N90s Supports Efforts By Council Member Rosenthal  To Fix Dangerous Freedom House Shelter On 95th St. 

March 2, 2017

 Can Council Member Rosenthal fix dangerous 95th St shelter?

In December, Neighborhood In The Nineties issued a demand to the de Blasio Administration to immediately address dangerous conditions inside the Freedom House homeless shelter at 316 West 95th and its impact on crime and quality of life in this neighborhood.

In January, we published demands for sweeping changes in the shelter, which is infested with drug dealing, domestic violence, threats by shelter residents against permanent SRO tenants, hurling trash out the windows, and noise.

Conditions are so bad in the shelter that it has drawn complaints from the shelter/residence for veterans with PTSD in neighboring 330 West 95th. Neighbors have complained of panhandling, noise and drug dealing that has infested parts of the neighborhood, even after the shelter was cut in half.

Spurred by these horrid conditions, our City Council Member Helen Rosenthal reports that, over the past four months, she has been working hard on a solution.

Ms. Rosenthal believes that she can effect changes through NYC Human Resources Administration/Department of Homeless Services that will address the issues that neighbors, parents of young schoolchildren and the SRO tenants whose lives are being terrorized, have raised for years with N90s and the Council Member.

N90s president Aaron Biller says, “We want to give Helen’s efforts a chance. However, as the weather becomes more moderate, our neighbors may increasingly feel the need to take action if street conditions continue to deteriorate.

“It is a mayoral and City Council election year, so there is a window to exert leverage if the Rosenthal plan does not materialize, or if it falls short. We must consider the plight of SRO tenants who feel unsafe in Freedom House.”


  Community Board Green Lights Riverside STOP Signs,  But City Will Only Install “Rumble Trips,” 92-95th Streets

N90s is pleased to announce that the City Department of Transportation (DOT) will be installing rumble strips on the Riverside Drive Service Road between 92ndand 95th Streets is to slow down traffic–but there is still more to do to improve pedestrian safety in this corridor.  Presently, cars are exceeding the city’s 25 MPH speed limit on the S-curved, steeply pitched Service Road, and they frequently ignore pedestrians crossing into Riverside Park, a condition that DOT observed firsthand when we asked them to review conditions on the Service Road.

Last year, we were able to convince the DOT to install yellow “yield-to-pedestrian” signage with painted pedestrian lines at the crossings into Joan of Arc Island at 93rd and 94th Streets, but speeding vehicles still endanger pedestrians.

At a hearing in January by the Community Board 7 Transportation Committee, requested by N90s, Mimi Basso, Head of School for the West Side Montessori School COMMA and local school parents joined Neighborhood In The Nineties in demanding stop signs at the 93rd and 94th Street crossings. In February, the CB7 Board passed the committee’s unanimous recommendations for both rumble strips and stop signs, a request that has been sent to DOT.

Ms. Basso told the Transportation Committee that both her school on West 92nd Street, and Twin Parks Riverside Montessori School on 93rd and Riverside, have hundreds of toddlers that cross the Service Road to use Joan of Arc Island and Riverside Park. Although the schools take extra precautions to protect the children in and around the park, Ms. Basso supports the N90s initiative for placing stop signs.

The Community Board resolution reads, “While we appreciate DOT’s willingness to place speed bumps along the service road here, many neighbors and school parents believe stop signs would be most effective in reducing the possibility of conflicts between vehicles and pedestrians.

“Be it resolved that CB7 Manhattan approves and thanks DOT for their willingness to install speed bumps on the Riverside Drive service road between West 92nd & West 95th Streets, but CB7 urges DOT to install stop signs as well, due to the large number of schools in this area, plus the intense pedestrian activity.”


Pedestrian access to Riverside Park has been a growing concern for our neighbors who live between 97th and 99th Streets on Riverside Drive.

Neighbors Leah Rosch and Melissa White have reached out to the City to complain about speeding cars on the Riverside Drive Service Road north of 97thStreet. Many of these cars are coming off the Henry Hudson Parkway (HHP) or seeking to use 98th Street, which has no stop sign at Riverside, to access the 96th Street HHP entrance via WEA. Others use the Service Road as a bypass to avoid traffic lights on the Riverside Drive main road.

Crossing the Service Road has become a risky proposition. Like our neighbors in the lower 90s, pedestrians must traverse a narrow road and speeding vehicles to access Riverside Park. The Service Road is not built as a traffic bypass.

