Saturday, October 17, 2020

Upper West Side liberal hypocrisy

These are the political hypocrites behind NYC’s homeless scandal



Steve Cuozzo

Uptown, downtown, all around the town — nobody wants a homeless shelter full of former drug addicts in their front yards. But to woker-than-thou hypocrites, homeless shelters in somebody else’s front yards are just fine.

An uncivil war has convulsed the Upper West Sidesince last summer, when the city, without advance notice, moved nearly 300 homeless men, most of them recovering addicts and some with criminal records, into the once-respectable Lucerne Hotel on West 79th Street, amidst apartment buildings filled with middle-class families.

Most of the neighborhood’s lifelong liberals were traumatized. They were accused by a relative few other locals of betraying Upper West Side ideals of rescuing the capitalism-oppressed poor or of outright racism (many Lucerne residents are black). There have been lawsuits and name-calling on both sides.

But it’s standard form in New York City for agents of neighborhood ruination to live distant from the neighborhoods they would ruin. In fact, the most prominent public figures who think a permanent homeless enclave at the Lucerne is a great idea live nowhere near the Lucerne.

Public Hypocrite No. 1 is city Comptroller Scott Stringer, who wants the jobless, troubled, sometimes-violent men to remain at the hotel. Never mind howls of protest from neighbors and business owners who’ve suffered vandalism, robberies, aggressive panhandling and sexual taunts and who fear for the safety of their kids who attend nearby schools.

Stringer lives comfortably removed on Broad Street in lower Manhattan, many miles south. But ironically, the tables might soon turn on him. Under pressure by horrified Upper West Siders threatening a lawsuit, Mayor de Blasio hopes to relocate the Lucerne’s unwelcome residents to a former Radisson Hotel on William Street starting tomorrow. It’s two blocks from Stringer’s home. The hotel shelters — a poor substitute for a sound homeless-care policy — are multiplying so fast, it’s hard to stay out of their way.


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