A Monthslong Battle on the Upper West Side Ends
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Weather: Today, mostly cloudy, with scattered afternoon storms, and a high in the mid-70s. Sunny over the weekend, with highs around 90.
Alternate-side parking: In effect until June 19 (Juneteenth).
After nearly a year of back-and-forth, a contentious issue on the Upper West Side of Manhattan has a resolution.
City officials were cleared to move dozens of homeless men from the Lucerne Hotel, after a state appeals court rejected an effort to stop their relocation to another hotel downtown.
About 280 people began living in the hotel last summer in an attempt to curb the spread of the coronavirus in the city’s crowded shelter system.
But a backlash erupted and legal battles broke out over their presence, sparking questions about race, class and tolerance in an affluent neighborhood known as a liberal enclave.
[Read more about what the decision means for the men and the hotel.]
Here’s what to know:
The court decision held that the effort to block the men’s relocation was moot: The three Lucerne residents on whose behalf the suit was filed, along with most of the initial residents, have moved out. Only 68 men remain there.
The ruling comes as the city reopens for tourism and plans to transfer over 9,000 homeless people out of hotels and back into group shelters. Until that relocation occurs, the city will allow residents to remain at the Lucerne.
A lawyer for the men declined to say whether his clients would appeal the case to the state’s highest court.
The back story
The number of single adults living in shelters has risen to nearly 21,000 from about 19,000 during the pandemic, according to the Coalition for the Homeless. Months after moving into the Lucerne, many of the residents said they had begun to feel a sense of belonging and stability, unlike their experience in other accommodations.
Some Upper West Side neighbors welcomed them. But others complained that the men, some of whom suffer from mental illness and substance abuse problems, loitered outside and menaced them. A neighborhood group pressured the city to relocate the residents.
The city announced plans in September to direct the homeless men to a hotel in the Financial District, where a group of residents filed suit to stop the move.
Shams DaBaron, a former Lucerne resident, called attention to the city’s practice of shifting homeless people from shelter to shelter.
“We have changed the game forever on the issue of homelessness in N.Y.C.,” he said.
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Want more news? Check out our full coverage.
The Mini Crossword: Here is today’s puzzle.
What we’re reading
When will New York’s late-night restaurants return to predawn hours? [Grub Street]
Most government documents in New York must be translated into several languages. But the law has been overlooked during the pandemic. [The City]
What we’re watching: The Times’s police bureau chief Ashley Southall discusses the drivers and response to New York’s subway attacks and rise in shootings on “The New York Times Close Up With Sam Roberts.” The show airs on Friday at 8 p.m., Saturday at 1:30 p.m. and Sunday at 12:30 p.m. [CUNY TV]
And finally: Your social weekend
The Times’s Melissa Guerrero writes:
While people are still connecting through virtual events and programs, as the summer season approaches and more people are getting vaccinated, venues and organizations are holding in-person events. Here are suggestions for maintaining a New York social life this weekend:
Virtual: Greening Public Art
On Friday at 9 a.m., join a panel discussion with artists, environmentalists, journalists and cultural leaders that will explore how contemporary art examines the environmental crisis.
Register for free on the event page.
In person: First Saturday Lite: ‘Still Here, Still Queer’
Join the Brooklyn Museum outdoors for its First Saturday Lite event on Saturday at 2 p.m. at the Brooklyn Museum Plaza. Enjoy a DJ lineup, a drag and burlesque showcase by the Brooklyn-based collective Switch n’ Play, art making and more.
The event is free and open to the public. Face masks are required for all adults and children over the age of 2. Visit the event page for more info.
In person: BK Queer Flea
On Saturday at 3 p.m. at 3 Dollar Bill, a queer bar and performance venue in Brooklyn, visit a lineup of over 20 queer vendors and makers at the BK Queer Flea marketplace.
The free event is for attendees 21 and over. Face masks or face shields are required, and patrons will be subject to a temperature check. Visit the Instagram page for more info.
It’s Friday — get ready for the summer heat.
Metropolitan Diary: Giant X
After leaving an unusually bad sales call, I headed to the subway station at 18th and McDonald Avenues to catch the F.
When I got to the bottom of the stairs, I heard a train coming into the station. Racing up the steps, I saw that it was going in my direction.
Pulling myself up by the handrail, I made it to the platform just as the train doors were closing. Rushing through them, I stumbled and fell face first onto the floor of the car.
There I lay, sprawled out, face down, briefcase still in hand, looking like a giant X with my legs still out the doors.
Several other passengers got up to ask whether I was OK. I rolled over, stood up and thanked them all.
A few stops later, an older passenger walked past me on the way out the door and said: “Have a blessed day.”
Every day I try.
— Jim Katzenstein
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