Lucerne Residents Win Stay, Delaying Departure from the Hotel


People painted figures on the ground in front of The Lucerne last week to represent homeless people without safe shelter. Photo by Jeff French Segall.

A judge ruled in favor of homeless men staying at The Lucerne Hotel on 79th Street, once again stopping the city from moving the men to another hotel downtown.

The appellate division of the State Supreme Court issued an interim stay, and a panel of five justices will next decide whether the stay can continue throughout the appeal — which could take several months. “It’s very hard to know” when that will happen, said Michael Hiller, the lawyer representing the residents. The court looks like it will “move expeditiously” but “it’s impossible to know for sure when the decision will come down.”

The more than 200 men were expected to be moved starting next week after a judge ruled for the city in the initial suit. The battle over the shelter has roiled the neighborhood for more than four months, with opponents claiming the city’s decision to move the men had caused a decline in the quality of life nearby.

But men staying at the Lucerne said the rhetoric could often be dehumanizing.

“I hope the city realizes this, that we are human beings,” said Larry Thomas, a plaintiff in the suit who has since found placement in an apartment.

Da Homeless Hero (right), a Lucerne resident who is a plaintiff in the suit, urged the mayor to reconsider.

“We’re begging you to stop this,” he said on a Zoom call after the ruling. “You moved us from place to place because there were people who said we don’t want homeless people here.”

“We have a lot of work to do but we’ve gotten closer to saying we do matter,” he said. “In this time of pandemic, let’s do the right thing.”

“This is so important to an invisible people, a voiceless people, a vulnerable people,” he said.

“Today is a great victory for right over wrong,” said Councilmember Helen Rosenthal.

A spokesman for the city’s Law Department said the move is “justified” and the city expects to win.

“The City has a moral and legal obligation to provide safe shelter to all who need it,” the spokesman said in a statement. “This temporary stay has delayed a move which we believe is in the best interests of the men residing at the Lucerne and a justified use of the Mayor’s emergency powers, but we’re confident of prevailing when the Court thoroughly reviews the matter.”

NEWS | 143 comments | permalink
    1. Wijmlet says:

      yoyos

    2. HH says:

      This is so pathetic – the city is totally screwed if we have to spend $60k per year to provide housing for individuals without health / mental health support, food, clothing, etc. What a joke.

      • CC in NYC says:

        It has to be done, regardless of where the men are housed.

        • But it doesn’t have to be so expensive. When the DHS gets $50,000 of taxpayers’ money to provide one homeless person with a really basic military-style bed in a large shared room, a locker, and food for a year, I say the City should instead #JustGiveThemTheMoney.

      • CH says:

        You are so right. The problem is many thousands are spent and nothing is ever accomplished…e.g. The Thrive program. Absolute waste of taxpayer money.

        • Jay says:

          @CH:

          2 things:

          The fact that these men are not on the street, whether in a group shelter, the Lucerne or a downtown Radisson is an accomplishment.

          Second, you can of course document that ThriveNYC did nothing? It’s highly doubtful that ThriveNYC did nothing, but that doesn’t excuse the lack of solid record keeping.

        • Bruce Bernstein says:

          People keep repeating lies about the Thrive Program, particularly that it has “done nothing” and that its budget is not transparent. Why so much venom towards this office? Because it is run by Chirlane MCCray?

          Less than 3 minutes search time will give you a detailed budget and an extensive data dashboard about what the program is doing, including a map.

          Budget: https://thrivenyc.cityofnewyork.us/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/FY21-Adopted-Budget.pdf

          Data, links, and map of sites: https://thrivenyc.cityofnewyork.us/programs

    3. Amy Birnbaum says:

      When we help to better serve members of our community, this support has a direct and positive impact. When we turn our backs on those less fortunate in order to protect our own comfort and security, it has a direct, negative impact. I value the concerns of my neighbors, but if these men are here, in our neighborhood, showing them kindness and support will do wonders. I cannot say that each and every one of these men will become upstanding members of society, but I can say that about anyone. Whether you are in favor of their stay, or are opposed, we need to work together to provide love, support, encouragement, and positivity. For those that shun these men, that say they are scared for the safety of their children, it’s New York City – you can easily choose another street a mere steps away to walk down. As someone who lives on 79th St, I have never felt unsafe, and the more I make eye contact and smile at these deserving individuals, the more safe I feel. It’s the holidays – open your hearts. Trust me, it feels really good when you do.

      • J. L. Rivers says:

        Thanks for your beautiful words! I’ve been saying a version of this for months. I’m glad the NY Supreme Court has sided with these folks, although temporarily. I’m sure it’s a step in the right direction.
        Stay kind!

      • Erika says:

        Well said.

      • D-Rex says:

        Thank you for your thoughtful post.
        Always good to be reminded that all people have challenges at some point in their lives, but some much greater and more frequent than others.
        If even one of them turns their life around and gets back on solid footing, that will be a beautiful thing.
        Best to the hotel residents.

      • Burtnor says:

        Thank you, Amy, for your generous heart and compassionate posts here. The world only changes with small acts of kindness, one person at a time, one day at a time.
        We all need a little less harsh rhetoric, a little more empathy not only to get through this crisis, but to sustain wellbeing in vibrant, welcoming communities.

