Hitting home: Ridgites demand response to nabe’s growing homeless

On the streets: There is an uptick of vagrants busking for food and change on Bay Ridge thoroughfares such as 86th Street between Fourth and Fifth avenues.
Brooklyn Paper
Share on TwitterTweet
Share on Facebook

Don’t miss our updates:

The city must focus its homeless outreach efforts in Bay Ridge, according to locals who are reporting more vagrants in neighborhood parks and on commercial thoroughfares.

The down-on-their-luck flock to Bay Ridge because it is one of the borough’s safer nabes, but some itinerants are harassing Ridgites, who fear their quiet corner of Brooklyn could become more dangerous without intervention, according to one.

“It can be a little scary navigating all the homeless men that show up here early in the morning,” said Marilyn Saunders, who walks along Fourth Avenue to reach the 86th Street R station for work every day. “Sometimes I worry, ‘Is this gonna be the day something happens?’ I have nothing against them — just maybe a shelter would be a better place for them to hang out.”

More locals are calling 311 about homeless, according to Community Board 10 district manager Josephine Beckmann, Twenty-four people called 311 to report someone living on the street in 2014. Last year, when residents reported a rise in area destitute, 311 received 35 calls. This year, the city has fielded 133 calls, and it’s only September, she said.

“There is a more visible presence of street bedding and encampments that we have not seen in a very long time,” Beckmann said. “I think many people come to Bay Ridge because they feel safe here, you tend to see them near the train.”

Being homeless is not illegal, and concerned citizens can call 311 to report homeless encampments or people that outreach organizations can offer help to. The city encourages people to call 911 in some situations — including if a homeless person is a danger to himself or others, ill outside during a cold-weather emergency, or blocking a cash machine, according to 311’s online complaint system.

But subways are safer than the shelter system, according to one homeless man who has spent the last two weeks living around 86th Street and Fourth Avenue.

“The shelters are awful, I’d rather sleep out here on the street,” said Eric, who declined to give his full name because he’s concerned it would scare away potential employers. “I took the train from East New York. I take the train a lot. But I like it here — I feel pretty safe here.”

City officials did not respond to questions about how they will deal with the issue in Bay Ridge specifically, but said that they are hard at work to bring the hard-up off the streets across the city.

“Department of Homeless Services outreach providers, including Breaking Ground, canvass 24-7 to identify and engage individuals who present as homeless,” an agency spokeswoman said.

Areas where homeless are concentrating, according to Community Board 10

By Caroline Spivack

Reach reporter Caroline Spivack at or by calling (718) 260–2517. Follow her on Twitter @carolinespivack.
Makeshift livingroom: Beside the tennis courts in Shore Road Park a group of homeless people made a temporary home equipped with a dresser and rug.
Updated 10:17 pm, July 9, 2018
Today’s news:
Share on TwitterTweet
Share on Facebook

Don’t miss our updates:

Reasonable discourse

Jonathan from Red Hook says:
Poor water and family management is the cause of much global instability. Syria is a good example of this.
Sept. 20, 2016, 6:43 am
Wanda from Park Slope says:
Jonathan is right, these homeless arabs are stressing the system because their home countries are so awful.
Sept. 20, 2016, 7 am
MJ from Bay Ridge says:
the vacant previous location of CB 10 building can be a homeless shelter
Sept. 20, 2016, 9:26 am
Ms. Me from Bay Ridge says:
Mexicans favor Lief Ericson Park between 3rd and 4th. Several always hanging out lately under one of the crabapples with a big branch broken and bent down looking as though it was positioned to screen them.
Sept. 20, 2016, 10:43 am
Ms. Me from Bay Ridge says:
Juvenile bike riding gay male spends his days putting fake comments on the Brooklyn Paper -- example above.
Sept. 20, 2016, 10:51 am
Jonathan from Red Hook says:
No need to get snarky Wanda… many US citizens have no sense of what it takes to survive responsibly.
Sept. 20, 2016, 11:03 am
Harriet from Brooklyn Heights says:
Indeed Jonathan - many of these arabs have become American citizens, but they still live like they were in the middle east. It's awful.
Sept. 20, 2016, 11:14 am
Ms. Me from Bay Ridge says:
Hey Wanda,

Let's go scissor under one of the crabapples with the big branch broken and bent down, we'll give these guys a great donkey show!
Sept. 20, 2016, 11:15 am
Melissa says:
Eww, this looks gross!
Sept. 20, 2016, 12:10 pm
Ms. Me from Bay Ridge says:
"Tree Damage and Arborcide"
"It is illegal and punishable by law for citizens to remove, kill, or damage a street or park tree, whether intentionally or accidentally...
Anyone caught removing or otherwise harming a tree should be reported immediately. Call 311 to notify an officer".---per NYC Parks dept. website
Sept. 20, 2016, 12:55 pm
Jjm from C. Hill says:
They could send outreach out there all they want but if the homeless refuses it, there's nothing they can do. You cant force people to do anything they dont wanna do. If the people of bay ridge keep rallying against afforadble housing then they wouldnt have to worry about this. But since they wanna be a bunch of NIMBY's, they gotta just deal with it like any other neighborhood in nyc.
Sept. 20, 2016, 2:03 pm
Ms. Me from Bay Ridge says:
@ Tal Barzilai,

