Community, Police Voice Concerns About ‘Homeless Encampment’ on 73rd Street and Broadway

Police responding to the corner of 73rd and Broadway. Photo via 20th precinct.

By Alex Israel

Local residents and NYPD representatives are speaking out about a group of people camping out on the street at 73rd Street and Broadway. 

During the public session of Community Board 7’s January full board meeting on Tuesday, several local residents—including members of NYC Moms for Safer Streets, and residents of The Ansonia at 2109 Broadway (between West 73rd and 74th Streets)—shared stories of obscene taunts, harassment, and public exposure by several unidentified homeless individuals. 

The locals said the group, described by one man as “an encampment of very aggressive folks,” has been “terrorizing” those in the area since scaffolding went up. Specific complaints included members the group allegedly exposing themselves to children on the street, shouting obscenities to those walking by, and cluttering the sidewalk with blankets and other belongings. 

And a police union, the Sergeant’s Benevolent Association, tweeted a photo of the encampment to criticize the mayor.

After the union’s tweet, the 20th precinct sent officers who “inspected & found multiple violations & dramatically reduced the footprint of the encampment.”

Conversation about the group has also made its way to Nextdoor, a social networking platform for local communities, according to screenshots shared by a local tipster. “They pushed an elderly man yesterday to the ground,” reads one comment from the network on December 27, 2019.

“Imagine the harshness of living on the streets in any season but particularly winter. I would be shouting obscenities loud and clear if I had their misfortune,” reads another comment, which inspired a debate about homelessness.

Some of the local residents who turned up to the meeting were similarly sympathetic to the situation, and urged the board to take the issue of homelessness more seriously by addressing it at a systemic level. 

“We’d like to see the community board join us in pushing for measures which will address these problems,” said a representative from NYC Moms for Safer Streets. “This includes innovative solutions to provide help and services to those in our homeless community who will accept it, and more tools to address those on the streets who threaten safety and security of our residents,” she said, adding a request of more funding for violence prevention, youth counseling services, and after-school programming. 

Others echoed the requests in the board to help allocate additional aid to the homeless community. 

Following the public session, CB7 Chair Mark Diller invited NYPD Deputy Inspector Timothy Malin to the floor to address these concerns. Malin is the commanding officer of the 20th precinct, which covers the Upper West Side from 59th up to 86th Streets. 

While the local officers have built positive relationships with some of the neighborhood’s homeless figures (for example, Carl, a man who often sleeps in the area around 79th Street and Broadway, is “liked”), Malin explained, he has not found that to be the case at 73rd Street and Broadway. 

“They are really aggressive, they’re really nasty,” he said, outlining several attempts by the precinct to clear out the corner through “enforcement operations,” in some cases alongside the Department of Homeless Services. 

Despite these attempts, which have included summonses, the group continues to reappear. “If you want to capture them on video, please do,” said Malin, encouraging people to share their experiences to social media to create more awareness (and help make the case in favor of an officer who was reported to the NYC Civilian Complaint Review Board by a local resident for apprehending a member of the group).

“I want people to see that this is a problematic location, and we are addressing it,” he said. “We’re going to keep on it, we’re going to keep at it.”

UPDATE: A previous version of this story incorrectly quoted Deputy Inspector Malin. He said Carl was “liked” by officers, not “loved.”

NEWS, OUTDOORS | 97 comments | permalink
    1. Sherman says:

      There’s also a big homeless encampment by the McDonald’s on 71st & Amsterdam.

      There’s a blonde guy who is part of this gang who screams obscenities at people, especially women. He’s been there for years.

      These are not hard working and responsible people who are homeless because of gentrification and high rents.

      They are living on the streets because they suffer from mental illness and substance abuse.

      It’s a shame decent people have to be exposed to this and there’s apparently little anyone can do about it.

      Everyone has their civil rights.

    2. Backintothe80s says:

      Whoever had the nerve to report a cop for doing his duty should first invite these nasty, aggressive people to move in with them. Walked past this group a few times last week and struggled to find space to walk in the sidewalk while I read some provocative signs, one saying something like “give me $10000 to move out of here,” mocking the whole situation. No idea why Malin “loves” deranged Carl on 79/bway, who drinks alcohol out in the open every night until getting hammered and aggressive. Not to mention my daily sight of homeless people relieving themselves on the street, some just outside the church on 79/bway. This neighborhood is clearly going downhill at a fast speed. Meanwhile some think we should embrace this chaos with grace, while real estate taxes increase ruthlessly on us. Tired of financing this circus, where clown De Blasio reigns supreme.

      • Deputy Inspector Malin says:

        Yeah, that bit about Karl is actually a misquote. I was juxtaposing our relationship with Karl to the homeless at 73 and B’Way. The exact quote is: “He is actually liked. We find him a nuisance, but he is liked by a lot of the cops. Because when we say to Karl: ‘Dump the beer.’ He dumps the beer. When we say ‘Clean up this mess.’ He cleans up his mess.”

        This is the truth. Unlike the actors at 73 and B’Way, Karl is typically very polite with us when we are correcting his behavior, and even likes to joke with the cops. I really want to see him get help someday.

