Monday Bulletin: Homeless Tent Controversy; Stringer’s Support Slips; Watching the Warblers

Cherry blossoms at 97th street in Riverside Park. Photo by Jordan Cooper.

May 3, 2021 Weather: Cloudy, with a high of 64 degrees.

Our calendar has local and virtual events.

Police dismantled the tent of a couple experiencing homelessness on the median at West 86th Street and Broadway, on Wednesday, the same day it was discovered that the woman, Amber Wilson, 35, “Just weeks prior…was charged with concealing a human corpse after 19-year-old Rosalee Sanchez’s body was found wrapped in plastic in the abandoned Fulton Fish Market on March 6….Wilson was arrested and released without bail on a trio of felony charges for allegedly helping hide Sanchez’s body,” a source told the New York Post.

NYC mayoral candidates were out in force on the UWS on Saturday, offering and rescinding endorsements in the wake of sexual assault accusations against Scott Stringer. Stringer lost the nods of Congressman Adriano Espaillat and state Senator Jose Serrano, both representing parts of the UWS, as well as District 7 City Council Member Mark Levine, who is running for Manhattan borough president. Also present were Maya Wiley, and the former Sanitation Commissioner Kathryn Garcia (who) introduced state Assemblyman Danny O’Donnell as her newest endorser. “Our message that we will actually have New York City’s back, that we will be in this together, has been the motto,” she said. “I view all New York City territory as Team Garcia territory,” NY1 reported.

Gotham Gazette provides an overview of the race for the District 6 City Council seat, which we’ve been chronicling with an interview series: “Although Brewer is considered the candidate to beat in this race, she has encountered stiff competition, particularly from Lind, who has amassed the most campaign contributions of the candidates and won notable endorsements from various women’s and housing groups. In fact, the Jim Owles Liberal Democratic Club, which focuses on LGBTQ and many other issues, endorsed Lind early on in the campaign, surprising many, and Brewer drew criticism when she asked for a recount, a request the club declined.”

Birdwatchers are going gaga for the cerulean warbler, CBS reports. “We have a lot of new birders because of the pandemic, and this is their therapy,” birder Ronald Lugo said.

On Thursday, the City Council passed two bills to expand the ‘Right to Counsel’ law, “which guarantees…legal representation to low-income tenants facing eviction in housing court,” according to a spokesman for Council Member Mark Levine, who sponsored the bills with Council Member Vanessa L. Gibson. The original 2017 law, also sponsored by Levine, “made New York the first jurisdiction in the country to guarantee legal representation to low-income tenants facing eviction in housing court.” It was originally a pilot program rolled out to limited zip codes. The new law “would simply amend (it) to require the City to immediately complete full implementation of the Right to Counsel law.”

The Empire State Building — which you can see from parts of the UWS and will always be the tallest building in the city to some — turned 90 years old on Saturday. “The building opened to the public on May 1, 1931, when President Herbert Hoover officially flipped the switch from the White House. It was an architectural marvel, built in one year and 45 days. The tower quickly became a cultural icon, a must-visit tourist attraction and a backdrop to countless Hollywood movies. In all, the building stands 1,454 feet tall over Midtown Manhattan between 33rd and 34th Streets at Fifth Avenue,” CBS2 reported. “It’s the undisputed landmark of the New York City skyline, and on Saturday, the mayor, along with the city, celebrated the Empire State Building’s 90th birthday, lighting up the icon that has long stood tall, strong and proud.”

NEWS | 48 comments | permalink
    1. Mark Moore says:

      That PC lexicon is creeping in more and more every day. They weren’t experiencing homelessness — they were homeless.

      • J says:

        Could you elaborate on why you feel that it’s not appropriate to say they were “experiencing homelessness”? It seems like an accurate description

        Not sure what you mean when you say they weren’t, in fact, experiencing it…

        • Mark Moore says:

          Technically they were both experiencing homelessness and homeless, so why change the common English language usage? Why not just say they were homeless? Who are we offending by using straight and concise language? Experiencing homelessness sounds like they bought a ticket to the homeless theme park for a day. Just say the facts — they’re homeless.

          • Carlos says:

            Totally agree. I recently read an interview of James Carville where he talked about how wokeness is going to kill the Democratic party. As he put it – stop speaking Hebrew and start speaking Yiddish. We use words to characterize groups that those groups themselves don’t use.

