Terrorizing Windsor Terrace: Locals plagued by protests outside city official’s home in nabe

Where it hurts: Protestors demonstrated outside of Department of Homeless Services Commissioner Steven Banks’s Windsor Terrace townhouse on Monday.
Brooklyn Paper
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A residential Windsor Terrace street is ground zero for opponents of the mayor’s controversial scheme to build new homeless shelters throughout the five boroughs, according to block residents, who called the clamor of protests against their neighbor — the city’s homelessness czar — a new normal.

“It’s been happening pretty regularly,” said 18-year-old Isaiah Klein-Cloud. “People are kind of used to it by now.”

Cloud shares his Sherman Street block between 10th and 11th Avenues with Department of Homeless Services Commissioner Steven Banks, whom Hizzoner in 2016 tapped to lead the agency, making Banks the face of his initiative to create new shelters, some of which occupy hotels, for transient New Yorkers in neighborhoods with already high concentration of homeless people.

But Banks has snubbed formal invitations to address locals’ concerns in the past, and that reluctance apparently motivated New Yorkers to bring their grievances to his doorstep as early as September 2016, when protestors from distant Maspeth, Queens vowed to stake out the official’s townhouse nightly until the city dropped a plan to construct a shelter in the area, according to a DNA Info report.

Those demonstrators were just the first to gather on the block, according to neighbors, who said a Monday protest featuring a busload of angry residents from Rockaway, Queens — who demanded the city abandon efforts to build a shelter in their neighborhood with chants of “fire Banks” — was the third such rally since last summer.

The latest protest, however, was relatively tame in comparison to past demonstrations, one of which drew a “nasty” crowd whose members blasted air horns while storming Sherman Street, according to one block resident.

“This is our third,” said Noa Heyman. “It’s much more civilized than the first one.”

Another man living on Sherman Street said most of the demonstrations don’t bother locals on the block, because they tend to wrap up fast, and Banks often apologizes to neighbors afterwards.

“They come and go very quickly,” said the block resident, who declined to give his name. “Banks apologizes. He says, “Sorry for disturbing your evening.’ ”

And although the rallies seemed to do little to change the city’s plan to combat homelessness, they did incite thoughtful dialogue about the issue between Heyman and her kids ages 5, 7, and 9, who began to ask some tough questions after watching protestors blast their neighbor.

“We have conversations about homelessness, our responsibilities, and why these people feel upset about having a shelter in their neighborho­ods,” she said.

Reach reporter Colin Mixson at or by calling (718) 260-4505.
Updated 4:44 pm, March 20, 2019
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Reasonable discourse

Mike from Williamsburg says:
What horrible, trashy people.
March 20, 4:11 pm
Gerard from Brooklyn says:
What does everyone have against homeless shelters? Don’t you love your fellow man? These folks have to live somewhere. Why not in different Brooklyn communities? Stop the protests already.
March 20, 9:56 pm
John from Williamsburg says:
what about Bay ridge ? That would be a good location.
March 21, 8:02 am
Not Goish from Prospect Heights says:
Best place for a homeless shelter is in Park Slope on 11th Street between 6th and 7th Avenues.
March 21, 11:03 am
Professor Van Nostrand from Da Hood says:
I live near a men’s shelter in Bed Stuy. The men hang out drinking beer in front of residences and then leave the trash all over. Management has been warned many times but they do nothing. The residents, many long term, are tolerant but getting fed up. There is no reason to stick a shelter in a residential neighborhood, especially without nearby subway access. They need to house them in commercial areas where, maybe, they could pick up some work. The incompetence of this city is mind boggling.
March 21, 11:06 am
Perfect Tommy from Brooklyn says:
convert gracie mansion into one
March 21, 4:20 pm
concerned from Greenwood says:
I live on 24th St. and there's a homeless shelter on my block. It has not created any real problems and there are many children that live in that building, that was originally supposed to be a hotel. If kids need a bed, then as a 1st world country (in theory), we should be able to provide it. The real problem in my opinion, is the city has not built ANY public housing since the 1970s. That is why this problem is exploding. Putting people into temporary shelters isn't a solution but we have to help those in need. Period.
March 21, 4:42 pm
Wrong from NYC says:
This isn't an issue of proving a bed, but one of mental health. It's an institutional development that should not be put in residential neighborhoods. Residents deserve "quiet enjoyment" where they live, and it's the least the city can provide when everything that surrounds us is in a state of chaos at the hands of government. In the same vein, despite how villainous Bank's may be, he shouldn't be protested at his home - rather do it at his place of work and at city Hall (but there you'll have to get on line). Our form of government whereas we vote in dummy after dummy to misrepresent us and do what they want with us has failed and will continue to do so. Time for a new order!
March 23, 10:03 am
BRAnn from Bay Ridge says:
People need permanent homes, not more temporary shelters with a lot of eligibility red tape. Contrary to popular belief many homeless people are evicted in housing court over a few hundred $ in back rent, and many do have jobs but cannot afford upwards of 50% of their take home pay just for housing. We need really affordable housing, expansion of rent protections, reinstatement of rent subsidies like Section 8, protection and expansion of public housing and communities that care.
March 25, 11:43 pm

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