Showing posts with label travelers. Show all posts
Showing posts with label travelers. Show all posts

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

NYPD light tower back in illuminating action on 2nd Avenue and 7th Street

[Photo by Nick Solares]

On Sunday night, some kind of malfunction KO'd the police lights that were set up last week on the northwest corner of Second Avenue and Seventh Street...

However, after one night off, the lights were back on last night...

The light tower arrived last Wednesday night after increased complaints over unruly travelers/crusties gathered on the corner.

Previously on EV Grieve:
Report: It's 'Crusty vs. Postie' on 2nd Avenue

NYPD installs patrol tower in the middle of Tompkins Square Park (149 comments)

NYPD installs light tower on 2nd Avenue and 7th Street

Thursday, October 18, 2018

NYPD installs light tower on 2nd Avenue and 7th Street

[Reader-submitted photo]

There have been several published reports (here and here) in recent weeks about the growing number of increasingly unruly travelers/crusties gathering on the northwest corner of Seventh Street and Second Avenue.

This past weekend, New York Post reporter Dean Balsamini wrote that he was allegedly punched by a traveler named Zeke, who apparently had a "farm-animal musk" and "Charles Manson eyes," per the article.

In response to these reports and a growing number of complaints from nearby residents and merchants, the NYPD last night set up a light tower on the corner, illuminating the sidewalk and empty lot — site of the deadly gas explosion in March 2015 — to deter anyone from congregating and camping out (apparently in keeping with the mayor's Omnipresence policing strategy).

[Photo by EVG reader Ryan]

In an email to local elected officials this past week, one nearby resident wrote: "It's terrifying to come and go day or night! They own the street and it's getting worse. These are drifters, not homeless to be pitied. Help before someone is murdered."

Another EVG reader worries that the corner can only get worse. Luxury condominiums are slated for part of the lot on Second Avenue and Seventh Street. The eventual arrival of a sidewalk bridge would only provide more cover for the travelers, who like this spot with its proximity to a LinkNYC kiosk and its free Wifi and charging station, according to the reader.

Back in July 2015, following published reports citing a perceived influx of homeless people and drug users in Tompkins Square Park, the NYPD installed a patrol tower in the middle of the park. The NYPD removed it after a week. (We did get the tweet tower out of all that.)

Previously on EV Grieve:
Report: It's 'Crusty vs. Postie' on 2nd Avenue

NYPD installs patrol tower in the middle of Tompkins Square Park (149 comments)

Sunday, October 14, 2018

Report: It's 'Crusty vs. Postie' on 2nd Avenue

New York Post reporter Dean Balsamini reports that he was punched by a traveler/crusty while looking into the annual migration that has seen the group camped out on the corner of Second Avenue at Seventh Street at the site of the 2015 deadly gas explosion.

Balsamini described the alleged attacker, named Zeke, as having a "farm-animal musk" and "Charles Manson eyes." Wrote Balsamini: "Crusty vs. Postie."

A passage from the article published today:

One terrified 64-year-old retiree blamed the city’s decriminalization of quality-of-life offenses.

“The fish stinks from the head,” he fumed. “From de Blasio on down. He doesn’t care. He’s too busy at the gym.”

Jose Amigon, co-owner of Paul’s Da Burger Joint, was beaten with his own broom in June when he asked a sleeping crusty to move as he swept outside his store.

Not long after I was crusty-creamed, 9th Precinct Capt. John O’Connell called me to make sure I was OK, saying, “This is upsetting to me.”

[Enz's owner Mariann] Marlowe said my Wednesday-afternoon whipping prompted action. O’Connell has stopped by her store at least three times since, and a cop is now posted on the block.

The Post has a history of conflict with the travelers. In 2015, when the travelers camped outside the new Cooper Union academic building, a group of them threatened a reporter and photographer with taunts and cookies.

Per that article:

Nine of the drifters were splayed out on bits of cardboard Thursday morning, and began hurling insults, water and bits of cookie when approached by a reporter.

“I was going to chase him down and beat the s–t out of him,” one thin, bedraggled man spat in anger.

“If I ever see you or that photographer again, I’ll kick the s–t out of you,” he threatened.

Sunday, September 2, 2018

Saturday, August 25, 2018


A quick recap to yesterday's finds on Second Avenue between Seventh Street and St. Mark's Place...

[Photo by @EdenBrower]

... and...

