Locals React to Criminal Activity at Upper West Side Hotel

After a series of violent incidents at the Rodeway Inn on the Upper West Side, the future of the hotel is in question.

An armed robbery was reported last month at the inn, located at 31 West 71st Street, and Choice Hotels announced Monday that it was dropping the lodge from its brand, which also includes Comfort Inn and Econ Lodge.

Two weeks ago, staff members at the hotel were held at gunpoint as three masked men came in and stole their wallets and phones. Other crimes at the inn have included a rape last December and a homicide last June.

“We don’t want to have any affiliation with a place that allows those incidents to continue to happen,” said Sarah Lee, the director of public relations at Choice Hotels, who confirmed the robbery along with the other incidents.

Many of the residents in the neighborhood are not aware of the criminal activity that takes place at the Rodeway Inn. But others in the community want it shut down.

“I think the standards of the hotel are poor,” said Richard Loureiro, who lives in the neighborhood. “As a resident it’s unfortunate it should be a higher standard.”

Loureiro has lived on the Upper West Side for a couple years. He said the hotel, “has a lack of respect for the community,” and should close if there’s not an increase in security.

The hotel could also cause real estate problems, according to David Warner, a sales associate with Luxor Reality.

“In the long run it could damage the property and the property value of the area,” he said. “If its causing crime, I’m all for getting rid of it.”

However, some residents aren’t as upset about the hotel.

“I think this neighborhood is safer than other places in New York City,” said Viola Kanevsky, who has lived in the neighborhood for 35 years.

She said back in the 70s, she knew the drug dealers on the street by name.

According to CompStat, crime has dropped on the Upper West Side by 41 percent since 2001.

Beth Reese a former resident of the neighborhood now stays at the Rodeway Inn when she visits the city. She was surprised by the news of the robberies.

“I’ve never had a problem when I’ve been there,” Reese said. “I’ve stayed there two times a year for the past 8 or 9 years.”

Elizabeth Caputo, chair of Community Board 7, is working with the police to figure out how to deal with the violence.

“We’re all concerned and troubled by what’s going on in the hotel,” she said.

Caputo declined to comment about the details of what the board and the police are doing to handle the situation.

Employees at the Rodeway Inn declined to comment on the incidents as well.

Richard Amato, the president of the Hotel Association of New York City said that the Rodeway Inn is not a member of the association and to his knowledge has never applied to be one.