    4. Francesca says:

      It’s a real victory for the hotel owner, and for homeless people’s right to choose what location and building they can occupy. Local residents who have been traumatized physically and mentally, well they’re deemed irrelevant by their so-called reps. The future of the already ailing UWS is darker as the long winter of COVID males itself known. And what ever happened to Erin Drinkwater’s intent to “de-densify” the homeless population? Adding so many homeless men up here, with more to come, renders her words as meaningless as the experiences of established residents.

      • Amy Birnbaum says:

        Interestingly enough, their move into not our neighborhood, but the City’s neighborhood, has brought me happiness. Diversity is a beautiful thing. Helping those less fortunate is a beautiful thing. Does it cost money, sure does, but I’d more than happy working hard to support those in need. Whether its this group of men, or anyone else for that matter. I do believe people must have had personal experiences to be able to say that they have been mentally traumatized, but I recall being mentally traumatized by my white counterparts on the playground, in high school and in different work environments. If we embrace and support these individuals, we will only help to better society. When we turn our backs, they will turn their backs on us. Let’s stay positive, and embrace those that need our love now, more than ever.

        • Jen G. says:

          You should get out more. I live in the high 80s and the neighborhood is incredibly diverse. It’s unfortunate that you needed to have a temporary shelter open to realize that diversity is great. But this is not about your personal happiness, it’s about what works for the entire neighborhood. Also, I hope you are putting your euphoria to more than posting on articles. Perhaps volunteering with street homeless?

      • UpperWester says:

        People need to know what most of these hotel/sro owners did to GET RID OF PERMANENT TENANTS in order to cater to tourists. If it proves costly or extremely difficult to get rid of these shelter residents none of these sro/hotel owners will renew their contracts to house shelter residents. This matter with the Lucerne has probably persuaded a lot of SRO owners to not risk contracting for shelter residents.

      • josh says:

        Your trauma has been self inflicted by your NIMBY attitude.

    5. Bob Lamm says:

      A great victory. Not the end, but I hope Bill de Blasio will now reverse his terrible decision. With great respect for the men at the Lucerne, the attorneys, the public officials, and the members of UWS Open Hearts involved in this battle to welcome and support the Lucerne residents. P.S. I live diagonally across from the hotel and have for decades.

    6. Natali says:

      Fantastic news! And for those who think it isn’t, try having a heart this holiday season.

      • HelenD says:

        How about ‘having a heart,’ and spreading some of this assistance around to ALL of the homeless people in the area? Linda Rosenthal had a nice photo-op on her outdoor lunch date with DaHomelessHero from the Lucerne but a group of homeless men continue to “live” in the doorway of her office building on 72nd street. They pace up and down the block all day screaming and cursing and by 5:00 they’re passed out on the sidewalk. And don’t tell me that it’s not ‘really’ happening because everyone in the neighborhood, including those standing on line for TJ’s, have witnessed this since April! 🙁

        • l says:

          They need to be in a mental hospital, not a hotel or a drug rebab treatment center to detox, not in a hotel. If they don’t have a job, they are busy hanging out on the street anyway, acting out, doing drugs, drinking, passing out. They are not getting the kind of help they need. Too many concentrated in a congested area with very little help. It’s a waste of time. All they are getting is a very expensive room that they have to share. It’ hopeless.

        • Ian Alterman says:

          Please be careful not to conflate the hotel residents with the street homeless. They are both important issues, but they have different solutions. Linda and others ARE working on the street homeless issue as well, but that issues is FAR more difficult and complex than what to do with those already in shelters.

          I would, however, suggest that if the street homeless issue concerns you that much, that you get involved in being part of the solution (assuming you are not already) instead of just sniping and complaining from the sidelines. I don’t mean this to sound unkind, and forgive me if it does. But there are SO many people who gripe and complain, but do nothing at all to help.

    7. Tired UWS Business says:

      For the 500th time, the UWS cares greatly for the Homeless and every other person in need, but the saturation of shelters can not be managed and services are not being enforced.

      You will lose even more small businesses because of this than of COVID or landlords, I know because I’m one of them. The businesses can not handle the AMOUNT of troubled individuals on the UWS who do not WANT help or are not able to decide for themselves because they are mentally ill or chemically dependent.

      Helen Rosenthal – keep your nose out of this. you only care about your own future.

      • josh says:

        Wait, you really want us to believe that your business went belly up because there are homeless people in the neighborhood? And that this is a bigger reason why businesses are going to fold than a worldwide pandemic? Wow. That’s all I can say. Wow.

      • Ian Alterman says:

        While I hear your upset, this is simply not an honest answer. to suggest that the number of stores that are closing has more to do with the homeless than with the pandemic is simply absurd. In fact, as you well know as a store owner, the death of bricks and mortar retail – as a result of both landlord greed and online purchasing – was happening quite quickly even before the pandemic. The pandemic – and the resultant economic crisis – has hastened this.

        The homeless? A very, very tiny factor. Please don’t “use” them to justify your personal travails.

        • Bruce Bernstein says:

          Ian, very nicely said.

          • Tired UWS Business says:

            I could not respond sooner because I am working hard & my business IS surviving from working hard & thoughtful customers and I have a great landlord. I’m sorry if I didn’t make myself clear.

