You are reading

Protesters, Including Curtis Sliwa, to Hold Rally in Maspeth Wednesday to Mark 5 Years Since They Blocked Homeless Shelter Proposal

Maspeth Shelter Protest 5 Years Ago (Photo from event flier)

Aug. 10, 2021 By Ryan Songalia

Republican mayoral candidate Curtis Sliwa will be in attendance at a rally in Maspeth Wednesday to mark the fifth anniversary of a series of successful protests that led the city to drop plans to convert a local hotel into a shelter.

The rally will be held at the Holiday Inn Express, located at 59-40 55th Rd., where a rally was held in protest of a proposed shelter 5 years ago. Organizers expect about 100 people at the rally, which begins at 7 p.m. and will run until 8 p.m.

Protesters staged daily rallies in front of the hotel five years ago in opposition to plans by the city to turn the hotel into a 115-bed homeless shelter.

The pressure led the hotel’s owner, KCM Realty Company, to cancel plans to convert the building into a shelter, though some homeless people were housed there up until August 2019.

Wednesday’s rally is about more than just remembering a battle of the past.

The attendees will also be turning out to voice their displeasure with Department of Homeless Services Commissioner Steven Banks, according to Charles Vavruska, one of the organizers. The protesters will be calling for Banks to fired.

Banks, who was appointed by Mayor Bill de Blasio in 2014, had been shouted down by protesters at a 2016 community meeting in Maspeth while the proposed shelter was being debated. Hundreds of protesters then boarded charter buses and staged a demonstration in front of his home in Brooklyn.

“Under his reign, street homelessness has increased even as he’s imposed his dysfunctional shelters on communities that don’t want them and where they don’t belong,” said Vavruska, who also helped organize the 2016 protests.

Eric Adams, the current Brooklyn Borough President who won the Democratic mayoral primary in June, praised Banks in an interview last month with PIX 11, saying the commissioner “brought fresh ideas” and had done “amazing things” since coming into office in 2014. He added that “we’re not looking to just remove everyone” should he win the general election in November.

Curtis Sliwa at another homeless shelter rally (Photo from event flier)

Sliwa, the Guardian Angels founder and talk show host who won the Republican nomination, was in attendance at the Holiday Inn protests in 2016.

He slammed Adams’ statements regarding Banks, whom Sliwa called “the number one blunder” of the de Blasio administration.

“Steven Banks better start looking for a new job,” Sliwa said at a press conference last month.

Vavruska says the community isn’t against homeless shelters, but against what he describes as the “dysfunctional” policies of De Blasio and Banks.

“The people that truly need help need to get the help, whether they have mental issues or they’re drug addicts,” Vavruska said. ”Putting them in hotels or these shelters, it seems like it’s just a way for these shelter developers to make money. It’s not really helping anybody, and we’ve seen that the more they build, the more the homeless population increases.”

email the author: news@queenspost.com
No comments yet

Leave a Comment
Reply to this Comment

All comments are subject to moderation before being posted.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Recent News

Crunching the Queens crime numbers: grand larcenies down across borough, rapes halved in the north, robberies decrease in the south

Apr. 17, 2024 By Ethan Marshall

The number of grand larcenies across Queens was down during the 28-day period from March 18 to April 14, compared to the same period of time last year, according to the latest crime stats released by the NYPD Monday. At the same time, rapes and robberies decreased significantly in northern and southern Queens, respectively.

Cop injured by glass bottle thrown from 7 train station on Roosevelt Avenue: NYPD

An on-duty NYPD police officer was injured while standing on a foot post when he was struck by a glass bottle that was thrown from the 103rd Street-Corona Plaza, 7 train station above Roosevelt Avenue early Monday morning.

Police from the 110th Precinct in Elmhurst reported that the officer was in uniform standing in front of 103-28 Roosevelt Ave. just before 2 a.m., when a man threw the bottle from the Flushing-bound platform. It struck the officer’s head, causing a laceration and a concussion.