Bloomberg Draws Heat For Comments On Subway Panhandlers

Hizzoner Says Not Many Exist; Riders Wonder If He's Joking

NEW YORK (1010 WINS)Mayor Michael Bloomberg is drawing criticism and confused reaction from homeless advocates and straphangers alike for comments he made at a news conference on Monday.

When a reporter asking about cell phones on the subway mentioned panhandlers, Bloomberg quipped “there aren’t very many panhandlers left in all fairness to the MTA, come on.”

The comments left some subway riders dumbfounded and wondering what subway the mayor is riding.

“I’m actually a big fan of Mayor Bloomberg, but for him to say that…he’s not in tune with what’s happening because they’re still there. I mean people are hurting,” one man told 1010 WINS’ Sonia Rincon.

1010 WINS’ Sonia Rincon Gets Reaction From Straphangers

“Depends where he’s at. In Brooklyn, there’s more panhandlers and in like Queens. You see a whole lot of them on the train,” another subway passenger said.

Between the economy and the high cost of living in the city, homelessness has skyrocketed. The Coalition for the Homeless reports the number has risen 45 percent in the last six years.

Other advocacy groups called the mayor’s remarks insensitive.

“They’re not invisible at all — they’re there. And any regular rider will tell you that there are folks that are asking for help,” another straphanger said.

“I think there are more actually than…like last year or the year before,” one man said.

While other straphangers said they haven’t really noticed a significant difference in the number of homeless people on trains, they still felt the situation was a bad one.

“I don’t know which trains he’s taking, but definitely there are folks out there that are in need of additional help,” another rider remarked.

SOUND-OFF: Think The Mayor Is Out Of Touch Or Right On The Mark With His Comments? Share Your Thoughts In The Comments Section…

Comments

One Comment

  1. Anonymous says:

    I wonder if it is just a matter of semantics. I certainly don’t see a DECREASE in panhandling on the subways, and I’ve lived in NYC for 35 years. But one thing that I definitely notice is the homeless people basically taking over the subways after midnight and into the early morning. I have found it virtually impossible to find a subway car without at least one sleeping homeless person hunkered down in the corner, with all of their earthly goods surrounding them. Sometimes the car has one on each end. In many cases, the presence of one or two of these folks can make the car they’re in impossible to tolerate due to the overwhelming smell. This is a consistent issue, not a once in awhile thing. It’s every night. The subways have become surrogate shelters and homes, and it is a really shocking thing to see, but apparently something that has become business as usual. Mayor Bloomberg should send some of his staffers out at all times of the night and morning, to ride every train line to get the REAL story of what is going on. It’s a truly shameful situation, especially in this city which is supposed to be the greatest, or one of the greatest cities, in the world.

  2. GREG says:

    THIS JUST GOES TO SHOW YOU HOW OUT OF TOUCH THIS GUY REAALY IS WITH EVERYONE ELSE… HEMUST HAVE HIS HEAD UP HIS BUTT WHEN HE GETS ON THE TRAIN.

  3. MIKE says:

    HE RIDES THE SUBEWAY TO WORK, BUT WHEN HE RIDES THE SUBWAY ALL THE PANHANDLERS ARE NOT PERMITTED TO BOARD THE TRAIN.

    THIS MAN IS AN ABSOLUTE FOOL!! HES OUT OF TUNE WITH THE CITY, HE HAS THE NAPOLEAN COMPLEX…AND HE DOES NOT CARE ABOUT THE AVERAGE NEW YORKER.

    THIS MAN IS A BILLIONAIRE, HE HAS NEVER SAT AT A TABLE TO BREAK BREAD WITH JOHN Q. HE’S ACCUSTOMED TO THE HIGH LIFE AND WHO THE HE** ARE YOU LOW CLASS PEOPLE!

    THATS HIS PERSONALITY…SAD BUT TRUE!

  4. lol over this says:

    here comes another snow storm.

  5. Trishe says:

    Sorry Mr. B, but I don’t think you’ve been riding the subway lately. There are more homeless people in the subways and in the streets. Its just not men, but women, children, elderly and pets and all these individuals with pets came from all walks of life. The rent and everything in the city ihas become too expensive for a regular New Yorker and those who are poor are simply living in the streets.

  6. Bob says:

    He really is an idiot

  7. KPMc says:

    I’ve been noticing lately that there are more ‘homeless’ people on the subways… Not all are panhandling but I’ve gotten on to cars at midnight that remind me of a hobo freight train after the depression.

    If the mayor is just twisting around semantics between panhandling and homeless that is just sad. Maybe they have cleared out the homeless on the UES and sent em to the D train in Brooklyn and others in Queens.

  8. joe for mayor says:

    take the homeless people to your house in bermuda

  9. BF says:

    Mr. Mayor, you are so out of touch with the average New Yorker, it’s pathetic.

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