2002-06-01 / Letters

Too Many Panhandlers

Too Many Panhandlers

Dear Editor;

Every morning, I begin my day with the same routine. I wake up, get dressed and go to 116 to get a breakfast sandwich on my way to school. I cross the same streets, pass the same stores, see the same faces, and observe the same bums sleeping on 116 street.

I've lived in Rockaway my entire life, and I can't ever remember a time when there were more homeless individuals on 116 Street, a place where I spend a lot of my day. As I enter Pickles N Pies, I am harassed by at least five men, begging for money. It used to the same question, "Little girl, do you have a quarter to spare?" Being naive, I'd give them the quarter. Now, as I grow older and they know my face, the demand is sometimes as much as five dollars. I have come to learn that none of them actually need the money. 

There is absolutely nothing wrong with any of these people, nor is there any reason why they can't get a job.

I'm only 16 years old, live at home with two full-time, hard-working parents, and I am still employed.

About a month ago, an elderly woman parked her car and went into the North Fork Bank. When she came back to her car, one of the Beach 116 commoners was in the back seat, and wouldn't leave her car, demanding that she give him a ride home. When I heard about this, I nearly blew my top.  It unbalances the acids in my stomach when I have to watch these pathetic bums roaming 116 at all hours of the day.

I know the police do all they can to improve the situation, but it's only worsening as the years progress. Now that the summer is approaching, I shiver at the thought of how many more bums there will be on 116, using the ocean as a bathtub.

They sleep on the corner of 116, in the train station, and God knows where else. If I didn't walk to the store and see Butchie sleeping by Pickles N Pies, Joe dragging his dirty dog along, or Sheila singing for a few pennies, I'd know I wasn't at 116.


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