Judge Green-Lights Homeless Shelter on New York’s Elite 'Billionaires’ Row'
State Supreme Court Justice Alexander Tisch gives go-ahead for controversial shelter
A judge has given the green light to open a controversial homeless shelter in New York's exclusive "Billionaires' Row" neighborhood.
State Supreme Court Justice Alexander Tisch gave city officials the go-ahead on Monday for the proposal in the elite area of Manhattan.
Tisch rejected arguments from opponents, including the West 58th Street Coalition, and that the venue for the shelter - formally the famous Park Savoy Hotel - is unsafe in case of fire and doesn’t meet current safety standards.
Mayor Bill de Blasio's administration is planning to convert the hotel building into a shelter for 150 of the city's homeless residents.
According to the New York Post, 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.”
Tisch said the fact that the city granted the shelter a partial temporary certificate of occupancy “demonstrates to the Court that the building is presumably safe and in compliance with applicable laws.”
He also ruled that claims the neighborhood already had more than its “fair share” of shelters were “without merit.”
The Park Savoy, at 158 W. 58th St., stands back-to-back against the iconic One57 apartment building, the city’s first “supertall” residential skyscraper and home to a $100 million condo that was the city’s most expensive when Dell founder Michael Dell bought it in 2014.
Last year, neighbors were blindsided when Mayor Bill de Blasio quietly sent letters to local officials that revealed his plan to turn it into a shelter for 150 homeless men.
The move immediately sparked a lawsuit against the city.
The West 58th Street Coalition’s lawyer, Randy Mastro, said the group was “disappointed in today’s decision and plans to pursue an immediate appeal.”
“This unsafe building should not be permitted to operate as a homeless shelter,” Mastro said.
“Placing the homeless in this building puts their lives at risk, as well as the lives of staff, neighbors and firefighters responding there.”
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Social Services Commissioner Steven Banks said that “we will begin serving our neighbors in need at this location as soon as possible.”
He also called Tisch’s decision “a win for hard-working New Yorkers experiencing homelessness who will have the opportunity to get back on their feet at a high-quality, employment shelter.”