Saturday, September 17, 2011

Maybe this wasn't such a good idea after all

From DNA Info:

Broadway’s new pedestrian plazas are being overrun by homeless people flocking there to sleep, driving some fearful residents to avoid the street.

“It gets filled with homeless people, the whole entire length,” said Scott Bowen, 48, an accountant who’s lived in the neighborhood for nearly 20 years and said the situation between 34th and 42nd streets has grown so bad he now avoids Broadway altogether at night.

“I no longer feel secure walking this route after dark,” he wrote in a letter to Midtown’s Community Board 5, urging them for help.

Broadway’s pedestrian plazas were intended to serve as peaceful oases along bustling Midtown streets, giving locals and tourists a place to sit down, people watch and relax.

But instead they’ve served as an oasis for the city’s growing homeless population, creating an eerie nighttime tableau of people sprawled on benches between pink flowers and giant potted plants.

On multiple visits to the plazas in the middle of the night this week, DNAinfo spotted dozens of men and women camped out, slumped in chairs, leaning against tables and sprawled out along the ground.

City Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan was surprised by the growing number of homeless people using the plazas to sleep.


A Better NYC said...

Maybe Mike and Janette should gently wake them up and ask them move.

Cherokeesista said...

Bloomturd !!! Is this Vibrant and Diverse enough ;-(

Anonymous said...

if you stay open 24/7, they will come and sleep.

ask the former Horn & Hardart Automat & Bickfords restaurant employees.

oh ! you can't, the bums put them out of business.

Anonymous said...

I love it when their stupid ideas backfire. What wrong with letting the tourists get a glimpse of the real new york?

Anonymous said...

That is typical media exaggeration.

I am down in Times Sq and Madison Sq Pk every week and I see just regular people sitting and eating at the tables and taking pictures.

What those plazas have done is make the traffic a lot less treacherous than it used to be.

Bloombag's DOT Comm may not have a huge number of successes to point to, but these two plazas have worked.

Anonymous said...

Once the free bike program starts up, the homeless will be able to bike from plaza to plaza.

Anonymous said...

Actually, the plaza program has been a smashing success, but I don't expect Queens Crapper to actually notice this.

Anonymous said...

Define "smashing success". How has it helped taxpayers in Queens?

Anonymous said...

Anon#6, If it increased sales in Manhattan, then it increased sales tax revenues in Manhattan which means it helped the city. I know rents in the area around the plazas have jumped so I'm guessing real estate tax revenues will be going up shortly there too. I'd rather some Limey, Kraut or Frog paid into the till than for City Hall to raise my taxes personally.

Anonymous said...

>>Define "smashing success". How has it helped taxpayers in Queens?

If they don't make pedestrian plazas in Queens, then we don't have homeless bums gathered around in a piss pile.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Maybe start the anti-homeless sitting law rule so that the police force could enforce it. It is imperative that non-homeless folks can sit down instead.

Anonymous said...

Glad the homeless have a place to sleep. I'm sure the pedestrian plazas are nicer than the shelters. When the free bike program starts up and people are stealing the bikes for the aluminum, maybe the homeless will have a little more money to sleep in motels.

Anonymous said...

Actually, the plaza program has been a smashing success, but I don't expect Queens Crapper to actually notice this.


NYC really understands public spaces doesn't it?

The only smashing thing in a public plaza is the inevitable fate of the millstones at Queens Plaza.

Keep them in the middle of the salt, vibrations, noise, dirt and vandals of one of the busiest traffic interchanges of the city -

right next to the jagged concrete (City Planning calls it 'decor')

and greenery (City Planning thinks our taxes should pay for it [and not schools and the like] - give it 18 months)

and cars flying into storefronts (City Planning facing lawsuits anyone?)

That's what happens when you have the knuckledraggers piss away everything and anything in a clumsy effort to sell buildings.

All these efforts will will fail when the bottom falls our of the economy. You heard it here first on Crappy folks!

And when that happens, what is the fate of all that pretty lawn furniture on Broadway and the High Line and the like?

Wait till the midwesterners start to stay home when they tell everyone that squadrons of homeless and unemployed have taken over Times Square etc.

And the Europeans stay home because their countries are broke.

Like the failed attempt at developing Queens Plaza, no one will be interested in buying or in coming.

They will be case studies on hubris in the urban planning schools for generations.

Sarah said...

I have been in NY my whole life and if I had been asked the first thing I would have said is "What about the homeless, wont they come and use the plaza?" Scott Bowen who lives there says the problem is overnight homeless. I can tell you they will soon stay during the day and just as we are told that there are no homeless crazy people on the trains we will be told that these folks are not there either. You see the Bloomberg Administration never fails or makes a mistake, it is always us - the stupid NYer - who doesn't recognize the glory in the intention.

