Man Dies on Broadway Bench; Police Investigating


An image of the intersection via Google Streetview.

By Carol Tannenhauser

A man who police believe was homeless was found on a bench in the median at West 62nd Street and Broadway last Friday morning and pronounced dead by EMS workers. Police were notified at 8:43 a.m. by a passerby who called 911.

The man was bleeding from a wound on his neck, but no weapons were found at the scene, according to Captain Kathleen Fahey of the 20th precinct. The investigation is on-going; police from the 20th precinct are fanning out, asking shop owners and building personnel for help in identifying the victim, and are scouring surrounding cameras for information on what happened to him. Homicide has not been ruled out. The case is in the hands of the Medical Examiner now.

If you have information on this case call the 20th precinct at 212-580-6411.

NEWS | 15 comments | permalink
    1. Mia says:

      I would guess that the Goddard outreach group has gone to him many times and he refused much needed services and they could do nothing further to help him. The outreach workers have told me they are very frustrated by the Mayor and city council policy and attitude. They are told they cannot remove people or mandate services unless the temperature reaches a certain level. The person has the right to refuse even if they are clearly mentally ill. It is a failed policy that needs to be amended if what I have been told is true. There must be something wrong with the policy-there are far too many homeless on the streets and many are mentally ill and clearly need help. When I run along riverside, I speak to the homeless I encounter and it is shocking how ill some of them are. I always call 311 for help and still see them in the same places in worsening condition. It is inhumane to just leave them in this state.

      • Christian says:

        Yes, that would certainly explain the wound on his neck from which he was bleeding.

      • B.B. says:

        Have said this before and it is worth repeating; no NYC nor any other government agency can force the mentally ill to do anything. Unless they are a clear threat to themselves or other persons, the mentally ill have the same rights as the rest of us.

        For good or bad you can thank the lawsuits and other actions going back to 1960’s that forced deinstitutionalization of the mentally ill and gave them “rights”.

        Long story short the days of putting someone away (and keeping them there) based upon some physician or judge saying so are over.

        It takes often extreme efforts to get a court order to detain the “mentally ill” for even a few days. Why? Again thanks to case law and statues judges and local governments know confining someone against their will without a *very* good legal reasons can lead to a very expensive lawsuit.

        Like it or no, walking down the street talking to people who aren’t there, giggling at the walls, being unwashed and so forth are not crimes. Thus unless the homeless or whatever person is breaking a known law, NYPD nor anyone else can touch them.

        • EricaC says:

          It may be worth mentioning that this is not a policy of the mayor or the city council; it is the law that the mayor and city council are subject to. It may also be worth noting that the facilities and resources available to people who are mentally ill are very limited and very expensive – one of the extreme examples of the issues with our medical system – and for many, the situation in the hospitals is even worse than on the streets.

          There are places in the world that do treat the mentally ill with care and compassion, though not many. We are, by and large, not one of them.

          • B.B. says:

            I’ll say something else again…

            Neither the federal government nor many (if not most) states followed through with the lofty goals of deinstitutionalization movement.

            When the various state schools/hospitals and other places that once warehoused the mentally ill were closed, there was supposed to be a robust and vast network of community based supportive housing to serve that population. It never happened because states and other governments looked at the costs.

            As mentioned in another thread the formerly hospitalized mentally ill were sent/went to SROs and flophouses, or streets. Now that the first two are vanishing in NYC, you are seeing an increase in the latter.

            Many mentally ill aren’t totally indigent per se; that is they qualify or even get Medicaid, VA and other benefits. They just cannot find affordable and quality supportive housing, and treatment.

            Ironically it is the jails and prisons all over the USA that have become the new “mental hospitals”. Without access to care the mentally ill do things (commit crimes) that bring them into the criminal justice system. Since by law jails/prisons must provide medical and mental health care for inmates….. Often for the first time in years the mentally ill receive not just three hots and a cot; but treatment only after being locked up. A very expensive way to go, but that seems how things are done.

          • Mis says:

            What I blame the Mayor for is not finding a better solution. You don’t have to lock people away against their will OR leave them to rot on the street with no care. The extraordinary amount of money spent on outreach services that the mayor himself has said aren’t working needs to be used in a more effective manner. He keeps saying he needs to change his approach to the homeless and, so far, has changed nothing.

        • BillyNYC says:

          THAT LAW NEEDS TO BE CHANGED. THEY NEED HELP AND NEED TO GET OFF THE STREETS. THE AVERAGE LIFE-TIME A HOMELESS PERSON CAN LIVE ON THE STREETS IN NEW YORK CITY IS 12 TO 18 MONTHS.

      • Sammie@lynn says:

        There’s a woman and a young girl (early teens) who have been ‘living’ in a doorway on Broadway for months, I think it’s between 76 & 77, but I’ve also seen them near the Lohmann’s building. When I tried to speak to the girl she covered her entire head/body with a coat and turned her back to me and faced the wall, and she was still sitting like that when I came by later in the day. They always have multiple bags with them which I assume are their belongings. I’m not sure the woman spoke English or if she was just ignoring me. If I gave Goddard a heads up would they literally go out there to try and help these people?

    2. Ellen Count says:

      The ME’s autopsy results potentially extremely useful to the 20 precinct in their investigation of this more than-meets-the-eye demise.

    3. Brett G says:

      Our mayor, aside from being a complete failure, is in total denial about the homeless and mentally ill population in this city. He’s still arguing the same platform for how he was elected, “This is not the Bloomberg administration.” Yes, we’ve heard it, Mr. Mayor. I have seen our city decay and quickly–and now, although I am a Democrat, I wish it WERE the Bloomberg administration! Time to pack it in man! You were in over your head from day one and it’s never gotten better!

    4. Miriam says:

      Sammie, Goddard has a good outreach team and offers mental health services. Do contact them about the woman and girl. You can also call 311 and they will connect you to the citywide outreach team.

      • Sammie@lynn says:

        Thank you Miriam, I’m going to check on them today and will definitely contact 311!

        • Mia says:

          Calling 311 seems to do nothing. I have called about certain people with multiple times (unusual and concerning behaviors) and others with encampments (per 311 and NYPD encampments are not allowed). Nothing changes. The same encampments are in place. Helen Rosenthal’s office does nothing but tell me to keep calling 311 or tell me they will send the outreach to these people. I understand this is a diccicjlf problem, but I don’t get the impression that this administration and Cory council are willing to find or find a solution. The homeless should not be left to rot on the street, nor should they be forcibly detained somewhere. There needs to be a new, better solution that actually addresses the needs of these people.

    5. B.B. says:

      While have no way of knowing and hope it is not the case; living rough on the streets of NYC is not always the easy life many assume.

      As if the weather, elements, securing shelter, food, and so forth aren’t daunting enough challenges; there is (sadly) no shortage of persons who pray upon the less fortunate.

      There is a reason many homeless would rather take their luck living rough than go into the NYC shelter system. However finding a place to be left alone by the same criminal and or brutal persons isn’t always easy.

      The Columbus Circle area attracts a large number of homeless and some of them seem to be rather unsavory characters. The area around Time Warner Building/Mandarin Oriental Hotel seems to get the worst of things, especially late/over night.