The organizers of a series of protests against the proposed homeless shelter at a Maspeth hotel are hitting the road again this weekend to help a Bellerose group opposed to a hotel-to-homeless shelter conversion in their community.
The Maspeth Middle Village Task Force will be rallying with the Joint Queens/Nassau County Task Force and the Queens Village Republican Club for a protest this Saturday, Sept. 24, outside the Bellerose Inn, located at 249-05 Jericho Tpke., which is now being used as a homeless shelter.
“We are joining not only the Bellerose and Floral Park groups, we’re hooking up with other groups too,” said Robert Holden, president of the Juniper Park Civic Association and member of the Maspeth Middle Village Task Force. “Everybody is looking to Maspeth as starting the revolution against the city in placing these homeless hotels, as we call them. The city says they will have a dialogue with the community, but they never do.”
Maspeth residents have been rallying outside the Holiday Inn Express on 55th Road every night since the city proposed in August converting it into a homeless shelter for adults. Last week, the Maspeth Middle Village Task Force took their protest to Brooklyn where they picketed outside of the city’s Human Resources Administration (HRA) commissioner, Steven Banks’ home.
The Maspeth Middle Village Task Force plans to continue taking their protests to other locations, with both City Hall and Gracie Mansion in their sights. The task force is “in the early stages of planning” a protest outside of Gracie Mansion, Holden said.
As the Maspeth Middle Village Task Force is working to get other groups together for a large protest outside of Gracie Mansion, two Republican State Assembly candidates from Manhattan’s Upper East Side — Rebecca Harary, who hopes to represent the 73rd Assembly District and Jon Kostakopoulos, a 76th Assembly District hopeful — said they would stand by Maspeth residents in their challenge of Mayor Bill de Blasio and his administration.
Anyone interested in joining the Bellerose Inn protest is asked to be at the Holiday Inn Express located at 59-40 55th Rd. before 9:30 a.m. on Saturday morning, when the buses are scheduled to leave. Protesters will be returned to Maspeth by 1 p.m.