Normally, when we find ourselves talking about the panhandling hoodlums referred to as squeegee kids, the stories are coming out of Baltimore, Maryland. But as the New York Post reported this week, this phenomenon has cropped back up in the Big Apple. There was a rash of such activity a couple of decades ago, but the police eventually discouraged the practice to the point where it was rarely if ever seen. But now, in a more permissive era under Mayor Bill de Blasio, the squeegee men are back out on the corners, pushing their unsolicited “services” on motorists and threatening drivers who don’t agree to fork over any money.
Just when you thought they were washed up, the notorious squeegee men are streaking back to Big Apple streets.
The panhandling window-washers, who became the face of former Mayor Rudy Giuliani’s quality-of-life crackdown in the 1990s, were back peddling their spotty services in Manhattan over the weekend.
A trio of the in-your-face glass swabbers were spotted plying their trade on 40th Street and Ninth Avenue on Sunday — figures from the annals of New York City history that some folks weren’t in the mood for.
Thus far things haven’t gotten as far out of hand as in Baltimore, but it’s probably just a matter of time. The language of these extortionists is pretty much the same no matter where you go. One of them spoke to the Post, saying “The mayor don’t want to f**k with us. This is nothing. Washing windows, asking for an honest buck. It’s nothing.”
That brief quote probably tells you much of what you need to know. First of all, they’re aware that the current mayor isn’t going to crack down on them, so they have no fear of the police. And, of course, they’ll always tell you that it’s an honest way to make a living.
Except it’s not. It’s not honest at all. A “job” is when someone asks or requires you to do something and compensates you in return. But nobody is driving up to a busy intersection and hoping someone comes by to hold them up in traffic with an unwanted cleaning service and a threatening demand for money in return. That is, at a minimum, panhandling. If the situation escalates any further, it’s extortion.
Of course, motorists probably shouldn’t expect relief any time soon. Under the city and state’s new “criminal justice reform” laws we can’t even keep bank robbers and drug dealers off the streets for longer than a few hours. Do you really think they’re going to do anything about this situation? Under the leadership (to use the word very generously) of Bill de Blasio, New York City is gradually sliding back to the way things were in the 80s and early 90s until Giuliani and Bloomberg came into town and started cracking some heads.
If you want to see what New Yorkers have in store for them when this plague finishes ramping up to the way things are in Baltimore, check out this brief video report from CBS. Someone caught a “squeegee kid” on camera when a motorist refused to give them any money. The beating that ensued was horrifying. And the perpetrators are almost never caught.