Mayor de Blasio Can Shoo Away The Homeless;
Our Neighbors Can’t. The Choice: Fight Back Or Fail
Aggressive, in-your-face panhandling.
People who act out inappropriately on the street or in the subway.
Public fighting and raucous loiterers.
Most neighborhoods in Manhattan are facing these problems.
But our beautiful neighborhood is fighting back.
You can do your part as a neighbor, or with your building to:
- Support the Neighborhood Security Patrol with a donation
- Support the legal effort to stop the City from oversaturating our neighborhood to solve the problems of other neighborhoods and boroughs who don’t do their Fair Share, and saddle us with facilities like the Alexander shelter.
- Join us in court on March 21st at 9 AM
- Attend the Neighborhood In The Nineties General Meeting, Tues., Mar. 12th, 6:15 PM
See specific information at the end of this article
Last July, for the third time in our 48-year history, we initiated a private security patrol, that now covers 93rd to 95th Street, Broadway to Riverside during late afternoon and night hours, to restore a sense of safety in the streets.
When the City, for the fourth time in twelve years, decided to site a Department of Homeless Services shelter in our immediate neighborhood, we fought back. Two were Adult Family shelters that failed miserably. Number three is The Alexander, yet another Adult Family shelter, the subject of a critical lawsuit filed by N90s against the City. The fourth was a men’s shelter on 95th St. that placed pedophiles opposite PS 75.
Our immediate neighborhood is home to more then two dozen facilities that house the homeless. These facilities include The Alexander, St. Louis/Rustin House, 308 West 94th Street, The Narragansett, The Senate, Rose Residence, The Yale, 2643 Broadway, Bilander Hall, Huntersmoon, VOA on West 104th Street, 95th Street Veterans’ Residence and more. We have several houses of worship that house homeless individuals, including, Congregation B’nai Jeshrun, Church of St. Andrew and St. Paul and Congregation Ansche Chesed. Food pantries and kitchens for the poor and homeless are provided by St. Andrew and St. Paul, Broadway Lutheran Church and St. Francis, among others.
While the City’s homeless population has grown from 1,000 in 1977 to 77,000 today, our Upper West Side community has kept up with the needs of the homeless, on a level few neighborhoods can match.
Unfortunately, the City rewards our fairness and decency with an unfair burden. It is time for the City to take cognizance of the fact that 21% of Manhattan’s supportive housing or close to 4,000 beds, which include many people with serious mental illness, alcohol and drug abuse living independently (translation: no real help, the streets have become asylums) are concentrated on the Upper West Side. There are 13 community board districts. About 90% of those 4,000 supportive units are in the West 90s/West 100s.
That’s a major reason why we’re in court against The Alexander shelter at 306 West 94th Street: Fair Share. It’s not just about one shelter, it’s about establishing that the neighborhood is already oversaturated with homeless facilities. A fair application of Fair Share as required in the City Charter (the City’s constitution), would benefit all of our neighbors in the West 90s/West 100s. This is especially true, for example, if you live on 95th Street near the nearly empty former Freedom House (316 West), which will be offered by its owners again to the City for use as a shelter later in 2019.
The lawsuit is about more than Fair Share.
We are fighting for the rights of the Alexander longtime tenants who are now suffering effective constructive eviction. They suffer from harassment by the building’s security force, late night construction by the vendor, Praxis and turning off the heat on very cold nights. But there’s more to our case against the City, Praxis and the building owner, Esplanade 94 LLC which is owned by Ali Scharf. https://nypost.com/2019/01/28/
In papers filed by our legal team, attorney Stewart Wurtzel of Tane Waterman & Wurtzel P.C. caught the City in duplicitous lies.
Ten years ago, the City determined that the Alexander, which is not a fireproof building, was unfit to be used as a short term stay facility. They were protecting the lives of tourists, who, because of their short stays, would likely not know the locations of the fire exits. The building has but two fire escapes, front, and rear.
But the City chose The Alexander as a shelter. By definition, shelters are legally emergency, 30-day housing. But the same safety regulations the City legally enforces to protect tourists should also apply to protect our homeless vulnerable populations.
Are the homeless not entitled to equal protection under the law?
If the Alexander isn’t safe for tourists, it isn’t safe for the homeless.
Please join us on Thursday, March 21st at 9 AM, Room 122, 80 Centre Street, we will be back in court. Please HOLD THAT DATE! There have been multiple date changes, but we have been able to keep the partial TRO (temporary restraining order), which limits the population of the Alexander shelter while the case continues.
A safe community is at stake in our success, both in court and supporting the security patrol. N90s has been contacted by other neighborhood groups who wish to address the safety issues caused by a burgeoning, untreated homeless population in their communities.
The New York Post, in covering the impact of the homeless on public safety and quality of life, reported that Zeckendorf Towers in Union Square started a patrol of armed, off-duty police to deal with their street homeless issues.
Due to the coverage the N90s Security Patrol received in newspapers, radio and TV, Mayor de Blasio was embarrassed to answer a question about our patrol during his daily news briefing. The mayor said, “That’s their prerogative.”
The next day, the precinct began stationing neighborhood patrol officers near the Alexander. Message delivered! See front page story about the N90s security patrol: https://nypost.com/2019/01/29/
We hope to see the same NYPD attention when the weather gets warmer and the homeless and drug dealers roam the streets.
MAYOR SENDS POLICE AFTER POST STORY ON THE N90s SECURITY PATROL
N90s remains committed to keeping the private patrol going. It has been successful, and unlike the NYPD, keeps a regular beat, not just when the mayor calls.
As noted previously, Mr. de Blasio has a coterie of cops who, hours before he appears at Symphony Space, shoo away the homeless. Call it the mayor’s Potemkin prerogative. https://newyork.cbslocal.com/
Please support our efforts to fight back. Lawyers and private security guards are expensive. The alternative is unthinkable.
We ask that more people step up—individuals, building owners, business owners, co-op boards and tenants—and contribute to keep these two important efforts going.
Checks may be written to: Neighborhood In The Nineties, Inc. You may indicate “Security Patrol” or “Legal” on the check. Address: Neighborhood In The Nineties, Suite 1B, 310 West 94th Street, New York, NY 10025-6868. Credit card donations are accepted at www.N90s.org. Hit “DONATE,” follow PayPal prompts.
Join us: General Meeting for Tuesday, March 12th at 6:15 PM. Please RSVP to info@N90s.org. Location TBA. Open to our neighbors only.