It was bound to happen eventually.
With the debate over “broken windows” policing back in the news thanks to the killing of Eric Garner, the New York Post dispatched four reporters and a photographer to prove that we are indeed back in the “bad old days.” Together, the crack investigative team managed to turn up two “squeegee men” who are “terrorizing” the city, and rumors of maybe a couple more. They write: “The ultimate symbol of the lawlessness and blight of the 1980s and early 1990s … menacing motorists … an ominous sign … vagrants … glassy-eyed man … a handful of crumpled dollar bills in his filthy, cracked fingers.” Fear-mongering, class-shaming, race-baiting — it’s got it all.
Just last week, the Post’s Andrea Peyser declared, “Times Square’s costumed menaces are the new squeegee men,” but after some additional investigative reporting, it turns out that squeegee men are the new squeegee men. (Last year, bathroom attendants were dubbed “Worse than squeegee men.” That was before everything went to shit, by which we mean Mayor de Blasio.)
Conveniently, the squeegee man with the filthy, cracked fingers — the Post has a close-up of a Windex bottle in his hand for effect — speaks exactly like a New York Post columnist’s worst nightmare:
“Doing it this way is better than going out and selling drugs, sticking people up,” said the man, who wouldn’t give his name.
“I’d rather be doing this than to go back to what I was doing before Giuliani came into office: pimping . . . selling drugs, all that.
Seeing the tabloid cover today, said NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton on CBS This Morning, “You’d think we were being overrun by squeegee pests. They’ve documented three people who they’ve seen acting as squeegee pests. We’re not being overrun. Those will be taken care of very, very quickly.” Thank heavens.