City ‘Evicts’ Homeless Couple on Broadway


An image of the storefront on Broadway between 77th and 78th where a couple camped out for months, via Google Streetview.

The city ordered a homeless couple that had put up an encampment on Broadway between 77th and 78th Street to vacate the premises this week. The couple had lived in the spot for months, according to Ken, our tipster.

The notice (seen below) says that the couple’s continued presence “may be illegal” and says that the space must be vacated so it can be cleaned. Their stuff had to be removed and placed in storage, the notice said. If not, it may be thrown out.


Click to enlarge.

The city released a report last year that dealt with how it plans to deal with rising homelessness, which has been on the upswing for the last two decades. It explains on page 64 how the city deals with encampments, when homeless people create more permanent shelters outside. The de Blasio administration has been criticized for allowing encampments to persist, often in front of vacant stores. It’s difficult to determine the number of people who are living outside at any given time, though volunteers canvas the city one night a year in January to get a rough count.

After dismantling an encampment, “City agency personnel return to make sure that the encampment or pop-up is not reestablished,” the report says. “The City fully documents each clean-up and provides vouchers to individuals for any redeemable bottles and cans.” People can call 311 to report an encampment. It’s particularly dangerous for people to be living outside when it’s this cold, of course.

NEWS, OUTDOORS | 37 comments | permalink
    1. dannyboy says:

      Dated “December 22”. A Christmas Story.

      • Ish Kabibble says:

        Well, Danny. You are welcome to take in some homeless folks.

        A Christmas Story.

        • dannyboy says:

          Ish,

          To defend myself: I do what I can and I certainly do my best not to do no harm.

          I guess you’re good with “Homeless CLEAN UP? Is it the deference to property that appeals? The elimination of homeless from your neighborhood, perhaps? Do tell.

    2. Peter says:

      No self proclaimed liberal/progressive should find it acceptable that people live in encampments on the sidewalk. The city spends billions on shelters and services. Perhaps the use of vacant storefronts as encampment locations will spur the city to take action and assist small business owners. More open businesses and fewer encampments is good for everyone.

    3. Wendy says:

      Hopefully this couple can get some help from DHS. It’s way too cold to be living outside anyway. They could die from exposure.

    4. Joey says:

      Why doesn’t the city provide an area with tents for homeless people who prefer to camp out. Decent tents could be provided along with bathroom and shower facilities and a common area tent where 3 squares a day could be provided along with medical and psychological services. Perhaps an area in Riverside Park, Central Park or on the High Line could be set aside.

      • Ish Kabibble says:

        Or perhaps outside your building, Joey!

        • KittyH says:

          We do have homeless people outside our building, year ’round on the benches in Riverside Park. While it is of obvious concern, their exposure to the elements at this time of year, it’s also apparent that a nummber of the homeless prefer to pass on the city shelter alternative. It would seem providing an alternative to shelters that doesn’t involve freezing to death is an idea worth exploring.

        • Joey says:

          Ish I don’t have any income producing property nor am I interested in making any profit on someone elses misfortune, just making a suggestion.

      • Bill D says:

        Tents?? Isn’t the city already providing homeless shelters? What makes you think these people would be any more likely to live in a tent when they refuse to go to the shelters for safety concerns? Maybe the city should fix that problem before looking at another fix

        • Joey says:

          Bill D, They don’t go to the shelters for various reasons. Some don’t want to be with others, some don’t feel safe there, some don’t mind being in open places etc., so why not give those that are willing a tent of his/her own and provide a safe encampment area with essential services

      • Mark says:

        Yeah, why doesn’t the City put up buildings with heating and air conditioning and bathroom facilities. Oh, wait a second, they do!
        They are called shelters!

