[Photo on 2nd Avenue last Tuesday by Derek Berg]
Back on Friday evening, CBS 2 filed a report on the summer travelers titled "'They’re Traveling And Doing This Purposely,' Some City Panhandlers May Be In It For Fun."
The not-so-newsy report attempted to cover a lot in 1:50: a) noting the annual warm-weather migration of the travelers (or crusties, as some prefer) b) theorizing that some of the travelers or panhandlers in general are actually not in need of money c) piggybacking onto Mayor de Blasio's recent comments about his frustration with panhandlers.
To CBS 2:
When spring and summer come to New York City, so do homeless travelers from far away suburbs and cities.
They gather in Tompkins Square Park.
Police said some of the disheveled newcomers hopped freight trains from as far away as Seattle.
The park is their central gathering place, and they fan out to the surrounding East Village streets to panhandle.
The report has an on-camera interview with Angelo, aka Gypsy, a regular along Avenue A.
“I’m homeless myself,” he said, “A lot of these guys believe it or not, their parents are rich. They’re traveling and doing this purposely.”
Without quoting anyone directly, the piece notes: "Residents and merchants said the trend is harming their quality of life, and they want the city to do something about it."
CBS 2 also quotes Mayor de Blasio from his quality-of-life press conference last Wednesday, in which he implied some panhandlers are doing it for fun.
“There are people who are in desperate need and maybe don’t know there’s other options. But there are also people who are doing it purely out of choice. This is a fact — who somehow think it’s fun, or think it’s a way to make easy money. And I resent that, I really do.”
Per the Daily News: "He’s especially annoyed about so-called 'crusties' who come into the city from out of town to beg, and women who panhandle with children."
“I’m very upset at the notion of anyone who in effect gives people the impression they’re homeless to make money. That’s what I think is going on. And I don’t like it one bit,” he said, acknowledging there’s little cops can do unless the panhandlers commit a crime. “As frustrating as it is, and this bothers me to say this, but panhandling per se is not illegal.”