        You can see it here at the 29:00 mark:

        • Irish says:

          Appreciate the work you are doing, and taking the time to respond to the people’s comments. But what if i’m caught drinking a beer on the street, or relieving myself? will you just say ‘dump the beer’ ‘clean up the mess’ and i’m still liked by the community? I won’t get a ticket, or locked up for multiple misdemeanors? i know you probably don’t have the resources to do this for every homeless person, but turning a blind eye to certain offenses or people is not helping. give an inch, take a mile which is what the people at 73rd are doing.

        • Kathy F says:

          Unfortunately, this youtube link doesn’t work.

        • Mark P says:

          Thank you Officer Malin for supporting and protecting our community. Although our precinct is low crime objectively, we who live here obviously have high expectations because of that. You seem to me to handle events with grace and respect even when that is not accorded to your colleagues.

          This is not to criticize those who critique the handling of this and other community or crime situations – rather it is recognition of how difficult this is to do. The blue line is thin and I would also say, gray, if you catch my meaning (and I don’t mean old!). We appreciate it, and although that’s true without saying, I have to imagine you like to hear thanks as much as any other human being.

        • GG says:

          Just curious, Sir.

          Isn’t loitering still a crime in NYC?

          What about disorderly conduct? or public intoxication? harassment? etc…

          Why are these folks immune to laws that everyone else has to follow? I’m genuinely curious as to why these things are not enforced.

          • Deputy Inspector Malin says:

            You asked some very good questions. Here are the answers:

            -Loitering has NOT been a crime for a few decades.

            -Disorderly conduct is still a violation, and we arrested one of the men at 73rd and Broadway for it recently, but it does not typically apply to people who are emotionally disturbed like Karl.

            -Public intoxication was also removed as a violation a few decades ago.

            -Harassment is still a violation of the law, but again, it requires intent to annoy and alarm… and, for the most part, Karl doesn’t have the mental capacity to meet this requirement. He has serious mental health issues that prevent him from even knowing what he is doing.

            When he occasionally disregards our instructions, we have issued Karl summonses for open container violations. But because Karl is homeless, the outcomes of the summonses typically do not prove to be an efficient use of police time. We have other crime issues that we need to address, and often the most prudent action is to use our discretion, dump his beer, and give him a warning. This course of action proves more efficient, and is often just as punitive for him as issuing a summons.

            • Bruce E. Bernstein says:

              Props, and thanks for the clarifications and education, to DI Malin. This gives great insights into real-life decision making involved in modern community policing practices.

            • GG says:

              Thank you so much for your thoughtful and reasoned response, Sir.

              As always, much respect!

        • Andrew says:

          Is karl a 6’1″-ish light skin black man in his 20s?

          i often see someone like that walking around screaming. he frigthened my wife several time. about a month ago, on Amsterdam, a woman asked me to walk with her because someone threatened her. after a block she pointed him out ahead, and it was the guy i am describing.

          i once saw someone approach him while he was ranting that knew him and he became very friendly and normal.made me wonder if he’s in a trance, unaware he’s yelling or acting.

          so if that’s him, i’d like to know.

          • Deputy Inspector Malin says:

            Yep. That’s him. And “a trance” is a great way to describe it. When he comes out of it, he can be really agreeable.

            • Wickster says:

              Regardless, he is terrifying residents in the neighborhood. I also had on elderly woman tell me she was scared to cross the street. Frankly, so was I. But it’s easier for me to walk down a block to avoid him. For an elderly person, a block may was well be a mile. If one doesn’t wear a badge, and especially if one is a more vulnerable person because of age and/ or gender, his “agreeableness” becomes a moot point.

          • HelenD says:

            He’s in his 20’s and no one is addressing his mental health issues? Should we just expect him to continue to live this way until he’s the new ‘older blonde tie-dye guy,’ and still living on the street when he’s in his 60’s? I’m asking a serious question….what can be done about this? What can be done, other than emptying his beer cans, to help this young man?!

          • Glitter says:

            This is the guy who’s crazy girlfriend was locked i for throwing a piece of wood at an older lady

        • Alex Israel says:

          Deputy Inspector Malin, I apologize for the misquote! The article has been updated to reflect.

    3. Evan Bando says:

      If you want to see what a “homeless encampment” can become, go to DTLA (Downtown Los Angeles). A portion of the street grid there is wall-to-wall homeless tents and makeshift shelters taking up entire sidewalks making them unusable and unsanitary in the extreme. It had to have started somewhere. Whatever the answer to homelessness is, it is not sidewalk encampments. Petition your representatives and demand that they allow the police or the department of health or whatever agency that can claim a public hazard in the making to break them down now. UWSers will deeply regret not doing something when they had the chance.

      • MAD says:

        Eventually this will become a public health hazard, and then perhaps someone will take action. Right now, vermin (rats, fleas, lice, etc.) is probably the main concern and that might not constitute a public health hazard. But if we get into the realm of tuberculosis and other serious diseases, what will public health officials do then? Do not minimize the possibility of serious public health issues arising and keep your distance from the piles of fabric and garbage that surround those encampments.