            Yes, the pandemic & online retail makes things harder for retailers & so we are even MORE upset when many of the street homeless & unscrupulous shelter clients are blocking our doors, standing in front of our windows harassing people. Customers tell me they avoid my side of the street because someone is aggressively hassling people making them wary to walk by. Losing customers hurts businesses, we do not need any more issues until we have the homeless situation under control on the UWS.

    8. Dave says:

      So sad. Let me know who wants pictures of the ambulance and fire engine from earlier. These lawyers and politicians are killing these recovering addicts. They need to be in facility that can take care of them. The downtown hotel is completely equipped to handle emergencies. People are so selfish.

      • Da Homeless Hero says:

        Just to clarify, the downtown location is another hotel. It’s just rooms like the Lucerne… It’s not a treatment facility, a hospital, or a detox. It’s a Radisson hotel. I don’t know how people got that confused but the only hotel in the entire shelter system being used to house people to prevent the spread of Covid-19 that has ON-SITE SERVICES is the Lucerne. No other shelter has that and it exists because I have advocated for this and have convinced the service providers and community groups to provide that. Just sharing so you have accurate information. I hope you don’t mind.

        • David says:

          You are 100% incorrect. Currently the recovering addicts are two in a room (not covid acceptable) and the new facility each patient would have their own room.

          Second, stop ignoring the weekly ambulances, fire fighters and emergency calls. What about the four men that died? Stop this. If you were really for homeless, you would allow homeless FAMILIES and/ or battered women in the Lucerne. Your message is becoming deadlier and deadlier for everyone involved.

          • Siv Manny says:

            Again, there seems to be no end to the lies people in UWS will spread to dump this shelter on us in downtown. It was clearly stated in the court hearing – the reason the men are doubled up in rooms is because this population is at high risk of overdosing. No matter where you move them, DHS’ standard procedure would be house these men in shared rooms until they are fully recovered. The population at the shelter has already gone down from 290+ residents to 190 residents now, so there is already plenty of space at the Lucerne to spread the men. BTW the downtown Radisson in no bigger than the Lucerne.

          • Robert O Johnson says:

            David. It really amazes me how out of touch you actually are with what is going on. Facts, facts, facts do matter. Please get the facts BEFORE you post you comments that are totally untrue.

        • Marc says:

          Why have you been on the dole for your entire adult life? Why do we subsidize your life?

      • Siv Manny says:

        Have you been to hotel downtown? Do you know the neighborhood? This whole the hotel in downtown will serve them better is a lie spread by people in the UWS to get rid of the men. The Radisson hotel in downtown is located in one of the narrowest streets in the city, right next to two schools and within a block from a women’s shelter for victims of domestic abuse. Absolute worst place to locate these men.

    9. citycatsman says:

      Meanwhile, my 28 year old daughter, who grew up on the UWS and just obtained a masters in social work, is starting a job with a foster care agency and will be lucky to find an apartment she can afford in Bushwick or the South Bronx.
      There’s something wrong here.
      Affordable housing? For who?

      • pp says:

        Absolutely. Where is the affordable housing for teachers, firemen, police, hospital workers? We should be focusing on that rather than housing homeless men on 799th and broadway. There is no services for them in that area and a hotel is not permanent housing.

      • Amy Birnbaum says:

        Your child is doing wonderful work – and I’m sure no matter where she lives she is going to be able to help others and contribute to society. But she was also raised on the beautiful UWS – with a parent that clearly is invested in her – which is much more than most of these men can say. It’s so easy for us to judge – but we don’t know their history – where they came from – the lack of resources and education they had growing up. And many of these men did not grow up with parents who supported them. If you take time to speak to some of these guys (masked and distanced ofcourse!) you will realize understand that some of the circumstances that they grew up in were so desperate, dire, and bereft of support. Hopefully your well educated daughter can help those less fortunate – even from the Bronx – which is quite lovely I must say!

    10. Elder says:

      Yes, of course, the men at the hotel should get as much services as possible while they are there. But lawyers and politicians should not be evaluating their needs. One would expect that mental health professionals from the DHS with years of experience with this population would be in a better position to evaluate appropriate settings. The understanding was that more services and better protection from the deadly pandemic would be available downtown. No matter where they are they, of course, should be treated with respect and they also should be good members of their community wherever that may be.

    11. Benlin says:

      “Make Good Trouble”.
      Thanks to everyone who supported the men who are homeless…the right to stay at the Lucerne.

      • Susan says:

        Now staying in a boutique hotel at taxpayer expense is a “right”? Have people lost their minds?

      • Rob says:

        Yes! Make Good Trouble! To reclaim our safety!

        The rest of us have a right to not see people urinating, defecation, shooting up, etc (and there are a lot of etcs) – and not wearing masks while they are doing this

        • charles becker says:

          The way the UWS votes, they should be happy if not delirious to have these people in their midst. Enough of this NIMBY attitude. It is hypocrisy at its worst.

        • josh says:

          I have been seeing all of what you describe BEFORE these homeless men joined our community. So, unless you have some definitive proof that these men are doing the things you are saying, which I doubt, I can only believe that your NIMBY argument is based on implicit bias.

