Boylan is a multimillionaire progressive grifter who has made millions on Wall Street but always manages to get her photo taken at whatever protest is going down. Rep Nadler trounced her.
Did anyone speak to the hotel’s owner? Before the last round he said he was not going to extend his contract with the city beyond October. Seems like he’s the one to have the last word, no?
Actually, even were that true, the owner would be shooting himself in the foot NOT to extend his contract during a pandemic when there is no tourism.
So it the residents of the Lucerne win their case next month, the contract extension would be offered and extended for the same six months that every other hotel was offered.
reply to Ian Alterman:
many thanks to you and DHH (Da Homeless Hero) not only for your ongoing activism but for replying so patiently to misinformation propagated in WSR comments section. Your comments are full of necessary factual information. they are very much appreciated.
btw, are you related to UWSer and Nation columnist Eric Alterman?
regardless of one’s opinion on this matter, isn’t it a fact that moving homeless adults from shelters to hotels is just a time-limited measure (and mostly funded with FEMA money)?
Ultimately wont it be up to the hotel owner to decide if he wants to renew his short term contract with the city?
The old Callahan lawsuit settlement requires the city to shelter the homeless – but does not require hotel use.
Can someone please explain the finances behind what is going on? The hotels that became temporary shelters were receiving something like $179 a nite and initially FEMA was paying for the majority of the cost. Who is financing the cost now that it has gone beyond the initial timeline? The hotel downtown is supposed to be a permanent shelter so is it a part of the 3.2 billion annual budget for the DHS? One would hope so.
In all of this craziness, no-one is explaining anything about that as if the city has a boundless pit of money paid for by taxpayers. The city of NY is broke and needs to cover $10 billion in deficit but yet we are entangled by this noise.
15,000 plus members Upper West Side got Safer Streets. Less than 1000 members for Open Hearts – many outside the district . Politicians jumping on an expedient political bandwagon at the expense of truly getting these supposedly “temporary “ placed homeless proper care. It is shameful what they are receiving .
9 am : CVS West 77th: shoplifter confrontation. Had to leave store. West 72nd: menacing psychotic- had to move from corner where I was about to go to Trader Joe’s. No- I didn’t report anything- new UWS normal.
I don’t go out at night and it is simply UNSAFE. I feel anxious and, as an old person, traumatized as well.
I can’t even imagine what it’s like for those permanent residents who live in these hotels.
Please, you’re a 43 year old analyst concerned about their condo values. No elder talks like this or would be so clueless as to name themselves elder on a forum.
No. Elder is a 75 year old who has lived on the UWS for 40 years and who has never felt this unsafe. Please listen to all sides and not be so quick to label and dismiss what you don’t agree with or don’t want to hear.
The lawyer for the three men said that the only entrance at the Radisson on Wall Street is through a bar and that would be too much temptation for them the Radisson is being converted to a full-time shelter it’s not going to have a bar.. and aren’t there two liquor stores where many of them have been seen shopping ..across the street from the Lucerne isn’t that temptation? not to mention all the restaurants with people drinking?
Looks like the people at The Lucerne are Tenants now. The Upper West Side was full of SRO’s until landlords forced out long term tenants, now these HOTELS/SRO’s are full of long term (>30 days) tenants again thanks to COVID. Landlords’ slight of hand with that Hotel Association seemed designed to keep people from trying to claim tenant status and it isn’t working. Landlords spent years and felony convictions getting rid of tenants from UWS SRO’s to now end up with buildings full of homeless that they can only get like $260 per month in rent from as welfare dependent tenants. Maybe UWS LandLords have decided to get out of the hotel game for good.
This is the end.
The end my friends.
The homeless will stay – you can move out
if you wish.
Vermont, Maine, New Jersey, Long Island – these places will wait for your hard earned $$$, but the homeless will stay.
It’s the end my friends.
I live in Vermont’s capitol city. There are plenty of homeless here as well (doing the exact same things the UWS elitists r so upset about) so how about YOU stay out of VT, thank you.
“UWS elitists”? Funny coming from a person living in the one state I’ve been to where I didn’t run into one black person.
Check that. I admit I did not walk the campus of UVM.
