Single unhoused person evicted from Riverside Park by a contingent of officials Saturday morning

Text and photos by Jack Defren

A sizable phalanx of city officials descended on Riverside Park Saturday morning to evict a single homeless man and his encampment from the pedestrian tunnel under the West Side Highway near West 78th Street.

By 1 p.m., the morning rain had given way to a beautiful spring sun, and six NYPD officers, three New York City Parks Department officers, two sanitation workers, and a representative from the city’s homeless agency stood around watching the lone unhoused person slowly picked up his things. assets on the east side of the tunnel. Several NYPD and Parks vehicles remained parked along the sidewalk at the top of the stairs near the southwest corner of 79th St. and Riverside Drive, and a DSNY sanitation truck was parked in the pedestrian tunnel.

None of the officers or city workers intervened or assisted as the individual dismantled his camp. An NYPD officer noted that he had already been assisting with the process for three hours and that he was impatient to leave the area.

A telephone representative from the NYPD 20th Precinct said this operation was not related to any specific incident, but was part of a planned “sweep” of the park. These types of checks have been carried out regularly for a “long time,” the representative added. The Parks Department leads this regular initiative and coordinates with NYPD officers simply to provide security.

The last officers and their vehicles left Riverside Park at 1:30 p.m. The unhoused person and their belongings — including a folding blue shopping cart, backpacks, suitcases, trash bags, a green delivery bag like the ones Amazon delivery people use, and a large colorful map of the United States — had been moved to the sidewalk just outside the park on 76th Street and Riverside Drive.

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