Homeless Folks Residing In Hotels Speak out After City Announces Plan to Relocate Them

During the peak of the pandemic, Mayor De Blasio relocated homeless residents from crowded shelters to hotels, to slow the spread of the virus. Many hotels across the city like Harmonia and Long Island City Plaza have housed homeless folks for years.

After numerous complaints from Upper West Side residents about The Lucerne, the men’s only facility in the Upper West Side, the city announced a plan to relocate Lucerne residents to Harmonia. This plan would relocate shelter residents across the city, creating a domino effect. Mayor De Blasio explained that hotels were meant to be a temporary relief for the homeless. After major backlash from the Coalition for the Homeless, The Legal Aid Society, and other advocates the city has halted the movie until September 30th.

AudioFiles reporter Ali McPherson went to Harmonia to speak with residents and virtually met up with a homeless advocate at Lucerne to get a closer look at how they are moving forward.

Making It Work: COVID’s Impact on Violins, Bars, and NYC’s Homeless Crisis

COVID-19 has changed everything, from how we work to where we live. In this episode, reporter Erika Wheless looks at how one violin maker is adapting his centuries-old profession to suit the pandemic. And Reporter Valen Iricibar explains the updates to indoor dining and the COVID-19 surcharge. Later we hear from homeless folks who are speaking out after the city announced plans to relocate them after complaints from Upper West Side residents.

Managing Editor: Jackie Harris
Host/Producer: Megan Burney
Associate Producer: Holly DeMuth
Reporting by Ashley Rodriguez, Valen Iricibar, Ali McPherson, and Erika Wheless.
Engineer: Chad Bernhard
Guest: Rachel Holliday Smith

For more info on AudioFiles: www.audiofilespodcast.com

Going Deep (E5, S8) – 12/04/19

On the last Audio Files episode of the decade, we’re going deep.

1. Harsha Nahata and Jaime Longoria explore the intersection between legal weed and immigration.
2. Ethan Stark-Miller digs into the MTA’s long-delayed efforts to make subway station design more useful to people with disabilities.
3. Maria Robins-Somerville talks to a woman about finding god…in her leg.
4. Natalia Keogan asks, who controls music, the musician or their label?
5. Dig Nitty plays live in the studio.

Producer: Jacob Kaye
Assistant Producer: Ethan Stark-Miller
Host: Shira Feder
Reporters: Harsha Nahata, Jaime Longoria, Ethan Stark-Miller, Maria Robins-Somerville and Natalia Keogan.
Editors: Curtis Fox and Maggie Freleng
Engineers: Amber Watson and Chad Bernhardt
Music: Blue Dot Sessions

Episode 4 – Fear Itself

Dying without dignity, a creepy sexual encounter, the fear of using your home. These are the things we fear.

In this episode:

1. Shira Feder investigates a neglectful nursing home
2. Chris Polansky explores how cyclists use technology to stay safe from reckless drivers.
3. Former public defender Rebecca Kavanagh joins us in studio to discuss increased police presence in the subways.
4. Jacob Kaye reports on the opposition to a homeless shelter in Glendale Queens
5. A woman has a creepy encounter in the sex shop where she works.
6. Elise Okusami of Oceanator is our musical guest.

Host: Jacob Kaye
Producer: Maria Robins-Somerville
Assistant Producer: Ethan Stark-Miller
Reporting: Shira Feder, Chris Polansky, Natalia Keogan, Harsha Nahata, Ethan Stark-Miller,
Editors: Curtis Fox and Maggie Freleng
Audio Engineers: Chad Bernhard and Amber Watson

Episode 3 – App-y Hour

In this episode:
1. Jacob Kaye asks people for their best and worst app ideas.
2. Harsha Nahata and Maria Robins-Somerville test out an app that tells you when to go to the bathroom during a movie.
3. Benjamin Powers introduces us to Prick, an insta-famous hedgehog
4. Ethan Stark-Miller explores an app working to make the subway more accessible.
5. Aagya Martha joins us in the studio to tell us about the app that she created that reminds you to take your birth control.
6. Benjamin Powers jumps into the world of some…unconventional online dating practices.
7. Musical guest ELIANA and Cairo Marquez-Neto

Producer: Benjamin Powers
Host: Harsha Nahata
Assistant Producer: Ethan Stark-Miller
Music Producer: Natalia Keogan
Stories by: Harsha Nahata, Jacob Kaye, Benjamin Powers
Engineers: Chad Bernhardt and Amber Watson
Editors: Maggie Freeleng and Curtis Fox
Music by: Blue Dot Sessions and Ketso

Episode 2 – The Ghosts of New York

In this spooky episode –
1. Jacob Kaye visits a haunted house and gets scared for you.
2. Chris Polansky finds out if New Yorkers believe in ghosts.
3. Harsha Nahata and Natalia Keogan explore ghosting and a break-up funeral.
4. Shira Feder takes us into the mind of the woman who ran one of New York’s most well-known death cafes.
5. Jacob Kaye talks with a young mortician in training.
6. Maria Robins-Somervile tours Brooklyn’s beautiful Green-Wood Cemetery.
7. Jacob Kaye hunts down the ghost that haunts him.
8. Music by Castle Black.