I tell you what Tal, You bring some of that asswine (infused with corn) & you got yourself a deal. I'll even wear the donkey costume!
Sept. 20, 2016, 2:08 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
Oh, yeah - now you are talking. I'll start making a fresh batch for you to donkey out.
Sept. 20, 2016, 2:56 pm
MJ from Bay Ridge says:
the homeless problem is a tip of the iceberg as more people will kick-out to the street due to illegal conversion cleansing.. while the city and the community does nothing to all the vacant houses of Mousa Khalil
Sept. 20, 2016, 3:33 pm
Ms. Me from Bay Ridge says:
A) My imitator is a sick bastard. B) How would a (possible) day laborer who is probably "undocumented" qualify for governmental affordable housing? C) Many of the people living in the park near me appear to have more than just housing problems. D) Bay Ridge needs more senior housing. That would free up existing apartments for families. 20% of the neighborhood is senior citizens.
Sept. 20, 2016, 6:14 pm
Marvin from Bay Ridge says:
Let's convert the mosque into a homeless shelter...
Sept. 20, 2016, 9:39 pm
Bridget from Brooklyn says:
Marvin - the mosque is where most of these people come from. The police should do their job and prevent people from living in the parks (they are public property and they are not allowed to be taken over for private use after they are closed). There are plenty of homeless shelters in Brooklyn. These people can be brought to any of them which already exist.
Sept. 21, 2016, 4:29 am
C from Bay Ridge says:
I'd take 10 5th Avenue Bobo's over one of these bums...any day.
Sept. 21, 2016, 8:18 am
Marvin from Bay Ridge says:
Let's convert my home into a garbage dump. It would be a natural transition considering the people already inside.
Sept. 21, 2016, 8:35 am
Ms. Me from Bay Ridge says:
A) I did NOT make that comment Yesterday, 6:14 pm.

B) For the record, I hate all brown people.

C) I want Tal to defecate on my chest/face/stomach.
Sept. 21, 2016, 9:29 am
Tal Barzilal from Pleasantville, NY says:
@ Ms. Me
Good news for you, traffic on the Hershey Highway is flowing free and clear today. And not to worry, I ate plenty of Taco Bell. There's no way you will be brown after I'm done.
Sept. 21, 2016, 10:40 am
Charles from Bklyn says:
Homelessness is a serious issue. I wish the few people above this comment would be decent and respectful of people's tragedy to becoming homeless.

We really need to house the homeless. The right to housing should trump the right, if there is, to live on the streets. We should offer housing for anyone that needs it, and force the rest into hospital. The cost would be higher, but the issue resolved.
Sept. 21, 2016, 3:16 pm
Ms. Me from Bay Ridge says:
I hate when I blow a hobo and it leaves a dirt ring around my mouth.
Sept. 21, 2016, 4:02 pm
Tal Barzilal from Pleasantville, NY says:
@ Charles from Bklyn.

Has it occurred to you that some people need to drive and not everyone lives like you? You bike zealots from Streetsblog and Transportation Alternatives are always going on about how you need bike lanes to be safe. The truth is bike lanes do not improve safety, following the rules of the road does. In addition it is like Hamas treating Israel. Just because some people die doesn't mean that the zealots don't have an anti-car bias such as Paul Steely White which he doesn't even try to hide. Try to see the causes of why people do what they do.
Sept. 21, 2016, 4:32 pm
Rita from Queens says:
Sorry, but they are here illegally and ruining it for everyone else. Send them back to their home countries. maybe they can have home with their families back over there.
Sept. 22, 2016, 7:56 am
Rita from Queens says:
I hate the browns but I love when they run a train on me.
So conflicted.
Sept. 22, 2016, 8:27 am
Nooter from Brooklyn says:
I always thought it was spelled *Homeliss*
"homeless" does not make any sense, as the do not have a home they can be at less. They are "homemores" because they want more homes than they have now.
A less exclusive term for them could be "change hunters" or "people of the cart".
Sept. 23, 2016, 8:52 am

Comments closed.

First name
Last name
Your neighborhood
Email address
Daytime phone

Your letter must be signed and include all of the information requested above. (Only your name and neighborhood are published with the letter.) Letters should be as brief as possible; while they may discuss any topic of interest to our readers, priority will be given to letters that relate to stories covered by The Brooklyn Paper.

Letters will be edited at the sole discretion of the editor, may be published in whole or part in any media, and upon publication become the property of The Brooklyn Paper. The earlier in the week you send your letter, the better.

Keep it local!

Stay in touch with your community. Subscribe to our free newsletter: