Home of Randy Mastro, Lawyer for Shelter Opponents, Vandalized With Red Paint

The Lucerne Hotel is at the center of a neighborhood battle over homeless shelters.

By Amelia Roth-Dishy

The home of Randy Mastro, lawyer for recently formed nonprofit the West Side Community Organization, was vandalized with red paint and graffiti on Tuesday night. The group, known colloquially as WestCo, opposes the city’s decision to use hotels in the neighborhood as homeless shelters — in particular the decision to turn The Lucerne Hotel on 79th Street into a shelter for more than 200 men. They have clashed repeatedly with community members who support the shelters, most notably with neighborhood group UWS Open Hearts Initiative.

Mastro is a well-known commercial litigation attorney and former Deputy Mayor for Operations under Mayor Rudy Giuliani. The Post reported that his residence is on the Upper East Side.

The UWS Open Hearts Initiative first broke the news about the vandalism, writing in a tweet at 10am:

“We’ve received reports from one of our faith leaders that Randy Mastro’s home has been vandalized. UWS Open Hearts and Lucerne residents unequivocally condemn this kind of personal attack. Our fight is for human dignity for all, and we extend our support to the Mastro family.”


Based on images taken from Twitter, the lawyer’s front door appears streaked with red paint, resembling blood. Red and black stamps surrounding his doorway read “Housing is a human right” and “F*** you Randy;” “Shame” and “prick” are written in freehand.

The Post reported that the graffiti also said “Randy Mastro you can’t displace us.”

In a press statement issued by WestCo, Mastro said:

“This is a very sad day to see a genuine debate about serious issues involving the homeless devolve into vandalism targeting my family’s home. The persons who did this are criminals who should be brought to justice. And if they thought they were going to intimidate me, they picked the wrong guy. I will continue to be a passionate advocate against housing homeless adults in SRO hotels where they don’t get the services they need. This vulnerable population requires housing in proper shelters with full services. The City says it is committed to doing just that, and I will continue to advocate for it because that is the right and humane thing to do.”

“The issue has, unfortunately, become heated with opposition community members labeling Randy’s group as “racist” and “priveliged” [sic] and this is the result,” WestCo also said in the statement.

Other community leaders who have opposed Mastro also condemned the graffiti.

NEWS | 42 comments | permalink
    1. ben says:

      Don’t know who’s really behind this but incidents like this will only serve as ammunition in the case against housing the homeless at the Lucerne, etc.

    2. Charld says:

      Enough!!!!!!!!!??? No mas!

      Let’s leave this now and vote this election, we need to come together now when it is the most important thing we do.

      Later have your ears.

      • Pro says:

        I love multitasking….. I do it very well.

      • notsofast says:

        I don’t want to “come together” with hateful, vicious people who are hell-bent on destroying American democracy. What we need to do is not “come together,” but learn to TOLERATE each other. Tolerance is a fundamental & necessary liberal principle which the extremists on both sides want to stamp out and the so-called “liberals” no longer defend.

    3. Ted says:

      The 21st century so far could easily be titled, All Outrage, All the Time. People seem to be so willing to go to extremes regarding any issue. I would love to believe that this is a fault only of the right but that would be a delusion. Both ends of the political spectrum seem so ready to drop the hammer on any issue. It saddens me and I am apprehensive about where this leads.

      • Durham says:

        Just seems odd that all this time nothing like this happened, and just as the men of the lucerne got their permit granted to stay, magically 15 people (according to police, but no video released), this happens. The group that hired Mastro, really needed sympathy and this totally works on their favor.

        • UWSider says:

          Yes, this is a conspiracy. “Let’s screw with the attorney that we hired to represent us, so it looks like the homeless sympathizers did it.”
          Are you people insane? Are you actually reading what you are saying as you type? This man’s home was vandalized. What a horrible thing to do to someone. I personally would be out for blood. They will catch these individuals, but it will not be the very same people that hired Mr. Mastro. Perhaps it was Russia or Iran?
          The world has literally come off it’s axis.

      • Disappointed says:

        Ted, totally agree

      • John says:

        Well put, Ted

      • Leon says:

        Totally agree. As a left-of-center Democrat who despises Trump, I think the extremism of his followers has destroyed this country. But the extreme left (which is very prevalent on the UWS), though much, much better than Trump’s supporters, is not without fault.

        There are many anti-Trump Republicans out there who really want to support Biden but your extremism and unwillingness to listen and compromise makes it hard for them to do so. Stop assuming everyone who opposes you is evil, racist and pro-Trump.

        • Tim says:

          Ummm, you do realize all the violent rioters in the streets of many major cities for months now are left-wing, do you not? It’s not the right tearing down statues, destroying property, looting buildings, throwing Molotov cocktails and physically attacking the police. Stop trying to gaslight people.

