Friday, March 29, 2013

A proposal to help curb the East Village crusty population

As you may have noticed in the past few weeks, the travelers (transients, crusties — whatever term that you use) have been returning to the neighborhood. (Or maybe visiting for the first time.)

[Last Saturday on St. Mark's Place via Steven Matthews]

In an op-ed in The Villager this week, CB3 member Chad Marlow outlines a proposal to curb their presence in the neighborhood... First, he notes the perception that some of the crusties have becoming more violent.

While crusties have been coming to our neighborhood for many years, their behavior seems to be getting more aggressive, brazen and violent. Although many of my neighbors agree, I wondered if this perception is accurate. Before proposing drastic solutions, one should be certain to accurately understand the problem. Many of us have negative personal experiences that mirror last summer’s widely reported crusties incidents, such as defacing St. Mark’s Church, allowing their dogs to urinate in Washington Square Park’s fountain where children play, frequently harassing Washington Square and Tompkins Square Park visitors and engaging in countless bloody altercations. While this demonstrates the crusties problem is significant, it does not prove it is worsening.

Marlow, who spoke out about the growing rat problem in Tompkins Square Park several summers ago, goes on to outline his plan... it's a complicated process with several caveats ... an excerpt from his column:

So proceeding with the utmost caution and concern for protecting the involuntary homeless, I offer the following proposal: The City Council should pass a law making it unlawful to sleep or lie down on a public sidewalk, in a park or other public space between 9 p.m. and 6 a.m. Additional penalties would apply to those in possession of an unlicensed dog.

This legislative proposal, if it ended there, would be nothing short of an immoral attack on the homeless. That is why the law must contain numerous exceptions (“affirmative defenses”) to ensure it is applied humanely and only against voluntary homeless tourists like crusties.

You can read the whole piece here.



Anonymous said...

"Involuntary homeless"??? I've been seeing these a-holes for years, and I fail to see whose "MAKING" them homeless!!! Other than themselves!!!

Anonymous said...

Can we just contain them to a 50-foot area around all the 7-11s? Plenty of room!

Jeremiah Moss said...

i like having them around. they keep the social ecosystem in balance.

Anonymous said...

I'm surprised they even think it's cool to migrate to the East Village these days. The neighborhood is becoming so uncool. They might as well camp out on the Upper East Side at this point.

rob said...

Reminds me of the a-hole newbie who got the police to drive the bike repairmen-in-the-street away from Mary Help of Christians' corner who'd been setting up there for decades. I propose that we craft a law banning anyone with an i-phone, tweets, has a pedigree dog and wears boutique clothing, in Marlow's words, "whose presence brings nothing to" our neighborhood. Any such person will be removed to Park Ave for a life sentence.

Anonymous said...

@ anon 7:54 -- when he said "involuntary homeless" he was referring to the real homeless people, not the crusties. When he said "voluntary homeless tourists," he was referring to the crusties.

rob said...

Doesn't his proposal sound like a designer law? Instead of enforcing the law against assault, let's target these specific people and their specific appearance and their specific origin. Jim Crow for the new EV.

Dan LD said...

No, this is not "Jim Crow for the EV." This is a law trying to solve something that is a problem for people who live, work, and pay rent in this area.

Most of these kids aren't downtrodden people with nowhere to go. They're slumming it for the spring and summer in our neighborhood, doing all sorts of ridiculous shit.

Shawn said...

This is how to fix NY! Get rid of the 6 crusty homeless kids!

Don't worry about greedy landlords, Bloomberg, Quinn, Citibike, building luxury housing on kids playgrounds or any of that!

It's the 6 crusty homeless kids that are RUINING THIS WHOLE CITY!

rob said...

It's Jim Crow because the law is being designed specifically for these folks. There are laws against assault -- for everyone. Marlow's law is specifically designed to target these folks, not for their illegal behavior, but for their *prior* identification as a type of people, by their origin (outside drifters), habits (dogs, unwashed clothes) and appearance.

