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By Jocelyn Visnov, Editor-in-Chief

A community rally-turned-protest ensued outside former Manhattan College dorm Overlook Manor on Sunday, Sept. 24., following the controversial sale of the building.

Two groups took to 238 St. on Sunday, leading to a double-sided protest surrounded by New York Police Department officers where they expressed their contrasting views of the future of the property and its implications on the surrounding community.

The sale of Overlook Manor to Stagg Housing, an affordable housing developer, sparked controversy among locals when public documents indicated that Stagg had applied to turn the building into a migrant housing facility after indicating the property would be used otherwise. The application has not yet been verified.

The rally had originally been organized against the college’s initial decision to sell the building to Stagg Housing. A counter protest gathered on the opposite side of the street outside Goodfellas Pizza in support of the property being used to support migrants.

Posters advertising the rally were first seen across Waldo Ave. and surrounding streets earlier in the week.

“Come join us in a bi-partizan community rally led by Curtis Sliwa regarding the selling of the Manhattan College dorm and the lack of transparency,” the poster read. “We will not be lied to any longer and our voices will be heard!”

Curtis Sliwa, founder of an advocacy group called the Guardian Angels, was arrested just last month during a protest opposing migrant housing on Staten Island, according to an article by The New York Post.


The group of counter protesters who lined the sidewalk opposite Overlook Manor told The Quadrangle they came to the rally in support of migrant housing. The counter protest was organized by New York Jews for Racial and Economic Justice (JFREJ).

Naomi Sharlin, a Riverdale resident and member of JFREJ, helped organize the counter protest when she noticed the posters on Waldo Ave.

“There wasn’t any explicit anti-migrant rhetoric on it [the posters] but I knew that there was a plan to use this building as temporary housing for migrants,” Sharlin said. “And so I knew that we had to have a counter protest.”

Sharlin explained that she and the counter-protesters attended the event to stand in solidarity with immigrants and show that they are welcome in Riverdale and in New York City.

“We are here to say that migrants are welcome in our community,” Sharlin said. “As Jews especially, we know what it is to be scapegoated, and that’s what’s happening here. And leadership in our city are failing to meet the moment, to help integrate migrants into our city. We can do it, it’s a challenge, but we’re in New York City, a city of immigrants.”

Bridget McElroy, an educator and MC alum, attended the event in support of migrant housing.

“This is a sanctuary city, migrants need somewhere to go and if the space is available, there’s no reason why it shouldn’t be available for migrants and their families,” McElroy said.

When asked about the opposers of migrant housing, McElroy made the following statement.

“I think they’re very misguided,” she said. “I think it’s driven by a lot of racism, a lot of anti- immigrant sentiment. And I really think it’s pretty disgusting to be honest.”

The counter-protesters led by JFREJ lead several chants to show their support, such as “No hate, no fear, immigrants are welcome here!”, “Hey hey! Ho ho! Discrimination has got to go!” and “When immigrants are under attack, what do we do? Stand up, fight back!”

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