Clochard-a-Palooza in the North Heights

Has anyone else noticed the daily freak show on Henry Street near Pineapple Walk? The Henry side of the Clark Street subway station (as evidenced by the photo of a man in a yellow bag above) serves as a gateway to the ménagerie de clochards who dwell around Pineapple Walk near Peas and Pickles.

What’s the deal? Are these people in need or just regular folk hangin’ out?

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  • EHinBH

    I am going to call the police to log a complaint. It is crazy how many homeless are coming to the Heights.

  • WillowtownCop

    First the laws that we already have should be enforced against everyone equally. After arresting the same guy for sleeping in an ATM vestibule night after night and having a judge let him go back to the same spot night after night is not solving any problem. Maybe if he got the three months in jail or whatever the trespass statute allows he would have time to clean up and get some help.

    If they grew up in this country you can’t tell me we didn’t spend enough educating them. They were entitled to the same free public education everyone else was. If they had worked hard even if they were dirt poor they could have gotten a scholarship somewhere. I have no sympathy for able bodied people without at least high school diplomas. They’re free.

    I also have no sympathy for people with substance abuse problems. Maybe you’re addicted now but you weren’t the first time you stuck a needle in your arm. It was a personal choice.

    As for the mentally ill, it’s not their fault. I don’t think they should have the right to refuse treatment/drugs/hospitalization if a judge finds them to be a danger to themselves or others. It’s less of a money issue than a political one for the homeless rights types who think they should be allowed to do whatever they want no matter how crazy they are.

    I agree that the wars are a total waste of money that could be much better spent here.

    And anyone who doesn’t think San Francisco has a homeless problem has never been outside the tourist areas or the rich neighborhoods.

  • BronxKid

    There are the homeless – those really down on their luck — and then there are the crazies who populate Clark Street on the 2/3. And they are terrifying and in need of medical and psychiatric care.

    Those of us who work hard to live in a nice area have rights too….And we shouldn’t be afraid to walk around the neighborhood or use public services here for fear of being screamed at, or spit upon, or worse, by mentally deranged individuals.

  • willowwillow

    bronxkid- so right. the man in the yellow is also seen sporting a bag on his foot and he walks around screaming. it’s just down right scary. as for the old man in snow boots.. he is harmless

  • Teddy

    That station was always a hub for the homeless and mentally-deficient. If someone from the Heights had invented a time machine in the 70s or 80s and arrived inside the station in 2011, he would probably think his machine didn’t work until he saw someone with a smartphone.

  • Jorale-man

    I think if one thing can be gathered from this discussion, the city isn’t doing enough to manage the homeless problem.

    Obviously we should be compassionate for those who come to our neighborhood. There shouldn’t be the attitude that we’ve achieved some special rank in society where we don’t have to “deal” with homeless people. I’ve been to other big cities, especially in Europe, where there are fewer homeless on the streets because governments have built a stronger social safety net. Yes, it may cost the public more but that’s what living in a civilized society is all about.

  • Andrew Porter

    Willowtown Cop, I was in San Francisco in mid-August and was amazed by the number of aggressive panhandlers, esp. on Powell from Market to Geary. That’s a prime tourist area, I know, but they were very in-my-face.

  • nabeguy

    Perhaps someone should look into anything going on in Memorial Park or the wooded hill of the Brooklyn Bridge off-ramp at Cadman Plaza. Those two areas have been occupied by “hard-core” homeless people for years, so I suspect that maybe someone instituted a clean-up campaign in them.

  • Karl Junkersfeld


    Are there homeless in your area? lol

  • Eddyenergizer

    Growing up in the heights we had a rather colorful assortment of homeless characters. John Nelson (aka JFK), Dutch, Wild Bill (or One Eyed Bill), Have-a-Happy and our heights born, Kevin Cain. As kids we knew them well, had conversations and even learned a thing or two from them. Just because someone is homeless does not mean they are worthless and have nothing to contribute to the neighborhood.

  • AEB

    Is there an area in your area?

  • Western Brooklyn


    Very well stated!

    Although they are not inanimate objects, it seems we need to personify the homeless, rather than disembody them like many of the elite here are trying to do.

  • David on Middagh

    Nabeguy! Yo dawg, we heard you like areas, so we put an area in your area so you can be somewhere when you post!

  • BH’er

    Compassion is the best policy… that said, if you give them money, they’re only going to come back for more

    Donations to the food bank, City Harvest and other social services groups are the best policy in my mind – you can help them and encourage them to use the services available to get on better footing

    Giving them money will only bring them back for more, keep them sleeping on the street and probably not taking positive steps back into society

    Anyone with suggestions for the best way to help, please post!

  • Wrennie

    What bugs me are the panhandlers actually riding on the trains–because it’s illegal.

    I never give money to anyone…but if I happen to have extra food on me, I’ll give it to someone who asks. However, one time Fresh Direct gave me a bunch of free peaches, which I really don’t love…I dragged them around for 3 days with me, hoping to find a hungry, homeless person during my commute who might want them. I even took them on the bus down to Philly, where I trolled around 30th Street Station before getting on a train to the airport for my flight to Louisville. For the life of me, in a 100-mile span over the course of 3 days, I could not find one single homeless person. It was the most absurd, amusing experience of my life.

  • nabeguy

    Yes Karl, there are homeless in my “area”. And they get treated a helluva lot better than the ones in Brooklyn.

