Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, a City Hall front-runner, revealed Tuesday that he was once a Big Apple squeegee man — and said he has a plan to sweep them off the streets that does not involve the NYPD.
“I couldn’t afford a squeegee,” Adams said during a Bronx campaign stop, recounting his time washing windshields as a 17-year-old, long before he became an NYPD cop and embarked on a successful political career.
“I had a dirty rag with some Windex that I watered down, and used to stand at the corner of Jamaica Avenue washing windows so I could save up enough money to give my mother the money so we could have a meal to eat.”
Adams said men like the crew featured on the front page of Tuesday’s Post are just trying to put food on the table like everyone else.
“I’m going to give them a reason not to have a squeegee in their hand,” Adams said.
“They’re going to have a screwdriver in their hand. They’re going to have a hammer in their hand. They’re going to go on my construction site. Because people who are washing windows, all they want is an opportunity to feed themselves.”
Adams said that for starters, a mental health team should be dispatched to deal with complaints about the window-washing vagrants — not New York’s Finest.
“What I’m going to do with the squeegee men, I’m not going to go there with a police officer,” he said. “I’m going to go there, number one, with mental health professionals, because some of them may be dealing with mental health crises, and also job training opportunities.
“I’m going to have a mobile team, that when someone calls 311 and says, ‘I have a squeegee man,’ I’m deploying my mobile team there with resources. ‘What do you need? Are you homeless? Have you had a meal? Do you need undergarments? Do you need other clothes?’”
Andrew Yang, a fellow contender for the Democratic mayoral nomination, took aim at the current administration for the problem bubbling up again.
“This is yet another example of how quality life in our city has deteriorated while Mayor de Blasio and his administration watched and did nothing,” he said in a statement. “It’s yet another example of why we need a change in leadership and a fresh start for New Yorkers who just want a safe, clean City.”
Additional reporting by Julia Marsh