Welcome to NYC's 'Strip of Despair'

AP Photo/Craig Ruttle

Anyone who spends any significant amount of time in New York City is probably familiar with midtown Manhattan. The once-legendary district is the home to some of the most successful businesses in one of the largest cities in the world, along with providing convenient access to dining, entertainment, and tourism options that draw millions to Gotham each year. Or at least it used to be. But in the midst of the current migrant crisis, crime wave, and societal splintering that we've been witnessing, conditions have been deteriorating rapidly. One of the prime examples of this can be found on 8th Avenue, right in the heart of Manhattan. A stretch of road between the Port Authority and Penn Station has come to be known as the "strip of despair." That's because of the everpresent camps of homeless people and drug addicts that clutter the sidewalks and confront tourists and local business owners and workers. Robberies are so common that some of these once-thriving businesses are simply shutting down and workers have stopped bothering to call 911 when trouble erupts because the police are too overwhelmed to respond. And the vagrants and criminals are apparently aware of this, making them all the more brazen. (NY Post)


Business owners and residents along Midtown Manhattan’s “Strip of Despair” are so frequently robbed and harassed by drug-addled “psychopaths” that they’ve stopped trying to resist — or even bother calling the cops for help.

“Almost every day someone comes into my store to steal,” said 45-year-old Arun Kumar, who owns A’s Coffee Spot on W. 39th St. and 8th Avenue.

“They take beer the most — they take it and walk out,” he said. “It’s too dangerous to try and stop them.”

Kumar’s shop is located in a stretch of Midtown between Port Authority Bus Terminal and Penn Station that’s come to be known as the “8th Avenue Corridor,” where hard drugs are used in the open and emotionally disturbed people wander the streets screaming at passersby.

Despite all of the obvious evidence, just yesterday New York Mayor Eric Adams told a reporter asking about the situation that things are actually "getting better." That seems to be the response found in the Democratic playbook during this election season. Pay no attention to what you see going on around you. Everything is fine. Who are you going to believe? Me or your own lying eyes?

Perhaps ironically, it appears that some of the city's attempts at helping people have contributed to the decline. In response to increasing homelessness and drug trafficking, rather than bringing in more cops, the city set up a growing number of homeless shelters and drug addiction treatment clinics along the strip. That only resulted in even more homeless people and addicts being attracted to the area and taking up residence on the streets.


Violence breaks out frequently, particularly where drug trafficking is taking place. Local business owners told the Post of recent incidents where people have been stabbed or even shot when arguments broke out over drug sales. Sexual assaults have also been reported. Thefts from local shops take place daily and tourists who dare to venture through the area are subjected to increasingly threatening demands from panhandlers which can lead to violent outcomes. At night, the strip is a sea of makeshift shelters and congregations of people who keep tourists and shoppers away from local stores.

All of this has caused many business owners to simply give up. Arun Kumar, the coffee shop owner quoted in the excerpt above, reported that he attempted to stop a vandal from stealing a case of beer from his store last year and was slashed in the face with a knife as a result. No arrest was ever made. Kumar no longer calls the police or attempts to stop thieves from robbing him. He doesn't know how much longer he can keep his business open under these conditions. 

If you find all of this hard to believe, take a look for yourself. This brief video offers a tour of the fetid sites awaiting you on the streets near the Port Authority. It's not getting any better.

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