Wednesday, April 6, 2022

Standoff on 9th Street

Photos by Stacie Joy

Today was a long, tense day on Ninth Street between Avenue B and Avenue C. The NYPD arrested seven people following a seven-hour standoff between a group of activists and unhoused residents and reps from several city agencies.
By late afternoon, the NYPD — who called in reinforcements from the Strategic Response Group and the Technical Assistance Response Unit — arrested six activists and one unhoused resident along a corridor dubbed "Anarchy Row."
As previously reported, about a half-dozen unhoused residents have been living in tents under the sidewalk bridge alongside the long-empty former P.S. 64 on Ninth Street. Previous attempts to move the residents into shelters had been unsuccessful.

After the arrests this afternoon, sanitation workers came in and swept the block ... tossing the tents and any belongings the residents didn't take with them. (It was not immediately known what happened to the other residents who were staying here.)

Law enforcement reps on the scene said that the architecture of the tents were illegal. So people could sleep on the street; they just couldn't have tents.
As Gothamist reported, today's sweep was "the latest flashpoint over Mayor Eric Adams' controversial push to clear the city of homeless encampments."

The actions, involving dozens of city employees over seven hours, drew criticism ... And the city's response... Here's a video showing part of what transpired today...



Anonymous said...


Chris Flash said...

I got there just after they were finishing up at around 4pm. I'm told that the operation began around 9am. No more homeless. All disappeared. Everything nice and sanitized now.

For that "clean up" operation, there were way too many tactical kkkops and their vehicles, along with ranking kkkops overseeing sanitation crews tossing personal belongings and perfectly new blue pup tents ("illegal architecture"????) that were donated by community members to the several homeless men seeking shelter under the scaffolding along the ninth street side of the former CHARAS community center for the past several weeks. (That scaffolding has been in place for about TEN YEARS now - it was the only shelter those persons could find that wasn't in anyone's way.)

Last week, I met and hung with two of them, one of whom was a VietNam War vet. To rub salt in their wounds, the operation against those homeless persons took place during a rainstorm.

I was told by a community affairs cop that the homeless men were coaxed into going to a men's shelter, but they REFUSED. He agreed with all of the reasons they had for NOT wanting to go there, but they were rousted anyway, with one homeless person arrested. FOR WHAT? For trying to LIVE in the "NEW New York" without money to pay insanely high rent??

Of course, never one to miss an opportunity to provide a media sound bite in order to promote herself, creepy city councilmember carlina rivera, who has been popping up at media events in the area lately in order to keep up appearances, boasted to the Daily Snooze that "My team and I are on the scene at 9th Street and Avenue B urging agencies to deescalate and refrain from confiscations and arrests," which translated to NOTHING stopping the homeless persons from losing their belongings and their temporary shelter. Words are CHEAP, carlina, and you use them so well.

If carlina really gave a flying shit, she would use the "discretionary funds" that she and all politicians in NYC are allotted to dish out as desired, with ZERO accountability, to provide some sort of safe space where the homeless can be sheltered without being harassed and arrested. Like the CHARAS building that has become a BLIGHT, under the designation of which the city can seize the building under "eminent domain."

But homeless people don't vote, DO THEY, carlina?? So you clearly DO NOT give a shit.

Today's display of overkill police state vs defenseless homeless persons is a throwback to the days of mayor giuliani and his buddy, city councilmember antonio pagan, whose seat is now occupied by rivera.

It's the same old BULLSHIT 30 years later.

Anonymous said...

According to Adams, did he consider this operation dignified ?
If people are not allowed in shelters during the day and only at night,
then where do they go ?
At least they had their own home, so to speak.
Anyone can find themselves unemployed in a flash then, unless lucky,
homeless soon to follow or as now known, unhoused.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, but just understand that empowering the homeless to remain homeless isn't the answer. As the brother of a homeless man and a resident of the east village for 31 years now (Manhattan 57) I think letting them live in filth and squalor is the extreme opposite of what's happening now.the activists need an answer to where and how the homeless should go before claiming the city is wrong for getting rid of these encampments. They're a danger to the community and to the people living in I mentioned, I know first hand.

