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There Goes the ’Hood – Homeless Coming to Billionaire’s Row

Midtown, Manhattan

Homeless & Billionaires

The Park Savoy Hotel (center) abuts the city's priciest condo tower, One57 (image via Google Maps).

Jan. 19, 2018

There are more than 60,000 homeless people in New York City today – an all-time high. Some of them will soon be bunking on Billionaire’s Row

Mayor Bill de Blasio has quietly announced a plan to open a men’s homeless shelter in the former Park Savoy Hotel at 158 West 58th Street, which backs up to the city’s most expensive apartment building, the posh condo tower One57. In March, 150 homeless men will move into the Savoy, the New York Post reports, part of de Blasio’s program to create 90 new shelters in all natures of neighborhoods in all five boroughs. 

It probably won’t surprise you that the denizens of Billionaire’s Row are less than thrilled to be among the targeted neighborhoods. “Are you kidding me?” said a resident of the landmark JW Marriott Essex House hotel and condo building on nearby Central Park South. “I am in shock.” Patricia Jenkins, who works in marketing and lives nearby, expressed frustration that the city has a homeless epidemic and there seems to be no solution. In a classic NIMBY moment, she adds, “I don’t have an answer, but I know I do not want a homeless shelter in my neighborhood.” 

When de Blasio announced his Turning the Tide on Homelessness program last year, while running for re-election, he said that neighbors would get at least 30 days’ notice before a shelter opened, and he pledged that officials would “take into account reasonable community concerns and input.” 

During a news conference this week, de Blasio noted: “I told you well before the elections there would be 90 new shelters, they’ll be in every kind of neighborhood.” 

The city’s Department of Homeless Services says the Park Savoy housing will be run by Westhab, which manages homeless shelters and affordable housing in Westchester and the Bronx. For those Billionaire’s Row residents worried about living next door to the hoi polloi, the shelter’s security measures will include at least two guards at the entrance and 56 surveillance cameras in and around the building.

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