NYC Homeless seek an elusive safe refuge in subways
Joseph Brown seeks shelter in the Times Square station on Monday.
LESSONS FROM 35 YEARS
Donna Moody-Scott, who said she’s
been homeless for 35 years, noted it took
her a decade to stop worrying about being
hassled by cops. As she put it, she
learned to say “the hell with the police.”
She said she’s been staying in Penn
Station on and off for a quarter-century.
The 60-year-old won’t go to a shelter,
saying she’s through being harassed by
homeless men and shelter workers.
“They say they want to protect you, but
you can be raped in the shelter,” Moody-
Donna Moody-Scott has been staying in Penn Station for 25 years.
‘IT’S COLD OUT THERE’
A man who goes by “Trillion Star” said
he’s had mixed dealings with the police.
But he said he appreciates the kindness
of some offi cers he’s met after falling
asleep on the train and winding up at the
end of the line.
“They just want to know if they can get
me a coffee, something hot,” he said. “Because
it’s cold out there sometimes.”
The 38-year-old Queens native said he
“couldn’t even dream” he’d ever be without
a home. But after nine years, he’s got
PHOTO : BEN FRACTENBERG/THE CITY
his subway routine down.
“I like to be off the street at night,”
‘IT’S JUST A HOME’
Carl Robinson was glad to share his
observations from a platform bench at
the 34th Street-Herald Square station,
but not his age. The burly, bearded man,
who uses a cane, said he didn’t want to
deal with any “age discrimination.”
Robinson, who noted he’s been
without a home since 1985, said
homeless people became “public enemy
No. 1” during former Mayor Rudy
PHOTO : BEN FRACTENBERG/THE CITY
While he prefers the trains to the
street or shelters, “No place is safe in the
Robinson said there’s “a very simple
solution” to homelessness.
“It’s called a home,” he said. “It’s just a
home, nothing complicated.”
This story was originally published
by THE CITY, an independent, nonprofit
news organization dedicated to hardhitting
reporting that serves the people of
BY BEN FRACTENBERG,
GABRIEL SANDOVAL AND
JOSE MARTINEZ, THE CITY
This story was fi rst published on
TOct. 8 by THE CITY. he beating deaths of four homeless
men sleeping on the streets
of Chinatown early Saturday
shocked the city. But for some New
Yorkers without a permanent home,
the killings confi rmed an unease that
has them avoiding city streets and shelters
overnight, afraid for their safety.
Many fi nd refuge in the subways.
But life underground is
Gov. Andrew Cuomo recently announced
plans to hire 500 new MTA
cops to deal with various issues.
Meanwhile, as THE CITY reported
last week, the NYPD is now using
surveillance cameras to keep tabs on
the homeless in a dozen stations.
Against this backdrop, THE CITY
spoke with some people who regularly
seek shelter in the subway system.
Here’s what they told us:
‘MY SAFE HAVEN’
Word about the killings of the
four men didn’t reach Joseph Brown
When the news spread Sunday,
Brown was busy dealing with the loss
of clothing he said was stolen while
he was sleeping.
“Now I’ve got to start all over
again,” said Brown, 52, who tugged
a suitcase and a shopping cart at the
42nd St.-Port Authority station.
He doesn’t like shelters. And won’t
sleep on sidewalks, like the men who
lost their lives Saturday.
“That’s unsafe,” Brown said. “I go
on the train. That’s my safe haven.”
Still, he added: “The subway is
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18 October 10, 2019 Schneps Media