Woman camping on West Side Highway says shelter system is ‘full’

She’s not a happy camper.

A middle-aged Eastern European woman who said she couldn’t get a spot in the city’s packed and horrid shelter system pitched a tent on the median of the West Side Highway near 12th Avenue and West 41st Street.

“Shelter’s no good for me and full,” she told The Post.

The outdoorswoman then yelled at the reporter in broken English and threatened to call the police.

“I’m getting the Supreme Court!” she threatened.

Twitter is already having a field day with the highway encampment.

“Can’t beat those Hudson River views,” read one tweet. “Still beats Staten Island,” read another.

Others see it as a seriously bad omen.

“You tolerate one and you’ll get hundreds. This has gotta be taken down immediately,” one person commented. 

Residents say tents and vagrancy along the highway started at the beginning of the pandemic and have surged this past summer — and the city does nothing about it.

A woman speaks on the phone after being asked by a reporter about living in a tent pitched on the median of the Westside Highway at 41st street in midtown, Manhattan on Wednesday, Sept. 14.
The camper said the shelter was “no good” for her and “full.”
Stefan Jeremiah for New York Post

“I call it Whac-A-Mole because you see these tents go up, they get cleared out and then they come right back again,” said Jason Anderson, who posted a snap of the latest highway denizen on Twitter. “It highlights a lack of enforcing laws and the urban disorder that comes from it. It’s one of many road blocks that prevent the city from returning to normal and feeling like 2019 again.”

Katie Hamill said Hell’s Kitchen has become such an epicenter of drugs, vagrancy and mental illness that this “woman is probably there because she feels safer sandwiched in between six lanes of cars than on the street where she can be attacked by unhoused and mentally ill men.”

The urban camper has plenty of neighbors on the pier and in nearby Riverside Park South.

A woman stands next to her tent pitched on the median of the Westside Highway at 41st street in midtown, Manhattan on Wednesday, Sept. 14, 2022 in New York.
Residents say tents have been popping up all summer but the city hasn’t stepped in.
Stefan Jeremiah for New York Post

On Friday, The Post saw one homeless man returning to his makeshift abode of painter’s tarps held together with packing tape. Another man reclined on a pleather desk chair. A third stood along the riverside walkway, hunched over his shopping cart for nearly an hour.

The city Department of Homeless Services identified roughly 3,400 unsheltered people on Jan. 27, however advocacy groups like the Coalition for the Homeless believe that to be a significant undercount.

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