  • Karl Junkersfeld

    Nabe, what’s your address again? I’m for them living better, consequently, I’m going to send them over to the greener pastures of Long Island by the sea. Surely they will prefer a comfortable ride on the LI railroad as opposed to the NY transit system and Clark Street.

    Aren’t you in a Republican “area”? If I understand your meaning, you are saying that the right wing is much more sympathetic and caring than our mostly liberal bastion here in the Heights. God bless America.

  • Karl Junkersfeld

    By the way, nabeguy, I miss you terribly. No kidding.

  • Willow St. Neighbor

    You say there are homeless in your area and they get treated well. Do you care to expand on that? What is being done for them?
    I think you said that you lived in a waterfront community on the north shore. I also lived in a waterfront community on the south shore of LI for 15 years and don’t recall seeing anyone who was homeless. Due to the density of the population here and in the city it is no wonder that we are seeing many more homeless due to this bad economy. Maybe there are better resources on LI to help the homeless.

  • JustANeighbor

    Arch, stop being so dramatic. I have a right to feel safe in my neighborhood. I also have every right to want them to exercise THEIR rights to a shelter when their situations impede upon everyone’s personal health and safety.

  • Arch Stanton

    JustANeighbor, What do you mean by “the right” to feel safe? Is it that you are free to feel however you want about the neighborhood? if so yes. Or are you trying to say you are somehow granted the right to feel safe? If so no. Sorry, the government does not have any obligation to make you feel safe. I feel reasonably safe, the homeless don’t bother me, i’m not paranoid about them. Do you think the city should go around and poll everyone to see if they feel safe and if not do what ever it takes to make weak minded people like you fee safe. Yes you have the right to “want them to exercise THEIR rights to a shelter” But they also have a right not to go to a shelter where they might not feel safe, You see, they have rights too. You don’t feel safe living here? Either, adjust your expectations, get used to it or move back to “Ohio”.

  • hickster

    This is so silly. The whole premise behind the real estate market is that we pay top dollar to live in neighborhoods that offer a superior quality of life. Therefore we have every right to be zealous about protecting this investment as well as our families.

    The majority of the homeless in BK heights are not people “down and out on their luck.” They need psychiatric care. If I tried to harm any of them some of you would have a coniption fit and I’d probably have a charge against me. So why is it ok for them to threaten me. You claim that by paying into this neighborhood to support it and keep it vibrant we have less rights then people who come here to squat and potentially threaten us.

    I am tired of not being able to sit on the benches at Clark Street, of being harassed on Henry Street and of feeling like it is somehow my obligation to be OK with it so that people like AEB don’t disparage my character. AEB and others who feel like him, if you’re so worried about their well-being, why don’t you take them into your homes. What you do is equivalent to feeding pigeons.

  • AEB

    Hickster, I don’t know you so I can’t disparage your character–and unless my eyes fail me, you haven’t posted previous to your last in this thread, so how could I have responded to you before this?

    Can’t you, in any case, fathom that (1) the homeless are people, not subhuman entities that one shouldn’t “encourage”? No one wants to be threatened by anybody, but (2) your rights by dint of living in BH don’t trump theirs.

    Nor is your “love-it-or-leave-it” solution–if people care about their situation. take them into their homes–feasible, never mind serious.

    I suppose you can call the cops the next time a bench you might have wanted to sit in is occupied by a homeless person. But that won’t solve the problem, nor, probably, mitigate your sense of entitlement.

  • Arch Stanton

    hickster, I never claimed you have less rights than anyone, but just because you paid a lot of money to live here doesn’t give you any more rights than any other human being. This is not a gated community in the suburbs; once you step out of your condo or brownstone you are on the streets of NYC and everyone has equal right to be there.
    How are the homeless threatening you, simply by being in your “holier than thou” presence or asking for some change? If anyone actually threatens you, you can call the police and have them arrested. If they bother you so much why don’t you get involved in helping them? instead of just wanting them gone, so you don’t have to be reminded the world isn’t all squeaky clean and nice.

  • Elmer Fudd

    Somebody please dress Mike Bloomberg up as a deer, put some atlers on his head, and turn him loose in the woods in West Virginia. It’s hunting season!

  • Arch Stanton

    AEB, the paraphrasing was unintentional, we must have been writing at the same time. At least we have the same views!

  • AEB

    A nice thing, for a change, Arch.

  • Big T

    Why should i have to hold breathe when i walk past one the many loonytoons that call our hood home the summertime is unbearable.

  • my2cents

    Has anyone seen a person begging because they claim they need enough money to get a bus or train ticket to somewhere and had the impulse to take them to the bus station, buy them the ticket and make sure they leave on said bus? I love the idea of calling their bluff like that. Like, oh here’s that bus ticket to Philly you needed. Get on the bus and don’t be late now! Sayonara. Thank me later.
    I feel like so many beggars in this city are just so full of BS. I have seen bums turn down well intentioned offers of food numerous times even when they explicitly asked for something to eat in their soliloquy. The truth is that the city does plenty to help and feed genuinely down-on their luck homeless folks. Those are really not the people you see on the street, in general. Believe it or not, there are people who *prefer* to live on their own terms and expect others to just give them money, and they don’t really want help from the city, which is there on offer. They want to be left alone and have people support their insane lifestyle. I used to have sympathy for these people and have even been conned out of money because I tried to help people who seemed distraught and in need of assistance, but now I just view everyone’s sob story with disbelief and contempt. My well of pity has shrunk to a droplet. Thanks NYC for ruining this Midwestern boy…