Mayor Bloomberg raised eyebrows with a remark Monday that "there aren't very many panhandlers left" in city subways.
Bloomberg, a billionaire who rides the subway accompanied by his security detail, made the remark during a news conference at City Hall about another matter.
A person asking about cell phone service in the subways mentioned panhandlers, and Bloomberg, appearing irritated, interrupted the question.
"There aren't very many panhandlers left, in all fairness to the MTA, come on," he said.
Bloomberg added that the MTA has "worked very hard to fix that."
Advocates for the homeless and hungry said panhandlers are common in the subways, and said Bloomberg is living in another world.
Joel Berg, head of the New York City Coalition Against Hunger, called the remark "absurd" and said it "bears no relation to reality."