          • Just the Facts, Ma'am says:

            Re: “…destroying property, looting buildings, throwing Molotov cocktails and physically attacking the police.”
            Some say it’s NEITHER “the right” NOR “the left” BUT very possibly anarchists and/or other asocial types seizing on the opportunity to create turmoil and destabilize our world.
            One example, according to Wikipedia, was the “Battle of Seattle” during the 1999 WTO conference in that city.
            For other examples, see Wikipedia’s “List of Incidents of Civil Unrest in the United States”.

          • Jenny says:

            There are agent provocateurs at every peaceful demonstration. There are unhinged people on both ends of the spectrum, but the gun lovers are a lot more frightening, IMO. Do you forget that right wing pro-Trump militia tried to KIDNAP and perhaps kill the Governor of Michigan?? Thank heavens it was thwarted by the FBI that Trump criticizes. Also, it is not the left wing THREATENING DR FAUCI”S LIFE and the life of his family! THat is some right wing pro Trump lunatics. He now has to have armed security guards everywhere he goes because of these nut jobs that can’t handle that Trumps lies need to be contradicted with science. Fauci is apolitical but as a man of science, can not support life threatening lies that Trunp spews.

        • UWSHebrew says:

          None of the rioters in Portland, Seattle, Minneapolis were Trump supports. Just the opposite. Same goes for the looters in NYC.

          • Steven says:

            Oh really? My friends in Portland and Seattle tell me there are plenty of racist, proud boy types (trump supports) busting windows and trying to start fights so they can have the race war they dream about.
            There are not any good people creating violence on either side of this mess that trump continues to gin up.

          • Bruce Bernstein says:

            reply to UWSHebrew:

            How about the Ultra-Orthodox rioters in Brooklyn, who physically beat and threatened the life of an Orthodox Jewish reporter, Jason Kornbluh, calling him a snitch, etc? By the way, this clearly was an anti-Semitic riot, by ultra-orthodox Jews! Almost all Trump supporters.


          • Steve says:

            To Tim and UWS Hebrew – do your research and stick to the facts (not just what Fox tells you). Boogaloo Bois, for example, are responsible for a number of violent acts including the burning of the Third Precinct in Minneapolis (see arrests in recent days). Or see the idiot in Wisconsin sitting in jail for killing someone. Plenty of blame to go around on both extremes. Reasonable people on both sides need to recognize that and condemn all of them and push forward together. Downing out all the hate won’t happen overnight. But it certainly won’t happen as long as leaders on either side (and those who blindly follow them) are stoking it or refusing to accept that it’s not just a one-sided problem.

        • notsofast says:

          “Your” extremism? Who do you think you’re talking to? Do you think the vandals are reading the WSR? Aren’t you doing exactly what you accuse “those people” of doing — assuming that anyone who opposes you is evil?

    4. John E. says:

      Really? This is how people make their point? A pathetic act of stupidity!

    5. All That Glitters says:

      There’s a homeless guy sleeping out under a bush on the Bridle Path near the W90th street entrance to the park right now. He’s been there off and on, sometimes in the middle of the day, for the last month. Last night he was sleeping on the sidewalk beside El Dorado, between Columbus and CPW. He looks unwell.

      How can a person in obvious physical and mental distress be allowed to putrify before our very eyes, day after day, night after night?

      Where are the so-called homeless “advocates”, and how can they be alerted to this very manifest need for “outreach”?

      Which city agency or “non-profit” organization will take responsibility for getting this individual help?

      Why does it seem that these organizations (and their highly compensated executives) are more interested in absorbing tax dollars than actually helping the homeless?

      • Lisa says:

        NYC has decided that those whose judgement is impaired by mental illness or substance abuse are capable of choosing whether or not to accept help. I wish we could bring back mental hospitals, operated properly this time, and mandate long-term treatment for those unable to manage their own lives. This would be far better than letting ill or addicted individuals flail and founder while causing distress to the society that has to watch them self-destruct.

    6. Marianne says:

      Hopefully the perpetrators – the daily news said there were 15- will be found and brought to justice. There must have been surveillance cameras somewhere! This is a horrific criminal act.

      • The detectives has scoured the neighborhood for surveillance cameras, it is my understanding they have found dozens of cameras and will be releasing pictures in the next day or two. The best thing that these people who did this is to surrender now at the local precinct because they will find them. These detectives are not messing around, watch your local news in the next 24 to 48 hours.

    7. D-Rex says:

      In no way do I condone this vandalism, but at the end of the day it is paint… So all the outrage in the comments (i.e. “…horrific criminal act.” etc.) let’s try to keep things in perspective, this is not cable news.

      Those fighting people being housed on the UWS, please remember these are other humans who need a place to live. This could be you someday.