    12. Jen G. says:

      I am so sad for all the residents who have had to deal with this untenable situation for the past four months, especially the permanent residents of the Lucerne. How frustrating that there are people fighting against their neighbors and preventing homeless individuals with a with a more appropriate housing model, many who need specialized support, in the name of “compassion”. It’s funny how passionate and dogmatic people can be and how far they will take it. I wonder how much the Open Heartless bakers and chalk artists even thought about the homeless prior to this mess. It’s not like they were baking / drawing for our long term homeless neighbors. Oh the hypocrisy.

      • Kat French says:

        People who live in shelters are mostly people down on their luck, trying to get back on their feet. People who live on the streets have serious mental health issues. These are really two distinctily different social issues. Ask anyone who works in social services.

        • Susan says:

          So why are shelters so famously dangerous and full of violence and criminal activity?

        • Compassion fatigue says:

          I work in a shelter. The majority of people in shelters are not “down on their luck”. They have serious substance abuse issues, a lack of education (most have not finished high school), have not worked/held jobs for years, and feel that they deserve housing. Many come from out of state because NY benefits are better. As far as DHS knowing what to do, don’t make me laugh! The majority of DHS employees don’t give a damn.

          • charles becker says:

            Thanks for the reality check.

          • World Peacenik says:

            Why not be honest with yourself and your clients?

            Rather than attack your clients anonymously, just say these things to your supervisor.

            That’s what a person with any character would do.

    13. Bruce E. Bernstein says:

      i, too, greet this ruling happily.

      Please don’t say this is about homeless people “getting to decide” they will live in an upscale neighborhood. That is a false characterization.

      It is about people protesting being used as a political football, moved again and again because SOME in the neighborhood object to their presence. It is about the homeless wanting to stay in a facility that is relatively safe and has at least some services that meet their needs. They did not DECIDE where to live, but they have every right to raise their voices to defend their EXISTING services. All public service recipients have that right, no matter their income.

      • GeezLouise says:

        Just why were they moved, Bruce? Riddle me that. The issues didn’t come out of thin air in three separate neighborhoods.

        Further, what source do you have that indicates services will be worse in the downtown location. To date, I have seen nothing but the contrary.

        • Bruce Bernstein says:

          reply to Geez:

          “why were they moved”: there are commenters here who have a much deeper view of the history than i do, or than you do. Maybe Ian Alterman or DHH will detail the convoluted history. Quite a bit has to with them being turned into a political football, as I stated. In any case, shouldn’t it stop?

          re: the source that says services will be worse downtown: DHH has said so any number of times on this site, and has provided details. He is one of the plaintiffs. Do you not find him credible?

          • Boris says:

            Honestly, I find him annoying already. This blog devotes an inordinate amount of attention to just his posts as if they’re gospel while censoring others’ comments. I would rather hear more from permanent residents of this neighborhood.

            • Bruce E. Bernstein says:

              reply to Boris:

              you are free to be annoyed or not by anyone’s postings. I’m sure there are some who are “annoyed” by your frequent postings.

              But I notice that you haven’t disputed any of DHH’s FACTUAL statements. Maybe because he’s telling the truth?

    14. The article isn’t clear on what happened where, only citing “the State Supreme Court”. Has the Appellate Division granted a temporary restraining order pending a hearing?

    15. Ruth says:

      Just to clarify, it was the Appellate Division of the State Supreme Court that ruled today. In New York, the Supreme Court is the trial-level court, and the Appellate Division rules on appeals fron the Supreme Court.
      http://www.nycourts.gov/courts/index.shtml

    16. Linda says:

      I just wish that politicians and mayoral candidates would show as much concern for the homeless living on the streets, those in dangerous, crowded congregate settings and children who are homeless and hungry as they do for these men who are living in safe, clean, private rooms. But pols & mayoral wannabes can’t pass up easy opportunities for spouting sound bites instead of solving problems.

    17. Erica says:

      This is such wonderful news! So far 30 men have moved into homes as a result of the care they are getting at the Lucerne. Hopefully more will be able to as a result of being included in a community. And many others are now working in the neighborhood as well, which benefits everyone. I’m so glad love is winning over hate.

    18. Concerned Resident says:

      Why didn’t the courts block the move from Hell’s Kitchen to the UWS if moving these men is so traumatic.

    19. GeezLouise says:

      “You moved us from place to place because there were people who said we don’t want homeless people here.”

      That is flatly wrong and leaves out important facts – you were moved because some residents of the shelter/hotel caused unsafe conditions and general decay of the areas in both the East Village and Hells Kitchen (I believe), leading to residents of those areas protesting the location of the shelter/hotel, before the shelter/hotel’s move to the UWS.

      There are plenty of shelters on the UWS, so your blanket statement falls flat.

      DHH used to raise some interesting points, but now I guess he’s just a pawn for the attorneys on his side of the coin.

      • The first move was to protect them from exposure to the coronavirus in large congregate dorms. The Third Street Shelter has been there for decades; it’s unreasonable to think that neighborhood complaints suddenly caused the City to move its residents, and those from Kenton Hall round the corner, to fancy hotels in a better neighborhood.

        • GeezLouise says:

          Ok, I stand corrected on the E Village location, but the point stands for Hells Kitchen (and the UWS).

