Flames engulfed The Avalon at Edgewater in the city of Edgewater, located across the Hudson River from Manhattan. Plumes of thick, black smoke issued from the blaze, and New York emergency officials advised residents in Manhattan and the Bronx that they might see or smell smoke.
A local state of emergency was issued -- but despite the size of the fire no one died, Edgewater Mayor Michael McPartland said.
“To have no loss of life and so many people displaced, we actually feel fortunate and thankful,” McPartland said.
"I don't know what to expect. Now, I have nowhere to go. And I need a toothbrush," Sterling told the New York Daily News after finding a hotel room.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.