Yuh-Line Niou, who represents lower Manhattan in the state Assembly, had an unpleasant experience getting off the subway at Bowling Green the other day.
“I was just threatened,” she wrote on Twitter Tuesday morning, “by several of the ‘Statue of Liberty ferry’ ticket sellers who were blocking entry and exit from the train.” These hawkers are notorious for preying on tourists around the Battery, even going so far as to “sell” tickets to the Staten Island Ferry, which is free to ride.
Assemblywoman Niou reported her harassment to nearby NYPD officers, who “did nothing even when they were watching,” she complained on Twitter. “I went over to tell them, and they said that the city is choosing to doing [sic] nothing. They literally said, ‘Nobody cares. The city doesn’t care.’” Shocked by this disregard for maintaining public order, Niou identified herself as an elected official, but this, too, made no difference. “They said that the city doesn’t care. @NYCMayor told them not to do anything.”
Niou thus faced what many New Yorkers increasingly encounter on the streets and subways of our city — creeping disorder, antisocial behavior and a prevailing sense that “the city doesn’t care.” She was verbally assaulted — in vulgar terms — by scammers blocking pedestrian traffic, and the police stood and shrugged. We can only feel pity and anger for her plight.
Seth Barron is associate editor of City Journal and director of the NYC Initiative at the Manhattan Institute.
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