A sprawling homeless encampment popped up — and was allowed to continue growing — along a bustling Manhattan block for at least several weeks before the eyesore was finally cleared out Wednesday.
At least 10 displaced people — some suffering from mental health and substance abuse problems — had set up nearly a dozen makeshift tents on the sidewalk of First Avenue between East 20th Street and East 21st Street.
The tent city, which locals say grew during the colder months to more than half a city block, is adjacent to the family-friendly enclaves of Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village and the ever-popular restaurant Rosemary’s East.
The dining room of the Italian eatery overlooks the area settled by vagrants and riff-raff.
“They won’t let us stay on the subways, they won’t let us stay on the vents. Where do they want us to go?! Shelters are no good,” said Loreal Madonna Moore, a 31-year-old homeless woman who was booted from the block.
When asked how the encampment was impacting business a manager at Rosemary’s declined to comment, saying only, “We’re fine.”
However, police and city sanitation workers descended on the encampment at about 9:30 a.m. and cleared rubbish as homeless outreach workers urged the vagrants to check into a shelter.
“Some of them are really crazy. Like dangerous crazy,” Sam, 58, who manages Tal Bagels across the street. “[The clean-up] is good because they really do a lot of bad here.”
In recent weeks, Sam said people living in the tent colony had “banged on windows” and gotten naked in public. They even stole tables from the bagel shop.
“They get dressed in the street, they take showers. Right outside. No clothes. They can get bad,” he said.
Noni, 45, a clerk at the store said one unhoused woman attacked a patron and urinated on the shop’s floor.
“[A] crazy woman from across the street last weekend kicked a customer. She asked the customer for money and she said no and she just kicked her!” he said.
“She’s been a big problem. She comes in and out of the hospital. You can tell when she comes back to live across the street because she will take the sugar, all the sugar [from the shop],” she said.
“Weeks ago she came in and took a pee right here in front of my counter! What could I do?! I got the mop and I cleaned it up,” she said.
Homeless folks said they flock to the site and set up tents on a 100-plus-foot-long grate that spews hot air in an attempt not to stay warm in the chilly winter months.
Last year, there were at least 3,439 unsheltered people living on the streets of New York City — including in parks, subway stations and under overpasses, according to a report released by Mayor Eric Adams last month. That’s up from 2,376 unsheltered people in 2021.
Meanwhile, at least 45,563 unhoused folks were living in shelters in 2022, down from 52,409 the previous year.
In Stuy Town, one neighbor called the encampment a shame in a country as wealthy as the US.
“It makes the new restaurant look like Calcutta,” Joan Wind, 82, said of Rosemary’s East, which opened in 2021.
“This has been going on for months. It went from one or two people to seven people to 15 people now. It’s been like this for a couple of months now. It’s so sad.”
A spokesman for the city didn’t immediately return The Posts’ inquiry about whether the block had been cleared previously or if more encampment clean-ups were ongoing around the city.
But a Sanitation Department supervisor worker at the scene told The Post he expected the encampment to be back soon.
“We clean this out and it’ll be back up in no time,” he said.
Read More: Massive Stuyvesant Town homeless camp cleared next to Rosemary’s restaurant