Anonymous said...

ATTN: Councilwoman Rosie Mendez. Last summer you said your office was going to do something about the crusty problem if you could figure out something you could do. Well, apparently, you couldn't think of anything. Now here is a real idea that YOU can help get through the council. TIME TO STOP TALKING AND START ACTING!!!! THE VOTERS ARE WATCHING!

randall said...

Here are some thoughts on this article.

"(2) almost all are homeless by choice;...(4) most abuse drugs and/or alcohol, with heroin being most popular"

I think the term "homeless by choice" is misleading. My guess, and this is about as informed as the author of this article's is, is that there is a lot of mental health problems, bi-polar, anti-social personality disorders, depression, among this group as evidenced by the alcohol/drug addictions that seem prevalent.

"Often by the time police arrive, the threatening behavior, and opportunity for an arrest, has passed. This can be remedied by providing law enforcement with broader authority to go after crusties based on their use of our sidewalks as a hotel."

What the NYPD does NOT need are more laws to enforce or a new law with NINE exceptions. Instead of shaking down the projects maybe they should try enforcing the laws on the books already. I'm sure there are plenty of anti-vagrancy, public intoxication, dog registration laws already out there that they could use to combat the problem; much like they could do something about the woo's. Maybe if they applied stop and frisk to crusties they could detain a large portion of the population and make NYC an inhospitable place. If they really cared about doing such a thing they could put more cops on the beat in the neighborhoods where the crusties congregate and let them learn who the "problem homeless" are and then enforce the existing laws against the problem homeless (voluntary or involuntary). And before anyone flames me about selective enforcement, they are doing that already, always have and always will. It is built into the system.

"Further, the law should require the Police Department to provide notice of these defenses and to use its available resources to assist persons seeking to establish one."

What?!?!?! That is not their job and creates a very slippery slope. Would the author require the police to explain to a person arrested for murder his or her possible defenses, justification, insanity, recklessness versus intentionality. Should they explain to evertone selling drugs that if they only possess a certain amount that they won't be charged with a felony. The police should not be used in the place of criminal defense lawyers. They play two different roles in society. Again. The police should just enforce the existing laws and are imbued with a certain amount of leeway in doing so as long as they are not violating anyone's civil rights (see again, stop and frisk).

"While this proposal may be imperfect, it is good enough to warrant being proposed in the City Council now. Once introduced, there will be plenty of time to debate and refine the bill."

Legislators love to legislate but these are some of the worst proposals I've ever heard. The laws already exist. If they were enforced properly, it wouldn't get to the point of the police having to "catch them threatening local residents, having sex on the streets, defecating in our doorways or committing some other violation or crime."

So I guess my this is my roundabout way of saying to the NYPD, enforce the fucking laws you have already at your disposal if you want to combat this problem. There is no need to add legislation to combat a specific problem, that ALWAYS creates bad law.

For the record, I agree with Mr. Vanishing NY. I like having them around too. It does keep the social ecosystem in check, but I also think that people (anyone, really) should be held accountable for behavior and that there needs to be a system in place for those who need help, whether mental health, substance abuse, financial etc.

Thanks for letting me rant.

Anonymous said...

F crusties. Social-eco BS whatever. Crusties dont give a crap about anyone or anything. They dont respect the EV or anything. Worse than yuppies. Same as yuppies. Bo wasting their time on their narcissism.

Anonymous said...

Why do the crustys congreagate at 7-11?

shmnyc said...

I read the article yesterday, and the sense I got was that the author was trying to criminalize people instead of behavior.

I wonder if articles like this are meant to be serious, or just elicit comments.

Anonymous said...

The crusties are just another version of the frat bros and sorority girls invading the neighborhood. I went to college in Boston 20 years ago and the crusties from my school all traveled to New York and San Francisco too to play homeless during the summer as well as spring and Christmas breaks. It infuriated me to see them playing poor and it still does.

