Joe Germanotta (66), the father of superstar Lady Gaga (37), has lived in the elegant apartment building "The Pythian" on West 70th Street in New York's Upper West Side for 35 years. Not far from his residence, in 2012 he opened the Italian restaurant "Joanne" - named after his sister Joanne Germanotta (1955-1974), who died at the age of 19 from the autoimmune disease lupus. As he reported to the New York Post, he has not felt comfortable in his neighborhood for some time. The reason for this is the situation surrounding a new migrant accommodation in his immediate vicinity that has gotten out of hand.
To cope with the influx of migrants, around six weeks ago the New York city government converted the nearby "Stratford Arms Hotel" - previously a dormitory of the American Musical and Dramatic Academy - into accommodation for around 500 Latin American arrivals. "That's how the whole chaos started," says Germanotta, who is not only worried about the neighborhood's structure that has gotten out of joint, but also about an alleged depreciation of the surrounding real estate.
"The hookers come and go. In the morning you see prostitutes coming out of the building," reported the noble restaurateur. "It's the worst at night. The noise. It starts around 10 a.m. and goes until 4 a.m. They play music and ride their motocross bikes and motorbikes up and down the streets." In principle, he has full understanding for the accommodation of these people in the area, but the new neighbors have meanwhile taken over the quarter.
"I don't mind that they are there. They will stay there for three years. That was the contract, I understand that," he explains, adding: "But at least manage it. Make sure you have proper security, one police presence and a code of conduct."
In protest against what he considered to be intolerable conditions, he handed the city administration, the local police authorities and homeless associations a paper in which the concerns of his long-standing neighborhood were conveyed in writing. Germanotta hopes that his complaint will help to get the chaos under control again. Sadly, he summed it up: "If it had been like that when my girls were growing up, I wouldn't be living in New York anymore".