The Homeless in NYC Are Now Living in Tiny Spaces in the Frame of the Manhattan Bridge

I just got back to Colorado from 10 days in my hometown of New York City. It’s always fun to see friends and family as well as take stock of how much things have changed since I left. There is no question about it, NYC feels more like “Disneyland for Wall Street” than ever before. The very rich are doing very well, everyone else, not so much. We are often told by charlatans and mainstream media propagandists that this mythical rising tide of wealth lifts all boats. If that’s the case, I find it quite perplexing that the homeless population in America’s financial center is exploding five years into the so-called recovery. Meanwhile, let’s not forget that 22% of the city is on food stamps.

How is this possible? Because we have witnessed five years of egregious corruption and crony capitalist theft, not a genuine recovery. That’s how.

The war on the homeless has been accelerating in recent years, as city officials across the nation would rather hide the problem that admit the economic recovery is bullshit. In most cases, the measures are subtle, but have the desired effect of pushing homeless people away from public view (in Columbia, South Carolina it is not so subtle and you need a $120 weekly permit to feed the homeless). NYC officials are a bit more nuanced. For example, I was shocked to see a sign posted in a park in Manhattan that said adults can’t come in without children. It looked something like this:

Screen Shot 2014-04-14 at 10.25.22 AM

No matter what spin somebody may put on this, the primary goal is to keep homeless people away.

I grew up in New York City and was a toddler in the early 1980’s, not exactly the safest period in the city. I remember playing in the parks around my parents’ apartment and there were homeless people everywhere. It was a part of my childhood for better or worse, but it was reality. I think I was better off knowing the homeless existed than if they had all been pushed away to the outskirts and everyone pretended they weren’t there.

The thing is, many of the very wealthy in New York City want to believe this bullshit story that things are generally getting better. Meanwhile, the statistics speak for themselves, and according to HUD, the homeless population in NYC increased 13% last year. That’s quite disturbing five years into raging bull market for stocks.

Moving along, we now we find that homeless people are living in coffin-sized spaces inside the frame of the Manhattan Bridge.

From the New York Post:

Crafty hobos are turning the Manhattan Bridge into a veritable shantytown, complete with elaborate plywood shacks that are truly “must see to believe.”

One of the coffin-sized living spaces — which have been built into the bridge frame near the Manhattan entrance — is secured with a flimsy bike lock and bolted to a metal beam by its inhabitant.

The pods are built into the underside of the upper deck, below car traffic but above the subway and bike lanes.

To reach his makeshift studio, the bridge dweller — a stocky, neatly dressed Chinese man in his 40s — climbs a chain-link fence to a nook above the bike lane, witnesses said.

He unlocks the red bike lock with a key, slides a plank of wood back like a door and crawls in.

The 10-by-1¹/₂-foot shacks are cramped, but the rent-free homes sure beat the cost of living legit in neighborhoods nearby — like Brooklyn’s trendy DUMBO, so named for its location “down under the Manhattan Bridge overpass.”

Here are a couple of photos.

First, the entrance to one of these makeshift shanties:


The interior:


Really, really sad.

Full article here.

In Liberty,
Michael Krieger

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  1. I agree w/ you with regards to the question of restricting homeless from public parks.

    1) It limits individual freedom to say what adult can and cannot be in a public place (certainly not out of the norm for New York).

    and probably more importantly…

    2) It’s serves as just another example of dealing with symptoms rather than with society’s problems. Keep the kleptocratic system going, don’t address income inequality at it’s root; rather lets just paper things over.

    Alas, this is bound to continue.

  2. Aganda 21… Soon we will all be living like this…Obama Care is not going to be anything but be a death warrant …and all that can not pay will lose their homes…what % of the country do you think that will be….Agenda 21 ..make access to medical care impossible to attain…. Read for yourself….

  3. I grew up in New York City and was a toddler in the early 1980′s, not exactly the safest period in the city. I remember playing in the parks around my parents’ apartment and there were homeless people everywhere. It was a part of my childhood for better or worse, but it was reality.

    i like you kreiger , but this sentence smacks full of shit. you remember loving seeing homeless people around while you were playing in the parks as a todler really?

    i’m calling a spade a spade here. plus i bike over the manhattan bridge regularly. WHAT THE FUCK ARE WRITING ABOUT HERE?

    you article is about homelessness increasing. blablabla . what the fuck is new in new york.

    i only write this critical post because i like your others so much i am just trying to help you keep your quality high. this was the unusual crap ass article. let’s leave it in the gutter where it belongs.

