A crowd estimated at around 1,000 protested outside the former Pan American Hotel in Elmhurst Tuesday evening, decrying its new use as a homeless shelter.
"Get this shelter out of our community!" one protester's handwritten sign demanded.
At least one other protester carried a sign calling Lisa Black, an assistant commissioner with the Department of Homeless Services, a liar for saying during a May 22 hearing in Middle Village that the hotel would not be used as a shelter because it does not have adequate facilities.
NYPD Deputy Inspector Ronald Leyson, commanding officer of the 110th Precinct, told the Queens Chronicle he estimated the crowd at about 1,000. The protesters disrupted traffic on Queens Boulevard, where the shelter is located. Another shelter, the Metro Family Residence, is one block away from the Pan Am.
"Helter skelter, we don't want another shelter," read one protester's sign.
The protesters are furious the city would put two homeless shelters so close to one another, and also that it would start moving families into the Pan Am just two weeks after Black told the crowd in Middle Village, during a hearing on another shelter proposed for Glendale, that the Pan Am would not become one.
Many protesters carried signs in an Asian language, either Chinese or Korean.
City Councilman Danny Dromm (D-Jackson Heights), who was disturbed that he was not given notice the city was putting homeless families into the Pan Am until it started moving them in June 6, spoke to the protesters in support of their cause.
See a full article on the rally in multiple editions of the June 19 Queens Chronicle, and here at qchron.com.
— with reporting by Mark Lord