            And by doing all of this, we making a lot of marginal voters switch back to the Republican party, and we are bringing a knife to a gunfight with the Republicans.

            • chuck d says:

              But who cares? Why does the right get so excised over language all the time? Sure, liberals are overstepping, but right-wingers are just amplifying their phony outrage about it to avoid talking about their emergence as a fascist racist party.

          • J says:

            Is calling them “homeless” going to get us any closer to solving the problem? It’s another made-up republican culture war that refuses to grapple with the actual housing crisis destroying people’s lives.

        • Sarah says:

          Because he thinks homelessness is a (despicable) moral quality, not something that different human beings happen to go through.

        • nemo paradise says:

          You seem to be a person who is experiencing silliness.

      • Will says:

        If that were the case we would use the correct terminology which is houseless not homeless.

      • Nancy says:

        Exactly. Thank you. The other one that’s ridiculous is “food insecurity”. Whatever happened to just plain “hungry”?

      • notsofast says:

        Thanks for being the first one to say it. Good to know that there are a few people left who still speak English.

      • LK says:

        George is getting upset!


      • R says:

        I thought the exact same thing. Not only isn’t it in the common verbiage, it sounds forced.
        I’m hungry. And yes, I’m experiencing hunger – but I’d never phrase it that way.
        I’m tired. Sure, I’m experiencing fatigue, but too tired to be verbose.
        Somehow, somewhere, someone thinks calling someone homeless is offensive; and so a sign of privilege.

    2. ben says:

      Regardless of whether the occupants have had problems with the law, they should not be allowed to set up tents in the city. This isn’t Yosemite or Acadia, and even at parks you can only set up at camp sites.

      • J says:

        Unlike Yosemite and Acadia, I don’t think these are people taking PTO to live out of a tent for a bit. Let’s be real. These are people who can’t afford the most basic shelter. It’s a human tragedy, so please stop comparing it to your favorite camping destination. If the tents bother you (they certainly bother me), then fight to end the housing crisis. Criminalizing tents doesn’t fix it.

        • WB says:

          If you think tents should be legal, check out what happened in Austin, TX. The entire, formerly beautiful downtown and lakefront, is now a tent city and it is attracting more homeless people from around the country. After less than a year they are voting to recriminalize tenting. If people want to tent, they can find better places than 85th and Broadway.

        • Otis says:

          The only “human tragedy” is that UWS residents have to be exposed to an alleged murderer living in a tent.

        • ben says:

          my point is that there are rules that keeps the society in check and we can’t just do what we damn well please. Tragic as their situation is, they are far from the only people in the city experiencing homelessness. if others can deal with the shelter system, so can they. last thing anyone wants in the city is for tents to become a norm. i’m sympathetic towards their situation but i can’t encourage or tolerate “tent city”. these two positions are not mutually exclusive.

        • This is the most on-point statement on homeless people’s tents I’ve seen in years.

        • John says:

          Drug use and mental health issues are the root cause of this issue. Letting folks live in on the street using and without mental health care does noting but destroy city’s.

          • Jen says:

            Second that. Qualified mental counselling is a must. It is not just about residents safety (that too). It is just totally pointless to use PC language and not help in a significant way.

        • R says:

          Fight it how? Maybe the city should just continue its usurpation of private property so every rental can bear the same level of quality and efficient as NYCHA?

    3. Bob Lamm says:

      As someone close to age 74, I’ve watched the “PC lexicon” advance more and more over decades. I support every such advance that gets us past callous and often downright bigoted language.

      • Mark Moore says:

        Is “homeless” callous or bigoted? That’s what they are. Am I hungry or experiencing hunger? Am I warm or experiencing warmth? Sleeping or experiencing sleep?

        • dc says:

          It reminds me of “lived experience.” Isn’t every experience one has, lived?

      • Bruce E. Bernstein says:

        thanks Bob Lamm.

        It seems to me that “experiencing homelessness” is less of an immutable characteristic, an identity, than calling some “homeless”.

        People move in and out of homelessness, that’s important to know. 10% of NYC public school children are currently homeless.

      • StevenCinNYC says:

        Thanks, Mr. Lamm. Well said.

      • Farnham maxwell says:

        As someone whose approaching 80 and an UWSer for 44 years I agree with anyone who is ashamed and saddened by the ongoing “homeless” situation in NYC

    4. Miss Simplicity says:

      “Homeless” is a two syllable word with a clear meaning. Adding the five syllable word “experiencing” kinda dilutes the two syllable word. I am experiencing nausea over this kind of nitpicking or, put more clearly, I am nauseous.

