Judge Plans to Rule Monday on Whether Lucerne Residents Can Stay

The Lucerne.

By Carol Tannenhauser

After a two-day hearing, Judge Debra James said that she plans to rule on Monday, November 23rd, by 5 p.m. about whether more than 200 men being sheltered by the City can continue to stay at the Lucerne Hotel on 79th Street. In the interim, the men will remain at the Lucerne.

Intensity and intelligence were high.

Two days of impassioned arguments, unlikely alliances, and unanswered questions left the judge and attorneys exhausted. The question that closed the hearing may be the one upon which Monday’s decision hinges: What triggered the City’s decision to move the men in the first place? Was it in their interest or a response to political pressure from some UWSiders to get the men out of the neighborhood?

Some of the men had sued the city, which planned to move them into a new hotel after complaints from some Upper West Siders about their behavior.

Judge James had ruled on Monday that the West Side Community Organization, which has opposed the siting of the shelter, could not be a party to the lawsuit.

NEWS | 46 comments | permalink
    1. Otis says:

      “Was it in their interest or a response to political pressure from wealthy UWSiders to get the men out of the neighborhood?”

      Why does the media refer to every opponent of the shelter as “wealthy” or “privileged” or “entitled” or – worst of all – “white”?

      There are many legitimate reasons to oppose this shelter and believe it or not even some poor and middle class people oppose it.

      Not everyone who is against this shelter is “wealthy”.

      • Carol Tannenhauser says:

        Point well taken. Wealthy removed.

        • Da Homeless Hero says:

          “wealthy removed”… I almost spit out my water.

          • Ian Alterman says:

            LOL. If it were only possible to actually remove the wealthy….lol. As the old saying goes, “eat the rich.” LOL.

            • Otis says:

              That’s very funny. Yes, the city would be much better off if all the “rich” people fled.

              The city would be a great place if only the poor and homeless lived here.

            • HelenD says:

              Hilarious. And, where would you get all of your funding without them?!

            • KF says:

              Every comment from you is just so damn righteous. Utterly exhausting and unproductive. A person who never concerns themself with the immense challenges that the children and elderly in the neighborhood face.

          • x says:

            It was mentioned that the temporary Lucerne residents were moved out of two shelters before and now FiDi is fighting the move into their neighborhood. Why is the UWS being scapegoated here? I don’t here crap about those neighborhoods.

      • Yeah right says:

        Wait, I thought the rich privileged UWS’s where the ones fighting to keep them?!

        I mean they are the ones that can just go hide behind their doormen and drop phrases like “not a gated community” while typing on their MacBook’s from their 30+ floor private balconies right?

      • Ian Alterman says:

        I suppose that depends on where you sit. To a homeless person, a resident who lives in a small studio may seem “wealthy.” To a person living in a small studio, a person living in a 2-bedroom may seem “wealthy.” Etc. And for the record, the overwhelming majority of those opposed to allowing the men to stay ARE “White.”

        • Michella Robin says:

          Of course they’re white. 68% of the area is white. And the majority of the supporters are… also white. Facts of life. Blacks are a minority in the USA! They are a minority in the USA. Like the Indians and the Jews and the Chinese and Native Americas. Black are a minority in the USA Hence they are a minority in NY and will be a minority on the UWS. But that’s just math

    2. ZoomZ says:

      I said it before – I say it again:
      These souls are not going anywhere.
      They are here to stay.
      All who want them out suck up the air and realize that the courts don’t have the answer and that the politicians are in charge.
      Next election cycle in 2021 – think ten times before you press the key, and don’t vote for ANYONE who’s already elected.
      Force term limits with your finger.

    3. BudgetMinded says:

      I don’t understand why the City’s motivation in scheduling a move concerns the court. The City’s obligation is to provide housing. That obligation is satisfied at the Radisson. That a move is disruptive is obvious and self-fulfilling; the longer temporary residents stay at the Lucerne, the more disruptive a move anywhere will be. The City is free to move people at any time to satisfy the complexities of housing so many temporarily displaced people. Moreover it is unsustainable for the City to pay luxury hotel rates indefintely; doing so reduces funds available to house the many people who need it besides those at the Lucerne. I am surprised that no one is suing about that.

      • The City’s obligation to shelter the homeless is already satisfied at the Lucerne; there’s no need to move them to shelter them at the Radisson.

        How disruptive a DHS shelter transfer is – heavy-handed, at very short notice, far from jobs and schools, often causing damage or loss of belongings – can only be judged by those who have personally experienced such transfers. Have you? How many times? How many days from one transfer to the next?

        • Paul WestSider says:

          Short notice? They were supposed to move out of there months ago. I’d say they have been more prepared than anyone else who makes a move. As for loss of belongings when having to move, they all came in with the few items they had in trash bags. They were told it was temporary, a few weeks. They got months out of it. Now they feel they deserve to stay. The only reason they don’t want to move is because they prefer a luxury $450 hotel suite rather then a $79 a night type of room at the Radisson. Because this is a much nicer neighborhood than downtown is. If they respected this neighborhood & didn’t cause all the havoc they did, nobody would have cared. Look what it’s like up here compared to a few months ago before they came up here.

