Eco-warrior or neighborhood nudge?
Ethan “Freckles” Schneider touts himself as a “Central Park yogi” and “extreme minimalist” who lives on the streets and makes an attempt to go away each place he goes “a little bit cleaner than when I found it.”
The 29-year-old Missouri native — who is thought to camp out on West 74th Street and Columbus Avenue and surrounding streets — carries most of his worldly possessions on a modified mountain bike with an electrical wheel, full with mini plastic porta potty.
“My mobile command station is comprised of several man-powered carts and wagons as well as three electric vehicles that were salvaged and awaiting repair. I use this collection of vehicles to contain transport and secure various projects that I’m working on,” Schneider advised The Post.
His Instagram story contains quotes by Ralph Waldo Emerson (“To be great is to be understood”) and Charles Darwin (“It is not the strongest or the most intelligent to survive but those who can best manage change”).
He says he’s not a poseur: “I’m a yogi and live a yogic lifestyle but I’m not much of a yoga instructor and I’m not certified.”
Schneider mentioned his aim is to “promote health, discourage disease” and reside a way of life “that produces zero noise, zero air air pollution, zero water air pollution, and 0 waste.
“In order to live a minimalist life and create less pollution, it’s important to live in an environment that does not require lots of material possessions,” Schneider mentioned.
But some Upper West Siders cost Schneider is a “neighborhood nuisance” whose conduct has made a few residents uncomfortable. One lady on the Facebook group claimed Schneider stole her son’s blue wagon as a result of he has been seen with a wagon that appears like her son’s. “It was chained overnight on bike parking pole and he stole it. My son saw it when we were biking on Columbus and said ‘mommy, it’s our wagon’ and it definitely was. All the scratches and tinted front wheel definitely hours (sic),” the mother posted.
Schneider flatly denied these allegations, claiming he knew nothing of any stolen blue wagon. When The Post visited Schneider April 14 he did have a wagon becoming that description.
“The fact that all of you have come together in this group to bully homeless people is just absurd,” posted one Schneider defender to the UWS Facebook web page, including, “He has done absolutely nothing to infringe on your life or your freedom.”
“Mostly the conflict is that I’m young, athletic, and intelligent and they are old, fat, and stupid,” snarked Schneider.
Judi Sisco, an outspoken Upper West Side activist for years, mentioned, “I have no problem with the homeless. Ethan is not on the street because he’s homeless. … He’s a nuisance. There are people who need safety and help. That’s not him. He thinks he’s a visionary. He thinks he’s saving the neighborhood.”
Sisco mentioned Schneider was sleeping in entrance of the Unitarian universalist church on 76th Street off Central Park West throughout the pandemic “and he slowly expanded. Nobody on the street cared until he started expanding his belongings down the street and became uncomfortably familiar with people giving him food and talking to him.”
“If the Upper West Siders would like to legislate the sidewalk than they are welcome to attempt at their own peril and to their own detriment,” Schneider warned.
A spokesman for the Department of Social Services-Department of Homeless Services mentioned they “were aware of” the scenario and “a multi-agency effort to address” it.
Railed Schneider: “DHS has been attempting to move me around and ultimately bring me into their socialist fold for years now. … They continue to work on the behalf of whoever complains about me rather than work in alignment with my interests and desires.”