On the subway yesterday, there was a couple panhandling. It was Saturday, mid-afternoon and the car was crowded with Christmas shoppers carrying large bags. It was cold and everyone was wearing coats and scarves. The panhandling husband was playing a small accordian and the wife had a baby in one of those papoose-like things in front of her body. I'm assuming they were married, but they might not have been. They got to the end of the car near where I was seated. The train stopped and the door opened. The man with the accordian stepped onto the platform and presumably into the next car. The woman with the baby hesitated. It seemed she was waiting for someone to donate because it look as if a young man sitting down in front of her was reaching into his pocket to take out his wallet. The transaction apparently took too long because after a few seconds, the woman left the train. The couple were decently apparelled and didn't appear destitute or threadbare.
Another woman, somewhat older and better dressed along with an adoloscent girl, about 13, got on and stood near the pole by me. I guessed they were mother and daughter. I could hear the mother talking about visiting someone in the hospital.
I'm noticing more people begging these days. There's also been an uptick in crime in our neighborhood, all signs of people at the bottom of the economic food chain slipping lower.