[Photo by New York Shitty]

These items were salvaged and currently part of the encampment on Second Avenue and Seventh Street this morning... the passed-out panda now has an X spraypainted on top of its head...

There were actually two of these paintings (inscribed to "sexy mother fucker" ... and why anyone would just want to own one) discarded on the corner. Not sure where the other one is, and where it might turn up...

Saturday, July 28, 2018


[Screengrab via CBS 2]

CBS 2 filed a report last evening with the headline "Summer Brings Wave Of ‘Crust Punk’ Homeless Nomads To East Village."

Here's an excerpt:

“It’s getting worse now than it was before,” said Tania Martinez who lives in the East Village. “Me paying a lot of money being here, I shouldn’t see things like this.”

The homeless nomads – known to hop freight trains – pop in and out of cities across the country like Seattle and San Francisco, often ending up in and around Tompkins Square Park when it gets warm out.

The pilgrimage dates back to the late 1970s when many began migrating for the neighborhood’s punk rock music scene. Like most subcultures, rejecting the status quo was a conscious choice by its members.

“It’s absolutely a choice,” said Dallas, one of the movement’s adherents. “We just hate our government system, the way it affects us as a whole.”


NYPD sources say there are more transient people this summer because of the city’s increasing opioid epidemic. The narcotics division has been patrolling the park to help, with police doubling arrests this year – many of them drug related.

Police sources say because of the stepped up enforcement, many “crust punks” have started sleeping inside abandoned buildings in the outer boroughs instead.

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Fire under sidewalk bridge on 13th Street temporarily brings an end to homeless encampment

[Reader photo from October]

In recent months, several residents have said that a growing number of travelers/crusties have been living under the sidewalk bridge next to the Verizon building on 13th Street between Second Avenue and First Avenue.

Early Sunday evening, there were reports of a small fire under the sidewalk bridge.

Shortly after the FDNY departed, a dump truck arrived, and a crew discarded the various mattresses and furniture.

[Scorched-wall photo yesterday by Steven]

One resident on the block shared this about the recent activity under the sidewalk bridge "where the crusties have made home."

They live and sleep there. They openly shoot up, get drunk, fight, party all night and block the sidewalk with mattresses, chairs — even tables.

The situation has become a total nightmare now. This scaffolding — I swear it seems like it's been up 10 years and I've seen them do about maybe 10 days work on the building that entire time. It's become the homeless heroin spot now and it's incredibly disturbing to watch people shooting up. We really don't know what to do but something definitely has to be done.

Said one nearly 20-year resident of 13th Street:

Our block has been gross for the last six months. The homeless have moved in under the Verizon scaffolding ... I witness drug deals on the regular and the cops have only parked on the block one day — I’m ready to move! And now they cause a fire?

EVG correspondent Steven spoke with a super who works on the block. The super said that residents have called 311 "to no avail."

A few scattered items remained on the sidewalk yesterday...

[Photo yesterday by Steven]

As for the Verizon-owned building, there are multiple work permits on file with the city, including for "mechanical chiller replacement. Removal and replacement of chiller along with related piping." There are also permits for "new steel dunnage and steel framing to support new generator and fuel piping." There doesn't appear to be any current tenants in the circa 1923 building. (The building was also the site of a major fire in 1975.)

In several recent years, Verizon was engaged with the local graffiti community in the ongoing brown paint vs. tagging battle.

Meanwhile, one of the readers said that a few people had returned last night to sleep on 13th Street.

[Reader-submitted photo]

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Someone vandalized the entrance to the Chinese Hawaiian Kenpo Academy on 2nd Avenue

[Photo by Ryan John Lee]

Last night around 8:30, someone vandalized the front of the Chinese Hawaiian Kenpo Academy (CHKA) on Second Avenue between Seventh Street and St. Mark's Place.

A CHKA spokesperson said that they were giving their free women’s self-defense class when one of the building's residents notified them that someone had tossed a can of paint at the entrance.

"We did not see who did it," the spokesperson said. "We called 911 and the police came right away, spoke to the landlord on the phone and made a report."

Several witnesses as well as the CHKA spokesperson said that a group of travelers/crusties were congregating earlier under the scaffolding outside the building. (The landlord is putting in new storefront windows.)