          • Michael Alvarez says:

            Paul, your ignorance makes me feel very sad about humanity. Short notice means the night before being told to pack up you gotta go. I came into the shelter with nothing as you said. I barely had a soul. But guess what, I’ve not only accumulated many things needed for me to be comfortable but I’ve also have gained back my identity, And a sense of self. I am no longer that washed up drug addict who walked through those doors. I am a man with dignity and I demand respect. You sir are a pathetic little crumb of a man, incapable of any empathy. You are a nobody and your energy is very toxic. I also feel bad for your sad existence.

            • FedUpUWSgirl says:

              cool story. Can you please tell your fellow residents there to stop harassing women on the street??!! Then maybe we wouldn’t be so opposed to them staying. Thanks!

            • Nevets K says:

              People who “feel very sad about humanity” usually don’t call another person “a pathetic little crumb of a man” – unless they wish to become even sadder about humanity.

      • The City claims it’s “free to move [single homeless] people at any time”, but it abuses that freedom, often transferring people without a clear showing that the transfer would be in the client’s best interest, often several times, just days apart, often in reprisal for complaints (which is against the law), and almost always without giving a good reason. Such abuse is wrong, should be curtailed, and should not be used as justification of more abusive transfers.

      • Are the rates at the Radisson, a block from Wall Street and the New York Stock Exchange, significantly lower than at the Lucerne? Can you tell us how much the City pays, or has agreed to pay, per person per night at each location? City contracts are public documents.

      • KF says:

        It is truly amazing to me that this was not brought up as a major issue. The ability of the city to keep paying for semi-luxury hotels for our homeless population when we are billions of dollars in debt?!
        Imagine the Audacity of Scott Stringer to think he is in any way qualified to be mayor after failing so miserably as Comptroller? We spend $20 billion more per year then we did when Mike Bloomberg left office. What in Gods name do we have to show for it?! That is the real story.

    4. Upper West Sider says:

      Why does the media never mention that many of these men were moved to the Lucerne from another hotel – the Washington Jefferson Hotel in speaker Corey Johnson’s district – after neighborhood residents complained about drugs and violence?

      Also by Carol Tannenhauser:

    5. natalie bryce says:

      Are there services that homeless people need to find permanent housing, work and good health at the Lucerne? The reporting should say so . . . has Mayor DeBlasio made any dents in providing homeless services, shelters and rehab programs? Somewhere clean to sleep is part of the answer but definitely not the whole correct answer.

    6. Leon says:

      Hopefully there was testimony from someone from OMB about what a mess the city’s finances are. Is it equitable to devote so much money to such a small percentage of the homeless population? Particularly when the city is facing huge financial challenges? Money is a limited resource and needs to be allocated wisely.

      This whole situation is ridiculous. I hope my mortgage bank considers how tough it would be for my family to move if I lose my job and can’t pay bills. And perhaps someone will bake us cookies and make chalk drawings outside our building.

      • Jennifer says:

        I completely understand and if the HRA would stop dragging their feet with everything they do they could put a big dent in the homeless that have certain vouchers, landlords would be getting paid rent where in some places people aren’t paying and can’t be evicted because of the mayor and what he has said.. I pass so many buildings that are for supportive Housing and they sit with a ton of vacancies. There are apartments out there for the homeless and their just sitting on them.. Now I understand why HRA is so quick to give the homeless these housing vouchers… It’s because they make it impossible to use.. $1323 is the amount given to a 2 person family. I walk and check just about every site out there and $1400 or better is what I find in the Bronx which has been the cheapest area to live and we can’t pay the difference even if we paid the difference for the year. It’s an extremely FLAWED SYSTEM AND IT’S NOT GETTING ANY BETTER!!!!

      • For goodness sake man..... says:

        Don’t quite understand what you’re talking about but get uses to the American homeless…. it’s going to get worse right now we have almost 30,000,000 American people out of work and they may never get jobs and there stuck on food banks lines from 3 to 6 hours a day just for a days worth of food for their family. Many of Americans will lose their home mortgage’s at the end of the year and be throwing out to the streets for their state or city to take care of their families that would be separated and put into different hotels or homeless shelters. Politically I don’t have to tell you who has done this.

        Happy Thanksgiving?

        • Leon says:

          I agree with you. There are a lot of homeless people in NYC and the number is only going to grow. And the city is having huge financial difficulties so there is not infinite money to spend on this.

          So how does it make sense to spend a small fortune per capita on the Lucerne? Let’s do the most good for the most people. This does not accomplish that. If the city could negotiate a 50% reduction in the cost of the Lucerne, then I would be less troubled.

      • Michael H Alvarez says:

        Wow leon! Way to be selfish. Nobody cares about you right now. This is about the homeless population of NYC. Or even around the world. Your toxicity is not warranted

    7. Jack says:


    8. Micki says:

      Other questions to be answered:
      Why were these men moved from the hotel in Hell’s Kitchen to the uws?
      Why were so many and without notice moved to three hotels all in the same vicinity?
      Why is the upper west side the target for these shelters which I now hear there may be more coming?