    4. MAD says:

      Some of these men — including the blond guy — used to camp out on the Amsterdam Ave. side of the Apple Bank until the bank took down its scaffolding. Now they’ve moved over to Broadway. The blond guy, probably the leader, has been screaming and shouting obscenities and threatening people in this area for years and yet nothing is done. We should not have to live like this, without free access to city streets or freedom from fear of being attacked. If you have been threatened, scream and run and call the police. Probably nothing will happen given the new bail reform laws, but keep advocating for your own rights to live in safety. Don’t worry about not being politically correct. Watch out for yourselves.

      • alison says:

        The blonde tie-dye dude rants and raves like the drug addict he likely is, and intimidates and threatens passersby with absolute impunity. Repeated complaints to 311 (i.e., homeless services) do nothing and while cops may be sympathetic, their hands are tied… that is, until that day comes — and we know it will — when he commits a felony. Until that time, just like the west side of Amsterdam behind the Apple Bank building was to be avoided when he parked himself there, I will continue to avoid the mutating scourge that is now the corner of 73/Broadway.

        And to those buildings who for years sit on the maintenance work that their buildings require and bide their time with what feel like permanent sidewalk sheds–you enable and feed the problem of homeless encampments.

      • John says:

        Everybody knows that blonde guy . Neighborhood has various nicknames for him like tie-dye guy or Venice Beach guy . He curses at the top of his lungs randomly
        And blasts billy Joel from his old boombox at odd hours.

        I one time saw and heard him talk condescendingly to an officer claiming ‘he knows his rights and the law’ and refused to let the cops ’search his area.’

        • ELFK says:

          My husband and I call him Angry Wavy Gravy.

          • Sean says:

            I call him Mr. Happy.

          • Annabelle says:

            This is an insult to the real Wavy Gravy, a well known man in the East Bay, California. He runs a wonderful circus camp for children, many on scholarship. He has also brought joy, as a clown, to children in the hospital with cancer and other serious conditions.

        • nyc123 says:

          believe his name is paul, we’ve called 311 on him countless times, the police sometimes come, make it clear they know him, yet somehow he manages to quickly resurface somewhere else nearby…i find it so odd we’re all writing similar stories about him and yet nothing seems to be done about it.

      • RiversideNorth says:

        I’ve read all of the comments to find out what exactly the “threats” and threatening behavior is, and why everyone should immediately “scream and run and call the police.” It seems that just because homeless people are congregated in one area that is threatening enough to scare you UWSers into thinking they are all engaging in illegal behavior. They are not. I’m also suspicious of the additional charges of exposing themselves to children being thrown in. Maybe they are, maybe they aren’t but I imagine people would add these in to make the situation seem worse in an article like this.

        Please don’t think I am in favor of homeless people having to sleep under scaffolding on Broadway. I wish there were better places for them to sleep. However, they are your neighbors – they are UWS residents even though they may not pay taxes. Please treat them as such. Just because they may be blocking the sidewalk and may not have a place to pee doesn’t mean they are bad people. If you are the kind of person who doesn’t want to look at them or doesn’t want to help, then walk on the other side of Broadway or look the other way.

        I do like the idea of improving afterschool activities for children in the neighborhood so they won’t be tempted in their boredom to antagonize or otherwise get into trouble with the folks there. This is a good lesson for children in how to be a good citizen.

        And please do not compare NYC with LA or Seattle’s homeless problem. I’ve studied these two situations, and the causes while similar are enormously different in scope, and NYC actually has a shelter system, where LA does not – they only offer emergency shelter during storms or extraordinary conditions that forces people to live on the street.

        In closing, I live in West Harlem where people up there are now worried about homeless living under Riverside Dr at 138th st. but my neighborhood isn’t filled with rich people who will write letters to this paper so it will take a lot more to get rid of them. This fortunately gives us enough time to try to help them. Please think before you all “scream and run and call the police” about a homeless person who doesn’t even have a gun. We have a nutcase in the WH who may get reelected and ruin this country. Let’s worry about that.

        • Mark Moore says:

          They’re not Upper West Side residents. They’re transients who live in the street. They’ll go wherever it’s convenient for them. They don’t have anything invested in the community.

        • NotImpressed says:

          RiversideNorth – it’s rather presumptious of you to dismiss the statements of fellow UWSers who have actually encountered this particular group of homeless men.
          Spare us the lecture.

          We shouldn’t have to tolerate items being thrown at passersby, curses directed at specific individuals, and feces and discarded food items strewn about. We also shouldn’t have to tolerate mattresses and other items blocking 2/3 of the sidewalk at times.
          I have witnessed all of these things with this group on multiple occasions, although you will probably dismiss it as fantasy.

          Respect is a two-way thing. If you crap on my sidewalk and throw a plastic bottle at me, I have the right to lose my respect for you.

        • MAD says:

          Before we turn responses to this serious problem into yet another rant against Donald Trump (which is unproductive), I think RiversideNorth should spend some time walking around the Ansonia to see exactly how this group of men behaves. They yell at people, they threaten them (as in my case, with “if you walk there I’m gonna come after you — I’m gonna get you and I know where you live”) and block access to public sidewalks and public buildings. These are not harmless homeless people who are preyed upon them selves (e.g., the man who lives outside Gray’s Papaya) and need help. These are predators who follow the elderly, scream at people, get up close and demand money. So please observe this situation first hand and over a period of weeks and months before falling back on the old anti-Trump rant. He didn’t cause this problem and it’s likely he won’t be the person to solve it.