    5. Steven says:

      Last winter I was at the deli on Amsterdam & 83rd around 1am. There was a very sweet elderly black woman (guessing mid to late 70’s), with a cane, asking if I could spare change. I gave her $2.00. As I walked home I passed her on the street & she thanked me again. I asked her what her story was. She told me she was homeless. That she got rid of the apartment she had for 35 years & had raised her family in for a man she had met. After moving in with him she claimed he beat her & she finally had the courage to leave. She was staying at a nearby shelter, but after a certain time if they filled up, there would be no room for her. She said she would spend the night just walking the streets. I felt terrible, and she asked if she could come stay at my apt, which I told her was not possible. I asked if she had any family. She said she had a daughter in Brooklyn who if she knew her situation, would take her in. I offered to let her use my cell to call her daughter, but she said she didn’t want to bourdon her. I offered to take her to the subway & get her on the right train out to Brooklyn to meet her daughter, but she refused & I gave her $5.00 more & wished her luck. I don’t know if she made all this up to me or not. For all I know she could have been waking to her home on Central Park West. But I made every effort to help & get her to a place where she could be with her daughter. It’s sad to see people who are homeless. I felt I did a good deed in trying to help her. But again, it could have all been a con. Whatever the case, I wish her the best.

    6. George Teebor MD says:

      Homeless people on street are a health hazard to themselves and to others. However, the shelters are crowded and dangerous and many of the homeless suffer from chronic mental illness. It is high time to ask the medical community, particularly the psychiatric community, to participate in dealing with this complex problem.

    7. Mr. Grant says:

      The reverse side of the letter (not shown) says:

      “NYC Commissioner of Social Services

      /s/ Ebenezer Scrooge”.

      The DHS would never send a letter without the name and signature of its author, never.

      The Attorney-in-Chief of the Legal Aid would immediately tell it that sending such letters “may be illegal” and threaten legal action.

    8. lin says:

      Mayor De Blasio is on NPR every Friday morning. This past Friday he told one of the callers that he would take down their info re their lack of heat. He should be made aware of this situation. Perhaps he can find them shelter that isn’t dangerous. How could anyone ask a homeless person to store their belongings? This borderlines on the insane.

    9. Monkey See says:

      I live near that “encampment.” It was an eyesore; a woman lived there, hanging up her clothing on the metal bars of the scaffolding. It was appalling.

    10. uWSider says:

      The “couple” were two sisters (twins?) who have been living in this neighborhood for a few years. They “lived” on 80th Street around the corner from Pinkies for some time…then the scaffolding went up and building began across the street. I have watched them as they try to care for themselves – combing their hair, organizing their belongings, and clearly trying to not be a bother to anyone. Wonder where they are now?

      • manhattan mark says:

        uwestsider, you are right on. They were very organized and
        had what looked like all their clothes and blankets for warmth. They also had cell phones and friends who would
        come by and visit with them. It’s been years, not months that they have been homeless. I assume that they moved there
        for the shelter of the scaffold and having the newsstand in
        front of all there stuff . My assumption was that they were
        taken in for their protection during this near zero weather.

      • lynn says:

        I always thought it was a mother and daughter, but when I tried to speak to the younger one she’d wrap herself up in her coat and turn her back to me and face the building. I had no idea they were twins. One certainly looked much older than the other which is why I assumed one was the mother. I agree, that they’ve been out there for a few years, so they’ve obviously endured a winter on the street before. I hope that they’re safe inside somewhere.

    11. John says:

      Very sad. There are many unfortunate folks living around my building at W 63 rd and Broadway this always makes me feel guilty when walking into my high rise. With all the city tax’s we pay this should not be a common sight.

    12. NYWoman says:

      Imagine your 10 yr, $12K monthly lease with squatters and their menagerie, paraphernalia, manic outbursts [and no bathroom] parked in front of your livelihood. Combine this with not enough trash cans and pick up service for the UWS’s predominantly restaurant trade. I’ve never seen a homeless person, or spilling trash, draped across the steps of Lincoln Center – even in tourist season. The UWS should not be Manhattan’s dumping ground. I know that more money is available to maintain certain public spaces, but really, we should thank our precinct for trying to assist the TAX PAYERS in our area. I don’t own a business, but I know my lifestyle relies on a) these owners’ willingness to pay rent, keeping UWS from being endless vacant buildings b) they pay taxes and c) I have a place within walking distance to get what I need.

