How I Gained Weight Because Of NY’s Homelessness

Gary Baumgarten
4 min readMar 24, 2021

The streets of New York feel different since the pandemic struck. And it’s not just the number of closed businesses.

Homeless people are far more noticeable. People who used to flock to the city to work are now toiling from home. Broadway is dark and tourism is practically non-existent. That means, our homeless population is not only more apparent. There are fewer people for the homeless to ask for handouts.

Also, many people living on the streets aren’t just homeless. They’re also emotionally disturbed.

All of this is contributing to a dangerous situation.

Every morning in the predawn hours I make my way to Penn Station for the train ride home to New Jersey. At that hour, there are far more homeless people in the station than there are passengers waiting for their trains to be called. And many of them are obviously mentally ill.

Many stalk the corridors muttering to themselves. Others shout, either at real people or people imagined.

Some are violent. I’ve seen fights between homeless people. And homeless folks ‘’boxing” someone only they can see.

Sometimes I see homeless people pounding their fists on the walls.