Auntie Invasion said...

find out which ones are illegal aliens and send them back home. lots of illegal alien African handbag hawkers & pedicab drivers stinking up the chairs and tables. it is a very sad sight. ever since they put the chairs, tables and planters there. make no mistake, this was done to get people to spend money
what I find amazing is how are illegal aliens able to flourish while native NY'ers can't find work?

Anonymous said...

This is just very sad. Sitting here trying to figure out WHY homeless people should be attracted to these places exposed to the elements as opposed to a more protected corner, I can only guess some feel safer out in a public place like this (fearing victimization either by other homeless people or counting on police not to harass them out of a 'guilt' factor).

The question then becomes: what can be done? Getting rid of the program will not make homeless people cease to exist - and assuming the economy gets worse more and more people will become homeless.

I presume most of that haters would like to invest in some kind of 'final solution' type program to drive inconvenient populations into the sea, but really, if money is to be spent wouldn't it be better to make for a safer and more extensive shelter system?

Anonymous said...

They are attracted to open spaces because they are mentally ill. Many of them have homes but have alienated their families or are bipolar. Robert Downey Jr did this as did Jackson Pollack and they were rich.

Anonymous said...

I passed a guy yesterday that had feces running down his pants. Wouldn't want to sit in a seat after him.

Anonymous said...

@anon "They are attracted to open spaces because they are mentally ill."

I would think that the portion of people who are homeless because they are paranoid (some schizophrenics & bipolars) and think people are out to get them - would not exactly be hanging out in open spaces like these.

I'd say many of these homeless people are probably mentally deficient (i.e, retarded) or brain damaged (vets) with nobody able or willing to take care of them or in group homes so bad they'd rather take their chances out in the street. Some are probably drug addicts/alcoholics who just don't give a damn.

Anonymous said...

Drug addicts and alcoholics for the most part are mentally ill. They treat their illness with drugs and alcohol.

Anonymous said...

"Once the free bike program starts up, the homeless will be able to bike from plaza to plaza."

What is this free bike program you refer to? Maybe you should try reading an article or something.

I walked up Broadway yesterday afternoon. During the day it is LOTS of mostly regular people and tourists enjoying their leisure time. Same for Union Sq plaza. The lower part of Broadway (in the 30's) does turn into a zombie town at night though, but it's nothing that wasn't already an occurrence around the area parks. Most of these homeless are not victims of the economy, they are for the most part mentally ill, addicts, or just plain bums.
These plazas are a huge success during the daytime. It would be terrible to scrap them just because it offers the homeless a place to sit at night.

Anonymous said...

What, the E train and every Queens station along that line isn't good enough for them anymore??

Sonia said...

Yes, I've seen one or two. Did not make me feel uncomfortable, but I did notice them. I imagine it must be a completely different story after 10pm. Never liked those plazas anyway. Why would anyone want to sit there and inhale more car exhaust is beyond me. Besides, maybe it's just me but I do not like to sit in the middle of Manhattan traffic.

Anonymous said...

Sonia, you don't want to, I don't want to, but obviously plenty of people DO want to.
It's not like we're not breathing plenty of exhaust in our parks in
Queens right next to the expressways and parkways.

Anonymous said...

I think the point here is that a few months ago you saw one or two.

Now there are 10 or 12.

Let the economy run out - even Bloomberg said there might be riots. This is the first trickle on the horizon of a dysfunctional society.

Add to this economic stress abroad and at home - gas prices? bank failures? country defaults? there are a host of things out there that could happen.

Then the fun starts.

Just like the 30s, the rot started elsewhere years before it hit NYC. But when it hit, the city's teeth rattled.

We will see ....

Anonymous said...

Bloomberg sanctions these pedestrian plazas, yet he condones smoking. How much exhaust do people suck in while they are sitting there? I'm sure he doesn't care about the homeless anyway, but what about all the tourists that hang out there during the day?

Anonymous said...

"I think the point here is that a few months ago you saw one or two.

Now there are 10 or 12."

Someone's a little out of touch with the real NYC. Homelessness has always been a problem here. This is not some new occurrence.

"We will see ...."

Nice try with the fear mongering.

Anonymous said...

Once the free bike program starts up, the homeless will be able to bike from plaza to plaza.

LOL RFL, good one!

Anonymous said...

The shelters are full and there are more and more homeless. Where do y'all suggest they go?

Anonymous said...

"I think the point here is that a few months ago you saw one or two.

Now there are 10 or 12."

True enough, but we are talking about the plazas which were pristine when they first opened.

