Residents of a six-story Upper West Side, N.Y., residential building are fighting a suggestion to slow elevator arrival — a move that some are calling anti-Semitic.
The rent-controlled building belongs to Touro College, which has turned the residency into a kind of dorm despite hosting multiple elderly residents.
The college planned to make one of the building’s two elevators stop once at every floor from sunset on Friday to sunset on Saturday, which allows observers of the Shabbat to avoid the barred gesture of operating electric switches.
When Touro filed for the delay, which would last I minute and 23 seconds, the state Division of Housing and Community Renewal denied it. The college is asking the Manhattan Supreme Court to overrule the division’s decision.
This request could affect Jewish students in 43 of the 82 units in Touro’s building.
Tenants opposed to the requirement say the stalled elevator would inhibit travelers on a day they normally do shopping and laundry. They have also argued that young students are capable of taking the stairs during Shabbat instead of the elevator.
When the college accused the Tenant Association of anti-Semitism and discrimination, president of the association, James Berry, responded.
'This is not about civil rights,” Berry said. “The problem is that Touro has made this building into a dormitory in violation of the building’s certificate of occupancy.”