Anonymous said...

I welcome the crusties and couldn't agree more with Jeremiah. They actually are more well-behaved then the idiots screaming for cabs every night, the idiots who particpate in Santa Con and all the other stupid pub crawls. Driving out the crusties is just another tactic to sanitize the hood and drive up real estate prices. This guy sounds like a real rocket scientist. Giving more power to the police to decide who is really homeless or not is absurd. Leave the crusties alone as they may scare away the tourists and yuppies coming our way with the warm weather. As a matter of fact I hope we see more crusties this year and they camp out during the day on the lawn in TSP, instead of all these idiots who lay out and sun bathe like they are at the South of France.

Anonymous said...

Anon 10:13 - because they're rich yuppies from the suburbs pretending to be homeless. They're just as bad as the woo-wooers.

Matt said...

Oy. First of all, no one's *voluntarily* living in the streets in any meaningful sense of that word. Crusties, in my two decades' experience of 'em, tend to be kids and young adults from really messed up homes, some wealthy and some not, but all with serious mental health and/or drug dependency issues. How about providing them some social services and places to stay instead of siccing the police on them?

bowery boy said...

My X has great stories of when she and her first hubby started DoJos on St. Marks place, about how hippies would walk up & down the block with mattresses, and would just drop and sleep wherever there was room. We idealize those days and the hippies now, but are crusties any different?

The EV used to be tolerant of such people, but now, with hyper-gentrification we criminalize these folks because we think they're doing it voluntarily. Oh, they could be home with their abusive, rich parents, so throw them in jail.

Crusties are about the solution I've seen to steering Bloomberg's developer-barons and real estate robbers out of the neighborhood.

But seriously, you can't pass laws that go after one type of people. If we could, I'd rather go after the hipsters and woo-hoo-ers that are making my life/sleeping intolerable. Leave the crusties alone.

Anonymous said...

Why not just enforce the laws we have more. Like stricter drinking laws and drug laws. Most of the violence is because of alcohol. If they got taken to the drunk tank every time they were found drunk on the street it would dramatically reduce the amount of violence.
As for the urination and defecation on the streets put up some space toilets like they have in San Francisco. They open up after about 20 minutes and then close up behind you and self clean before the next person enters. "crusties" are not the only ones urinating in the street, plenty of drunk college kids do it every weekend.
There are other solutions.

Alex in NYC said...

This may be off the topic, but I just don't get why "crusties" come to the East Village anymore (beyond a sort of migratory Swallows/Capistrano instinct). There's really nothing left here that truly speaks to their aesthetic anymore. I'm not happy about that either, but I'm fully able to recognize its absence.

Anonymous said...

Crusties at 7-11: Cheap food, cheap cigs, check cashing (some of them anyway), good place to panhandle, open late, reminds them of hanging out at the local 7-11 wherever the hell home is/was.

But if you really want to deal with this issue why not just throw another OWS encampment? OWS was unfocused with it's 15 million different causes and messages, free food, spontaneous 24 hour drum circles, and endless opportunities to bitch and moan about cops 24/7. Also, tons of circuitous "open dialogues" about topics Crusties don't know enough about to speak of intelligently, but all seem quite certain to have all the answers to. All of this is stuff Crusties *love*, so just set one up somewhere in NYC out of the way and problem solved. New York - you can thank me later!

Ken from Ken's Kitchen said...

You can't make laws targeting specific groups of people.

Some years back a friend was waiting for us in Stuyvesant Park next to Beth Israel. It was late spring, he was sitting on a bench with sunglasses on and his head back catching sun. A cop walked up to him and gave him a ticket. We all went to the precinct to complain and the cops said he was sleeping. We said he wasn't sleeping and anyway, so what? The cops said there was an ordinance against sleeping/napping in the park designed to keep the homeless from sleeping on park benches and that NYPD cannot selectively enforce an ordinance like that because laws are supposed to apply equally to everybody. They suggested that we take it up with elected officials, not them.

