Appeals Court Upholds Order Delaying Move of Homeless Men to FiDi
On Tuesday, a five-judge panel of the New York State Supreme Court’s Appellate Division affirmed an earlier ruling (issued on December 3), which has the effect of halting once again the planned transfer of more than 200 men from the Lucerne Hotel, on the Upper West Side, to the Radisson Wall Street Hotel, located at 52 William Street. This order amounts to a partial victory for both sides in the lawsuit, granting some of what opponents of the plan were seeking, while also allowing the administration of Mayor Bill de Blasio limited latitude to begin implementing its proposal on a smaller scale than originally envisioned.
The Appellate Division’s ruling said, “the forced relocation of certain homeless residents from the Lucerne Shelter Hotel to the Radisson Hotel shelter is stayed,” but added that, “the City is permitted to relocate those residents who voluntarily choose to be moved.”
This means that the majority of homeless men currently housed within the Lucerne, who say they would prefer to remain there, cannot be compelled to move—but any among them who would prefer the facility on William Street are free to relocate. The order is slated to remain in effect until the Appellate Division’s May term, which means that the City is barred from relocating en masse the men now at the Lucerne cannot occur for at least five months.
The ruling, along with the prior order that it upheld, has the effect of overturning an earlier decision, issued on November 25 by a lower court, in which Justice Debra James ruled that the transfer, planned by the administration since September, could proceed.
Lawyers for opponents of the plan, representing three men currently residing at the Lucerne, argued that these men (along with the rest of the group facing relocation) will suffer irreparable harm if they are moved. Jason Zakai, one of the lawyers for this group, told the Broadsheet, “we are very pleased with this decision, maintaining the status quo, and allowing the residents to remain at the Lucerne. Not only can the residents continue to remain at the Lucerne, where they have been thriving, but those men who have recently obtained jobs on the Upper West Side will be able to remain employed while the stay is in effect.”
He continued, “we are hopeful that the City uses this opportunity to consider how successful the Lucerne Hotel has been as a temporary shelter and use it as a model for other temporary hotel shelters. We also hope that the City will consider using its available hotel shelter beds, such as at the Radisson, for the thousands of homeless residents currently in crowded congregate shelters and who are at serious risk for contracting COVID-19.”
But the legal battle surrounding the plan is far from over. Lawyers for the City plan to continue arguing that the Department of Homeless Services is operating within its legal authority in deciding to move the homeless men from the Upper West Side to the Financial District. And a local advocacy group, Downtown New Yorkers Incorporated, plans further legal action to prevent the City from housing other homeless men at 52 William Street.
The dead menhaden fish that bobbed at the surface of the water off Lower Manhattan and throughout the Hudson-Raritan Estuary and Long Island Sound during the month of December are gone now. But the concern remains. What killed the fish?
Scientists in the region are putting forth theories. To read more…
To the editor:
I read Can Anybody Spare $100,000 Per Month?(BroadsheetDAILY January 6) with interest; thanks, Matthew Fenton.
While I support and encourage the effort, thanks to Daniel and John for your advancing this; I think it has been tried before, and as is typical in government, it dragged on for what seemed like forever, and the outcome—well-intended I am sure—fell far short of what was desired and needed; but better than nothing.
The reality is the Battery Park City Authority should come up with a mechanism for buildings to purchase the land they are on. Whether the Authority could act as a lender is a question, but that might have considerable benefits to all.
The ability to own the land would provide buildings with many more options than they have now, ability to borrow being the greatest one. Buildings, the present asset, depreciate, but the land generally increases in value. Clearly a financial analysis would need to take place, but the ten times the annual ground lease paid in 2020 is a great start. If the buildings could get a mortgage through the Authority, and borrowing based on appraised value, the boards could also assess future capital needs and borrow appropriately.