    9. Lisa says:

      Yesterday at 4 pm I watched a man take a dump right on the median of Broadway. A friend was helping to hold him up, pants around his shins. The area is in shambles. I walk from 72nsd to 80th every morning at 7 am and men are already smoking, drinking or sprawled out on the sidewalks,medians. It’s shocking.. and it is not “the homeless” but those with mental illness.

    10. Katie Pearlman says:

      I understand some of the men now have jobs cleaning the UWS neighborhood, and some are going to school. Let them stay. This NIMBY attitude does not suit the residents of one of the most supposedly liberal area in NYC. Or maybe it isn’t anymore? Maybe everyone has just gotten old.

      • Leon says:

        I’m glad they have jobs cleaning the neighborhood. Hopefully they are saving their income to soon pay for their own homes, or else paying rent for the Lucerne.

        That doesn’t mean they are entitled to live here – they can commute like everyone else. Why don’t janitors at the Met get Fifth Avenue apartments to keep them near their work?

        I am a liberal compared to the rest of America. I despise Trump. I consistently vote for Democrats. But I also have common sense. This whole situation is ridiculous.

        • Todd Conte says:

          You get what you vote for – Everyone on this string most probably pulled the lever for the elected officials responsible for this travety

        • Michael H Alvarez says:

          Hey Leon define common sense? You just sound like a selfish person to me who doesn’t care about anyone else but themselves. Who doesn’t see the big picture. I would never wish for anyone to go through the things that ya homeless people experience to become homeless In the first place, let alone live in a shelter. Can you even comprehend how much it sucks living in a shelter. Do you really think that living in the Lucerne is that much of a vacation??? It sucks luxury hotel or not. I have no rights here man!!! I can’t bring in my own food or snacks, I am harassed by security everyday, I’m lucky that my roommate showers and cleans up after himself cause only a few do. So come on mr common sense??? You are a funny guy who knows nothing

      • Nevets K says:

        You are correct in your assertion.
        Bleeding heart liberals (a.k.a. compassionate men and women) are being supplanted by and/or are transforming into pissed off bourgeoisie – who, by the way, have a number of valid points too.

    11. Andrew says:

      I wonder how many of these NIMBYers votes against MAGA because of perceived racism from the White House. Yet here they are, leading in the wrong way by example. Rather than helping the poor or improving the situation as it is they would rather argue and sue their way out of a systemic social issue. A shame

    12. GMZ [gerald sider] says:

      Something like 40% of the families that become homeless had at least one member working full time. Raise the minimum wage; significantly intensify rent control.

    13. Those who trivialize or dismiss the trauma that shelter transfers inflict on the homeless should read this very eloquent op-ed by Da @homeless_hero, which describes the trauma the Mayor’s announcement of his decision to transfer #HotelLucerne men caused.

    14. liebette says:

      Regrettably we’re not talking about a bona-fide job training program. We’re talking about a last-ditch arrangement by Goddard immediately prior to the hearing that has the men simply sweeping streets immediately around the Lucerne–a cynical attempt to get something lined up in order to assert in court that there is a “jobs program.” But a proper job program would take into account skills, qualifications and prior experience in order to improve chances of future success and make life better. It not have been implemented one business day before the hearing, nor would it have “strings attached” (ie, not funded in any other setting).

    15. nemo paradise says:

      This case will be in the courts for many, many years, as long as lawyers exist. “Bleak House” in real life.

    16. You know, i always wanted to live the hotel life. Figured if i built up a business and made smart investments, one day I’d live my hotel dream. And for a while it seemed like a real possibility. But now i see how i got it all wrong. And not only that, the ones who are living the hotel life scorn for me for owning what i earned with my brains and all my strength. Wow!!!!

      • Michael H Alvarez says:

        Hey Francine you obviously are incapable of understanding this. Maybe you are only 17 years old or something. Just because we are in this hotel doesn’t mean it’s living a luxury hotel life!!! It is not our own place, we cannot bring in our own food or snacks, cannot cook for ourselves. If we don’t eat outside food you have to eat garbage they feed us. Everyday I’m harassed by security and forced to be wand’d down and walk through a metal detector. Half the men don’t shower and are slobs, there is negativity energy all of the time, you never know when they gonna tell you to pack your stuff. You have to be careful not to have your personal stuff stolen. This is really living the Dream. Oh yeah and the journey it took to even qualify for the shelter would drive a normal person to insanity. So wow you must really envy this life miss.

        • HelenD says:

          So do you want to stay at the Lucerne or move to the other location? Some of the comments here made by residents are very contradictory.

    17. brandonsos says:

      We should show empathy and compassion to the homeless housed on the UWS and let them stay on the UWS. What we shouldn’t do is have double standards where Gale Brewer gets a pass for (1) telling City & State that Jim Oddo, a man who supported police profiling Muslims, “a first rate human being” who should be deputy mayor, (2) being against term limits for community boards which can be a very NIMBY institution.