A strange thing happened last week: In response to a community concern (amplified by Post reporting), Mayor de Blasio . . . acted. No, he didn’t solve the problem, but he didn’t ignore it, either. It’s a glimmer of hope for New York: grassroots groups can get results.
In July, the Upper West Side got a shock. With no warning, the city dumped 283 men in the Hotel Lucerne on Amsterdam. These men aren’t just down on their luck: They suffer from mental illnesses and addictions. With street traffic already down significantly, the warehousing of vulnerable men with no daytime supervision became a tipping point. Pedestrians had to fear random attack. Kids saw addicts shooting up. Witnesses filmed paid sex acts in the streets — incidents that, considering the incapacitated condition of the so-called sex workers, appear to be assault.
Some people have already left: Residential garbage collection in the area was down 4.1 percent in August, relative to last year, when people staying home should produce more trash.
But most people have stayed — and resolved to act. A new group, Upper West Siders for Safe Streets, launched a Facebook page and soon amassed 15,100 followers.
Separately, Megan Martin, a doctor and neighborhood veteran, worked with neighbors to organize West Side Community Organization, or Westsideco. Westsideco raised more than $100,000 from 1,000 donors. “Some people gave $10,” Martin says. The group built a Web site and hired a lawyer and a p.r. firm.
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