    20. Leon says:

      Will this ever end? The disproportionate amount of extremely limited resources being devoted to this small group of men is absolutely ridiculous. Particularly since a material number of them were not good neighbors (though the situation seems somewhat better now). Other homeless people throughout the city should sue for equal benefits.

      Outer borough residents with hour plus commutes to their actual jobs are amazed how much money and effort is being spent on making things convenient and luxurious for these men. The saying “beggars can’t be choosers” seems very appropriate.

    21. CelineC says:

      I agree with having a heart, I just wish people would not be hanging out between 11pm and 2am on the stairs of the Collegiate Church, drinking, talking loudly and blasting music. I posted over 30 noise complaints in the last 3 months. I went to talk to the Belleclaire as well.
      That was not happening before the shelters moved in.

      • Ian Alterman says:

        Sorry, but you are wrong. The Belleclaire has a curfew of 10 pm. If a resident is not in by then, they lose their bed for the night. And they are required to stay in the lobby. This is enforced.

        The people you are seeing are NOT hotel residents. And the problem DID occur prior to the homeless residents being moved into the Belleclaire – and I know because people were contacting me about the issue BEFORE they moved in.

    22. Frank Grimes says:

      Vaccines are suppose to reach NYC mid-December. In theory these individuals should be among the highest risk people who will be vaccinated first. At that point they should be ready to go back into shelters. My question is, will they then argue they are being “traumatized” and “unfairly treated” when asked to do so.

      The dysfunction of the city knows no bounds. These gentleman signed paperwork saying they can be moved at anytime. This is clearly false, as the city has been trying and failing to do so. This will inevitably cause tremendous hurdles for housing these people in the future. As shown by Hells Kitchen & FiDi, these gentlemen are not welcomed, and knowing the city cannot move them once they are in place will make it absolutely impossible to sell the idea of long term shelters in any neighborhood. Don’t get me wrong, the crazy liberal UWS politicians will likely still agree to it If the price is right, but this mess has really showed just was a complete train wreck DHS /Project Renewal and the overall system for housing the homeless is in NYC.

    23. M Reuter says:

      Disgusting! All of this is most certainly so over and above the level of simply even being remotely DISCUSTING! The ABSOLUTE level of absurdity is so ….OFF THE CHARTS! Shame on….all concerned with maintaining the lack of any semblance regarding the constant upheaval of people who are NO LESS HUMAN BEINGS THAN ANY OF US ARE! SHAME!!!!!

      • Jane L. says:

        How dare we!!!! My young daughter had to deal with upheaval for the last four months as we moved between family members so we could work as parents. Where is her hotel room for all the apparent “trauma” of moving. What about all the single moms who are dealing with keeping their jobs and taking care of their kids? What about the seniors who have been traumatized because their families can’t visit? Rooms for all!!!!! I’m sorry these men are grownups.

    24. Tim hill says:

      So the Lucerne can no longer function as a hotel? Did the owner know that he was henceforth to receive about forty percent of what he made before?

    25. DenaliBoy says:

      This is hopeless. I still find it hard to believe that neighbors think it’s fine to turn this wonderful neighborhood into a dump. Maybe they’ll feel differently when these wonderful addicts/mentally ill assault one of their family members.But qualityoflife for the non-homeless is no big deal-must make sure they have a nice apartment and they can mob the street by the church and subway entrance on 79th.

    26. DAVID KLEINBERG-LEVIN says:

      This is a bad decision both for these men and for the neighbourhood. These men should be properly housed, to give them the mental and physical health they need and deserve and give them education and drug rehabilitation. They do not belong in this neighbourhood, housed in a hotel!

    27. Member of the UWS says:

      Breaking: Tin Man declared NIMBY supporter as rumors circulate about absence of heart.

    28. Elizabeth says:

      I’m thrilled to hear that the judge ruled for the men at The Lucerne.

    29. Otis says:

      I thought from the start this shelter was supposed to be a temporary solution.

      Now it appears they will never leave.

      As the old saying goes there’s nothing more permanent than a temporary government entitlement.

      One more indication that the UWS is reverting to the bad old days of grime and crime.

    30. Newcavendish says:

      Bleak House. Will this go on until the city is bankrupt? It’s a complete waste. The city may have an obligation to provide shelter, but it also has obligations to address the concerns of UWS residents. What it doesn’t have an obligation to do is please the whims and preferences of these people who, after all, are being maintained at the public expense. As long as the city is meeting the basic requirement of providing shelter, the courts should stay out of it and the activists should stop wasting the city’s time and resources; if a decision has been made to move to some other adequate facility, that should be the end of the story.

    31. Aglaia Davis says:

      I am very empathic to people in general, but I am not ashamed to say I don’t enjoy seeing homeless, drunk, and/or mentally ill people in our “hood.” If people do enjoy that, I guess they are better than I. A mentally ill younger man started talking to me the other day at the AMNH–or maybe he was drugged up. Demonizing residents of the UWS who don’t want to embrace a very upsetting part of the City that we elect not to live in is foolish. And Helen Rosenthal does not represent the interests of a lot of us based on what she has said and done over the years.

      • World Peacenik says:

        The thing is that you don’t get to decide which people to remove from this neighborhood based on you finding them undesirable .

