The New York Post must be feeling awfully proud of itself today. After devoting yesterday’s front cover to publicly shaming a homeless woman for keeping a fleet of shopping carts to hold her things, the paper has succeeded in getting the police to come and throw those things in the garbage. Great job, everyone.
Yesterday evening, a group of officials from the NYPD, Department of Homeless Services, and Department of Sanitation traveled to 61-year-old Sonia Gonzalez’s Hell’s Kitchen Hangout and began throwing away her hoarded possessions, the Post reported today. When it was done, “All she had left was a duffel bag, a small black trash bag and three laundry carts,” staffers Kevin Fasick and Chris Perez wrote. A truly laudable journalistic achievement.
The ostensible reasoning for taking Gonzalez’s stuff is that it blocked the sidewalk and traffic. Like many people who live on the street, Gonzalez had long refused to go to a shelter, a Homeless Services rep told the paper.
The real reason probably has more to do with Post editor Col Allan’s cruel fixation on the homeless, and with Mayor Bill de Blasio caving to the paper’s continual antagonism of his administration. Today’s writeup does not explicitly acknowledge that Post coverage spurred the city into taking action against Gonzalez, but it is blatantly clear that that is where the prodding came from. De Blasio personally approved the decision, according to a spokesperson. His approval must have come just hours after yesterday’s paper was published. The Post is mostly responsible, but it sounds like the mayor himself deserves some of the credit, too.
The Post was on hand to take video of the incident, which you can watch here if you think you can stomach it. Gonzalez, of course, is visibly angry and distressed about her things being forcefully taken from her. The police on hand seem reluctant to be doing the job, too. Even the photographers on the scene—probably Post employees, because who else is covering this shitheap of a story?—look sad and embarrassed to be there.
UPDATE: A local reporter reached out to tell me that two of the men pictured actually work for the New York Daily News, which produced its own video about Gonzalez.
Keep your heads up, guys. At least you have apartments to go home to tonight.