Homeless Woman Spits at Passersby on NYC Street: Neighbors

Neighbors on the Upper East Side say they're being terrorized by a woman on the streets who screams and spits at them as they walk by. 

The woman, who's believed to be homeless and mentally disturbed, has been spitting at passersby for years. But Nick Goodman has gotten so fed up he's created a Facebook page called "Spitting Lady of the Upper East Side" to keep tabs on her and avoid her. 

"She's popped out of a Citi Bank or a side street and spat on us," said Goodman.  

His 7-year-old son Nickey says "it scares me a lot" when they encounter her.

"I take a cab like two blocks sometimes" to stay out of her way, the boy says.

They're not the only ones who are scared of the woman. Jill Grover says she's hidden behind cars to avoid her.

"She's scary," she said. 

Despite the coalition of 400-plus people on Facebook and a long Reddit thread detailing other similar encounters, there's still no resolution to the problem. Concerned neighbors launched a petition urging police to take action, but NYPD's 19th Precinct Captain Bill Gallagher said it's not that easy. 

"If it's a crime, we'll enforce the law -- but an individual who just needs help, we'll get them the help they need without arresting them," he said.

Even if police take the woman off the streets, the Department of Homeless Services says it can't necessarily hold her. 

The Department of Homeless Services said in a statement, "It can take anywhere from one dozen to more than 200 contacts to bring homeless New Yorkers indoors." 

In the meantime, neighbors are continuing to communicate with each other to avoid the woman as best they can. 

(This story has been updated to correct the originator of the petition drive.)

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