After arriving almost a year ago, the last of the 280 or so homeless men residing at the Lucerne Hotel at 201 West 79th Street have left the building.
A court ruled in early June that the hotel-shelter site would be closing its doors after many false alarms.
While the majority of the men had already left – with some having found permanent housing and others having violated Project Renewal’s “Good Neighbor Policy” – those still residing at the Lucerne left on June 28 in a white bus to head back to congregate shelters.
The Upper West Side was split over the city’s decision to temporarily house homeless residents at neighborhood hotels since the beginning, and these contrasting perspectives remained until the end.
The night before the final move, Pix11 News spoke with Owen Crowley of UWS Open Hearts Initiative as well as now-former Lucerne resident Henry Melendez, both of whom praised the effectiveness of the Lucerne’s role during the pandemic.
As the bus pulled away, Corrine Low – one of UWS Open Hearts Initiative’s co-founders – expressed her disappointment over the final relocation to members of the press.
After close to a year on the Upper West Side, men are being moved out of The Lucerne Hotel this morning. pic.twitter.com/p64ctHicje
— Jeff Coltin (@JCColtin) June 28, 2021
Upper West Sider Rob Lister said to NY1, “I do think it was the right thing to do,” adding that “It was distressing to see people who weren’t in such great shape out on the street corners, on the medians … You’d see drugs and needles and things like that.”
Now that hotels are reopening and the worst of the pandemic appears to be behind us, NYC is moving about 9,000 homeless residents from temporary hotel-sites back into congregate shelters.
If open hearts had just let them move to the Radisson they would have brand new rooms permanently to themselves. Instead they kept them in this situation where they would have to go back to congregate shelters. They hurt the men and were never really there to help them. It’s so unfortunate but it was all about you know who being in the spotlight.