We did, and it was a pain in the ass to get the ticket dismissed.

To make a long story short: This is a really bad idea.

Anonymous said...

This is a very strange idea. First, businesses out here in Berkeley, CA tried to pass a "sit/lie" law (as we call 'em). But those laws were designed to keep homeless folks from sleeping on the sidewalks during the day. No sitting/lying from 9am-9pm (or something...). Also, a terrible law, and I find this inversion of it equally troubling.
1. "voluntary homeless" is an incredibly vague and judgmental term. As someone who worked at a homeless shelter for youth, I realize now that there are a number of unseen reasons why a youth becomes homeless. Sure, it may appear that they are "choosing" to leave home, but in reality it is there queerness, or mental health, or their parent's inability to accept them for who they are that has led to this. It's a complicated issue.
2. Using the East Village as a "spring break" destination?! In case you hadn't noticed (and I'm sure you have) it gets cold in NY! Duh! We have homeless folks year round here because the weather is nice year round. Even with that, some folks migrate to the slightly warmer central valley and then return. So, no, these are not kids that are living with their parents during the winter- these are kids that found squats, or hopped a freight to Florida, or whatever and head back to NY in the spring for a variety of reasons.
Long story short- laws targeting a specific group for conditions beyond their control (fucking poverty!)are unconstitutional and bigoted. Period.

Penny Royal said...

This is a very strange idea. First, businesses out here in Berkeley, CA tried to pass a "sit/lie" law (as we call 'em). But those laws were designed to keep homeless folks from sleeping on the sidewalks during the day. No sitting/lying from 9am-9pm (or something...). Also, a terrible law, and I find this inversion of it equally troubling.
1. "voluntary homeless" is an incredibly vague and judgmental term. As someone who worked at a homeless shelter for youth, I realize now that there are a number of unseen reasons why a youth becomes homeless. Sure, it may appear that they are "choosing" to leave home, but in reality it is there queerness, or mental health, or their parent's inability to accept them for who they are that has led to this. It's a complicated issue.
2. Using the East Village as a "spring break" destination?! In case you hadn't noticed (and I'm sure you have) it gets cold in NY! Duh! We have homeless folks year round here because the weather is nice year round. Even with that, some folks migrate to the slightly warmer central valley and then return. So, no, these are not kids that are living with their parents during the winter- these are kids that found squats, or hopped a freight to Florida, or whatever and head back to NY in the spring for a variety of reasons.
Long story short- laws targeting a specific group for conditions beyond their control (fucking poverty!)are unconstitutional and bigoted. Period.

Anonymous said...

You CAN target a group of people with a law as long as they are not a protected class (which very few are - like race and religion). Crustie punks are not a protected class so sorry, the Equal Protection Clause dos not apply. they can be targeted.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

yea, the crusties are the problem? not you idiots paying $4000 rents for your shoebox apartments?

what a bunch of tools. tell me again why you moved to NYC? to make it just like everywhere else?


randall said...

@ Anon 1:52

True, but why do you need a "special" law when you can enforce the "regular" ones already in existence? That way you can avoid the whole class can of worms.

tiny tim said...

@ Anon 1:52

Just because you CAN dosen't necessarily mean you SHOULD or it's the right thing to do.

Anonymous said...

Say what you want about the woo-ers, but at least they don't follow and berate you for not giving them change. Or set up an encampment in front of your building consisting of garbage bags and mattresses, and then decide to have band practice on the sidewalk at 11pm on a weeknight, and THEN have the balls to scream back at those leaning out of their windows asking them to knock it off.

Anonymous said...

@ Anon 1:52 obviously flunked Constitutional law 101. All citizens are protected equally under the law.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Stop giving them money!!!! They don't even have to stand up. They just lay there whining at you from the sidewalk. They come here because they are able to make enough to buy whatever drugs or alcohol they need.

