Over the weekend, the New York Post reported that at least one man had used plywood to construct a shelter on the underside of the Manhattan Bridge’s upper deck, in between the subway tracks and the bike path. On Thursday, the NYPD decided it was time to evict him. According to the Post, more than a dozen officers showed up at the makeshift studio, which was located about 150 feet from the bridge’s Brooklyn entrance. After announcing themselves and receiving no response, they began sawing through the shelter’s Styrofoam-insulated floor, only to find that its resident was, in fact, home.
The cops helped the guy — a Chinese immigrant who identified himself only as “Joe” — out of the space unharmed and sent him to Bellevue for evaluation. “That’s amazing! I didn’t think he was in there. When I saw his legs pop out, I was like, ‘Oh s–t!’” said one officer on the scene. “That’s why you gotta go slow,” observed another.
Inside, they found that Joe had attached a tarp to his ceiling with a Bungee cord, presumably to keep out the elements. He also had “a small reading light, scissors, keys and bottles, including distilled vinegar, Sriracha hot sauce, a box of Chinese cookies, two unopened cans of Bud Light and a box of salt,” as well a portable butane stove for heat. The cops told the Post that they would save all of Joe’s stuff, as well as “do anything we can to help a man down on his luck get back on his feet.” It would be nice if the city could say something similar to its tens of thousands of other homeless people, as opposed to just those whose creativity captures the attention of a tabloid, but it’s good to see that at least one has been promised some assistance.