Anonymous said...

Am copying in my comment on previous post:
My cousin is homeless/unhoused - it has been this way off and on for more than 25 years.

Smart, handsome and charismatic, he dropped out of college, started playing guitar on the street, and eventually his roommate kicked him out. All went downhill.

At a couple of points he had housing - studio/SRO type - but lost those too due to non-payment of rent and/or his behavior.
He was in rehab once - and left. He has been arrested on several occasions.

His parents and siblings have helped support him to the extent possible.
They have begged and begged him to be evaluated but he has refused.

Our family is broken-hearted.
But we don't blame the government or expect the government to solve the unsolvable.
Yes a tragedy.
But the encampments need to go.

Neighbor said...

Advocating to allow people to continue to live on the streets is not the solution and I can't believe so many people keep doing it. It's bad for the homeless and bad for the community at large. We need to focus energy on cleaning up concerns with the homeless support ecosystem and also probably dig a bit deeper to see if all of the criticisms out there are fair. I'm sure some are but it seems a lot are not. We all know there is truth to rampant substance abuse issues amongst a lot of the homeless who choose to stay on the streets. We should help them instead of defending their encampments.

Giovanni said...

Eric Adams embodies the worst qualities you can have in a mayor: arrogance wrapped in a total lack of empathy coupled with his misplaced self-confidence that he can solve any problem by using unnecessary force by the police. He clears homeless people from the subway and streets by force. But where is his solution to the homeless problem? A bed in a dorm room with dozens of other homeless people?

Adams isn’t turning into another Giuliani, he has always been a Giuliani type, who arrested people for squeegeeing peoples windshields, and under whose regime more people died in police custody than any other mayor. When, days after he was elected, Adams dined uptown at Rao’s with billionaire John Catsimatidis, the right-wing Gristedes and WABC radio station owner, whose daughter, Andrea, is chair of the Manhattan Republican Party, and with Fox News regular Bo Dietl, he was telling us who he really is: a Republican wrapped in Democrat clothing.

noble neolani said...

Adams is showing us who he is and he looks just like the last two mayors. Fool me thrice?

James said...

For decades this former school has been allowed to be an eyesore and decay. Long ago it was warranted to reclaim it, renovate it and return in to it's original purpose a school this is not the seventies nor the nineties we are living in. Thou land marked given the lengthy period of neglect it is questionable if it can be save. Clearly the Eat Village has changed many more children then a decade ago. If it was possible to restore St Brigid church perhaps this can happen as well.

Anonymous said...

I hope we all understand that many of these people need more than just a place to sleep. If you look at their stories and claims, that are changing from one interview to the next, there are some tales being told that indicate a need for mental health assistance. Therefore their place is not in the streets anymore. And yes, it was a dignified evacuation, the arrests did not target them.

Anonymous said...

Perfect example of why we need more mental health facilities, and more real affordable housing.

Cosmo said...

As I watched this event unfold yesterday, I was filled with disgust and rage. Cops smiling as they took everything from those who have nothing.

No one here is suggesting that people continue to live on the street. As you can hear Mr Grima shout in the video, we need real housing. Not a shelter, not a temporary room, but a secure place for people to live. We have thousands of empty apartments in this city, and how ironic that this all took place outside a previously city-owned building that has been allowed to sit empty and rot for 20 years as people demand that it be returned to the community.

Is Clayton Patterson's riot film online anywhere? I can't seem to find it, but I think it needs to be seen again now by those who are not aware of what has happened in this very spot before.

Anonymous said...

Why not squat Charas-El Bohio? It's disgusting that it has been empty for 20 years and homeless have to sleep in front of it.

Anonymous said...