So nice that an outsider cares so much about our community.
Alice – Yes, we know. We saw you at the chalk fest / vigil. remember? Nice of you to make the trip down, alongside all your friends from Chelsea, LES, and other areas with such strong vested interest on the UWS.
By the way, is Vermont your personal property or your gated community? Thanks.
What about the seniors who actually LIVE full time in the Lucerne? I know a few who have dogs and have been threatened, harassed, have had to deal with drug issues, all kinds of things in a building they have lived in for multiple generations. Does anyone care about these people and what this has done to their lives?
Once again, these protesters and politicians have blood on their hands. They protest, get media attention and then leave. What happens? The temporary residents die, OD or get injured with fights inside the hotel. It’s so sad. They need to be in a facility that has medical, mental and treatment access. The Lucerne hotel is not the answer. The hotel in FIDI has been converted to such a treatment center that includes these important aspects. Hopefully, this will all be settled soon. It’s life or death.
Westside Rag if you decide not post some of my other posts please post this one because it is important. Patrick and David post here and always refer to drug overdoses at the Lucerne. There are not drug overdoses at the Lucerne. These guys are not out selling drugs in the neighborhood, harassing people in the neighborhood. A lot of these men have jobs and work hard to get a new start. The dis-information campaign they have going is just not right and posts pointing this out should not be censored.
Why do the homeless think they have a right to stay in a place they are not paying for. I don’t get it
The same right as college students have to stay in a dorm on their parents’ dime, and as kids without parents to stay in an orphanage funded with our tax money.
You comparing the homeless right to luxury hotel housing to orphaned children? That is rich….
Do any of you “openhearted” realize how open-hearted the UWS has been already and that the number of shelter residents has kept increasing, along with all the problems for the small businesses due to the abundance of homeless and “bad egg” shelter residents? Do you realize we business owners are all talking about leaving the neighborhood because we can’t take all the hassles, panhandling, urinating etc in front of our stores? We all have a heart but there is no good management so hope you are all ready for more stores leaving this neighborhood. Don’t complain when everything is vacant thanks to you.
TiredUWS, The empty and vacant storefronts in this neighborhood have been vacant well before these men came to these hotels. Most due to landlords that raised rents on places that had been around for years on end. Arties Deli, Harriet’s Kitchen, Manhattan Diner, just to name a few. And then Covid hit and many more out of business. These homeless men are not the cause of this.
NO, I am a business owner and my landlord is awesome. All of my troubles started more than a year ago due to the out of control amount of street homeless and the shelter clients. They are not managed. THAT’S the problem so if it’s unmanageable then we CAN’T take more until it is. UES, FIDI and SOHO can help out. If it stays like this, I’m telling you people, businesses are leaving NOT because of landlords. IT’S because of THIS!! Please-speak to some businesses on Broadway and Amsterdam. PLEASE. See what they say.
Great news! I support the men at The Lucerne.
I live around the block from the hotel and I’m out often day and night – with or without my dogs. I never feel unsafe. It doesn’t seem like all the patrons at the restaurants on Amsterdam between 79th and 80th do either.
The men deserve to be treated like human beings. I’m glad to see a win for them. There will be more fights, but at least this one ended empathetically.
Thank you. How many homeless guys do you see after 10pm vs. before?
Honestly though how is this a win? Wouldn’t the facility that is being redone for the homeless men and is supposed to have programs in place to help them be the win? How is living in a boutique hotel with 2 to a room during a pandemic the answer or a win for anyone?
The UWS, like pretty much every NYC neighborhood, had homeless people in it before these hotels and will have them afterward too. A few of them behave in ways that we don’t like — that was true before the hotels and will be true afterward too. (I could mention a couple of them now and many of you would know exactly who I mean.) The idea that it is the residents of these hotels who are responsible for every instance of street disruption and crime in the UWS is not supported by police data (or data from anywhere). Neither is the supposed increase in street crime since the hotels were populated supported by any data. If some of the residents were found to have been disruptive, it still wouldn’t justify this grim and dogged painting of all of them with the same negative brush. Stop harassing these people already.
Maybe when many of the “residents” of these hotels (more like pandemic tourists) stop harassing community members, the community members will stop harassing the hotel residents. Doesn’t that sound fair?
