Is Homelessness Out of Control in New York? Asleep in the Roosevelt Island Subway

Is Homelessness Out of Control in New York? Asleep in the Roosevelt Island Subway

A sign that homelessness in New York is out of control, the increase of people using the Roosevelt Island subway station as a place to sleep. Three different residents offer photos of the growing phenomenon.

By David Stone

The Roosevelt Island Daily News

New York’s Appalling Failure on Display in the Roosevelt Island Subway Station

Roosevelt Island Subway Station, Saturday, June 19, 2021
On Saturday afternoon, the sorry equivalent of a home with an attached garage. ©David Stone/The Roosevelt Island Daily

As disgraceful as the extent of homelessness is in New York City, it’s duration emphasizes the utter cultural failure.

Over dinner at my friend’s apartment, I was clear about it. With homelessness at the forefront, I told him there was easily enough wealth in the city to cure all the gaps in providing decent living standards for everyone.

My friend, who worked on Wall Street, got a year end bonus that was bigger than my annual salary, but he was surprised. His biggest gripe was over the tax bite.

That was in 1995. Some things haven’t changed, and homelessness is one of them. One thing that hasn’t changed is the truth: No one ought to go hungry or end up sleeping in the Roosevelt Island subway station.

But in spite of all the political blather, it persists.

What we see – Photos from Roosevelt Islanders

One morning rush hour, this week. No one in New York or anywhere else in America should greet the day like this.
Makes an accurate contemporary postcard, doesn’t it? Photo courtesy of Jim Luce.

In some ways, sleeping in the Roosevelt Island subway station is a step up from alternatives. If we can’t make decent homes, at least the homeless are warm and dry. It’s a sad fact that it’s better than sleeping exposed on the increasingly chilly streets.

Since we’ve never elected politicians big enough to solve our worst social problems, expect more when winter arrives. Cringe with compassion. We can’t solve this as individuals, but we can elect better leaders. That’s a given.

Roosevelt Island Subway Station Napper
As a society, we need to find answers for why they are so poor that this is their best option.

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