      • sg says:

        Great post!

      • JBH says:

        Actually, you are no nauseous unless you are implying that you induce the state of nausea around you. Something that is nauseous causes others to become nauseated. Nauseated is the noun. Nauseous is an adjective. English is hard.

        • Anna says:

          Nauseated is an adjective.

          • nemo paradise says:

            Both wrong. “Nauseated” is the passive voice of the verb.

            On the same topic, if I spend leave my apartment for one night to try sleeping in a homeless shelter, I am “experiencing homelessness.” If I have no apartment (or, for the nitpickers, no house, trailer, palace or lean-to) I am most definitively homeless.

    5. lynn says:

      This woman was charged with hiding a dead body and released without bail, but you object to the phrase ‘experiencing homelessness,’ and the fact that she pitched a tent on the median? No one is the least bit concerned about where she went after they took away her tent? I don’t know whether to laugh or cry. 😮

    6. Richard van Deusen says:

      It seems to me incredible that so many political figures would be so quick to withdraw their endorsements of Mr. Stringer in the absence of any corroboration of the accusation. This smacks of Yang campaign dirty tricks.

    7. Carol Nadell Van Deusen says:

      I’m having a hard time understanding why politicians are so quickly asking Scott Stringer to withdraw from the campaign after an unsubstantiated claim that happened 20 years ago. Have we forgotten Tara Reade who made a similar accusation about Joe Biden? And then there was Al Franken… Why do Democrats eat their own?

      • Jacob says:

        Al Franken resigned to cut off an investigation into the eight (8) separate allegations against him–each from a different woman. And it worked, we now remember him as “that photo guy” and not as a serial molester. But his constituents deserved better, and they got it.

        Tara Reade has lied under oath, repeatedly, and for personal gain. The voters got their chance to weigh her accusations of Biden versus the dozens of credible accusations of serial rapist Donald J Trump.

        Let’s not pretend that there’s some pattern of unfairness here–some abusers are (finally!) facing consequences for their actions. It’s long overdue.

    8. Lydia Gerson says:

      Scott Stringer’s reputation has been slandered by conservative forces who do not want to see such a progressive candidate as mayor.

      Please read this:

      • Tony says:

        Read Glenn Greenwald’s takedown of the Stringer slander on Substack. Typical dirty tricks.

    9. ira goldman says:

      what disturbs me the most is that she was released without bail on 3 felony charges.
      I understand people being released on misdemeanor or even on possibilty one felony charge, but 3. Is NYC going back to the 70’s?

    10. Leon says:

      “Wilson was arrested and released without bail on a trio of felony charges for allegedly helping hide Sanchez’s body”

      Contrary to popular belief, I do not belief that one should get a life sentence for stealing a pack of gum. But how in the world is someone released without bail for three felony charges for hiding a dead body?

      For all of the talk of defunding police, after talking to people on the UWS and reading comments in the NY Times, I think the candidates who are tough on crime are going to do really well in elections this year with support from lifelong Democrats. This is truly getting ridiculous.

    11. Juan says:

      Of all of the paragraphs in the very interesting article you linked to about the City Council election, you picked a very odd one. I suggest everyone in this district reads this article.

      Danzilo seems to be increasing her support very rapidly and seems to be a very popular, viable candidate, though she does not get as much press attention.

    12. Senior says:

      Why isn’t Danzilo getting the recognition she deserves. Certainly on social media she is getting the most support by her UWS constituency.

      • Peter says:

        What further recognition do you expect/need at this point? Nobel prize? By your own words, she’s popular on social media. Press attention is largely (and easily) paid-for, one way or another.

        Ultimate recognition for politician is delivered in the voting booth.

    13. Frustrated says:

      I don’t understand why the UWS can’t acknowledge that most of the “homeless” are mentally unstable, drug users or bad actors. The truly struggling people who lost their homes, get help from all of the helpful services available and work hard to get back on their feet. Everyone is responsible for themselves in getting help and if they can’t figure out how, then they need mental help which could have happened if our lovely mayor and his wife didn’t squander all that money. Can we vote with common sense finally and get a grip on this city or will we stay PC and woke and let our city burn to the ground with our heads in the sand?