Jamie B, your remarks throughout this comment section are way off base and you know nothing about which your are posting about. Why do you spread this kind of lies and dis-information?
Omg. They have an opportunity to live in a fully organized homeless shelter with enrichment opportunities etc.
Instead they’re in tiny hotel rooms, everyone has to vacate the premises at the same time, 11am till 4pm for
cleaning/disinfecting the entire hotel. In the meantime for 5 hours EVERY DAY they are “homeless”. This is hotel mentality, not a caring, invested shelter. Where do they pee for 5 hours? What’s the plan when it’s winter?
Ridiculous arrangement !
An S.R.O. Is exactly where Homeless men belong. The notion the City of New York has repeatedly allowed the Hotel Industry to illegally deregulated S.R.O. Hotels across the city without the required Certificates of Non-Harassment has caused many of the Homeless to be left without adequate Housing.
In many cases, these are Mayor de Blasio’s biggest contributors. Therefore, it seems the community may have unreasonable expectations given the S.R.O. Hotels were in the neighborhood long before many of its residents. BDHotels is one of Mayor de Blasio’s biggest contributors who illegally deregulated nearly a dozen S.R.O.s. The other is the Homeless Shelter provider from my understanding.
However, this should not diminish Tenants rights. They are statutory tenants as a matter of law. Scream all you want lady. But you’ll need to move to the suburbs.
This is outrageous. Since when do the MICA homeless people of NYC get to CHOOSE which shelter they prefer. REALLY???????? When will this PC, Cancel Culture, ridiculous WOKE crap end. They sign on the dotted line the minute they enter the system. This is a WOKE nonsense smokescreen orchestrated by Open “bleeding” hearts who don’t even live on the UWS. What about fair share? What about the law????? It’s all about money and the institutionalization of a homeless industrial complex that has no incentive to end homelesslnes or drug addiction or real suffering but instead to line their pockets and mismanage and take advantage of very real human suffering for their own benefit. How about solutions??? Real jobs, real solutions, real rehab programs., real detox and NOT in the middle of a highly dense residential neighborhood. …ENOUGH!!!! Common Sense Folks.
See what elected liberals accomplish: decrease in real estate prices, neighbors feeling unsafe, polarization and distress for the community. Think about this next time you vote. Liberals always will betray you in favor of populist interest. They do not represent your interest. Wake up UWS!
All Rise. Fight Like a Dog. Just like RGB, Judge Debrah James slapped down the structural racism and unearned privilege that still lurks in our midst.
I hate when unearned privilege of working UWS residents stands in the way of earned privilege of drug addicts to live in the luxury hotel for free and do drugs on the streets.
A judge is supposed to be impartial and not a political activist. Judge James seems more like a political activist as this rule does not make any sense. RBG was a great judge and unfortunately in same cases her name is being dragged into misguided activism that calls people all sorts of names in the name of RBG. Please stop that if you are actually a fan of her (RBG).
It’s absurd that a tiny group of extremists, mostly from outside the neighborhood, get to dictate that hundreds of mentally ill drug addicts, all from outside the neighborhood, have an entitlement to stay in a hotel in a given area despite that they were kicked out of a hotel in a different area because of community complaints about crime — and shouldn’t be in hotels AT ALL.
Seriously, the people who advocate for this state of affairs likely have something to gain financially from it.
There needs to be an economic cost analysis to understand the long term impact of turning hotels into homeless shelters in this neighborhood through the pandemic. Taxpayers and our elected officials need a framework to evaluate how these decisions will affect assets thus taxes thus public resources in the future. Then we can weigh the negative externalities vs. the morality argument.
I believe everyone is intuiting the long term costs are quite high because of the relatively high percentage of tax paying homeowners, and that there are more efficient outcomes than UWS hotels. But we need facts and data to make these decisions.
Tax paying homeowners? Most of us rent and see you condo owners as the enemy.
How does a homeless drug addict have time to find a lawyer and file a lawsuit?
Of course a lawyer was provided. It’s all so much political theater for our oh-so-woke elected officials, tax-paying citizens be damned. Well done.
