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Mayor Says There Are Few Panhandlers on City Subways

By Carla Zanoni | May 17, 2011 9:56am
Mayor Mike Bloomberg said there
Mayor Mike Bloomberg said there "aren't very many panhandlers left" in the city during a press conference on May 16.
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By Carla Zanoni

DNAinfo Reporter

MANHATTAN — Mayor Mike Bloomberg put his foot in his mouth while rushing to reprimand a reporter who mentioned the existence of panhandling on city subways during a press conference Monday.

"There aren't very many panhandlers left, the mayor said, according to  Gothamist. "C'mon, that's a cheap shot at an agency that has worked very hard to fix that problem."

Homeless advocates said the statement portrays a divide between the billionaire mayor's life and that of the typical New Yorker, and said his security detail likely keeps a buffer between him and panhandlers who ride on the same rails.

Joel Berg, head of the New York City Coalition Against Hunger, told the Daily News that the remark was "absurd" that "bears no relation to reality."

He went on to say that the mayor lives in a different city "from the one that I and 8 million other New Yorkers live in," Berg said the to the News, "To quote that great statistician, Chico Marx, 'Who you gonna believe - me or your eyes?'"

In April, DNAinfo reported panhandling near Penn Station has reached a crisis point, with businesses along Eighth Avenue reporting aggressive panhandlers scaring customers and becoming violent.