          • BZ says:

            Riverside North—Stop making generalizations. Yes the UWS has rich residents..but many of us aren’t and still manage to stick up for our community and write letters. (What gives with that comment anyway?)
            I do not consider the homeless my neighbors…my neighbors pay taxes But since you feel that way, then why don’t you invite them over for dinner? Cause that’s what neighbors do. (And who knows, maybe you have.)
            These folks need help and the city has failed them miserably. But the issue here is what this group of homeless, mentally unstable people is doing to our community. Why do we have to tolerate their bad behavior?

        • lynn says:

          Do you honestly think that children are the problem?! The earlier comments that I read referred to children in strollers. Since when are children antagonizing the homeless population?!

          “I do like the idea of improving afterschool activities for children in the neighborhood so they won’t be tempted in their boredom to antagonize or otherwise get into trouble with the folks there. This is a good lesson for children in how to be a good citizen.”

          • Angry Mom says:

            Thank you Lynn for challenging @RiversideNorth’s asinine comment about kids antagonizing these men.
            My elementary school-aged child is terrified when he walks to school because TieDye screamed a string of obscenities at him.
            This group is a menace and they know it. They had a sign that said “$7000 and we will leave”. Guess they had enough lucidity to try extortion.
            Zero sympathy for them

            • lynn says:

              AngryMom, It really hit home when someone made the comment that their children were adjusting to this insane behavior because it’s becoming the new norm. That’s not the way things should be. What’s the point of living in a ‘better’ neighborhood if this occurs on a daily basis and these people have more rights than we do. If you or I were to shout obscenities, spit, charge at, and throw things at people, not to mention drink and urinate in the street, I highly doubt that it would be ignored.

        • EricaC says:

          Others have responded to some of your points already – I just want to note that you may want to re-read. Many have said that the man is yelling threats and obscenities at people. You may not find that upsetting – but those who have actually encountered him find it frightening. I would also find it frightening if it is as described.

          Sympathy for the homeless is more than appropriate. Recognize the systemic issues that lead to people being unable to afford housing or mental health care is also more than appropriate, and is often overlooked in these conversations. But that doesn’t mean that a community should accept people yelling threats and obscenities. Nor does the fact that drug addiction has many causes, some not within the control of the addict, mean that the behavior of the addict is beyond criticism. In fact, accepting that one remains responsible for one’s actions is one of the earlier steps in many addicts’ recoveries … Moreover, not too many addicts seek help without a strong push to do so – and it is fair for those being victimized by the addict’s behavior to give that push. (Someone I love dearly would probably be dead by now if someone hadn’t given him just such a push.) Addiction is one place where the empathy and services need to be accompanied by a pretty open-eyed realism about what addiction does to the addict’s judgment and motivations, if it is going to be anything other than liberal handwringing (I say that as a card-carrying liberal).

          All of which is to say – maybe you’re not as big an ally of these homeless folks as you think you are, and maybe these folks have some legitimate issues, and maybe your self-righteousness is a bit misplaced.

    5. Scott says:

      They could re-open Camp Laguardia and staff it with a doctor, dentist and 3 psychiatrists and they’d spend a fraction of what they spend on “Thrive,” which has helped no one.

    6. ruby says:

      that older homeless blond man…is frightening. He moved from Amsterdam Ave, (under the bank) to 73 and B’way, and eventually back to his original home base…in front of McDonalds. His right to live on the street , screaming filth at anyone and everyone , appears to be more important to our civil liberties than to those of us he threatens. This has been an ongoing situation for the last three years . What is the solution? Or, I should ask, who is going to “fix this”?

    7. Gretchen says:

      I’m a resident of 74th St. and the situation is indeed out of control. I no longer walk past this encampment of men who drink, take drugs, scream at each other and pedestrians, throw things and do other horrible things in plain sight. One thing the Ansonia could do, is to completely enclose and gate the area where they are camping so they can’t get in and out. There’s already a high metal fence, so they could put a locked gate on either side so building employees can get in and out. This fenced area might be designated as private property to the fence line, so camping there is trespassing and be legally moved. I think this was the same bunch of lowlifes who had inhabited the sidewalk by the Apple Bank bldg. along Amsterdam Ave., not long ago. There needs to be oversight. Just sayin’…

    8. LK says:

      This is absolutely a problem. When a homeless person minds his business on the corner – fine. When there is a group of them smoking pot and cursing by a child-activity center – it’s a huge problem. They accost seniors with the kids, cut them off aggressively and make kids unsafe and uncomfortable. Last thing you want to see is the kids being forced into the traffic. It sucks that we can not let kids walk on their own during the day in the neighborhood.

    9. CCL says:

      Another negative result of the scourge of scaffolding.

    10. UWS says:

      Another person stabbed on 72nd between Columbus and Amsterdam. Why is there such inaction in the neighborhood when its clearly more dangerous. I’ve never seen the Upper West Side this dangerous in over 15 years.

