Upper West Side residents are up in arms over the forthcoming homeless invasion of Manhattan, and they're not just going to sit complacently and watch their change and their sidewalks disappear. Concerned residents packed into a meeting last night at Community Board 7 to protest a planned homeless facility on West 94th Street, which they believe could be the tipping point that turns the Upper West Side into San Francisco. "It feels like a recurring nightmare to many of us. You're trying to convert it back to the 1970s," said Amanda Larrick, according to DNAinfo. Get out your tiny violins, because we're gonna have us a hoedown!
Nonprofit Samaritan Village wants to open the homeless facility in the space where the Hotel Alexander currently sits. That hotel will soon be forced out of business by a new law that outlaws using single-room occupancy (SRO) buildings as hotels. Residents argued that the neighborhood already sports 21 percent of the city's homeless shelters, and one more is just asking too much—they believe another facility will attract more drug addicts and mentally ill people to the area. "Everybody is in favor of affordable housing. (But) we have compassion fatigue. We shouldn't be the only place the city comes to," said West 94th Street resident Aaron Biller. (He also said, "Enough is enough because it will throw off the street life and make things more dangerous for people to walk down the street and we have school children to protect.")
Instead, residents think the new SRO law goes too far, and should be repealed: "It's not just the owners of the buildings who are hurt, it's the local economy. Thousands of tourists were coming into the Upper West Side spending money, eating at restaurants, and now that's going to be gone," said Hotel Alexander owner Alexander Scharf. Community Board 7 ultimately passed a resolution calling on the city to prohibit using the SRO buildings for transitional housing programs, and instead open the gilded doors of housing to smelly, unkempt, crane-necked tourists.