And don't get me started on their pets!

Still, I agree: Enforce the laws we have, and extend that the woo-ers, frat boys, pubcrawlers, and any other assholes who doesn't know how to behave on the streets.

~evilsugar25 said...

People and their blanket statements... everyone is right.

Some are from abusive homes. Some are from college and/or wealthy families. (The crusties with iPhones asking me for money are my favorites.) Some are doing it as a fun adventure and some are trouble. Some are drug addicted. Some are nice, and some are violent. Most are combinations of all of the above.

Anonymous said...

Anon @ 2:50. YOU are the one who apparently flunked Constitutional Law. Read the link below, and then see if you still think the equal protection clause protects all people equally. (Spoiler alert: it doesn't)

Anonymous said...

I've lived on Saint Marks Place b/t 2nd & 3rd Avenue for 35+ years. Some people say I deserve a medal, but I figure my cheap rent is compensation enough. Here is the difference between now and, say, early Dojo days: the neighborhood is probably 500 per cent more crowded than it was. All the property has been built out toward the curb line, the apartments which have been subdivided house many more people, dorms have been built and chain & food stores employ and attract many more people.

Combine the overcrowding with the numerous, voluble, addicted and bed bug ridden crusties and the East Village becomes a decidedly less good place to live. There were problems during the 60-80s, but despite hippies, punks, drugs, guns etc. the nabe had a sleepy little village vibe.

There was mostly silence occasionally punctuated by sirens and gunfire. Now the noise and harassment is relentless. I agree with the guy above who says use the laws on the books. There used always be a police car at one end of Saint Marks or the other, now nothing. No beat cops even. I say: arrest the 'musicians', hollering panhandlers, clearly intoxicated and disruptive element (whether they are frat boys or crusties). And keep arresting them all summer long. Oh yes, and close the 7/11 and $1 pizza, quality of life will improve exponentially.

One final note: I despise the Laughing Aristocracy like Jeremiah of whatever the hell the name of his blog is. You want upper-middle-class engineered 'community ecology'? Go live in the suburb from whence you slunk.

Anonymous said...

I have read your comments and this is for Marlow and his supporters. I am a teacher and live within the community. I have had the opportunity to talk and get to know many "crusties" and would like to share what I have learned. Many of them come from broken homes and have been parentless. Yes, some do not and have made bad decisions and ended up on the streets. I think of them as someone's son or daughter, brother or sister. And yes, some do sadly suffer from mental illness. I am appalled that you quickly judge and think that pushing them to other areas to get more addicted to drugs, raped, or commit crime would be the solution. This has been the so called solution in history and history does repeat itself. If you wonder why 7 eleven, you may notice that it is open 24 hours and brightly lit up. Also, many customers have change from such items purchased there. I have never experienced any violent interaction nor anyone asking for change when I walk by. From conversations, I have only left thinking to myself that I liked that person and that rarely happens when I interact with most people that live indoors and have jobs. If you don't like it, help or get the hell out. Go to the burbs where everything is clean for you to look at. And waste the NYPD's time with real emergencies please.

Anonymous said...

I live on St Marks between 2nd/3rd. It seems like this past year, they barely left. And yes, they seem more aggressive than previous years. There were always some fights (ok they're drunk, what do you expect), but now it's a lot of vandalism. They are the worst part if the EV in my mind.

john penley said...

I think the councilperson is being too soft on the homeless and the mostly abused by their families [sexually and violently] kids identified as "crusties" with his proposal for anyone homeless to be arrested for sleeping anywhere in the city at night. In many countries in South America DEATH SQUADS were used to deal with the homeless, especially children.East Village Yuppies need to organize DEATH SQUADS to deal with this problem once and for all !

Chad Marlow said...