        As an example: If I consider you to be undesirable (based on your attitudes and values), should I have the right to have you removed?

        • EfficientSpend says:

          Pretty sure when it’s our tax dollars paying it, we do have a say. Especially when we see the government using our dollars to overpay for hotel rooms. The fact that some here don’t have an issue with a limited budget being used inefficiently says a lot about them.

    32. curious neighbor says:

      has anyone else wondered if the owner of the Lucerne was the one paying the lawyers arguing for the homeless men to stay. He is making a fortune here, with all the damage incurred covered… Lucerne, the most profitable hotel in NYC this year! Keep the $ coming…

      • Boris says:

        If he does pay for their lawyers, that’s his right. People routinely pay other people to support their cause and it’s neither illegal nor immoral. Aren’t campaign donations similar in purpose?

        • Leon says:

          Fair enough. So why was other side being demonized for hiring a lawyer? Contrary to popular belief, they have decent reasons for opposing this and are also entitled to representation on this matter.

          I am a moderate Democrat and the hypocrisy of the woke progressive crowd often approaches (though fortunately does not match) the hypocrisy of Trump supporters. And it motivates Trump supporters to hate us more.

          • Boris says:

            I’d be the last person to demonize that group for hiring a lawyer. I’m in favor of moving the homeless population out of the Lucerne. But I also support the Lucerne owner if he did in fact pay for lawyers to advance his interests.

            • Leon says:

              Thank you. Then I think you and I are among the few rational, even-minded people here. For weeks there have been countless posts demonizing the group that hired the lawyer to get the men out of the Lucerne. The lawyer’s house was even vandalized.

            • World Peacenik says:

              “I think you and I are among the few rational, even-minded people here.”

              Is WSR still posting on quotable Comments? This has got to be highlighted.

      • SD says:

        FiDi is footing the bill.

    33. Da Homeless Hero says:

      Within 30 days 54 people have moved from the Lucerne into permanent housing. From my understanding, there is a freeze on anyone replacing them. Vacant rooms are all over the hotel. This has never happened. The City wants to empty this hotel so bad they have suddenly found housing for the Men of the Lucerne. If they keep up this momentum then this building will be empty and residents will be in permanent housing. Trust me, this situation is temporary. Think about the number. 54 men in 30 days. Never have I seen people move out of the shelter system that fast.

      • HelenD says:

        And may I ask why they haven’t found permanent housing for you (yet)? Is it a lottery system or is it based on specific requirements?

    34. Lisa finn says:

      Zoom call uws address wow took me a lot of hard work and sacrifice to afford any of this I am perplexed

    35. Judy Weiss says:

      So where’s the holiday spirit in all this? Sounds like Scrooge’s “Aren’t there workhouses for the poor?” I’m on WEA near 97th Street, we have a pretty wide range of people in the neighborhood, we co-exist. In a more relaxed world we might actually know each other. But co-exist is better than NIMBY.

      • Gail says:

        Actually, the 96th street subway has become a nightmare. I have walked by men totally hammered, masturbating (only one, so I guess I’m lucky?), and harassing people. Oh and a guy’s face was slashed the other day. I am terrified about my return to work. I’m proud to be NIMBY, no one deserves that to be in their backyard.

        • Bruce Bernstein says:

          reply to Gail:

          I have been going to work from Bway and 96th Street every day during the entire time (I am an “essential worker.”) There are plenty of cops at 96th Street morning and night. I have seen no one masturbating, nor any fights. occasionally is a homeless man on the south side of 96th.

          What you wrote is a gross exaggeration.

          • UWSer says:

            Bruce, just because you didn’t see what Gail saw does not mean that it did not happen. Please do not dismiss.

          • GetReal says:

            So everyone’s experience regarding specific incidents has to match yours exactly? Don’t be so dense.

          • Susan says:

            The amount of men dismissing women’s personal eyewitness accounts here is appalling. You truly live in a different reality. Do better.

            • Bruce E. Bernstein says:

              reply to Susan:

              Sorry, but just because someone is a woman doesn’t give them the right to totally distort what is going on. the 96th street subway station is not “a nightmare”, which is how Gail described it. She claims to have seen a man masturbating; i have never seen that and i am there every day. Maybe she saw it but it is nowhere near the norm. Many women are on the train. Cops are upstairs every morning and night.

              I have heard endless distortions and exaggerations about the neighborhood, for decades. I am sensitive to that women can have a different experience but there is no way the 96th street subway is “a nightmare.”

              Are you open to the idea that an anonymous poster might exaggerate?

            • Tired UWS Business says:

              Susan, I have also walked by a man masturbating sitting outside the 96th street subway main north entrance, when there were no police.

              BRUCE – as women, we might be watching our surroundings more closely than you are so we might be seeing more than you do. No exaggerations here. If it were your daughter or wife, wouldn’t you be concerned?

    36. Trevor says:

      The homeless men who are being housed at the Lucerne or for that matter any facility are wards of the state. They should be treated humanely for moral reasons but they do not have the right to decide where that humane treatment shall be administered. Nor does the City or Rosenthal have a right to tell a community, in this case the residents of the Upper West Side that they they have to host a large community of mentally ill and potentially dangerous people without community consultation.