      When there are related problems (crime, harassment, etc.) it would seem the response should be to hold the city’s feet to the fire to keep things in order, not to dislodge everyone, including people that are perfectly well behaved. This can be addressed with additional staff and security. Certainly less expensive than lawsuits and moving people all over town.

      And keep in mind, while not their ideal business model, this is keeping these hotels afloat through the pandemic.

      • Burt L Kozloff says:

        “…just paint.”

        And a yellow Star of David on your chest is “just cloth,” and a death threat is “just words,” and a bullet is “just lead.”

      • Buddy Revell says:

        This is not just about paint. It is about destroying someones home that you don’t agree with. It is about intimidation. This type of behavior is unacceptable.

    8. Dom says:

      Vandalize statues. Vandalize plaques. Vandalize store fronts. Vandalize anything that disagrees with your politics. Disgusting. And just as an aside, Mastro is going to have to pay to clean it himself. Blaz discontinued the Graffiti-Free NYC program.

    9. Peter says:

      Not even a word of condemnation from Helen Rosenthal? Should we assume it’s a “Brava” then? Nice touch.

    10. DenaliBoy says:

      I might be your typical UWS liberal-PhD, author of several books, former Academic VP at one of the most prestigious universities in the US, Trump hater, arrested at 1964 Worlds Fair civil rights demonstration, summer 1964 Freedom Rider in Bogalusa< LA, etc . However, I don't want mentally ill/drug addicts urinating on the street, yelling obscenities at woman and children and generally threatening me when I try to enter the subway station on 79th St. Call me crazy. After surviving the 70s/80s to have to go through this crap again is just too much.

      • Otis says:

        Unfortunately a lot of UWS liberals are nostalgic for the days of mentally ill homeless people taking over the streets and are fighting valiantly for these days to return.

        It’s a form of masochism.

      • Lori says:

        Thank you for your honest point of view. I agree with you, it is unsafe to have these men in the neighborhood. There needs to be a better option to house these men where they have the amenities needed to thrive. These men have been kicked out of a place in Midtown and FIDI does not want them. They are harassing people, they are making the streets dirty and unsafe by publicly using drugs, urinating and defecating. It’s unfair to the hard working individuals in the neighborhood who want to comfortably walk out their buildings and not worry about their safety. No one wants to relive the 70s and 80s NYC.

    11. DenaliBoy,
      I know exactly what you’re talking about. I’m living here 53 years. The first 20 years was almost a nightmare but my block team came together with me and we took care of the problems. We will not let this happen again. We turned our block from the worst to the best UWS model Block …..Link to the NYT: https://www.nytimes.com/2009/06/07/realestate/07living.html

      • World Peacenik says:

        The NYT article elicited only one Comment:

        “I lived on the Upper West Side in the 1950’s and 1960’s, living at 70 Riverside Drive and 239 Central Park West.

        It was a charming place to grow up, despite the fact that apartments didn’t cost $2 million or more. It was in some ways like a small town. Unlike today, it was a neighborhood made up of well to do, middle and working class folks of all races. We had great local businesses on Broadway, some owned by holocaust survivors. Instead of bond raters we had teachers, writers, actors, living in (gasp) rent controlled apartments. I grew up with the children of lawyers and families that were on welfare. We had diversity. The Museum of Natural History had free admission, as did the NY Historical Society. Yes there were S.R.O. hotels on the West Side, but then I don’t recall seeing homeless people until the early 1970’s when the hotels and rooming houses started to be converted to luxury housing.”

    12. Steven says:

      Well if you need any more reasons for why this homeless shelter and people associated with it should be kicked out of the UWS, look no further.

      I used to have empathy for the unfortunate homeless involved. But now after watching gross city incompetence, a bunch of self righteous “activists” grand standing and now this criminal activity, they all can’t leave soon enough.

    13. S says:

      Hmm. Did you know that the above-mentioned lawyer most likely lives on the UES not near the hotel location on UWS?

      • HelenD says:

        Why does it matter where the attorney lives? It’s my understanding that the majority of the people fighting to keep the men at the Lucerne are not from this area. Maybe they’re fighting so hard to keep them here so they don’t have to deal with it in their own neighborhoods?!

    14. a says:

      The silence and refusal of Helen Rosenthal to denounce this act of destruction and vandalism on the home of Randy Mastro is appalling. This tells you alot about her character. She does NOT truly represent the people of the UWS. If it was the other way around and the Lucerne was vandalized with the disgusting language that was used against Mr. Mastro, her voice would have been heard loud and clear. Shame on her. She has no class.

      • An UWSer says:

        You make an excellent point, a. Can you imagine what the response would be if the Lucerne was vandalized like Mr. Mastro’s house was?

        This would blow up and be the only focus of what’s happening with the hotels for the next week, at least. There would be calls against violent radical NIMBYism.

        Instead, there isn’t much response.

    15. Paul says:

      Wow – just reinforcing why this is a problem.