Brian Benjamin when cb10 chair refused to address homelessness, housing issues and basically is in the pockets of REBNY. Now, he has the audacity to want to run for comptroller. It’s nice to see he showed up to this event, but his office is pathetically bad when they don’t respond to anything. Good luck getting them to even answer the phones. Mr. Benjamin with empty buildings/hotels why not embrace there is a housing problem. Why not address that NYC & Company is the problem when so many hotels have turned into condos or been turned down. How about we turn the tables and welcome the homeless and poor to our neighborhoods in a building. Isn’t that what they teach you at the faux church you go to?
All the advocates for the homeless should take one homeless to live with them, then problem solved right?
Everybody will be happy. Advocates are happy they are helping out the ones they are advocating for and the UWS residents will be happy there will be less concentration of the homeless population in UWS.
reply to Jack Peach:
hmmm, so i guess all social problems are solved by people doing it themselves? you don’t believe in community and you don’t believe in government?
analogy: We have a problem with universal healthcare in the US. Maybe the problem would be solved if we each became pseudo-doctors and gave treatments to ill people.
not to be unkind, but your argument is generally refuted in grade school or middle school.
I’d like to see the data showing that these housing arrangements have helped prevent the spread of Covid. Is everyone tested regularly where they were and where they now are? I haven’t seen stats for UWS in general. But that was the purpose of the move, so let’s see proof that it helped.
Aha, extreme emotional distress? What about those of us who live directly across the street? We have been intimidated by groups cornering us for money, there are needles (what happened to rehab ?) and filth in the neighborhood. We can’t even move as the apartment values have dropped due to drug addicts and sex offenders in the area. Many of up struggled to pay our mortgages and maintenance over the years only to learn our apartments are worth less than we paid. You want to talk extreme emotional distress?
GHA, I live across the street. There are no needles anywhere to be found in front of the Lucerne or around my building. The street in front of the Duane Reade has been dug up and replaced with a new sidewalk. No one has accosted me or anyone I know of. There are NO sex offenders at the Lucerne. Why do you all insist on spreading this kind of dis-information? I have not seen anyone cornering anyone asking for Money. I got off the train and the only person that asked me for money today was Carl who was drinking a beer with his girlfriend and 2 other friends of his. Can you all just stick to the facts?
Did you vote for De Blasio?
West Siders are receiving a reality check for their beliefs.
It is a real estate game. The hotel industry which is dead because of corona virus made a sweetheart with the mayor to fill the empty spaces.
Welcome to reality.
Did you vote for De Blasio?
West Siders are receiving a reality check for their beliefs.
It is a real estate game. The hotel industry which is dead because of corona virus made a sweetheart with the mayor to fill the empty spaces.
Welcome to reality.
None of that matters, GHA. Just ask Bruce!
Clutch your pearls tighter, Toots.
Does anyone know why the uws open hearts Facebook page was shut down? It feels a bit suspicious that it was shut down the day after this law suit was announced and has the appearance of the group only being for this fight (similar to “friends of FiDi”) and not actually built as a social forum built to brainstorm ways to help the homeless…
It’s still there, lol. https://www.facebook.com/uwsopenhearts
Hi Helen D! Nice to meet you, neighbor.
I guess you weren’t a member of the original uws open hearts community page—where I went to both look for (and help and help with) volunteer activities.
Clearly I WAS, which is why I posted the question. I thought this would also be a page to brainstorm ideas. But the page you reference here (which I had also liked), looks more like a press release page where there will be less opportunity & agency for community input to help.
I was concerned about why a website, meant to help the men, was suddenly removed after the lawsuit. Now there will be less opportunity and access for neighbors to help, leaving me wondering how much this group actually wanted to help…
Lol, I guess? But the acrimony between the two groups is appalling. Your comment was unnecessary. It is a sad state of affairs to laugh at your neighbors. Especially neighbors that were trying to help!
I hope you realize it was FB that changed it’s format in September. Same organization, same options. Everything you need to participate is still there including the message board. So much for your conspiracy theory.
Typically replies within a day
The people living in the Lucerne have greater tenant protection from eviction than working people living in private housing.
This crazy situation is only possible in New York or many San Francisco.