Here is my question, and I ask it very seriously & legitimately:

IF the city were to provide a studio apartment for free to each of these people, and some have mental health issues that are not being addressed (or that the person does not wish to address), and some have substance abuse issues that are not being addressed (or that the person does not wish to address), what will have been achieved?

If you convert a hotel (or whatever) into studio homes for people in order to get them off the street, but their underlying issues continue, it seems to me that now you've got a building where everyone living there is at risk, whether from drug-dealing or whatever else. You've simply moved the problem INDOORS.

And since in NYC you can't force anyone with mental health problems to be treated against their will unless they are a threat to others, surely many of these people will refuse medication. (Of course, some people WOULD take their medication if they were in a more stable environment.)

Having people living on the streets is awful, but I'm not sure that moving the problem indoors so that the horrible-ness is not instantly visible would actually make the city a better or safer place.

BTW, nobody's talking about what happens every summer, when the young-and-disaffected-but-very-entitled crusties take over the streets and threaten and harass others.

Anonymous said...

My take is that it is all about image with Adams, plain and simple. You can readily see it in the care he takes in dressing. Oddly, however, he doesn't seem to care at all about the graffiti that has blighted this neighborhood and many others since the pandemic began. I'm not comparing the two issues, just saying.

Anonymous said...

in answer to anon at 10:42- Many unhoused people will not go into shelters but will go into safe havens that are 1 or 2 per room and have wrap around services. Once people are off the streets and in more stable situations, they are more likely to accept harm reduction services and other services. There are many barriers to accepting safe haven or stabilization beds--may wish to have partner, may not have paperwork, may want to have pet. Statistically, transitional supportive housing like safe havens or stabilization beds are more successful for people and have high retention rate for transition into permanent housing. I wish DHS were not so opaque and would publish this information.

Anonymous said...

Homelessness is a huge problem that can't be easily solved (if we're honest about it, there might never be a real, lasting solution achieved). But, allowing people to live in tents does them no good and makes many residents feel unsafe.

It's not like the cops came out of nowhere and threw their possessions into a garbage truck. They were given ample notice to clear out. The city tried to provide them with services. They were asked to pack up their stuff and leave yesterday and they refused. It's awful seeing someone's possessions tossed in the trash, but what other choice is there? Squatting on the street is bad for all.

Anonymous said...

One of the big problems is that the city and state have a prison to shelter pipeline. In the shelters for single adults most of the residents are newly released inmates or people with serious mental illness and substance abuse problems. And it's not a housing issue. It's a drug/ alcohol addiction or u treated mental illness. Reorganize the shelters, have more safe haven beds and vouchers. Sleeping on the sidewalk should not be an option.

Anonymous said...

There are thousands of homeless in congregate shelters who have jobs and get permanent housing. The street to apartment model doesn't work for people with serious mental health and substance abuse problems.

Anonymous said...

Looks like the encampment has simply relocated to Avenue B, just south of 9th Street. There was one tent there this morning and four tents by late afternoon.

Anonymous said...

Unbridled homelessness began with the Koch Administration giving the city to real estate developers and has increased exponentially since. The city isn't really interested in solving the issue since it's cheaper to have them live on the streets than to come up with a viable solution. All the virtue signalling and faux compassion the mayor is exhibiting is nothing more than him doing his best to look like he's a pro-active mayor.

Anonymous said...

Many of you are too young to remember but Ronald Reagan shut off federal funding for psychiatric hospitals. Jimmy Carter had signed a Mental Health Systems Act which was quickly discarded when Reagan was elected and the Republicans took over.

Anonymous said...

Respectfully - have always wondered where people get tents?
Some very new and expensive looking tents.
Do non-profits like Coalition for the Homeless hand out tents?

Sarah said...

"If you convert a hotel (or whatever) into studio homes for people in order to get them off the street, but their underlying issues continue, it seems to me that now you've got a building where everyone living there is at risk, whether from drug-dealing or whatever else. You've simply moved the problem INDOORS."

