EAST HARLEM — An MTA board member blasted the city for the “huge, disgusting mess” outside the 125th Street Metro-North entrance at a committee meeting.
Board member Andrew Saul relayed his concerns about safety to MTA Chief of Police Owen Monaghan at the meeting Monday, describing homeless people loitering, dirty sidewalks and “rubbish” outside the station.
“It’s strewn with trash… it’s really bad. That thing looks so terrible outside the station. It’s a real huge, disgusting mess," Saul told Monaghan.
“And for riders to come in and to use our facility, it does reflect — even though it’s not our direct responsibility — on the MTA,” he added.
The homelessness issue along 125th Street has been well documented, with locals claiming in 2015 that attempts to remove homeless individuals from the block only pushed the problem elsewhere.
Monaghan noted that there has been an increase in police officers in the area over the past year to address safety concerns, noting he plans to reach out to the city to address the cleanliness of the area, which sits outside the agency’s jurisdiction.
“It’s an ongoing challenge,” he said. “It is a challenge we’re committed to addressing.”
A Department of Sanitation spokesman said the agency “regularly cleans trash and litter” from under the area,, noting that some area may fall into other jurisdictions.
Isaac McGinn, a spokesman for the city Department of Homeless Services, said the agency has consistently done outreach in the area.
"Our outreach teams canvass this location daily in the ongoing effort to engage and bring street homeless New Yorkers indoors,” he said.
“In addition, we regularly carry out joint operations with agency partners to connect these individuals with services and are undeterred in our efforts to engage clients proactively and aggressively until we make the connection that will help them transition off the streets.”
He noted that among the roughly 750 people helped off the streets citywide, nearly 90 came from the area.