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Complaints: Penn Station Overrun By Panhandlers

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Penn Station Panhandler

Johnnie Wilcox, who lives on and off the streets and currently resides in a single room occupancy hotel, panhandles for change near Penn Station on April 14, 2011 in New York City. (Credit: Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

logo-8801 Ginny Kosola
Ginny Kosola is one of WCBS Newsradio 880's intrepid reporters.
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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — Owners of businesses near New York City transit hub Pennsylvania Station are complaining to authorities about panhandlers.

LISTEN: WCBS 880′s Ginny Kosola speaks with commuters who’ve been “hassled” by panhandlers 


The owners say the sidewalks near the midtown Manhattan station are overrun by panhandlers — some of them homeless.

Passengers at Penn Station told Kosola that the number of homeless people and panhandlers here seems to be increasing.

“He went up to us and kinda chased us, it was weird,” said Lauren from Middletown, New Jersey.

“We were just getting our tickets and three people came up and asked for money and they were like, scary,” said Christi, a student at Hofstra.

Paddy O’Reilly runs the Molly Wee pub at 30th Street and Eighth Avenue. The New York Post reports that he and other business owners asked for help at a police community council meeting Thursday.

The Post says the NYPD has increased its presence in the area.

Penn Station homeless man

A homeless man is seen here at Penn Station. (Credit: Ginny Kosola/WCBS 880)

Penn Station serves passengers riding Amtrak, the Long Island Rail Road and New Jersey Transit trains.

Eliza, a tourist from Portland, said it’s tragic.

“I don’t know, I don’t know what needs to be done, but it’s very sad,” she said.

The neighborhood includes a church-based soup kitchen, and the city’s main post office serves as an address for the homeless to receive letters and assistance checks.

(TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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