Vagrants are urinating in the street, hassling passers-by for cash — and now they’ve ruined Christmas in The Bronx.
The annual outdoor Christmas tree lighting in the borough’s famed Little Italy section was canceled because the soaring panhandler population forced the sponsors to spend so much on security that there was no cash left for the celebration.
“It’s unfortunate,” Frank Franz, treasurer of the Belmont Business Improvement District, told The Post. “It was a very expensive event, so we canceled it.”
The BID, he said, had to weigh the price of public safety against that of the holiday festivities, which cost about $15,000.
“Every neighborhood should be concerned about the safety and the quality of life of their neighborhood. There’s always been homeless around, but now you’re seeing an increase all over the city,” he said about the sharp rise of aggressive panhandlers.
One business owner, Rosa Paciullo, who for 20 years has owned Tino’s Delicatessen with her husband, Giancarlo, said bums even used the Vincent Ciccarone Playground where the lighting was held as a public toilet.
“My daughter took her daughter to the [Ciccarone] park and a homeless guy peed in front of them. Some of them would come in and ask for money or food. It scared some of the customers away,” she added.