Not in their backyards either


To the editor:

(re: “Housing is a human right, and why we support shelter,” Nov. 11)

Let me start off by addressing the “pre-conceived notions” U.S. Rep. Jamaal Bowman and state Sen. Alessandra Biaggi expressed in a recent Point of View about the proposed homeless shelter at 6661 Broadway.

North Riverdale does have some affluent people in it, but to call the whole neighborhood “affluent” is simply purposeful labeling so that these two can move their agenda forward. Labeling the opposition as a bunch of affluent NIMBYs is whitewashing, which is an affront to the non-white people in this area who are also very opposed to this shelter.

Biaggi certainly knows what being affluent and privileged truly is, and not a single one of my neighbors are of that ilk. They’re firefighters, city employees, private and small business owners, and public school teachers. They’re Haitian, Puerto Rican, Indian and Anglo — and none are even remotely affluent. So both Bowman and Biaggi need to address their pre-conceived notions here.

But I believe they do know the demographics here — at least well they should, because it’s their job — making their labeling simply part of the agenda.

It starts with name-calling, and then it’s cancelling.

As a former Seattle resident, I can assure you that crime will rise, and the Upper West Side has very recent data to prove that. Another lie from the Bowman and Biaggi camp. Any person with the internet can search Seattle links and find direct correlation to homelessness and crime.

The only people in my seven years of living in downtown Seattle that followed me back and forth to work every day panhandling and hassling me for money. The only people who attempted to mug me walking home late at night. The only people shooting up on the sidewalks. The only people charging for sex in the alleys. The only people defecating on my business steps. The only people causing disturbances on public transit. The only people who sexually assaulted two friends of mine in that area. The only people opting out of shelter rules and setting up camps in the parks and alleys. They were all homeless men.

Sometimes the women got involved.

There are plenty of unused spaces throughout the five boroughs. I’d be willing to bet there is a lot of room in Westchester County, but you will never see Bowman and Biaggi support putting one of these in their affluent backyards. Just like Mark Stagg wouldn’t build one in his.

After surviving the COVID-19 struggle, there are businesses about to be put out of business simply by the stroke of a pen from Bowman and Biaggi for yet another structure that needs not be built.

Most important here is democracy. Put this up for a vote here and see what happens. The people were never allowed to speak before this was set into forward motion. Bowman and Biaggi don’t live here. They have never lived here. They don’t frequent our local businesses, and they never have.

I mean regularly, like we do — not a drive-by photo-op or a fold-up desk recently erected at the library.

How much crime rise would it take for the community to be right? One assault? Ten sexual assaults?

What North Riverdale resident wants to be one of those potential statistics? Will Bowman and Biaggi fund support for potential victims? Will the city shut this shelter down if the locals end up being right in our statistically proven predictions?

The answer is “no.” We are getting taken advantage of by Bowman and Biaggi and the leftover Bill de Blasio administration.

Guess who wouldn’t put one of these in his backyard?

Michael Wilder

Have an opinion? Share your thoughts as a letter to the editor. Make your submission to letters@riverdalepress.com. Please include your full name, phone number (for verification purposes only), and home address (which will not be published). The Riverdale Press maintains an open submission policy, and stated opinions do not necessarily represent the publication.
Michael Wilder,