    37. H says:

      To the WSR. Why aren’t you reporting that ambulances are at the Lucerne and Belleclaire hotels nightly, almost every night and day at all hours? Tonight was a busy night for both hotels minutes apart, a few blocks apart. This is no joke. Enough is enough.

    38. LLB says:

      I too have lived on the UWS for 30 years. I have lived by a sro for years and the people there are wonderful. It brings great character to our neighborhood and they have become friends to our businesses- but it was set up for the purpose it serves. I have worked at shelters and with the homeless—- but the Lucerne, Bellnord and Bellclaire are HOTELS. They are not set up as places for these individuals to get the services they deserve. They need the proper help and this is not helping them. And anyone who denies crime hasn’t gone up since they arrived is blind. It is not all of them by any means, but we should not deny them the services and proper housing they need. It was never permanent because they are Hotels – we all knew this from the day they arrived. Why such the infighting among us when we all want the best for these men and women.

    39. UWSer confused says:

      What’s the point of going to court and the verdict of it being decided by a judge if they can just appeal it & continue to stay? The ONLY ones benefitting from all of this are the lawyers. I am convinced they are going to be living at the Lucern indefinitely. And if the judge in this next appeal were to also say they have to move, can that decision be appealed as well?

    40. Frustrated UWSer says:

      Another man died here last week. This hotel is NOT set up for the care these men need. Bad decision.

      We have a huge homeless challenge on the UWS – this is not the root cause, but it significantly aggravates the issue.

      Why is all of the leadership focus on these men and not the homeless on the streets? What about Karl? Since these men arrived, he is more enabled than ever. What about the homeless twins (I believe one is pregnant AGAIN?!)

    41. dc says:

      Wow. You have to hand it to them. For a group of men so ill equipped for life here that they must rely on taxpayer largess for virtually every need, they sure know how to work the system.

    42. RSD72 says:

      Just so we’re clear, it sounds like once a homeless individual moves into any kind of temporary facility it becomes de-facto permanent as it’s legally impossible in NYC to move them elsewhere based on any assessment of capacity, needs, etc?

    43. charles becker says:

      I think that posters who work for the government, should disclose this fact as many of them derive their livelihood by having these people living in out midst.

      • Frustrated UWSer says:

        Agreed. I also believe that members of CB7 should also disclose their employer. As they vote on community projects we need to understand if their employment presents a bias.

        How do we get this information?

      • Bruce Bernstein says:

        reply to Charles Becker:

        wow, what you said is simply wrong on so many levels. It’s almost impossible to unwrap it 100 words. I’ll try:

        1) “people who work for the government”, even if they work for DHS, have no material interest in disrupting the UWS, nor do they make any special $s based on whatever is happening at the Lucerne.

        2) you are demanding special criteria from NYC govt employees in order to post. Prejudiced, much? Please remember it was govt employees who kept working and kept NYC going these past 8 months.

        3) there are lots of people who have material interests here, one way or the other.

        I am in favor of NO ANYONYMOUS POSTINGS, period. Let people put their name on things.

        signed with my own name, a proud NYC govt employee.

    44. Brenda says:

      The money spent harassing these men could’ve changed their lives

    45. ZoomZ says:

      I said it before – many times –
      I say it again –
      These souls are NOT leaving.
      They will stay put at least until spring 2021, if not even longer.
      The courts have no balls to make a final decision, one way or the other.
      All UWSiders who don’t like it – suck it up and face reality.

    46. HH says:

      The city will never do well by homeless people if it manages this population inefficiently. NYC is running a huge deficit and will be forced to cut essential services and defer much needed investment in infrastructure. Really sad to see this level of disfunction in government and it bodes poorly for our collective future.

      As for all the bleeding hearts – they have a point. These men should be cared for. But it can’t be at any cost and any suggestions that it should be discredits the individual making the argument.

      • charles becker says:

        “The city will never do well by the homeless.”

        How about the city starting first doing well well for the lower middle class worker in private industry. This man with a family is just getting by and unlike city workers has few employee benefits and is subject too layoffs.

    47. Dave says:

      Let’s be real here. The homeless living there are claiming that the move to the other hotel would cause them too much stress. The real reason is because they would much prefer to continue living in a 5 star $500 a night hotel that only the very rich can stay in an upscale neighborhood instead of a much more downgraded hotel like the Radisson. That is the only reason, plain and simple. But why do they get more say than the people living in the actual neighborhood as to where they get to live for FREE? Why do they get to go against the ruling of a judge? Why do they have more power and clout in all of this than the people that live up here do?

    48. charles becker says:

      Why not offer to buy these people a bus ticket to any place in the US. Then offer them a $500-800 monthly stipend for every month they are not living in NYC.
      That is a lot cheaper than the 60k/year nyc government is currently spending on these people.

    49. InvisibleDigit says:

      I wonder how fast people would rally around me and protest on my behalf if I stop paying my rent, and the bank forecloses and looks to evict me from my apartment. I’m guessing nobody would give a rat’s ass. No chalk drawings for people working their butt off to maintain their residence on the UWS.

    50. James Brummel says:

      I agree with Trevor who said “The homeless men who are being housed at the Lucerne or for that matter any facility are wards of the state.” They are being moved a few miles away, from non permanent housing to other non permanent housing. I am confused about the controversy. it is only controversial if we ignore the context. UWS has numerous shelters, sros, public housing. No one is protesting them.

