A sprawling homeless camp popped up — and was allowed to keep growing — along a busy Manhattan block for at least a few weeks before the eyesore was finally cleared on Wednesday.
At least 10 displaced people – some suffering from mental health problems and substance abuse – had set up nearly a dozen makeshift tents on the sidewalk of First Avenue between East 20th Street and East 21st Street.
The tent city, which locals say has grown to more than half a block in the colder months, borders the family-friendly enclaves of Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village, as well as the ever-popular Rosemary’s East restaurant.
The dining room of the Italian eatery overlooks the area populated by vagabonds and rabble.
“They won’t let us stay in the subways, they won’t let us stay in the air vents. Where should we go?! Shelters are not good,” said Loreal Madonna Moore, a 31-year-old homeless woman who was booted off the block.
When asked how the camp is affecting the business, a Rosemary executive declined to comment, saying only, “We’re fine.”
However, around 9:30 a.m., police officers and city cleaners arrived at the camp and cleaned up the trash, while homeless workers urged the vagrants to check into an emergency shelter.
“Some of them are really crazy. How dangerously insane,” Sam, 58, who manages Tal Bagels across the street. “[The clean-up] is good because they are really doing a lot of evil here.”
In recent weeks, Sam says, people living in the tent colony have been “banging on windows” and getting naked in public. They even stole tables from the bagel shop.
“They get dressed in the street, they shower. Right outside. No clothes. They can get bad,” he said.
Noni, 45, an employee at the store, said a woman without shelter attacked a customer and urinated on the store’s floor.
“[A] Crazy woman from across the street kicked a customer last weekend. She asked the customer for money and she said no and she just kicked her!” he said.
“She was a big problem. She goes in and out of the hospital. You notice that when she lives across the street again because she takes the sugar, all the sugar [from the shop],” he said.
“Weeks ago she walked in and peed right here in front of my counter! What could I do?! I got the mop and cleaned it up,” he said.
Homeless people said they flocked to the site and pitched tents atop a 100-foot-long trellis that expels hot air to keep warm during the cold winter months.
Last year, at least 3,439 vulnerable people lived on the streets of New York City — including in parks, subway stations and under overpasses, according to a report released by Mayor Eric Adams last month. That’s an increase from 2,376 people without protection in 2021.
Meanwhile, at least 45,563 people were homeless in emergency shelters in 2022, up from 52,409 the year before.
In Stuy Town, a neighbor described the camp as a disgrace in a country as prosperous as the United States.
“It makes the new restaurant look like Kolkata,” said Joan Wind, 82, of Rosemary’s East, which will open in 2021.
“It’s been like this for months. It went from one or two people to seven people and now 15 people. It’s been like this for a few months now. It is so sad.”
A city spokesman did not immediately respond to the Post’s inquiry as to whether the block had previously been cleared or whether other camp cleanups were underway in the city.
However, a Health Ministry official on the ground told the Post he expected the camp to be back soon.
“We’re cleaning that up and it’ll be back in no time,” he said.
https://nypost.com/2023/02/01/massive-stuyvesant-town-homeless-camp-cleared-next-to-rosemarys-restaurant/ Huge homeless camp cleared in Stuyvesant Town next to Rosemary’s Restaurant