NEW YORK — More than 200 men at the Lucerne Hotel on the Upper West Side will be allowed to stay at the controversial homeless shelter pending appeal of a lower court decision.

State Appellate Division Judge Anil Singh made that decision late Thursday.

Last week, a lower court judge sided with the city, allowing the relocation of hundreds of homeless men from the Upper West Side to lower Manhattan to move forward.

For months, the city had been trying to move the men out of the Upper West Side after some residents complained of quality-of-life issues. Men from the Lucerne and residents from lower Manhattan sued to try to stop the relocation. Mayor Bill de Blasio had planned to move the men to a Raddison Hotel on William Street downtown.

"Had the court denied the motion today, it would have signaled a dramatic and I think draconian change in homeless policy in the city of New York,” said Michael Hiller, the attorney for the homeless men.

The reprieve for the men is only temporary. A panel of judges in the appellate division will hear the case later this month. It’s unclear how long it will take that court to make a final decision.

The decision Thursday comes after months of back and forth, debate and acrimony over the men’s fate. For weeks, officials and residents protested the move outside of the Lucerne, while residents of the Upper West Side threatened to sue if the city did not move them. The appeals court decision will likely only prolong the controversy — perhaps taking it into 2021.

In a statement, a city Law Department spokesman said, “The City has a moral and legal obligation to provide safe shelter to all who need it. This temporary stay has delayed a move which we believe is in the best interests of the men residing at the Lucerne and a justified use of the Mayor’s emergency powers, but we’re confident of prevailing when the Court thoroughly reviews the matter.”


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