May 21, 2024
Last Hurricane Ida victims removed from Manhattan hotel amid mounting criticism over NYPD involvement

Last Hurricane Ida victims removed from Manhattan hotel amid mounting criticism over NYPD involvement

New Yorkers displaced by Hurricane Ida continued to be removed Tuesday from a downtown Manhattan hotel they’ve called home for months — as criticism mounted over the NYPD’s involvement in the ejections.

Less than five Ida victims remained at the Millennium Hotel on Church St. as of Tuesday evening, according to a spokeswoman for the Department of Housing Preservation and Development. The spokeswoman said the department was expecting them to check out by midnight.

As of last week, some 80 Ida victim households were still at the hotel, their rooms paid for by Mayor Adams’ administration after their homes got wrecked in the devastating September 2021 storm.

The Millennium Hilton Hotel in New York.

But late last week, the administration began removing the Ida victims from the Millennium because an allocation from the Federal Emergency Management Agency that had been used to bankroll their hotel rooms ran dry.

NYPD officers, including members of the department’s riot-suppressing Emergency Service Unit, have been called in to help with the removals — drawing pushback from the Legal Aid Society, a public defender group that said Monday the practice violated policies against involving cops in evictions.

On Tuesday, officers were still at the hotel helping escorting Ida victims out, according to an ejected Millennium guest.

In images provided by Floyd Wilson (right), a police officer (center) helps to remove people from the Millennium Hotel in downtown Manhattan on Tuesday, Feb. 28, 2023. At left is an unidentified man who appears to work at the hotel.

The guest, Floyd Wilson, a former Department of Homeless Services worker from the Bronx, said a plainclothes officer with a badge on his jacket was among a group of city and hotel employees who walked him out. Wilson provided the Daily News with a video clip corroborating the officer’s presence.

The Department of Housing Preservation and Development has said officers have been on site to “ensure the safety of everyone involved,” but Wilson said he didn’t understand the need for a police presence.

“I saw officers walking through the corridors on the 14th floor … It doesn’t make any sense,” said Wilson, 59, who lived at the hotel for seven months.

City Comptroller Brad Lander agreed.

“The displacement of these families hits right at the intersection of the housing and climate crisis,” Lander tweeted Tuesday. “It doesn’t require police, it requires homes.”

NYPD officers in tactical gear enter the Millennium Hotel to evict Hurricane Ida victims on Saturday, Feb. 25, 2023.

Wilson, whose East Tremont apartment got destroyed by Ida’s fatal flash floods, was speaking to The News from a Bronx shelter intake center, where he got shuttled after his removal from the Millennium.

He said he expects to get a shelter bed, but questioned why the city couldn’t let him stay at the Millennium for a few weeks more.

“I have a new apartment, but I can’t move in until the city does the inspection,” he said, a reference to the fact that the rent on his new apartment is supposed to be covered by a city voucher program that requires a pre-move-in inspection. “So I am trying to get a bed at a shelter.”

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