Gov. Andrew Cuomo bluntly said Thursday that New York City’s street homelessness problem under Mayor Bill de Blasio is as “bad” as he’s “ever seen.”
When asked at an unrelated press conference about the growing homeless population at Grand Central Terminal’s dining concourse, Cuomo was quick to point fingers at the de Blasio administration while pushing some blame away from the state-controlled Metropolitan Transportation Authority that oversees the glorified food court.
“I’m sure the MTA is working with the businesses, but this homeless issue is not just in one location — it’s all across the city,” the governor said. “The problem of homeless people who are on the street is as bad as i have ever seen it.
“In the past, we have made progress [under previous mayoral administrations]. Right?” he added in a none-too veiled dig at de Blasio, with whom he often butts heads.
“So let’s ask us when we made progress, what did we do? And what are we not doing now? That’s the realization we have to go through.”
Cuomo also said his office is talking to the city about its homeless problem “on an ongoing basis,” adding, “I think the city needs a pro-effective and aggressive program.”
The city estimates 3,600 people sleep outdoors at night across the five boroughs — half of whom are chronically homeless, while the rest are transient.
As of Monday, 58,872 people called New York City’s embattled shelter system home, which is down 3.3% from 60,891 a year earlier.
MTA officials last July blamed the homeless — and shoddy decor — for a 3 percent drop in revenue at Grand Central Terminal’s dining concourse.
The concourse’s transformation from a train hall to a dining area was completed 22 years ago. Now, riders looking for a bite to eat can choose from basics like Hale and Hearty Soups to more refined eateries like Art Bird & Whiskey Bar from renowned chef Art Smith.
De Blasio spokeswoman Avery Cohen said “as we continue to help more New Yorkers transition off the streets and on to lasting paths of stability, we welcome any and all assistance from our state partners in addressing the statewide issue of housing insecurity.”
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