Dear Anon teacher @ 11:37:

I have largely held off commenting on EV Grieve with respect to my article, but since you addressed me personally, I thought I would make a few observations. First, as a teacher, you should know better than to form an argument based only on the sources you wish to consider. Many personal crustie statements that I wrote about in my op-ed piece, comments made by crusties on this blog and news reports have observed the increasing violence in the crusties community. I have had some very pleasant interactions with crusties as well, but it is beyond dispute that the community is violent and getting more so. Second, when a crusty defaced St. Mark's church, what difference does it make that he is from a broken home? When a crusty has his dog pee in a fountain where my kids play, what different does it make that he is on drugs? When a crusty threatens a local resident with violence becaue he is calling the police to report illegal behavior, what different does it make that he has a mental illness? The threat and danger are the same and we have a right to respond. Lastly, and most importantly, laws draw lines between what is and is not aceptable behavior and what is an dis not the responsiblity of society - my proposal certainly does both. I fully and strongly believe NYC has a duty to do all that it can to aid our citizens who are stuggling with homelessness, drug addiction, etc., but I do not beleive we need to allow the EV to be turned into a Disneyland for crusties looking to come to NYC, spend their summers with us, and terrorize and blight our community in the process. If the good crusties kept the bad ones in check, we would have the need for a new law, but they do not because they cannot. You have every right to disagree with my proposal, but I think an overwleming majority of our community either supports my idea or wants something else done. I do sincerely thank you for reading the piece and for yor thoughtful comments.

glamma said...


Anonymous said...

Hello there Mr. Marlow. I’m happy to see that you’ve responded. Of course, I do not condone any acts of vandalism and the city is not “Disneyland.” I don’t think their lives are all that fun. We all know that yes that this behavior is mostly exhibited when intoxicated. However, I do not think that pushing them out with force is a solution. With all this time and energy, it would be nice to see it used on actually solving the problem. Perhaps, you can reach out and research services that aide in helping these individuals, support them and then promote awareness. Have you asked yourself these questions before making your proposal.

What alternate solutions can remedy this?
Are there local services that I can provide to them?
What cuts have recently affected the homeless?
Are there organizations that already provide assistance with this population?
How can I help????

Yes it is more complex, but so is the situation. Even if I have connected with one person, that is good enough for me. I want all of them to have good lives and productive lives. It is true that some may mess it up for the others, but that’s why we should not stereotype. I don’t want that good “crustie” or person to be lumped with the others and not given any help. I hope that you can try to better understand this and work towards an ongoing solution instead of a temporary fix. I don’t believe in correcting misbehavior with misbehavior, even if you wear a badge. I know you are probably only reacting to this because you are a father yourself and want your kids to have a nice neighborhood to live in. I completely understand, but your kids look to you as a role model and sensitivity is something that should be taught. It is hard to teach by words, but better by example. So why don’t you set an example.
This city gives you the opportunity to!

Mary said...

A friend of mine works as a social worker and tries to get the long-term homeless from the subways into housing, rehab and other support programs. I asked her about the homeless in my neighborhood and she said that it was very hard to get those kids into any sort of program. They didn't want to work with "the man" and were very hostile to outreach. By contrast, long-term homeless who want to stay homeless were actually pretty easy for her to work with and weren't hostile to her.

I'm not against the homeless in general, but these kids seem like they're a rotating cast of other people's problems dumped onto our neighborhood. I worry for them and I'd rather they got help. We shouldn't have to tolerate some other neighborhood or town's troubled kids just because they think it's cool to hang out on our streets.

blue glass said...

anonymous 9:32 - i agree. i've lived here for over 50 years and i grew up in the "west" village before it was a shit show.
and occasionally we slept in washington square park, but we were quiet. and when we drank or did whatever we did not shout at each other from across the street and puke in doorways.
we didn't throw our garbage in the streets or use our pets as weapons.
we didn't count on others to donate money for us to maintain our "free" lifestyle. there were fewer homeless in the streets and fewer students and woo woos.
but most of all we respected other people no matter how different their ideas or looks.

