Aug. 18, 2020 By Allie Griffin
Civic leaders and Kew Gardens residents are holding a protest Sunday to call on city hall to shutter a Queens Boulevard hotel where two shootings have taken place over the past two months.
The Queens Coalition for Solidarity, a local civic group, will rally Sunday to demand the city to shut down the Umbrella Hotel after a slew of illegal activities and loud parties inside its rooms has rocked the neighborhood.
The protest will be held at Queens Borough Hall, across from the troublesome hotel and is set to take place from noon to 2 p.m..
The hotel, located at 124-18 Queens Blvd., was the scene of two recent shootings — one on July 3 and one last Sunday, Aug. 9 that left the front door with multiple bullet holes.
Residents and local elected officials said the Umbrella Hotel has become a breeding ground for illicit activities since the pandemic began — and they want city hall to step in. They say there have been numerous assaults and other illegal activities.
“Our health and safety come first,” the Queens Coalition for Solidarity said in a Facebook Post. “We will demand City Hall shut down this dangerous and irresponsible hotel once and for all.”
The hotel’s vacancy rate soared since March as its typical clientele were people attending nearby court hearings or tourists. Room prices dropped as a result around April and people began taking advantage of the cheaper room rates. They rented out multiple rooms and threw large parties during the pandemic, according to neighbors and Assembly Member Daniel Rosenthal.
“People started to rent out four or five rooms for extremely cheap prices and they essentially started to use [the hotel] as an unofficial nightclub,” Rosenthal said.
The Queens Coalition for Solidarity and Rosenthal said there have been reports of prostitution, assault and narcotics at the hotel as well.
The Assembly Member has received calls from constituents with complaints about people setting off fireworks from the windows of the hotel. He said calls to his office began as quality of life concerns but quickly escalated to public safety concerns when Umbrella Hotel became the scene of two shootings.
“Thankfully no one got hurt, but how many bullets can we dodge?” Rosenthal said.
He called an emergency meeting on the hotel last week at borough hall. He said the hotel management was invited to the meeting, but didn’t show up along with multiple city agencies.
“It’s unacceptable. It’s time for the mayor and city hall to step up and take this situation seriously,” Rosenthal said in a video posted to Twitter. “There have been two shootings there. I don’t know what else needs to be done for them to realize how serious of a situation this is.”
Neither the Umbrella Hotel manager or owner were available for comment.