    11. 92nd Street says:

      This is partially the responsibility of the Landlord(s) where the Vagrant Camps set up. The Police (311) will remove the Vagrants to a Shelter, but they do not have the means to dispose of the Cardboard Tents and the “Furniture”
      The LL must call in their Sanitation Trucks and the Building Handy Men/Porters must prepare the filth for removal, often time this includes Needles, weapons, feces, etc.

      I deal with this issue often around Bryant Park and there is no answer in sight. To make matters worse, there is a Gang System among Vagrant / Homeless and they can be violent. The Mayor needs to address this and bring in experts that can make a difference.

    12. Marci says:

      I’m a pretty tough city girl, but this group scares the heck out of me. They know their strength in their numbers and go out of their way to dare you to glance in their direction and then become abusive. I wouldn’t be surprised if The North Face has seen a big drop off in customer traffic, because I won’t walk in there by that group at this point. Why can’t something be done? Is verbal abuse legal?

    13. m.pipik says:

      There is now a mini-encampment under the scaffolding at 200 Amsterdam (69th St). Because of the recent mugging there the walkway was reconfigured and left a space to park shopping carts.

    14. CCL says:

      It is interesting that when the San Remo erected its scaffolding/ shed last summer, a guy immediately set up housekeeping with blankets and paraphernalia as if he were ready to stay forever. However, by midnight he was gone and no one has ever tried to live there since.

      So. It must be the property management/owner that makes the difference.

    15. NotImpressed says:

      The scaffolding around the Ansonia which provides a place for these homeless guys seems pointless.
      There is never any actual work being done on the building.

    16. Adam says:

      Interesting that the cities with the biggest homeless problems, NYC, San Fran, LA, etc. are all being “lead” by progressive mayors. The streets are dirty, crime is up, and there is a migration to the burbs. Just saying. . .

      • Rebecca Gannon says:

        I lived in NYC from 2001 until 2018. Under Mayor Bloomberg our City and The UWS was safe and beautiful. I started to see a change in the city The first year after Mayor Bloomberg left. More homeless – the city looked more dirty and crime started creeping back. It breaks my heart to see how bad things have gotten since the new administration has taken over. Thank God I sold my apartment.

      • EricaC says:

        Among other issues, people come here from the states that don’t address their own issues. Another example of the red states shifting costs to blue states.

    17. Ben David says:

      NYPD would like to help, but they cannot! We must complain to our elected officials, who are too busy eliminating bail and legalizing turnstile jumping. I know most of you reading this would never dream of voting for a candidate who is not a Democrat, but if you want change in this city (I’m not talking about the White House!), the ONLY solution is to vote against NYC Democrats who are pro-crime and anti-police. Can’t bring yourself to do it? Get used to the harassment, sexual assaults, urination, etc. in our streets. It is here to stay.

      • NotImpressed says:

        Ben David, I’m an UWSer who votes for the Dems in national elections but have voted for the Republican candidate in the last 3 or four mayoral elections.
        I’m sure I’m not the only one.

      • Irish says:

        I would vote democrat in general but i agree with you.

    18. BJK says:

      I love all the NIMBY complaints here by people who have likely not voted for a Republican in recent memory and straight-ticket Republican (like I do) ever before. Remember “the blonde guy” when you vote this November.

    19. uws-lauren says:

      It’s hard to believe how fast this neighborhood is going downhill. This behavior was not tolerated when we moved uptown 5 years ago. Here’s hoping someone runs for mayor that cares about the quality of life taxpayers deserve. This is not a cheap place to live and I along with many others have had enough of the downhill slide. Don’t forget what it felt like when the city was safe and how achievable that is. No big city will ever be 100% safe but nyc was about as safe as one could get. I feel compassion for the people on the streets but study homelessness, some is mental illness some is hard times but often it’s choice. We can’t make people want to change their lives but we can control what we allow happen to our neighborhoods, just ask previous mayors…

    20. Mark Moore says:

      I don’t often get down to where these guys are camping out but last weekend the west side of Bway between 92nd and 93rd was derelict central. Something I haven’t seen in NYC since the bad old days. I don’t know if it’s high rents, restrains on police, income inequality, lack of mental healthcare or what, but whatever de Blasio thinks he’s doing isn’t helping.

    21. ben says:

      This is a disgrace to the neighborhood and the city. Living on the streets may be one’s right but you don’t get to endlessly harass passers-by without consequences. The city and the police need to really step it up in cleaning up the areas. Yes we’d like to fix systemic level problems that lead to the present situation but in the meantime, being constantly afraid of walking by these camps is no way to live for anyone in the area.

    22. 90th street resident says:

      Terrible situation. It has gone downhill in the 90th’s as well these last years, what is going on?!?! And scaffoldings on every block, this is insane. My question is: why is everyone putting up scaffolding?!?! Can someone explain this to me?
      And as soon as one scaffolding comes down I breathe out in relief, only to see that another one is being put up on the same block a couple of days later!! I’ve been on UWS since 2003 and have never seen the area in there conditions before. When friends and family that visit regularly from abroad come back, they comment on this change and wonder what is happening… Also, our kids shouldn’t have to get used to be screamed at regularly from there people, they are used to it by now and hardly react anymore – is sad that this is where we are at…

      • 92nd Street says:

        The Scaffolding is a requirement by the Dept. of Buildings for the Local Law 11 Facade Inspections that take place every seven years for every building in New York City.

