Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Last Stop on the Line

by nycfashionista5 (writer), Queeeenz, February 05, 2007

Chronic homelessness continues to cause a problem day in and out at the 179th St. F subway train station in Jamaica, Queens, N.Y., according to officials.
Both men and women ride the F trains to the last stop on the line. These less fortunate people congregate on the benches inside the station. They bother other passengers, Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) workers and the convenience store located inside the station. Often they venture out of the subway station and trouble the businesses on Hillside Avenue.
“Just the other day, I was getting off the F train at 179th and Hillside when I took out my headphones and realized a homeless woman was yelling at me,” said Alexis Agnew, 23, a St. John’s University Law Student. “She was screaming at me as well as everyone around. During the next few minutes she proceeded to yell at me, calling me a white b**** and then screamed at the black man next to me calling him a n*****.”
The demographics of the homeless people are diverse. The subway station is not limited to men only. Women often end up staying at the train station even though Jamaica Shelter for women is nearby on 168th St. in Jamaica. The race of the homeless men and women represent all backgrounds and ethnicities. The typical ages of the homeless rank between 40 and 60 years of age, according to a female MTA employee who claimed anonymity due to her job’s policies.
One homeless man, who would not reveal his name, is an African American man who claims he lived in Queens all of his life. He could not answer specific things such as his age, name, time or location, but he did speak about what he wanted to speak about.
“Sometimes I’m a genius, sometimes I’m a plum,” sang the man with no upper teeth dressed in a navy trench coat and brown chinos.
His frame of mind and perception of things around him was delusional. He stated that he was located in the “future tense of the earth. Home.”
Most of the men and women have diseases or disorders that do not allow them to fully comprehend numerous things that many people take for granted. The men and women that occupy the subway stations begin to believe it is there home or only option. Although there are shelters, New York State law allows for the homeless individual to choose whether they want to go to a shelter or leave the premises. Most choose to leave the area and later come back inside the subway station. This choice makes it easy for them to never really leave the subways and create a refuge.
“A lot of them tell ya: ‘I live here, I ain’t gotta go no where,” said Harvey Dicks, 56, a subway custodian from Queens.
Since most men and women live within the subway stations, they rarely travel far. A typical homeless person rides back and forth on the F subway line, resting at either one of the last stops.
In the winter, the homeless like to ride on the E subway line because it never travels above ground. However, due to construction, the 179th St. train station becomes the alternative housing for the homeless rather than Jamaica Center, the last stop on the E subway line. Homeless people also tend to travel less on the weekends. Regular paying passengers and commuters frequent the subways during the week for school and work.
“They come here maybe from another stop,” said Anwer Hossen, 28, a Bangladesh employee of Mar News and Gift inside the 179th St. train station. “Every Friday and Saturday and Sunday they try to steal pepsi, coke and candy.”
If the homeless leave the train station, they wander up and down Hillside Avenue. Known as one of the busiest sections on Hillside Ave., restaurants, retail stores, pharmacies and businesses are frequented by the homeless. At times the homeless ward off customers or keep passerby away.
“Sometimes they stink too much and I give them some food for free; then the customers come and they ask them for money,” said Salman Muhammed, 36, a native of Bangladesh working at Crown Fried Chicken on Hillside Ave.
Two community boards border the 179th St. train station. Community board 8 and community board 12 neither claim the 179th St. train station in their zoning district. The zones for each board run down either side of Hillside Avenue as community board 12 District Manager Yvonne Riddick explained. Ms. Riddick referred the debate to community board 8, but they could not be reached for comment.
With the NY state laws and community boards that pass off the issue, homelessness in Queens is seeing little hope for a solution. Officials need to do more, but the complaints have to come from the citizens. Most people complain to the MTA employees or store owners, but do not take it a step further.
“Some people tolerate this problem,” said Amir Khan, 45, a five-year store owner of Global United Pharmacy from Pakistan. “If you don’t bring it attention to the politicians the solution won’t happen.

About the Writer

nycfashionista5 is a writer for BrooWaha. For more information, visit the writer's website.
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