State Judge Halts Planned Transfer of Homeless Men to FiDi Hotel
In a dramatic reversal of a previous ruling, New York State Supreme Court Justice Debra James on Monday afternoon granted a temporary restraining order barring the administration of Mayor Bill de Blasio from implementing its plan to begin moving homeless men into a Financial District hotel—a transfer that was slated to start on Monday.
The last-minute motion, filed on Monday morning by attorney Michael S. Hiller, acting on behalf of the homeless men who were scheduled to be transferred to the Radisson New York Wall Street (located at 52 William Street), argues that planned move “would have a devastating effect on the lives and well-being of the Lucerne Residents.” This filing cited the specific cases of three homeless men who currently reside at the Lucerne Hotel, on the Upper West Side—Ramone Buford, Larry Thomas, and Travis Trammell—along with the 200-plus other men who were expected to move with them.
The brief continues that, “through unique rehabilitative, fitness and counseling programs on the Upper West Side, they have been able to get their lives on track and make tremendous progress with recovering from alcohol and substance abuse disorders. They have even been able to arrange for jobs in the area through the Goddard Riverside Community Center. Further, they generally have been embraced and welcomed by the Upper West Side community, which has gone to great efforts to provide them with stability and reduce their suffering from mental health issues.”
“All of these positive developments are threatened to be completely undermined if the Lucerne Residents were to be forced to move to a new environment and different community, where the same programs and jobs do not exist, and where the residents of the new community vehemently do not want them,” the motion adds.
These arguments come against the backdrop of significant controversy on the Upper West Side, where some residents of that community organized, raised funds, and hired lawyers to stop the City from housing approximately 240 homeless men there. After City officials agreed to vacate the Lucerne several weeks ago, they settled on the Radisson New York Wall Street as a replacement facility.
But Mr. Hiller’s brief contents that, “a significant portion of the Upper West Side community has also now embraced the men, and a neighborhood non-profit has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars to provide them employment, mental and other health programs, and recreational activities. The men do not want to leave the Lucerne, and are making substantial progress in their recovery.”
Joining Mr. Hiller’s motion on behalf of his clients was Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, who argued in a separate affidavit that, “with the support of the community, [the homeless men at the Lucerne] have an opportunity to bring some normalcy to their battered lives, to receive the support they deserve to create stability and opportunity and—most of all—to be part of a community that has come to embrace and support them.”
Also filing in support of the Lucerne residents was Corrine Low, a co-founder of the Upper West Side Open Hearts Initiative, who noted that, “after months of helping and getting to know the Lucerne Residents, a bond of friendship and trust has developed between the community members and the Lucerne Residents.”
At the conclusion of Monday’s hearing, Justice James granted the temporary restraining order that the petitioners sought, which effectively bars the City’s Department of Homeless Services (DHS) from moving men from the Lucerne until at least November 16, when she plans to hear further arguments.
In this ruling, Justice James reversed her earlier ruling (issued over the weekend, in response to a separate legal action filed on Friday), in which a group of Lower Manhattan residents, Downtown New Yorkers, Inc., argued that the City lacked legal authority to implement the planned move from the Lucerne to the Radisson New York Wall Street. While Justice James agreed to consider these claims (also starting on November 16), she declined the request from Downtown New Yorkers to order the DHS to hold off on moving the men until that time.
A spokesman for the City’s Law Department responded to Monday’s decision by saying, “this move is the right thing to do. We are confident that the court’s decision not to interfere with the judgment of the City to move forward will stand. Residents will continue to get on site services and be closer to the medical care they need.”
In a statement released after Justice James’s Monday ruling, Downtown New Yorkers said, “we are gratified that the judge stopped the precipitous move, but we were shocked to learn that the City may fill the Radisson with other homeless individuals in the meantime seemingly, to help its court case. This shows that the City’s motivation has nothing to do with the best interests of homeless people. After the City informed the judge that it would not move the Lucerne men until today’s hearing, it snuck four homeless people into the Radisson in the very early hours of the morning so that it could tell the judge that the building was still being used as a temporary shelter.”
“The City has behaved unacceptably throughout this process,” the statement continues. “We call on the Mayor and other elected officials to put a stop to the chaos surrounding this issue. In the meantime, we ask everyone in the neighborhood to keep an eye on activity at the building so that we can track the City’s increasingly bizarre actions.”
CLASSIFIEDS & PERSONALS
Swaps & Trades, Respectable Employment, Lost and Found
Celebrate the nature found in our beloved BPC parks. Pick up a self-guided worksheet that will invite you to tour the gardens investigating plants and trees, as well as the pollinating insects and birds that visit the parks of BPC. Participants are expected to bring their own pencils and clipboards. Program is first come, first served for up to 20 children with accompanying adults. Masks and contact information required upon arrival. Activity is self-guided. Participants must maintain six feet of physical distance between households. Free. Rockefeller Park.
Come to Ningxia, a windswept land of deserts in China’s northwest, where cumin-spiced Hui-minority cuisine reigns supreme, and local entrepreneurs are driving China’s booming wine industry. Follow the guide live in a visit to one of the region’s top female-owned wineries, imagine the flavors of Ningxia’s hand-grabbed mutton, and learn about China’s wine renaissance with author and expert Janet Z. Wang. Free. Hosted by the China Institute.
Wagner Park, with its gardens and views of the Hudson River and New York Bay, is the perfect setting to practice your art. Participants are expected to bring their own drawing and painting supplies, including drawing boards and containers of water if they are planning to paint. BPCA will supply drawing paper and watercolor paper only. Program is first come, first served for up to 20 participants. Masks and contact information required upon arrival. Art-making is self-guided. Participants must remain 6 ft apart for the duration of the program. Free.
