23 December 2021

Who Will Think of the Billionaires?

Despite the best efforts of legions of high paid lawyers, the worst people in the world were unable to keep the city of New York from reopening a homeless shelter at the Park Savoy Motel in midtown Manhattan.

The denizens of "Billionaires Row" don't want to see the victims of their depredations:

Just a few steps away from the horse-drawn carriages that whisk tourists through New York’s Central Park and the opulence of the Plaza Hotel is an unassuming building on a quiet block in midtown Manhattan.

The building is marked by an awning that reads “Park Savoy Hotel”. Nestled in between a 24-hour parking structure and an apartment building on a predominantly residential street, the Park Savoy blends in with the other hotels in the neighborhood.

A sign on the front window of the building that says “Welcome to the Park Savoy rapid re-housing program” is the only marker that indicates it is a homeless shelter, built in one of the most pricey neighborhoods in New York. One that rich locals fought for years, spending hundreds of thousands of dollars campaigning against the crime and “irreparable injuries” they said it would bring – fears that appear to have been unfounded.

The shelter quietly opened its doors in early November. It is designed to house up to 80 men and is known as an “employment shelter” meant for those who are seeking employment or who are actively employed, especially in midtown Manhattan. The shelter has been taking in about five new occupants a week since it opened 8 November, according to a city spokesperson.

The men will be neighbors with some of Manhattan’s wealthiest residents: the shelter abuts Billionaires Row, a nickname given to the cluster of super-tall luxury “pencil towers” that were constructed within the last decade. The penthouse of One57, the tower that is directly behind the shelter, was bought by billionaire Michael Dell in 2014 for $100m – the most expensive piece of real estate ever sold in the city at the time.


The Park Savoy shelter was slated to open in spring 2018, but the city entered a lengthy legal battle with residents and business owners in the area who vehemently opposed the shelter and formed a group, called the West 58th Street Coalition to block it.


Determined to stop the shelter, the West 58th Street Coalition filed a lawsuit in 2018 that argued the building was too “unsafe” for occupants and that “crime and loitering” caused by the shelter would lead to “irreparable injuries”. The coalition also spent at least $287,000 toward lobbyists advocating against the shelter, according to non-profit news site The City. They spent another $100,000 on billboards in Iowa meant to prod de Blasio during his brief run for president in 2020.

There has been no apocalypse.  The neighborhood is fine, but they just did not want it around them, because any vestige of kindness to the less fortunate is an anathema to them.

These people know nothing of the milk of human kindness.


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