And as to fear mongering my friend, who said there may be riots in our future if things fall apart? The mayor, right?

Anonymous said...

the old bellevue psychiatric hospital on First Avenue/28-30 street has been converted in to a homeless apartment building. it overlooks the East River, similar to Trump City on the westside.

the limousine liberals visit the top shelf restaurant,next door, at a high rise institute. the private security force is equal to that of the White House.

the a.c.l.u.prefers the insane to be free on the streets with the citizens, so they can be mainsteamed.

remember the Ed.Koch vs.a.c.l.u. legal case to allow the insane woman,from a well to do N.J family,sit and defecate on the grating on 2nd avenue/64street ? Koch lost ,trying to keep her alive in a hospital. the a.c.l.u. socialists took her to address the Harvard Law School students ?????? who are really the sickos ?

she died later of a heroin overdose.....

Anonymous said...

That's why when people say "in a rich country like this there is no excuse why people are living out in the streets!"

Yes there is. It's called the NYCLU. Thank you soooo much!

Anonymous said...

Any city has homelessness, but New York City homeless have that New York City attitude to take over public space spread around the hostility that creates fear among tourists and residents alike. I think there may be aggressive enforcement of loitering regulations if this eventually bothers NYC & Company or the BID's

Anonymous said...

"I think there may be aggressive enforcement of loitering regulations if this eventually bothers NYC & Company or the BID's"

What else can you do in these plazas besides loiter? The whole purpose is for people to sit. You can't pick and choose who you want sitting there.

Anonymous said...

the Mayor Doomsberg 2008 Planyc 2030,now bankrupt & stopped ,to convert concrete playground play space for teens to, "GREEN" parks must be audited and investigated for fraud.

the $1 MILLION -$3 MILLION per playground seems to have been wasted on many (dead )sibling trees,benches,painted ground ,U.S. maps and capitol cities, gazebos,and small unused running tracks(with sewers in lanes) and astroturf (carpet size 40'x 30'.also unused .

while the full court B/B/ and softball fields were destroyed forever ,because of the newly planted trees.

was this any part of the obama stimulus money that has disappeared since 2008 ?

Anonymous said...

Anyone remember
"needle park" in the 70s
(Broadway & 72nd Street)?

It was a hell hole!

Practically every bench had either a junkie or a mugger sitting on it.

Public spaces
are ALWAYS high security risks.

And "street furniture" (benches, umbrellas, tables, canopied sidewalks, etc.) are usually avoided by smart city planners....UNLESS there is adequate policing provided!

Subways are for sleeping....and so are plazas!

Ms. Kahn has her head up her can....or maybe up Der Mayor's!

Anonymous said...

Looks like Kahn's trolls are busy slinging some damage control flak.

LibertyBoyNYC said...

What's the over/under on how much time we have before a bum / schizoid / junkee lights herself on fire in that plaza? Nothing like a flaming homeless bum / schizoid / junkee to bring back memories of a bygone age. And there will the Admonish-stration be, erecting a police barrier and shepherding the Eurotrash herds around the flaming, shrieking, whirling spectacle, muttering and invoking the illusion of "nothing to see here, move along."

"But but but, there aren't any homeless there during the DAY. Plenty of places to still sit down." LOL

Well the Intelligensia and Hipster ilk are getting their wish, the "Old" New York City isn't that far from what it "used to be" in the "good old days". They'll have frontrow tickets when the Billyburg natives revolt and Broadway gets looted, A-GAIN. Hope you stocked up on stakes and crosses, it's vampire time again!!!

Anonymous said...

the "Old" New York City isn't that far from what it "used to be" in the "good old days".

The main difference is now we are on camera everywhere, and most of our fellow citizens carry hd vid cameras on them. If you want to riot or loot, the chances of it being caught on camera is very good.

Anonymous said...

prior to "needle park, the space was and is now "VERDI SQUARE ", with a statue of opera composer Joe Verdi. from 1945 ,for years ,it was the midtown hook up spot for the young homosexuals in heat,( now called homosexually married).

due to the politically forced democrat /homo-lobby financed ,nys law.

Anonymous said...

"due to the politically forced democrat /homo-lobby financed ,nys law."

If you don't like gay marriage, don't get gay married.

It's as simple as that.

Anonymous said...

Hook up spot for homos in heat?

How do you know all that?

Were you cruising there back then?

Too ugly to score?

Anonymous said...

Jack Kemp's HUD showed homelessness is caused by deinstitutionalization, rent control and zoning. We need a Henry George tax that inverts the "owner equivalent rent" calculation to tax rent control tenants like the feudal squatters they are.