    • Michael Krieger

      I never said I loved seeing homeless people. I said that homelessness was a reality in the city at the time and I’m fine with the fact I was exposed to it rather than it being intentionally hidden from my sight. More importantly, I am making the point that a public space is there for public use. Someone who is not committing a crime or doing something wrong shouldn’t be banned for any superficial reason. This policy is pre crime and a slippery slope. I think you missed the point of the post entirely. It was primarily a commentary about how we as a culture are dealing with the reality of a fake economic recovery as well as our eroding civil rights. Sure the homeless are an easy target. Cultures that lose rights always start with easy targets.

      Michael Krieger

    • It seems to me this post is simply about noticing changes typically unnoticed because of the bubble life of New Yorkers.

      Furthermore, it is something that absolutely should be noticed and even written about. Since when is it considered not “high quality” to write about an ongoing issue? And this isn’t about homelessness increasing, it is about rights. It would be better in your mind to ignore the changes in rights to homeless people? Or you notice because you “bike over the manhattan bridge regularly?”

      Additionally, if you knew someone in this situation, it wouldn’t be a “crap ass article.” You would be happy the issue is being covered instead of ignored.

      You pretty much proved the mentality of the average New Yorker.

  4. I bleed for the people pushed out of the system since the 1980s along with the end of investigative journalism that makes them invisible and anonymous.

    Conflating that issue with the sign in New York City protecting children and their guardians from the presence and threat of pedophiles of which there are many, is insidious. As if child predators don’t exist.

    That sign is prevention and very sensible. Why the hell should any adult without children take up space inside a playground designed for children accompanied by guardians?

    I watch children in Central Park. They’re particularly entertaining around the sailboat in the 70s on the east side of the park. I did that just yesterday while I ate my lunch. Its delightful. Those children without exception are accompanied by guardians who keep an eye on them for their safety.

    Allowing men and women without children inside a playground would make the job of the guardian very difficult. The inevitable perv would be there. Ask someone who attends their children in a playground near you how they feel about that sign discouraging pedos from the area.

    The sign does not accuse adults of being pervs. Pervs are not easily detectable. Ask the Pope.

    • Michael Krieger

      A few things here. First of all, I made it clear that my belief is that these signs are to keep homeless people out, not child molesters. In all reality, while child abductors might see a park as a place to abduct children, the truth is that the most egregious examples of pedophilia are found within professions or institutions of trust. Pedophiles generally seem to try to be unquestioned members of the community so that they can achieve their devious, despicable aims without raising alarm bells. Take Jimmy Savile in the UK, who was knighted despite many people coming forward about his systematic molestation of hundreds if not thousands of children:

      From my personal experience growing up in NYC and spending most of my childhood in public parks in the 1980s, I saw homeless people everywhere but never knew anyone abducted by a pedophile. I am not saying it doesn’t happen, surely it does, but a public space is a public space and as long as you are not committing a crime you should be allowed to enter it. Not allowing this is pre crime and a slippery slope into other civil rights violations. Interestingly enough, the one major event regarding pedophilia I recall from my youth was that a teacher at the very prestigious private school in NYC I attended was found molesting many young boys and subsequently fired. I recall no prosecution however and many parents actually defended this creep. How are you going to stop this, ban adults from entering schools? Furthermore, as you mention, we both know about priests.

      Finally, there is considerable evidence that authorities are using the “child porn” or “child molestation” rationale as a way to crack down on civil liberties generally. Just like “terrorism” has allowed for the trampling of much of the Bill of Rights. This is because it carries an emotional response that allows rules to come into place that people will blindly accept without realizing the slippery slope we are on. Meanwhile, look at the people that are in charge of these laws in many cases:

      Finally, as I made clear anyway, this is not about pedophiles, it is about keeping homeless people out. It will not stop much in the way of pedophilia, but it will keep homeless people away from sensitive New Yorkers who’d just rather not know. It’s always easy to pick on the most alienated members of society and to tell yourself tales of fighting pedophilia to justify pre crime laws to keep homeless people away.

      Michael Krieger

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