TROUBLED CAMDEN HOTEL AWAITS NEW CHAPTER; COMMUNITY INPUT NEEDED NOW
The West 90s Neighborhood cannot afford another poorly run City program, which we lived with for years at the Camden. Let our elected officials know a well run program or private development is essential rather than the crime and drug ridden building of the past.
Dubbed by the New York Police Department as the second most dangerous building in the 24th Precinct,* the Camden Hotel, 206 West 95th Street, is now all but vacant and awaiting its next act in our neighborhood. A source close to ownership confirmed to N90s that the building effectively is up for sale, and that the City may buy the Camden.
The building has been all but empty since last fall; only a single tenant remains, according to West Side Spirit.
If the City buys the building or sells to a developer like those at Freedom House down the street, it is at risk of being the site of more bad policies by the same City agencies that demonstrate grievous disrespect and disregard for the health, safety and quality of life in our neighborhood and the many school children here.
The Camden, which crawled with criminals and junkies placed by the City’s Human Resources Administration (HRA)–one of three City agencies that places problem clients in neighborhoods–was the scene of a vicious murder by a meth-crazed resident in July 2012. The murder victim worked for the hotel. He died at the hands of a resident who had been relocated from the Yale at 316 West 97th Street. Ironically, the victim himself was a recovering drug addict, who had put substance abuse behind him to become a productive, hard-working family man.
Murder: The Last Straw
The murder convinced the building’s owners that the HRA program had to go, but it was far from the first episode of violence. In previous incidents, a recently released ex-con had robbed six nearby bank branches within days of his placement at the Camden. There was also the incident of the crack addict who, after acting out in the hotel, was removed to the hospital. The hospital released him the same day, and he returned to the Camden Hotel, loaded up on more crack and went on a bender at a restaurant on 95th Street, where he jumped atop diners’ tables and stomped until the police were called.
The Camden was also home to several pedophile sex offenders on the Megan’s List. On the same day of the murder in July 2012, HRA placed a man convicted of sexually assaulting a six-year old boy at The Camden. New York State law prohibits the placement of sex offenders within 1,000 feet of a school, yet there are approximately two dozen schools within 1,000 feet of the Camden.
Permanent affordable housing, as outlined in the de Blasio plan, is a worthy pursuit. However, the City must be held accountable for past failures that have made the streets less safe.
The City and community must be able to work together in an atmosphere of transparency and trust, but the city’s behavior around the St Louis/Ruskin Hall and the 95th Street “Freedom House” shelter has demonstrated anything but.
No community would have tolerated the Camden disaster as much as the Upper West Side has. A repeat of the past chapter is not acceptable, especially combined with other city efforts to increase the number of special needs residents in SRO buildings in our neighborhood..
Please help make the neighborhood safer. Call or email our elected officials today to let them know that this community will not accept Camden Act II. We can only accept programs that provide complete social services support, without turning violent offenders loose so close to neighborhood schools and an already over-burdened neighborhood.
Your call or email is important. Please remind our elected officials that this community is doing more than its share and cannot absorb another Camden-like facility. Contact:
State Senator Adriano Espaillat
District Office 212.544.0173
State Assembly Member Linda Rosenthal (east of Broadway)
District Office: 212.873.6368
State Assembly Member Daniel O’Donnell (west of Broadway)
District Office: 212.866.3970
City Council Member Helen Rosenthal
District Office: 212. 873.0282 x200
*The 24th Precinct serves the Upper West Side, including Riverside Park, from West 86th to 110th Streets.
THE FIGHT TO CLOSE THE FREEDOM HOUSE SHELTER CONTINUES.
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