Homeless squat on Manhattan's Upper West Side in front of restaurant under construction, owner doesn't care until store opens

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An encampment of homeless people have taken root on the Upper West Side of New York City on Columbus Ave between West 75th and 76th Streets, outside a building’s construction zone which, when finished, will house a Mermaid Inn seafood restaurant.

According to the New York Post, 44-year-old New Yorker Sean Flynn said, “What does it need to come to — a violent crime — before they take (them) off the streets?”

The band of homeless, usually consisting of six individuals, have a leader in a Missouri transplant named Ethan “Freckles” Schneider, 31, who said, “If you live in a building, especially in a city like New York, you’ve got to make a lot of compromises in your lifestyle to accommodate all the other fellow residents. I don’t exactly like doing that.”

Schneider added that he lives by a “zero waste” lifestyle that minimizes his “use of the US dollar.” He stores his bicycle in the encampment and it’s adorned with signs that read “Raw Vegan Food Please” and “#Zero Exhaust.”

The group of homeless has recently added a heroin addict, according to local residents, who has taken to throwing objects and shouting obscenities at those walking in the area.

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