A weekly bagpipe tribute honors those who died on 9/11 as well as those who are sick or who have died from exposure to hazards and toxins in the aftermath of 9/11. Bagpipers play near the 9/11 Memorial Glade. Free.
1) Capital and Expense Budget for FY 2022 – Resolution
2) Warren St Cargo Bike Corral – Presentation by the DOT Freight Division
3) 52 William Street “temporary” shelter- Report, discussion and possible resolution
4) Committee Reports
What’s Up, Dock?
Pier A Restaurant and Bar Shuts Down
The Harbor House Restaurant on Pier A has shut down, with no definite plan to reopen. A spokesman for the Battery Park City Authority says that agency, “is working with all relevant parties to determine a path forward.”
This distress (which predates the restaurant-industry woes triggered by the pandemic coronavirus and the economic slowdown that followed) was highlighted in December, 2018. To read more…
Fresh as a Daisy
Daisy Peaz Honored as Woman of Distinction
Daisy Paez, a Lower East Side activist who has served for years as a local District Leader, and is a universally revered matriarch among Downtown’s political and community family, was honored recently by State Senator Brian Kavanagh as a Woman of Distinction—an accolade conferred each year by the upper house of the Albany legislature, recognizing women across New York who are impacting their communities, while setting an example for future generations of New Yorkers.
Earlier this year, Ms. Paez successfully waged a life-and-death battle with the pandemic coronavirus, during which she struggled for many weeks, first at New York Presbyterian’s Lower Manhattan Hospital, then at the Burke Rehabilitation Hospital, in White Plains.
Losses and Closures Mount Among Downtown Dining Spots
A new report from State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli documents the impact of the ongoing pandemic coronavirus on the restaurant industry in Lower Manhattan.
In this report, Mr. DiNapoli finds, there were 1,981 operating restaurants and bars before the pandemic began, which places Lower Manhattan behind only the Chelsea/Clinton/Midtown Business District PUMA area, with 2,661 such establishments. (Together, these two areas account for nearly 40 percent of the City’s restaurant jobs.) To read more…
Quay to Success
Pier 26 Opens with Amenities Galore
The tally of great public spaces in Lower Manhattan has increased by one. Last Wednesday, the Hudson River Park Trust officially opened Pier 26 in Tribeca (near Hubert Street), the product of a decade-plus of planning and construction, and a $37-million budget.
The result is 2.5 acres of woodland forest, coastal grassland, maritime scrub, and a rocky tidal zone—all culminating in a breathtaking view of the Hudson River. Additionally included in the design are a multi-use recreation field and a spacious sunning lawn, as well as boardwalks and seating areas. To read more…
TODAY IN HISTORY
Richard Nixon fires Attorney General Elliot Richardson and Deputy Attorney General William Ruckelshaus after they refuse to fire special prosecutor Archibald Cox, who is finally fired by Robert Bork.
1803 – The United States Senate ratifies the Louisiana Purchase.
1818 – The Convention of 1818 is signed between the United States and the United Kingdom, which settles the Canada–United States border on the 49th parallel for most of its length.
1944 – American general Douglas MacArthur fulfills his promise to return to the Philippines when he comes ashore during the Battle of Leyte.
1947 – The House Un-American Activities Committee begins its investigation into Communist infiltration of the Hollywood film industry, resulting in a blacklist that prevents some from working in the industry for years.
1961 – The Soviet Union performs the first armed test of a submarine-launched ballistic missile, launching an R-13 from a Golf-class submarine.
1973 – “Saturday Night Massacre”: United States President Richard Nixon fires U.S. Attorney General Elliot Richardson and Deputy Attorney General William Ruckelshaus after they refuse to fire special prosecutor Archibald Cox, who is finally fired by Robert Bork.
1981 – Two police officers and an armored car guard are killed during an armed robbery carried out by members of the Black Liberation Army and Weather Underground.
2011 – Libyan Civil War: Rebel forces capture Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi and his son Mutassim in his hometown of Sirte and kill him shortly thereafter, ending the first Libyan civil war.
1632 – Christopher Wren, English physicist, mathematician, and architect, designed St Paul’s Cathedral (d. 1723)
1790 – Patrick Matthew. Scottish farmer and biologist (d. 1874)
1885 – Jelly Roll Morton, American pianist, composer, and bandleader (d. 1941)
1923 – Robert Craft, American conductor and musicologist (d. 2015)
1925 – Art Buchwald, American soldier and journalist (d. 2007)
1931 – Mickey Mantle, American baseball player and sportscaster (d. 1995)
1940 – Robert Pinsky, American poet and critic
1964 – Kamala Harris, American politician and lawyer, U.S. Senator from California; 2020 Democratic vice presidential nominee
1713 – Archibald Pitcairne, Scottish physician and academic (b. 1652)
1740 – Charles VI, Holy Roman Emperor (b. 1685)
1926 – Eugene V. Debs, American union leader and politician (b. 1855)
1936 – Anne Sullivan, American educator (b. 1866)
1964 – Herbert Hoover, 31st President of the United States (b. 1874)
2006 – Jane Wyatt, American actress (b. 1910)
2010 – Bob Guccione, publisher, founded Penthouse magazine (b. 1930)
2014 – René Burri, Swiss photographer and journalist (b. 1933)
2014 – Oscar de la Renta, Dominican-American fashion designer (b. 1932)
Credits include wikipedia and other internet sources