        • 90th st resident says:

          Thank you so much for clarifying that!i didn’t know. But then I wonder why tge scaffolding is up for years and NO work isbeing done during this time? It is just standing there, making stores go out of business and homeless starting to live there

          • CCL says:

            Does the law say that the entire City should be forever shrouded by sheds? That is what has happened. Cannot walk down any block in any area of the City without the blight of these ugly steel webs.

          • Kenneth says:

            Most of the buildings in question are 90-100 years old and need a ton of work, the majority of it also needs to be doneonly in weather above 40 degrees. So you’re already out 4 months out of the year. Then couple that with neighbor access issues which you need to do the work, getting the right contractor with the right insurance, unbelievable beurocratic red tape for permits with the city and then landmarks approval for every material you’re looking followed by having enough money to even do the work, you’re looking at a minimum of at least two years for standard work

            • Miss the Light says:

              So. The answer is scaffolding and sheds have devoured the City because some buildings are old? Fix them!!! Weather is a laughable excuse.

              I think it’s more likely that government officials (kickbacks) and construction companies are making lots of money by erecting the dark ugly scaffolding and sheds to the demise of a once vibrant City.

            • Sad UWSider says:

              No matter how you rationalize or explain it, New York City has become a horribly blighted place since scaffolding has taken it over. There has to be a better solution.

            • Matt says:

              The responses here are reductive. Local Law 11 was passed because a piece of masonry deteriorated and fell of a facade killing a pedestrian. People demanded Something Must Be Done. So LL11 was passed, stating buildings with a certain percentage masonry facade (of which the Ansonia absolutely qualifies) get inspected every so many years to check for deterioration and produce a report. Because there have been fatalities in the largest construction boom in the city’s history people demanded Something Must Be Done and you have to erect sidewalk bridge and full scaffolding just to perform the inspections. Then a report comes out. Then contractors bid that work. Then it happens, subject to weather like OP says, but also subject to the tesodents of these buildings allowing workers on scaffold walking outside their apartment windows and working. It’s a slow process. No one profits, not the building or the contractor, from this stuff taking so long. It just does. And it probably needs to so people don’t worry about falling masonry from old buildings. But it’s not some kickback racket. And a side effect of the safety from failing debris has been better shelter for the homeless population.

        • NotImpressed says:

          So then where are the inspectors?
          Or does the scaffolding itself inspect the buildings?

          So ridiculous.

        • lynn says:

          I’ve been working on the UES for 20+ years and I’m well aware of the facade inspections every 7 years…but over there the scaffolding actually comes DOWN after the job is done. I’ve been living on the UWS for 7 years and the there are buildings that I have never seen without the scaffolding. Surely there’s a bigger problem here.

      • Abe says:

        Better to have scaffolding than loose bricks or pieces of facade from a 115 year old building falling on people. But agreed, the corner guys are awful.

    23. Scott says:

      NY is becoming SF

    24. MAD says:

      OK, so moving ahead. What can we do in a practical sense to address this problem? I would be willing to work on this with others who would like to discuss an action plan. Talking and raising awareness are fine, but we need to think about action that will help to make our neighborhood safe, sidewalks passable again, while addressing the growing problem of homelessness. In terms of the drug addicted, that is another story. Any ideas, thoughts, suggestions? Perhaps WSR editor has some ideas?

      • HelenD says:

        I just got out of a cab on the corner of 72nd and Broadway by Citibank, and I came around the back of the newspaper stand so I didn’t immediately see the group of (4?) people sleeping under a pile of blankets there and tripped over the edge of their encampment. One of the women followed me across the street to DR and started barking at me (literally barking like a dog). The tie-dye guy and his group were all standing at the window inside the Bank of America and they were still there when I came out of DR 30 minutes later. So the bank has no problem with them being in there? I don’t know how crazy the tie-dye guy is, but he has effectively organized quite a few of these people and they congregate in the alcove/entrances of both Beer Culture and the Emerald Inn on 72nd street. For the most part it’s the same group of men and they appear to be having normal conversations with each other and they’re always bringing each other food/drinks. When I moved to the UWS I was afraid of the tie-dye guy but I realized that if I looked directly at him (which I did out of curiosity) that he stopped the crazy stuff and just walked away. It seems like no matter where I go, he’s there, so maybe he just got used to me, instead of visa versa? What’s confusing is that some of the men in his group are clean and clean shaven, they wear some spiffy looking clothes to be quite honest, new North Face parkas and boots/winter gear and they’re just the opposite of confrontational. Of course I’ve always had problems with the ones who ARE confrontational and unkempt and terrifying, but what I would really like to know where these people go when they’re not within this 4-5 block radius. Do they spend 24/7 on the street?

    25. Marci says:

      @RiversideNorth – ummm…..Why do you presume that everyone who passes by these people are rich? And they aren’t doing nothing; they’re being verbally abusive, taking drugs, smoking pot, and have knocked people down to the ground. So what exactly is your issue with people being affected by this not liking the situation?