Echidna's Arf 77 said...

Mary: well said,and also accurate. NYPD needs to make life for these degenerates very difficult on a DAILY basis,using existing laws. Bust them for open containers,shooting up on sidewalks(happens ALL the time),check dog registrations(I HATE when a poor dog with no say in the matter,is dragged around,developing mange,not getting its shots and in well known cases,attacking strangers. People,stop giving them ANY $, or food or anything to enable them to continue living ON THE STREET,turning down REAL help and abusing substances.

Echidna's Arf 77 said...

I agree whole-heartedly. Most of these cretins come to EV because the accessibility of heroin and alcohol,panhandling enough $ to buy it. Plus,they LOVE getting on Food Stamps,cashing them in and BINGO! that's $150 free,guaranteed party $ every month. The NYPD needs to make life a "total drag,man" for them each and every day,by imposing exsisting laws.

Becky A said...

These comments make me truly ashamed for humanity. These are PEOPLE we're talking about. Just because they have different problems than you and I does not mean they don't deserve human compassion and help.

For those of you who don't agree, let me point out that Andrea's efforts are helping the problems you all keep complaining about. As much as you all despise these people, here are some more practical ways in which Andrea's efforts help both them AND you:

-She takes these people to get medicaid and provides them with information about clinics in the area. This prevents them from going to the emergency room with minor injuries SAVING TONS OF OUR HARD-EARNED TAX DOLLARS. She provides clean needles to prevent the spread of AIDS and other blood-bourne illnesses which would lead to frequent hospitalizations, again saving TONS OF TAX MONEY.

-She gives them information about low cost veterinarians in the area. She is making an effort to improve the lives of these animals rather than just sitting there and BITCHING about it.

-She is trying to provide these people with the services they need to put their lives back together, helping them in ways that don't inspire them to feel the need to fight back. Instead of going against them, she is going with them, improving the problem in a more peaceful and effective way. It's amazing what a little bit of compassion can do for somebody. Feeling as though somebody cares can go a long way in changing his or her attitude. Making them feel less hated and ostracized, in my opinion, makes it less likely that they will feel the need to fight and act out against the community.

Everybody deserves love and respect. Just because you don't understand these people and their problems doesn't give you the right to dehumanize them.


Unknown said...

I like this "voluntary homeless" term. Do you know what it's like living with a mother who abuses you and at the same time, abuses drugs and everything else around her? Do you know what it's like to have NOTHING, and still try to make the best of what you have? How about those who are disabled veterans, unable to find work and have to rely on the government to feed them bread once a month. I would much rather live on the street than your corrupt society, no matter how fancy your fucking $3000 prada shoes are. Welcoming people from all different backgrounds and pain, you have no right to say that we use our animals as weapons (I have a dog and a cat of my own, and I would be DAMNED if someone said I tried to use either as a weapon, yes they may be more playful, but that's because... Well... They're animals and they aren't couped up in a cage all day. They're family.) and we are loud and disorderly. Sometimes, yes, we like to drink the pain away or have fun in the park with our friends, but who doesn't? Don't be mad because looking/being dirty doesn't fit in with your image of a park on a hill with all the rich people basking in the sun. This is reality.

Scooby said...

Camille - thank you for your voice from reality. It is needed today more than ever. Society is devolving and you may have more of a sense of community than those in "normal" society will ever know or allow themselves to know. Live life YOUR way.

Unknown said...

ATTN: I am/was one of these kids. All these kids are is rock 'n' rollers who happen to be homeless.

Being outwardly identifiable as a member of a given social group does not mean that the members of the group are homogeneous or organized, and there is nothing that warrants they be condemned as a group, rather than judged as individuals.