While I get the challenges with the facilities fee and generally throughout the city the parks and facilities are paid for through taxes; the attention to the Battery Park space used to be better than it is now. Patrols in the community were also more effective as was compliance and enforcement of the rules. The level of engagement and quality of this service was reduced when the function was outsourced. When services deteriorate, folk start to wonder and question if they are getting their money’s worth and not sure we are. If it takes an additional fee to improve and enhance, with input from the community, real input, I for one would be OK with that. The improve and enhance is very important; the community deserves that.
Extending the ground leases should not be an option as it will simply perpetuate the existing challenge and push bad news forward, never a good idea. Allowing the buildings and property owners to purchase the land should be the objective. Coming up with a lending facility and package based on many or most buildings wanting to proceed this way could also be a benefit. Long term, the enhanced ability to borrow would be a big plus, especially as the buildings age and there is a need for capital projects to be completed.
As for property taxes, assess and tax, based on the process throughout the City eliminating the PILOT.
The Hugh L. Carey Battery Park City Authority is a New York State public benefit corporation and Battery Park City has been the cash cow and funding source for City Hall and Albany for a long time. We are supporting a duplicate “government” (the Authority) and while I am sure they are well intended, do the appointees really serve us well? There is a very material staff that in the overall scheme of things is probably much larger than would would be needed under a new model. The undertaking is material and needs to be taken to Albany, as that is where the decisions will be made.
The Battery Alliance needs the support of the community. Let’s hope we can get it right.
Can Anybody Spare $100,000 Per Month?
CB1 Discussion Tonight Will Review Skyrocketing Costs of Home Ownership in Battery Park City
On Wednesday, January 6 the Battery Park City Committee of Community Board 1 hosted a discussion about affordability for condominium owners, for whom the cost of owning a home in the neighborhood is becoming increasingly prohibitive. .
The discussionl featured a presentation by a new grassroots organization, the Battery Alliance, which was recently founded by longtime residents Daniel Akkerman and John Dellaportas, both of whom serve on the boards of their condominiums (Hudson View West and Liberty House, respectively). Their organization can be found online at SaveBPC.org, and contacted via email at Info@savebpc.org. To read more…
Architects Propose to Reclaim Park Tribeca Lost Nearly a Century Ago
Community Board 1 (CB1) is supporting a plan to create a new park in Tribeca, within the Holland Tunnel Rotary, the six-acre asphalt gyre of exit ramps that connects traffic from New Jersey to Lower Manhattan’s street grid.
The husband-and-wife architecture team of Dasha Khapalova and Peter Ballman are proposing to create a constellation of small, street-level parks at the corners of the complex (bounded by Hudson, Laight, and Varick Street, as well as Ericson Place) which will double as entry points for a new, submerged central plaza. This plaza is anachronously known as St. John’s Park, although it has not been a publicly accessible space since the Holland Tunnel opened, 94 years ago.
A Leader Who Presided Over Transformational Times in Lower Manhattan Passes from the Scene
Anthony Notaro, a Lower Manhattan community leader for decades and chair of Community Board 1 (CB1) from 2016 to 2020, died on December 30, after a years-long battle with cancer. He was 69 years old. A resident of Battery Park City since the late 1990s, Mr. Notaro joined CB1 shortly after moving to Lower Manhattan. To read more…
Eyes to the Sky
January 4 – 17, 2021
Early nightfall and late sunup beckon to stargazers before days lengthen
The last of the longest nights of the year are bookended by planet Venus taking final bows in early morning twilight in the southeast and planets Jupiter and Saturn poised at the edge of the southwest skyline in afternoon dusk. The latest sunrises of the year – 7:20am through January 10 – and early sunsets, around 4:40pm, motivate this stargazer to greet starry skies, mostly in short jaunts or from a window or balcony, during morning darkness and half-light, 6am to 6:50am, and in the afternoon from just after 5pm – 5:40. To read more…
CLASSIFIEDS & PERSONALS
Swaps & Trades, Respectable Employment, Lost and Found