New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio on Sunday instructed the city's police force to escort homeless people from a set of subway stations before a multi-stop press event.
NYPD had until 11 a.m. to clear the Fourth Avenue/Ninth Street and Jay Street/MetroTech F stations of any homeless so it looked "nice" before de Blasio rode the subway, the New York Post reported.
“It’s too bad he’s only interested when he’s going to get on the subway,” an anonymous source told the New York Post. “I wish he had the same attention to detail when he wasn’t on the subway. Too bad he doesn’t care about quality of life for all passengers and not just himself.”
According to Ali Imtiaz, a newsstand manager inside the Jay Street/MetroTech F station, he was shocked by the difference.
“I see a lot of homeless people in a week — up to 25. On average five a day. Today, I have seen only one,” Imtiaz told the Post. “I was asking my colleague today why we don’t see any homeless.”
De Blasio used the event to blast New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) and Metro Transit Authority Chairman Joe Lhota for not fixing the Big Apple's crumbling subway system.
According to de Blasio, the MTA has not spent any of the $2.5 million the city provided for capital improvements. De Blasio also pointed out that Cuomo pulled $500 million from the MTA budget and moved it to the state's general fund.
“Here’s the truth: They’re not even spending their capital budget. There’s a huge amount of money sitting there, including the money the city gave. We gave them $2.5 billion a couple of years ago. Almost 90 percent of that money is just sitting there," de Blasio said. “The governor and Chairman Lhota simply need to get in front of everyone [and] say, ‘We’re fully responsible, we have to fix the problem.’ They have the resources.”
Lhota criticized de Blasio for publicly shaming the MTA and the governor when the government agency is reportedly working on a new implementation plan.
"What we need is leadership, not photo ops,” Lhota retorted in a written statement, the New York Times reported. “The mayor’s comments today were completely disingenuous, knowing that the MTA is set to present its 30-day overhaul plan this week.”