Producer: Maria Robins-Somervile
Host: Jacob Kaye
Assistant Producer: Ethan Stark-Miller
Music Producer: Natalia Keogan
Stories by: Natalia Keogan, Harsha Nahata, Maria Robins-Somervile, Chris Polansky, Shira Feder and Jacob Kaye.
Engineers: Chad Bernhardt and Amber Watson
Editors: Maggie Freeleng and Curtis Fox
Music by: Blue Dot Sessions, Loyalty Freak Music, Zapslpat.com

Episode 1 – How We Get Around – Or Don’t

1. Shira Feder explores the crackdown on fare beaters in the MTA and speaks to activists who are pushing back.

2. A young man recounts his memory of the beginning of a cross-country road trip.

3. Host Shira Feder interviews Quemuel Arroyo, head of accessibility for the DOT.

4. A visually impaired woman describes her strategies for navigating inaccessibility in the subway and bus systems.

5. Chris Polansky reports on how those with wheelchairs have trouble navigating the streetscape because of illegal parking and lack of accessible curb cuts.

6. The Rizzos play music.

Producers: Ben Powers & Maria Robins-Somerville
Host: Shira Feder
Assistant Producer: Ethan Stark-Miller
Music Producer: Natalia Keogan
Stories: Shira Feder, Chris Polansky, Jacob Kaye and Ethan Stark-Miller

Episode 6 – Not in My Backyard!

Air Date: Dec. 12, 2018
Episode: Not in My Backyard


1. Ariama Long talks to residents in Flatbush, Brooklyn who are clashing with developers over a hotel that houses homeless people.

2. Max Zahn shares his reporting on a city council bill that would legalize many types of electric bikes and scooters, renewing a battle over the road between traditional bicyclists and food delivery workers.

3. Lea Ceasrine goes to a protest against the demolition of Little Italy’s Elizabeth Street Garden.

Special Guests…

Environmental reporter Karen Savage

Eve Essex

Producer: Joshua Christensen
Host: Avichai Scher
Assistant Producer: Rob Dozier
Music Producer: Matt Cutler
Digital Producer: Allie Weintraub
Stories by Ariama Long, Lea Ceasrine and Max Zahn

Read more

Episode 5 – Cut Off

Air Date: Nov. 28, 2018
Episode: Cut Off



AudioFiles: Cut Off


1. Living in a super-populated city can still make people feel socially isolated. Here’s how some New Yorkers confront their experiences with urban loneliness.

2. Sleep paralysis is a condition where someone wakes up from a dream, but can’t move their body. It’s a common experience for many –– we explore how and why it happens.

With special guests…
Newmark Graduate School of Journalism’s very own library manager, Tinamarie Vella. 
Brooklyn-based electronic musician Keke Hunt performs live.

Producer: Allie Weintraub
Host: Rob Dozier
Assistant Producer: Matt Cutler
Music Producer: Ariama Long
Digital Producer: Lea Ceasrine
Stories by Michael Rosenthal and Josh Christensen


Urban Loneliness

By Michael Rosenthal

Sleep Paralysis 

By Josh Christensen

Episode 4 – You Know You Need Unique New York

Air Date: Nov. 14, 2018
Episode: You Know You Need Unique New York


1. Much of the Mexican population in NYC hails from the state of Puebla, and the names of their shops and restaurants often reference their hometowns. 

2. How a couple from the Bronx made New York Salsa something danced across the world.

3. The first WNBA game was played in 1997. But more than 20 years earlier, women played basketball for the first time at Madison Square Garden to a crowd of over ten thousand fans.

4. We talk to a long-time MTA train operator about some of the hardest and most tragic parts of his job.

With special guests…
Documentary filmmaker Heather Quinlan joins us in the studio to talk about New York accents.
Brooklyn-based DJ Voices (aka Kristin Malossi) performs live.

Producer: Camille Smith
Host: Comice Johnson
Assistant Producer: Matt Cutler
Music Producer: Rob Dozier
Digital Producer: Allie Weintraub
Stories by Avi Scher, Max Zahn and Comice Johnson

Music by Foodman, Frank Guerrero and Helen Reddy


These Women Brought Their Hometown Mole Recipe to NYC
By Comice Johnson

The International Salsa Sensation Born in the Bronx
By Avi Scher

Life of an MTA Train Operator 
By Comice Johnson

The First Women’s Basketball Game at Madison Square Garden
By Max Zahn