You almost certainly have no idea what these kids go through, and what it takes to live on the streets and subsist and avoid sinking into deep depression. The chicken/egg factor is up for debate here, but most of these kids are also dealing with gnarly substance abuse disorders.

Perhaps what I find most offensive about this article and the comment thread, is that people (you, perhaps) seem to assume that the conditions of these kids' homelessness somehow differs from the conditions of other people's homelessness.

VOLUNTARY HOMELESSNESS???? Oh, where to begin...First, virtually EVERY HOMELESS PERSON IN AMERICA is homeless by choice, in a perverse and complicated sense. Generally, this "voluntary homelessness" is voluntary only in the sense that the homeless have willingly fled from some negative environment, or otherwise have allowed their life to deteriorate to the point of becoming homeless.

In the first case, can you imagine voluntarily living in a domestic situation to which the streets are a preferable alternative? To the second case, can you imagine what degree of internal suffering a person must endure in order for their life to fall apart while they either watch helplessly unable to make a positive change either because they do not know how to or are so mentally/emotionally disturbed that they do not bother to fix things?

If these were Justin Bieber socialite troublemakers would any of you be so certain of their collective guilt and be so quick to place blame on the "group" for the actions of disparate individuals? In addition, crusties have been in the East village for far longer than I suspect the majority of you have been. If you don't like the seedy culture of the Village, then settle elsewhere. Beyond that, if the worst part (or even top 10 worst parts) of your day is having to walk a few feet around a kid lying drunk or beaten up on the sidewalk, or to keep facing forward to ignore a panhandler's solicitation, then I wager you're in a better position than most of these kids.

The police already hassle these guys enough for petty crimes like having an open container or sleeping in some public space. If you are in favor of stricter laws against these kids then you obviously have no idea how difficult life is for most of them on a day-to-day basis.

Look, you yuppies have already turned the city into a giant strip mall. Don't you think you can at least leave the city's few remaining bits of authentic grit unperturbed? What did you move here for? To be a prude? To resent those who are among some of the most vulnerable groups in the city and country?

Unknown said...

These kids aren't as useless as you might think. More often they are just troubled and have nowhere safe to turn to, and so find refuge in their small group of friends, who share the common denominator of getting shitted on by clueless privileged people. I personally spent several years on the street, as a teen and young adult, before I found the resolve to remove myself from the situation (which is FUCKING HARD TO DO, especially when you have zero financial resources at your disposal, and even more so if you were not raised with the sets of values and knowledge taken for granted by the likes of you self-righteous commentators on this thread). Eventually I earned my GED, went to community college, and got a generous scholarship to a private school, where I recently completed a bachelor's degree (and am currently awaiting decisions from grad programs to which I've applied). But a lot of these kids are not capable of accomplishing this, at least not at present; and even if they do, once a person has adapted to life on the streets it becomes FUCKING HARD to adjust to living the "normal" life that many of you take for granted.

Another thing, they are not becoming more violent--less violent, if anything. The city is simply a "safer" (read: "sterilized, neutered") place than it once was. Maybe these kids stand out to you now more than before, since most of the other civil inconveniences that once plagued you have since been rectified.

In short, judge if you must, if you find it useful, but please realize how typical and banal your accusations you levy; generic hatred of an identifiable group seems to be the theme of the past hundred or so years... and if you can't handle a little piss on the sidewalk then maybe it's time to leave New York and return to the culdesac from whence you came.

Unknown said...

@DAN LD......Based on what? This opinion that you held in 2013 and hopefully have since disabused yourself to is reactive and would be replaced with a more visionary perspective if not for your apparent ignorance of the subject. You have no idea where these kids go in the winter...You also seem to have no idea that many of them stay in NYC year-round, sometimes permanently... In fact, many are from the city or the burroughs. Just because you and your yuppie dolt friends pay exorbitant Manhattan rents does not mean you are entitled to demand laws be made to target only a specific social group, especially one only loosely affiliated.