Here's an account from CHKA:

At around 6 p.m., as our children were attempting to leave the building with their parents after class, a group of 10 or so people with off-leash dogs and open containers were camped out at the entrance under the construction scaffolding. When asked politely to move, they became hostile and violent, screaming and threatening our instructors who asked them to move. The children and families were forced to wait in the building until it was safe to leave.

At one point, one of the dogs lunged at people passing by. We called 911 and the officers who came told the group that they were violating regulations regarding leaning on or being under the construction scaffolding. They finally moved along at about 7:30 p.m. and then the vandalism occurred about an hour later.

[Photo from this morning]

This past summer, a group of travelers/crusties reportedly vandalized the First Ukrainian Assembly of God on Cooper Square at Seventh Street after church officials sprinkled bleach powder on the sidewalk to prevent camp outs.

CHKA, a 20-plus-year-old martial arts school offering classes in Kenpo karate and kickboxing for children and adults, moved here from Avenue A in June.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

More about the church vs. the travelers on Cooper Square

[Photo on Cooper Square at Seventh Street from June]

Last month, we noted that the travelers who slept outside the First Ukrainian Assembly of God on Cooper Square at Seventh Street had been driven away after someone from the building sprinkled bleach powder on the sidewalk.

Later, someone dumped garbage at the spot (including used toilet paper) and tagged the building.

The Post has a follow-up on this today with a piece titled "Vagrants are going to war against an East Village pastor." The paper talks with the church's leaders, Irina and Ivan Belets.

Alarmed by a growing daily gathering of junkies and hobos, the Belets took matters into their own hands July 22 by sprinkling Comet bleach powder all over the sidewalk in front of the church...

The cleanser fended off the unwelcome interlopers for just a day. “They retaliated and spray-painted all kinds of profanity like ‘f–k you’ on the walls,” Irina said. “They also dumped garbage all over the powder and left a garbage bag filled with used toilet paper.”


The vagrants urinated on the church steps — forcing the Belets to scrub them every day for months in a futile effort to get rid of the “unbearable” stench, Irina said.

Some members of their flock began to skip their weekly Sunday service because of the putrid smells.

And the city reportedly won't do anything about it...

The Belets say they have complained to the city constantly to no avail. They say they have filed at least five complaints through the 311 hotline, and the NYPD confirmed it has received at least 14 calls to 911 this year for the church address, including five reports of disorderly persons...

For now, Irina Belet said the powder has kept the travelers at bay, but she believes they will return. "We need real help. We need the city to do something."

[Photo from today]


An EVG reader just said that this is a cover story...

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Reader report: Cleaning power and a clean up on Cooper Square

[Photo on Cooper Square at Seventh Street from June]

You may have noticed a group of travelers camping out in front of 59 Cooper Square at Seventh Street this summer.

An EVG reader, who works nearby, said that on Monday, the group was gone — "replaced by a bleach cleaning powder. Looked like the church [the First Ukrainian Assembly of God] figured out how to 'clean out' the crusties."

Yesterday morning, someone dumped garbage on the sidewalk where the sleeping bags had been, on top of the cleaning powder ... prompting the reader to wonder if this was an act of retaliation...

Monday, July 17, 2017

Traveling and panhandling

[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.”

Friday, June 23, 2017

Traveling on

In our post about San Loco closing Tuesday on Second Avenue, the comments turned to a discussion on the group of travelers who have been camped out under the Orpheum marquee on this block between Seventh Street and St. Mark's Place these past few months...

[Photo from May]

The travelers were one of the topics discussed at the 9th Precinct's Community Council meeting in May.

The 9th Precinct rather cryptically tweeted this out on June 14... "Sector D keeping the #EastVillage clean" ...

Last October, the 9th Precinct started a new initiative called the Neighborhood Coordination Officers (NCO) program. The precinct is split up into four sectors, with two officers assigned to each sector.

Per an interview with the 9th Precinct's newish commanding officer, Vincent Greany, from The Villager in February: "They’re in charge of quarterbacking any issues in their area — quality of life, homelessness, drugs, nightlife — in addition to crime."

Sector D (aka David) covers the 9th Precinct’s northwest corner of First Avenue to Broadway, and Seventh Street to 14th Street.

Anyway, since that June 14 tweet, I can't recall seeing any travelers hanging out at this spot in the late evenings or early mornings...

They're around, though ...