    26. Wendy says:

      Have any of ye slept rough; been cut off from Food Stamps; forced to go to a private shelter for humans; been swept by N.Y.P.D.; been swept via Mayor “Mike”; used Section 8; been in a S.R.O.; been forced to share an apt. with many other clients; been put into the slums of : el barrio, Central Harlem, la republica; Morrisania ? harmed by O.M.H. ?

      • NotImpressed says:

        Sounds terrible.
        Are you saying those circumstances should allow verbal and physical abuse of random strangers?

    27. Ben says:

      I don’t know what the solution is, but I doubt it involves the pearl-clutching and fear-mongering exhibited in these comments.

    28. Joanne Nasuti says:

      They are camped out in front of the clothing retailer, The North Face. Why doesn’t this store or the owner of the building complain? This is their property. Don’t they have the right to demand their removal?

    29. UWS Mom says:

      DI Malin, get some plain clothes cops. Have them walk with me to drop my kids off at dance right next store to experience what we all deal with every day. Or why not have them bring their own kids. Then let’s see if everyone just wants to throw up their hands.

    30. Irena says:

      Did you check area between 93rd street & 96th Street.
      Mayor DaBlasio is turning his blind eye on the procession of drunk beggars who are NOT homeless, harassing people from the morning through the night. And, he’s planing to open more homeless housing in the same neighborhood! Why are we allowing it?

    31. Scott says:

      And when they ban public street parking where do you think the homeless will go. You’ll see tents and encampments all up and down every street. This is the left’s plan, make no mistake about it.

    32. Enough is enough says:

      In terms of effective action, I believe an important one is letting the wonderful council member that allegedly represents us know how bad this issue is. Helen rosenthal’s contact info are

      (212) 873-0282 phone

      Secondly, the next community council meeting hosted by the NYPD’s 20th precinct on 82nd street is scheduled for Jan 27 at 7pm. Please come!

      • MAD says:

        Yes! I will be there. Thank you for posting this useful information.

      • LongtimeNYer says:

        “Wonderful” council member?

        • Enough is enough says:

          I skipped the quotes in wonderful but, yes, they should be there as I was being ironic. Not a fan of her “work” at all. Completely MIA when it comes to local, UWS issues. Please drop her a line and let her know homeless is a growing issue in our neighborhood. I have done it already. We need to raise our voice behind this forum.

    33. Bodhivata Dharmashanti says:

      The picture supposedly linking to the video.
      The link does not start any video but redirects you to Mayor De Blasio twitter.
      Now you know.
      Thank you

    34. Roxy says:

      I’ve lived in NYC for over 30 years. There’s always been homeless/transients and panhandlers. But encampments under scaffolding in residential areas is a relatively new phenomenon. The more it is tolerated, the worse it will get. There will be a tipping point, and it’s coming soon.

    35. Marianne says:

      I agree with MAD and most other Upper West Siders here. The blond guy is far from harmless: a few months ago (early October) I was sitting inside Joe’s and the Juice on 77th and Amsterdam. The blonde guy “Paul” or whatever his name is, was occupying seats on chairs outside the restaurant. He was yelling obscenities at passing mothers and their children, too lewd to repeat here. As a young lady exited “Joe’s and the Juice” he yelled at her, got really close and slammed the door against her head. I called the police. The young lady said she would not press charges and the police said they knew him well. Anyway, someone like that can flip and become dangerous. Be alert, keep your distance, don’t text and walk.

      • HelenD says:

        “As a young lady exited “Joe’s and the Juice” he yelled at her, got really close and slammed the door against her head. I called the police. The young lady said she would not press charges and the police said they knew him well.”

        Just curious, but did she not press charges because the police said they knew him well? I know another person who was injured in a situation like this, and she was told if she didn’t go to the emergency room then she couldn’t press charges. I don’t know what the police paperwork entails, but I do know that a person can sit in the ER for 5 or more hours, so many people don’t want to be bothered. Are we all just letting this slide because it’s the easier thing to do? I remember when people in the immediate neighborhood were more up in arms over the booksellers btwn 72-73 than they are about this. Didn’t they just move up the block? It’s beyond frustrating!

    36. UWSSurfer says:

      The whole westside block of Broadway between
      W.73rd and W. 74th has become a dangerous gauntlet.

      At one point, there were about 8 guys yelling, drinking, drugging, making a mess,
      rolling around on office chairs, and blasting a radio at top volume. There was trash, food containers, tents, sleeping bags and big garbage bags full of stuff.

      They totally block the entrance to North Face. I thought that maybe North Face had gone bankrupt and closed, but then I saw a clerk inside.

      Everybody who has lived in this neighborhood knows Tie Dye. In recent years, he has become
      very menacing and much more belligerent.

      I have reported them 3 times. The last time, I spoke to 2 young police officers who were parked in front of the 72nd St. subway station at Broadway. They told me that there was nothing they could do. I told them that was nonsense.

      They said that unless they were impeding someone, they couldn’t do anything.

      I told the cops that the group was impeding
      people – people walking by, customers of North Face, and beloved licensed street vendor, Fletch, who sells clothes. They are ruining those businesses.

      Street vendors get fined and their goods taken away for being within 20 ft of the entrance to a store. How is that the homeless guys can sit in a semi-circle blocking the front door of North Face without any consequence?

      When I got home, I called the 20th Precinct. No one answered! I then called 311. The next day, some of the guys had left.

      I would ask Commanding Officer, Deputy Inspector Malin to please brief his officers
      on the laws that can be used to clear out
      these guys like drug use, health hazard, assault, throwing things at people (which also is assault), threatening people, loud radios, loud yelling, fighting, impeding people walking on the sidewalk, blocking store doorways, defecating and urinating on the sidewalk, etc.

      These men are mentally ill with addiction problems. One of the reasons they don’t stay in a shelter is that they do not want to give up drugs and alcohol.

      The problem for people, who are down on their luck and who stay at the shelters , is that the shelters are dangerous and their hours make it hard to hold a job. Some of them lock the doors at 3 pm.

      I told 311 and the police, that I am worried about the homeless woman with the shopping cart full of a million bags. She is from the islands and is gentle, quiet and sweet. She obviously has some mental health issues. She usually stays in Verdi Square but goes under the scaffolding when it rains. I pray the ruffians don’t hurt her.

    37. Michael says:

      Years ago, a brilliant UWS’er Dr. Jonathan Rubinstein (Harvard BA, Ph.D) wrote the definitive text on City Police – Called “City Police.”

      As Dr. Rubinstein notes, to clean this situation up, the police will need to act in a way that the UWS political left does not want to acknowledge. Indeed, we can not have it both ways. The police will need to make this location inhospitable to those they want removed – and when these vagrants move to another location a few blocks north repeat the process until they become someone else’s problem.

      That’s how it’s done. That’s how it has always been done. You cannot help someone who doesn’t realize they have a problem. In most cases, you cannot institutionalize people against their will.

    38. Wickster says:

      The tie dye Paul guy is a menace and a coward who deliberately targets women and children. In the past few years I’ve seen him jump out and scream at a woman with a child when they were crossing in traffic, scaring them, so they actually walked into traffic and could have been hit. I’ve seen him stand outside Le Pain Quotidien in Central Park where the line forms, walking up to women and flicking his fingers at their faces. Then I’ll see him in Fairway, perfectly calm when buying food. He knows exactly what he’s doing. He’s purposely menacing people he knows won’t fight back. And whether or not a person is cooperative with the police force–that doesn’t mean a lot when you’re a vulnerable person walking down the street that doesn’t carry the weight of a badge. I greatly respect the police force–they do an incredibly difficult job, one I cannot imagine doing. But I haven’t seen police cars, and certainly not police officers on foot, on the UWS for years. There’s no deterrent factor.

    39. LongtimeNYer says:

      The underlying problem is the far left Democrat politicians who now run the City. These are the looney folks who prioritize the rights of criminals over law-abiding citizens. The same folks who think illegal immigrants are…wonderful. The same looney politicians who think they have the right to raise property taxes 5% every year. The same folks who turn away jobs (Amazon), because the politicians are in the pockets of the unions. The only solution is either to vote these politicians out or to give them fear that they will be voted out.

    40. Harriet F says:

      I respect everyone’s right to SIT anywhere they want, but not to accumulate possessions and garbage on the street for weeks on end and frighten and verbally abuse passers-by. I applaud the police’s efforts to clean out this encampment. I do not have a solution to the problem of homelessness in NY (and the rest of the world) but encouraging/condoning the behavior exhibited by these disruptive individuals is not a step in the right direction. If you would like to state your opinion for the record, call the 20th precinct non-emergency number (212) 580-6411)on this issue. Records are certainly kept pro and con.

    41. Isabelle says:

      I am a 40 year resident of NYC. I’ve seen a lot in those years. And have witnessed years of homelessness on the UWS. But I have never seen it this bad-ever. I watched a man one day in winter around Broadway and 79th disheveled, barefoot and very disoriented walk into a cafe and walk out with some food I believe they gave him. When he left his pants had dropped down to his knees and he had on no underwear. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. No one even seemed to notice. And there were NYPD cops nearby. I wondered what kind of humane city or country turns a blind eye toward people like this man and call it freedom. Is it humane to treat people in this manner? And if so what about my child’s rights to not as a child be exposed to seeing this? All our children. Yes these are our fellow human beings. But we do them no favors by leaving them on the streets. And our government is failing in the way they don’t deal with them in any effective manner.

      • HelenD says:

        I think that may be the man who has been sleeping in front of Victoria’s Secret for (at least 10?) years. At times he seems lucid enough, but there are also times where he wanders through traffic screaming. If you google search VS there are photos of him. It’s actually quite shocking to see this while everyone walks by like he’s just part of the scenery. I went by there just before the holidays and a very volatile group of homeless people were encamped around the little ramp that leads ups to VS. I don’t know if it matters to VS or even to North Face etal that these people are literally on their doorsteps, but I for one will not go anywhere near the door in situations like this.

    42. WestSideGuy says:

      We need to elect more progressives.