    13. Tom says:

      Let’s be honest. The hanging clothes racks were a step too far, even for UWS.

      • your neighbor says:

        +1 Tom
        I thought these people were just seeing how far they could push the boundaries before having some kind of action taken. Usually just saw a youngish woman and thought it was a Columbia psych grad student doing research for a thesis or a book.

    14. UWSMOM says:

      Enough with defending people’s right to live on the street. It’s a health hazard at BEST. The homeless who live near my home are mentally unwell. My children have been sworn at, accosted and witnessed multiple homeless people exposing themselves. Let’s not pretend these are all well meaning individuals just down on their luck. Many need real help and are a danger to society. And it’s out of control. One of the sisters was pregnant last year….TRAGIC for EVERYONE.

    15. Super K says:

      The couple are two sisters and they’ve have been camped in the neighborhood for years. The city was pretty slow to help these two, But I guess now is better than never. If they haven’t done so yet, They need to help the old lady that sits across from Zabars too. They need to help a lot in this neighborhood.

      • lou says:

        how bout the man that sleeps in front of Victoria’s Secret on 85th st….rain sleet snow he’s there…even made the NY Post during his career…https://nypost.com/2015/07/12/peeing-menace-cuffed-by-cops-only-to-be-back-on-the-streets/

        • manhattan mark says:

          His name is Angel, he was a local kid. At the time he made the front page of the newspapers someone wrote a piece in
          the WSR that he experimented with some drug at a High School and graduation party and never recovered. In earlier
          days he hung around 80th & B’way helping visitors find the
          right entrance to Zabars, never asking for anything, refusing
          to take food from people who offered it. I once offered him
          a turkey sandwich which he refused, I put it on the edge of
          the garbage can on the corner, eventually he walked over to
          it, looked around and then took it and ate it, keeping his pride. Time has not been kind to him!

          • AC says:

            Mark is correct. He was a neighborhood kid who was actually a good looking kid in his youth (talking late 1970s). I remember him having many of the neighborhood girls attention. He attended what was IS 44 back in the day (77 street). Triped on some acid and never recovered.

            As for the ladies, mother/daughter , , , daughter was actually prego last spring. Don’t know the outcome.

    16. Bruce Bernstein says:

      here’s a wild idea: why doesn’t WSR cover all the housing problems UWSers face — including harassment by landlords, a frequent occurrence on the UWS — BEFORE people go homeless?

      Housing precariousness is the #1 issue on the UWS — yes, more so than crime. yes the actual cases are mostly not covered by WSR.

      need to find the cases and stories? just call around once a week to Helen Rosenthal’s office, or Linda Rosenthal, or Gale Brewer, or Met Council on Housing, or Godard Riverside, or Daniel O’Donnell. the stories are out there, waiting to be told.

    17. Daryl says:

      i called in an alert about them right after thanksgiving and was told they’d been approached and declined help … so bravo to whoever got them off the street, its been insanely cold and they needed help

    18. Ksd says:

      I “knew” those two women because they lived on west 80 and west 81 last summer. I think they’re sisters, not twins. One was pregnant last summer and looked pregnant to me again this summer! No idea what happened to any babies. They always had their stuff neatly bagged until this summer when they started hanging things on scaffolding. I too thought that was pretty odd/nervy. They both seem antisocial but after living on the streets for two+ years I’d be too. I wonder if they’ll be back and also wonder where they came from originally, they seemed put together and I wondered that they couldn’t get it together enough to afford a studio apartment somewhere. I wish them well.

      • grandma says:

        saw them in the summer on the steps of that disgraceful looking church on 86th & Amst, they had a few items hanging on the scaffold

    19. Ronnieracecard says:

      The two are sisters possibly fraternal although one seems older. They are Very unfriendly. I would see thrm occasionaly as long as 4 yrs ago. Around that time i approached gently with intent to provide some help- and the older excoriated me even leveling and unexpected and unwarranted cutting insult. Given that, i barely acknowledge them now. I suspect they have some mental disorder although high functioning. It has been sad to see them both age so dramatically over that time. They were actually rather attractive.