The cat's mother.
People forget that people actually live in the city. There are also a lot of calm quiet corners that are actually tolerable. This is where a lot of homeless people flee to to find space for themselves, so you see them a lot. They also commute into the city to beg for money.
I wouldn't call it callousness. I've been in crowds where something really big is happening. I think, individually, people are afraid of the consequences of doing something. I myself have not given money to someone because I'm afraid I might be cornered or caught off guard while I'm trying to get my wallet out. Plenty of times.
Theres also this feeling that, when you're in a crowd, someone more qualified would go and help. Thats not your job and you could make it worse. However, and like I've described, I reported things to police and his response was "it will take care of itself".
That particular incident was a few years ago, and I'm starting to see more notices about being vigilant, about telling authorities the things that you see. And you're starting to see more police and MTA (mass transit system) workers with training to deal with this stuff.
It's getting better. It's just a lesson in not keeping your head down.
I always give money to the homeless. I once went to an ATM and gave a guy £100 because he needed it more than I did, and I am dirt poor. I always make a habit of sitting down to chat with homeless people too. Living on the street fucking sucks and it is the duty of everyone to lend a helping hand to those poor souls.