A man huddled against the 20-degree temperatures on Seventh Avenue, just north of Times Square — covered in blankets alongside his dog, his luggage and a fast food cup to hold the change he was begging passersby for.
Behind him, a store selling trinkets for tourists with a large "I Love NY" sign. The slogan was created in the late 70s when the city, facing bankruptcy and standing as a symbol of urban decay, needed a re-brand.
This would not have been an uncommon sight in old Times Square, before the glass storefronts, chain restaurants and shops and cheery throngs of tourists turned it into a modern-day Disney World. But today is a different time in New York City — with low crime, a growing population, and a local real estate tycoon as president-elect. But homelessness remains an intractable problem, with nearly 60,000 people in and out of city shelters under Mayor Bill de Blasio — a record high.
The city provides a list of shelter locations for singles, families and at-risk populations, like LGBTQ youth. And the mayor said he "owns" the homeless issue, and is trying everything to get homeless off the streets and into temporary housing.