    51. Sandy Marcus says:

      I thought the men were going to a single room occupancy facility which is better, t I thought they were going to have recreational facilities and were supposed to be closer to their appointments! How is that bad? With covid and substance abuse single room occupancy is important! This was supposed to be a positive move and it was always a temporary situation. And let’s not lose site of the fact that they were moved because of disruption to another neighborhood. Three hotel in a ten block radius has definitely deteriorated our quality of life. I am a 40 year resident of the UWS and I see a huge change!

    52. cma says:

      I hope everyone will try to REMEMBER that these hotel placements were supposed to be TEMPORARY while the COVID-19 pandemic rages around us. And while the city refurbishes the regular shelters for appropriate safety. But given the POOR excuses for homes that these shelters provide, it is a BLESSING that these men are able to be housed TEMPORARILY in a HOTEL. And Let us ALL be GRATEFUL for what we have.

      • HelenD says:

        If the whole point of moving the men (at any point) was Covid, then wouldn’t they be safer in their own rooms than sharing rooms at the Lucerne?

    53. Tired UWS Business says:

      I am just wondering when a homeless person like Da Homeless Hero or any other homeless person living in the shelters feels GRATEFUL for having a roof over their head, food to eat, clean water to drink and a chance to get back on track after something tragic has happened to them. I live in a studio while working like a dog to make sure I can pay my rent and feed myself. Very glad there are services if ever needed & I would be grateful wherever I had a roof & food given to me. I would not be demanding where to stay.

      I have a heart but I also have humility.

      • GetReal says:

        Sorry, that level of rational thought is not allowed here. Nice try though.

      • World Peacenik says:

        Your comment demonstrates neither heart nor humility.

        Perhaps reflect on that.

        • TweedleDum says:

          Your comment provides no value whatsoever (as usual). Please reflect on that.

          • World Peacenik says:

            I reflected, as you suggested, and now see that it needs to be spelled out:

            “There was no room for them in the inn” (Lk 2:7) when Jesus was born on the first Christmas. Mary and Joseph went off alone.
            No space was reserved for Jesus when he came. There was no hospitality, no welcome.

    54. Bewildered UWSider says:

      I can’t believe that so many people think this is a win! I for the 1000th time don’t understand how the amenities that they will be provided downtown aren’t in their best interest? There will be one to a room, social services, etc. I feel bad that these men are homeless and do hope they get back on their feet, but the Lucerne was NEVER a permanent solution, why are people acting like it is? Some people make it seem like the men are being moved from the UWS to Siberia. If the city keeps spending as much money as they have been on boutique luxurious hotels to house the homeless then this city will be just the rich and the poor, because no one else will be able to afford it.

    55. js says:

      Curious…is Legal Aid representing the individuals who wish to remain at the Lucerne?
      Or a private law firm?
      How is this being funded?

      • SD says:

        It is being funded by the Financial District who raised a million dollars to not have them move to their neighborhood…

        • World Peacenik says:

          Rumble of the Richies.

          FiDi v. UWS

          For the Heavyweight Selfish Title.

          • Jim K. says:

            Seems rather entitled of you to argue the words “enough” or “no” are selfish. Setting boundaries is healthy. I think it’s fair to say the UWS has had enough. If society doesn’t have boundaries we get chaos.

            • World Peacenik says:

              I have never commented that the words “enough” or “no” are selfish.You have me confused with another Commenter.

              Please redirect your Reply.

          • Bruce Bernstein says:

            the UWS Richies are now grumbling because they can’t raise as much money for their high priced lawyers as the FiDi Richies. “the chickens coming home to roost.”

    56. Sydney Barrows says:

      I walk from 70th and Amsterdam up to Zabars frequently on both Broadway ands Amsterdam frequently, as I have for the past 35 years and wasntt even aware the Lucerne and the Belleclaire were housing homeless men until I heard some acquaintences talking about it well after they’d moved in.

      So for the past six weeks or so I’ve made it a point to look for them to see for myself what “unspeakable horrors” they were perpetrating and found… nothing. There
      were more men of color hanging out, yes, but keeping very much to themselves and eachn other if there was more than one. I noticed no drinking, no loud talking or expletives, they didn’t ask for money or harass any pedestrians – their conduct was perfectly normal (which is why I hadn’t noticed them previously, I suppose).

      It must be very demoralizing to have people hate you because of your physical appearance and because you’re obviously poor. To be outraged that you’re living in their community, through no fault of their own. And to know that some members of that community are paying a lot of money to attorneys to work tirelessly to get rid of you and to take away what is likely the nicest and safest place they’ve lived in for years, if ever.

      Imagine what it must be like to have no home. To not be able to get a job because no employers are willing to hire you. To have no skills and perhaps not be as literate as an employer needs. To know that basically there is very little if any hope you will ever have a better life. Think about that.

      I’m glad they’re able to stay for a while longer, for have no doubt that this fight is not over. I’m happy to hear how kind many of our neighbors have been to them and have even helped them find employment.

      I hope these men are able to remember the UWS and their stay here as a respite from the storm they routinely experience, and the people here who have been kind to and supportive of them.