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.