Mayor Bloomberg stuck his fancy loafers directly in his mouth at a press conference today when, unrelated to the topic at hand, he scolded a reporter for saying the subway is a "last bastion of quiet, with the exception of the occasional panhandler." Mid-question Bloomie turned to the reporter to chide him, as Rachel Sterne smiled on, that "There aren't very many panhandlers left, c'mon, that's a cheap shot at an agency that has worked very hard to fix that problem."
Sure! For Bloomberg, who has an "interesting" commute on the 6 with a full security team, there probably aren't that many panhandlers on the MTA. But as Joel Berg, head of the New York City Coalition Against Hunger, put it to NBC when asked about the comment: "I'd love to live in whatever city the mayor lives in—it's an entirely different one from the one that I and eight million other New Yorkers live in." It could also be that what Bloomberg meant was that the panhandlers are out of the subway.. and up at the top of every other staircase.
Further, it is worth noting that while homeless people and panhandlers are not necessarily one and the same, they aren't mutually exclusive, and under Bloomberg's watch the number of homeless in the city has reached record levels. But maybe we're wrong? Let's put it to a vote!