The New York Post has a sad story that gives new meaning to DUMBO: The paper reports that some people are actually sleeping in the Manhattan Bridge near the Manhattan entrance. Their “coffin-sized living spaces” are built below the upper deck’s car traffic and above the subway and bike lanes. The cramped homes are about ten feet-by-one-and-a-half feet, secured with bike locks and bolted to a metal beam.
Passersby have reported seeing a stocky, neatly dressed Chinese man in his 40s climb a chain-link fence to a nook above the bike lane. “He unlocks the red bike lock with a key, slides a plank of wood back like a door and crawls in,” the Post reports. The police discovered the dwellings after a cyclist thought the man was a jumper and called 911. Debra Vitale, a West Village resident who the Post found hanging out in the area, told the paper that she finds the situation “pretty cool.” “It’s a very New York story,” she said. While her first observation is deeply wrong, her second one is unfortunately correct: According to the Coalition for the Homeless, the number of New Yorkers with nowhere to live hit 53,615 in 2013.