Mayor Eric Adams revealed a shocking photo of a homeless camp littered with about 500 used syringes, as he vowed to continue cracking down makeshift shelters in the city on Wednesday.
“Look at this condition!” said an obviously annoyed Adams during a press conference at City Hall.
“And I have to pretend I don’t see this?”
The unidentified site is one of 244 sites where homeless people have lived in public, deputy mayor for operations Meera Joshi said.
Officials have cleaned up 239 of them since a multi-agency task force began conducting sweeps about a week ago, Joshi said.
Only five people living at the sites agreed to move to the city’s new “safe haven” in The Bronx, Adams said.
But he predicted many more would follow as soon as they saw a new brochure listing the rooms.
Adams pointed to a similar effort to get homeless people off the subway, which resulted in only 22 people getting off the train in the first week.
That number has since grown to more than 300, he said.
“This is the first inning of our nine-inning game,” said the mayor. “When this game is over, we’ll have a city that’s much better than the dysfunctional city we’ve witnessed for far too long.”
Adams also drew a clear line between his efforts and those of his predecessor, saying, “I’m not sure what he did.”
“That was the previous government. There’s a new government and the mayor’s name isn’t Bill de Blasio, he’s Eric Adams,” he said.
Also at the press conference, an NYPD official said the tree-dwelling homeless man arrested Monday after allegedly assaulting a Post reporter and a Post photographer had been hospitalized for a psychiatric evaluation.
Nutty “Squirrel-Man” Rewell Altunaga, 44, returned to his tree-lined spot in Upper Manhattan’s Riverbank State Park after being released from his charge of the alleged assaults.
But the tarpaulin-covered treehouse was dismantled Wednesday morning, and he was placed in an ambulance and taken to Harlem Hospital, the NYPD said.
Three other homeless people were also hospitalized with apparent mental illness during the clean-up operations, and four people were charged with building structures on public land, NYPD deputy chief Brian McGinn said.
The 10 boroughs in Patrol Borough Manhattan South had the greatest concentration of homeless encampments — 85 — but there are no homeless families or children among those evicted during the clean-ups, McGinn said.
In the Boerum Hill neighborhood of Brooklyn, a Department of Homeless Services message warned that sanitation workers would clean up around the subway entrance on Smith and Warren streets on Wednesday.
“There’s a homeless guy who sits by the subway every day,” said the owner of the nearby Smith Street Barber Shop.
“He doesn’t have a tent or a box, he puts things over him – blanket, cardboard. He hasn’t been there for the last few days.”