A New York City judge has ruled that the opening of a homeless shelter on Manhattan’s ‘Billionaires’ Row’ can proceed despite major pushback from local activists.
The decision comes just days after the San Francisco Port Commission approved a similarly contentious shelter project despite the outcry of wealthy locals.
Opponents of the Manhattan facility, which is slated to occupy the former Park Savoy Hotel on West 58th Street, contend that the building does not meet safety and fire codes – arguments that were rejected by State Supreme Court Justice Alexander Tisch.
“Tisch ruled that while the only way out is through the lobby and the stairwell may be too narrow for both tenants and first responders at the same time, ‘these are all aspects for which the City and its agencies are supposed to be given deference,’” the New York Post reports.
“He also ruled that claims the neighborhood already had more than its ‘fair share’ of shelters were ‘without merit.’”
The permanently closed Park Savoy Hotel lies directly behind One57, one of the most exclusive residential skyscrapers in the world.
Mayor Bill de Blasio “blindsided” Billionaire’s Row in early 2018 when he “quietly announced” plans to open the men’s homeless shelter there, the Post reported at the time.
“I don’t know if these gentlemen are violent, I don’t know what to expect,” said Rich Montilla, head of security for One57 and the nearby Park Hyatt hotel.
Montilla expressed concern “for our guests going out in that area — we have an exit and entrance there for guests and condo owners.”
Last week, San Francisco’s largest homeless shelter was approved to open in the Embarcadero neighborhood amid a backlash from affluent residents who raised over $100,000 on GoFundMe to oppose the project.
“Opponents have claimed that because navigation centers don’t allow drug use, the new residents will be doing drugs in public, and create an unsafe atmosphere in a neighborhood that welcomes a large number of families and tourists alike,” Architects Newspaper reports.
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