Joe Germanotta, 66, has lived on West 70th Street for decades and owns a restaurant in the area. He said the situation has deteriorated to a point where the neighborhood no longer resembles that which he came to love.
According to the New York Post, city officials kicked out students to turn the American Music and Dance Academy's Stratford Arms Hotel near Germanotta's home into a shelter at the beginning of summer, and since then, illegal immigrants have flooded the area, bringing with them "mayhem" that has left residents less than thrilled.
"It was a stealth operation," Germanotta said. "They were bused in the middle of the night ... they didn’t want anybody to know what was going on. It was all pretty rapid."
Germanotta went on to explain that in the weeks since, the relatively quiet neighborhood has transformed and now lives up to NYC's reputation as the city that never sleeps. Illegal immigrants, he said, routinely held large block parties with loud music and risky behavior, such as carelessly riding e-bikes down the street and catcalling minors. He also pointed out that there has been an increase in the presence of prostitutes as well.
"If it was like this when my girls were growing up, I wouldn't be living in New York," Germanotta told the Post.
He went on to highlight the impact that recent events have had on residents and their properties, noting that most of the people in his building are owners.
"They feel that this situation has affected their property values,” Germanotta said. "Give us a tax rebate. They're spending all this money? Ok, give me some."
Germanotta, along with residents in his building and three neighboring addresses, have formed the West 70th Street Association in hopes to get the city to address the crisis.
The association has met with officials from New York City Health + Hospitals Corporation, and hopes to meet next with Ingrid Lewis-Martin, Mayor Eric Adams’ chief advisor, as well as Manhattan borough President Mark Levine.
"I don’t mind having them there. They’re gonna be there for three years. That was the contract, I understand. But at least manage it. Put the proper security in place, have a police presence and a code of conduct," Germanotta said.
West Side Councilwoman Gale Brewer said Germanotta has been "extremely helpful," and the popstar’s father has arranged for 24/7 NYPD policing of the neighborhood and two mass confiscations of unregistered motorized scooters.
Another influx of illegal immigrants is expected to hit New York over the coming weeks, with some estimates putting the number of new arrivals in the thousands.
The crisis has caused protests to spring up across the city with concerned citizens calling on Mayor Adams to start putting New Yorkers first.
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