[Photo on Cooper Square at Seventh Street from Saturday]

Monday, April 3, 2017

Spring fling

Some of the first travelers of the season were spotted in Tompkins Square Park today. One relieved himself on the holiday tree.

Photo by Steven

Tuesday, August 2, 2016


It was laundry day today in the small dog area in Tompkins Square Park as a dog-less traveler removed his pants to hose them down before rejoining his friends elsewhere in the Park.

Photo by Derek Berg

Monday, August 24, 2015

There'll be no more trespassing at the Cooper Union academic building

Back in late July, the Cooper Union academic building made headlines as part of the Post's ongoing Bill-deBlasio-is-the-worst-mayor-ever coverage. Sources told the Post that some crusties/travelers had been like urinating, defecating and masturbating right out there in public. (Side note: Cab drivers have apparently been using the space to relieve themselves dating back to 2010.)

Perhaps this attention ushered in the No Trespassing signs that are now on display around the building here between East Seventh Street and East Sixth Street…

In July 2010, Cooper Union put an end to people skateboarding on the $175-million building by placing metal spikes on the tempting bank of polished concrete out front.

Previously on EV Grieve:
Cooper Union puts the brakes on its skateboarding bank

The 'urination, defecation, masturbation' vacation outside Cooper Union (66 comments)

Gleaming the Coop

Friday, July 31, 2015

The 'urination, defecation, masturbation' vacation outside Cooper Union

The Post has a new front for its ongoing exposes on perceived quality-of-life offenses: The Cooper Union academic building.

The annual appearance by the travelers/crusties/whatever-you-like, who have been camping out here every summer since the school opened the building six years ago at 41 Cooper Square between East Seventh Street and East Sixth Street, prompted this headline-worthy quote:

“I have seen drug deals, public urination, defecation, masturbation in broad daylight in the Taras Shevchenko alley,” a Cooper Union faculty member told The Post.

Apparently the group didn't care for reporter Kevin Fasick, who earlier this summer posed as a homeless person outside Gracie Mansion, attempting to interview them.

Nine of the drifters were splayed out on bits of cardboard Thursday morning, and began hurling insults, water and bits of cookie when approached by a reporter.

“I was going to chase him down and beat the s–t out of him,” one thin, bedraggled man spat in anger.

“If I ever see you or that photographer again, I’ll kick the s–t out of you,” he threatened.

And where was the Post in 2010 when a serial vomiter (careful with that link) was targeting this building?

Updated 4:32 p.m.

Oh! We didn't see the paper's version of the story with this headline…

Thanks Matt Rosen!

Friday, April 20, 2012

Claim: Crusties will be returning to Tompkins Square Park this spring and summer

As you may recall, last spring/summer, there were fewer travelers/crusties hanging out in Tompkins Square Park. Instead, the group took to Washington Square Park, Union Square, parts of Brooklyn... However, in The Villager this week, Scoopy hears from Black Ops-Bob that "the 'travelers' will be returning to Tompkins Square Park this season."

Previously on EV Grieve:
Crusty Row, now with a vacancy in Tompkins Square Park

From the Times:
In East Village, Harbingers of Spring Are Missing

[Photo last year by Melanie at East Village Corner]

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Report: 2 travelers busted for assault outside McDonald's

At Neither More Nor Less, Bob Arihood reports that the NYPD arrested two travelers early this morning after allegedly assaulting two men in front of the McDonald's on Third Avenue. According to witnesses, the two travelers were spanging in front of McDonald's. Two men drinking next door at the Continental struck up a friendly conversation with the travelers, who then reportedly threw punches without any warning.

As Bob noted, a dog that belonged to one of the travelers was left tied up near a tree. See Neither More Nor Less for all the details.

[Bob Arihood]

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

[Updated] In time for summer, the travelers return

Last Wednesday at this time, we were discussing the seemingly empty space in Tompkins Square Park where the summer travelers typically congregate...the discussion was fueled, in part, by a piece in the Times titled In East Village, Harbingers of Spring Are Missing.

Since then, the travelers have seemingly returned. Bob Arihood noted some travelers sleeping on East Fourth Street the other day ... Melanie took a photo of a group on Second Avenue... and we've all seen more and more of them arrive on Crusty Row...

And, as these photos by Bobby Williams show, some travelers were enjoying a nice day in Tompkins square Park yesterday...

The Lo-Down has an op-ed today on what the displacement of the travelers means for the East Village. You can read that piece here.