Yet, City DOT consistently resists installing stop signs, citing Federal demands for minimal traffic levels or a high pedestrian count. While claiming that 98th and 99th Streets on the Service Road do not meet these Federal standards, the DOT is hard pressed to explain why there is a stop sign on 100th Street, and almost every block north of 100th, when traffic volume is the same or less.

Start Here If You Want Stop Signs!
Want stop signs on the Riverside Drive Service Road in the 90s? Write to info@N90s.org. We will compile and forward letters to the DOT, Community Board 7 and City Council Member Helen Rosenthal.

N90s Seeks Interns To Help Our Quality of Life
Neighborhood In The Nineties is looking for a small group of college interns who will work with us to collect data on public facility usage patterns and neighborhood needs, so we can improve quality of life in our community. Please write to info@N90s.org.

95th St Veterans Homeless Facility Opens With Community Support, but is it Permanent Or Transitional Housing?

August 22, 2016

There’s a lot to be positive about the new home for 173 homeless vets with “mild” PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) at 330 West 95th Street. The building was formerly part of a 400-person homeless shelter. N90s, community and political leaders were able to close the half of the shelter (200) based in this building.

Two weeks ago, the Veterans facility operated jointly by Harlem United Community AIDS Center Inc. and Bailey House hosted an onsite tour, and the first quarterly meeting of the facility’s Community Advisory Board (CAB).  Among those attending were Council Member Helen Rosenthal, Harlem United CEO Jacquelyn Kilmer, Madge Rosenberg from Community Board 7, community members Renee Warshofsky-Altholz, and Neighborhood In The Nineties president Aaron Biller.

The building has undergone some basic improvements. Each vet will be living in their own, small former SRO room with shared bathrooms.  Shared kitchen areas are being updated for residents’ food preparation.  Each room will have a mini refrigerator.  The basement’s spacious recreation room features a flat screen television and a pool table.  Unlike the rest of the property, the rec room is air conditioned.

While the vets’ rooms have been nicely painted, and there are modest, new furnishings, there are concerns about the sub-micro size of the vets’ quarters. Some neighbors have questioned how long the new residents can be expected to live here. Or why these veterans, who have made a substantial sacrifice in the service of their country can’t be given real apartments, which may be found in many of the City-subsidized supportive housing facilities.

Harlem United and Bailey House announced that not only will the vets’ rooms be retrofitted with a/c, the 47 legacy SRO tenants will be upgraded to a/c – a kind, voluntary gesture by the two providers.  Standing in the way of this a/c promise is Con Edison, which must add 1200 amps, quadrupling the building’s present electric capacity.


HRA Commissioner Banks’ letter to Mayor ignores Freedom House in Fair Share analysis, N90s RESPONDS

May 12, 2016

We are a little baffled. In a letter to Mayor de Blasio, dated March 14, 2016, it appears that Human Resources Administration Commissioner Steven Banks has  outright ignored the Freedom House homeless shelter, as well as the area’s multitude of other homeless and related facilities, in his  fair share analysis for the new homeless veterans’ facility on West 95th street. That’s right, he seems to have forgotten his department’s very own Freedom House, the facility directly NEXT DOOR to the veterans’ facility.  Please see Commissioner Banks’ letter to the Mayor, as well as our response, below.


 Text of HRA Commissioner Steven Bank’s Letter to Mayor de Blasio:


CLICK HERE to see PDF of original letter

March 14, 2016

Steven Banks

Re: Article 9, 95th Street Residence at 330 West 95th Street, NY, New York 10025

Dear Mayor de Blasio:

The Human Resources Administration (HRA) proposes to contract with Bailey House and the Harlem United Community AIDS Center, Inc. (“Harlem United”) to operate 173 units of affordable permanent housing and social services for formerly homeless veterans who are referred by the Department of Homeless Services (DHS) for housing (one veteran per unit). Bailey House will provide services for 80 veterans and Harlem United will provide services for 93 veterans. Harlem United will also provide property management services. The facility is located at 330 West 95th Street on the south side of West 95th Street between Riverside Drive and West End Avenue in the Upper West Side neighborhood of Manhattan Community District (CD) 7 (see attached Fair Share map with starred location). This building contains a total of 220 units, of which 47 units are currently occupied by existing rent-regulated tenants. HRA clients are expected to move in during the month of March 2016. Read more »

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