This is what supportive housing is for: to provide services to those who require assistance in maintaining their living situation. Do you think people kick drugs or stabilize their mental health on the street?

Also, um, what is "the problem"? Are you referring to the unhoused people? Getting them "INDOORS" is actually a win, you know.

It sounds like you're just hoping these people will mysteriously vanish or die. The ugly face behind all the "letting people live in tents is inhumane!" rhetoric.

Anonymous said...

Trillions to bail out banks, nearly a trillion for the military, but we can't solve this problem

Dan said...

super coverage Stacie! Wish I could've been there to take photos and witness this atrocity.

The NYPD - Adams Regime is truly terrifying. You can't have "this" tent but you can sleep on the sidewalk, is evidence of the hypocrisy of pour government.

We don't need NYPD there, we need mental health and housing advocates out in this space - with real, permanent housing options. This whole scene is a disgrace and failure of our city leaders on so many levels. We need to change the shelter system to give people more dignity and agency or there will never be improvement. This important change takes investment and political transparency, something that Adams is ill equipped to handle because behind his vegan smile, is a lot of dark dark money.

Anonymous said...

Too many people complaining about cleaning up these camps, well I don't want to be stepping over them. They have options. I'd rather the private restaurant sheds go first, though.

Anonymous said...

@10:53PM: You can stop deliberately mis-interpreting what I said in my comment. You're trying to twist what I wrote, and your effort is ugly.

I did NOT say there was only one "problem" - I referred to the *various* issues that people might have (drug abuse, mental health issues, etc.), which was not an all-inclusive list.

But YOU wrote of me: "It sounds like you're just hoping these people will mysteriously vanish or die. The ugly face behind all the "letting people live in tents is inhumane!" rhetoric." Well, you can apologize to me right now, b/c you are wrong about that, and your assumptions are vile & disgusting.

As it happens, I have family members who are DEAD b/c of untreated mental illness and b/c of their refusal to take medications for mental illness. I have no illusions about what mental illness does or how hard it is to treat/deal with. I have been there, done that, and buried some of my dearest relatives. So go stuff your presumptions where the sun don't shine.

I suggest you stand in front of a mirror to study YOUR own "ugly face", and while you're standing there, ask yourself why you are so vicious and hateful in what you presume about others' experiences.

Giovanni said...

Here are a few crazy ideas: build affordable housing. Stop valuing real estate above the lives, health and well-being of the general population. Stop electing Mayors who turn to the police to deal with social problems for their own political gain. Stop letting the NY Post constantly push their agenda against the homeless. But if we did those things, this would not be New York City anymore. And that would be a good thing.

Michael Duggan said...

It was hard to track down Mayor Adam's permanent address, he apparently slept in his office, hopefully zoned for such use. Homelessness is only a crime if you are poor, those with resources access opportunity of their circumstance. It's Gregg Singer who should have been arrested; his building's condition is inexcusable.
Safe, affordable housing has become a mirage for many low-income workers. Through design of financial structure, houses across the US are being purchased by banks, they are no longer revered as private homes, they are simply additional capitalized interest.
I moved to the East Village 40 years ago, things were not great then, but it was at least, affordable. Quality of life issues are community values; safety is a social contract. The instability our city has manifested are from the choice of greed. Solutions can be reached, the day we decide to give, not take.

Sarah said...

11:26: I'm going to give you the benefit of the doubt and assume you're not just fabulating (though the fact you appear literally never to have heard of supportive housing suggests strongly that whoever your relatives were, homelessness wasn't a significant complicating issue). Nonetheless, you're against providing these folks with decent housing. I'm sorry you've lost people, but that doesn't license you to advocate for the cruel mistreatment of those still alive. For the purposes of this conversation, I don't need to know much else about you. A lot of us have serious mental illness in our families, and most of us find that it makes us more compassionate, not less.

Anonymous said...

Several organizations do

Cosmo said...

There was another sweep this morning: