Albany, NY

Panhandling is a profession

Carol Durant
Change cupCarol Durant

We are in the Great Resignation during a pandemic. People across the United States are jobless for various reasons. Mostly in many traditional industries, such as retail, manufacturing and hospitality. Apparently, there is a semi-new business in the Capital District that is flush with employees. This trade is panhandling. Panhandlers, solicitors and beggars are their titles. Normally, you would see and experience begging in person on the city streets. This industry like others has pivoted and now you will experience it in your car, at an exit or high traffic area.

Have you seen solicitation at the following locations in the Capital District: Interstate 787 southbound Port of Albany exit, Interstate 787 southbound Madison Avenue exit, Interstate 90 Eastbound and Westbound Everett Road exit . Also you can enjoy this experience at Westgate Plaza Route 5 North (Central Avenue), Colonie Center Route 5 North (Central Avenue),

Also panhandling can be witnessed at: Interstate 90 Eastbound and Westbound at the Arbor Hill/Loudonville exit to Clinton Avenue, Route 9 North and South, Latham Circle, Market 32 Eastern Parkway in Schenectady, Interstate 890 Broadway Exit 5 in Schenectady. Rain, sleet, snow and sunny days, these human beings are outside these locations with handmade signs and t-shirts. They claim homelessness and are looking for money. Allegedly the money is for food or clothes, to get back on their feet. The monetary ask is not for illegal substances or alcohol. I'm not insensitive or heartless. I've donated to non for profit organizations, Kiva and GoFundMe, but lately I've seen the same folks at the same locations, like it's a team effort. I've seen people during rush hour, hand over their coffee or bag of food to a panhandler and watch them trash it after the kind person has sped away. I've seen the shock of folks being approached in their cars and hurl pejoratives and coins at the panhandler.

I know we are Americans with constitutional rights and civil liberties, but trash is building and there is a safety issue. Why does it seem that this industry is growing and definitely in the City of Albany? Here is the link regarding enforcement: I find that this semi-new profession is not actively aggressive, but it is passive aggressive and definitely disturbing. If a panhandler slipped on the ice from the last snowstorm, it could have been tragic for all involved.

Here are the links to contact your local municipality to express your concerns:

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Writer, author, poet, playwright

Albany, NY

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I forgot it was Valentine's day yesterday. They played three sappy love songs on the radio and said Happy Valentine's day to everyone. I loudly said a few expletives in the car and headed to Target. I haven't been in the store in a very long time. The store and the bathroom was the usual, well lit and clean. I got a cart and wended my way around the store. They had plenty of displays of flowers, candy and gifts in the front of the store. I opted to still traipse through the store. I got a card that was less than $3.99! I believe in the sentiment, but should a cardstock card cost more than a gallon of gas, uh no. I scanned through the aisles and saw some Valentine's day candy already discounted. I was very excited and headed towards that end cap. I had taken maybe three steps and a gentleman appeared and started loading up his cart. I was mildly annoyed, but he must have had plenty of love at his house because he bought all the discounted candy that was left. I figured that must be a sign for me to double check the rest of the aisles. All of the other Valentine's bargain items including candy were all gone. I stood in the checkout line and watched all of the discounted candy that I missed putting in my cart. I decided to go check another great place for discounted candy, CVS Pharmacy and Shoprite. I have my eyes on a few bags of candy. I am making room in the freezer for more discounted candy which I’m buying tomorrow.

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