How Billy Crudup and Rachael Ray Handle Panhandlers

billycrudup How Billy Crudup and Rachael Ray Handle PanhandlersWhat doesBilly Crudup do when a panhandler approaches him in the street?

“As a New Yorker, you’re confronted with people who are in need in one way or another. Whether it’s people asking you for money or asking you for a meal—and it’s very difficult to make that decision on a moment-to-moment basis, day after day,” the 39-year-old told The Daily Transom last night. He was looking pretty good in a sharp suit and hair that looked like it was still slick with something like Kiehl’s Creme With Silk Groom, sort of faux-shower-fresh, at the Metropolitan Pavillion on West 18th street for City Harvest’s 25th anniversary party.

The room was filling up fast with smoke from cooking chunks of steak as Mr. Crudup talked; there were little mob scenes at stations set up by restaurants on the order of Aquavit, Le Cirque, Blue Hill, Le Bernadin and Union Square Café.

“Typically, people won’t say specifically they’re in need of a meal,” Mr. Crudup said. “They’ll say they’re in need of money, and I’ve made the decision to give my money to organizations. So typically I say, ‘I can’t help you today, but if you need some help, I know where you can go.’ That helps me to confront the issue with the person, and not have to ignore it and feel like I’m ignoring people in need, and not have to make New York a more abrupt place than it already is; and it helps me to put the onus of helping people on the people who are really qualified to do it and capable to do it,” he said. Deep breath! He’ll spend the next four months in Vancouver filming Zach Snyder’s Watchmen.

Later, Rachael Ray took a few ‘Yummo’-free moments to dish about how hungry people in New York differ from people-in-need elsewhere.

“They probably have more challenges, I would think, just because an urban environment isn’t as conducive to people stopping and really taking the time to help you as a suburb environment,” Ms. Ray, 39. She was wearing a red dress and suede boots. “But I gotta tell you, I live a more small-town life when I’m in New York City than when I’m upstate. It’s ironic, but it’s true. There’s still that small village feel.”

Unlike Mr. Crudup, though, Ms. Ray makes a habit out of reaching into her deep pockets on daily basis. “We have people that we see frequently on our block and we never figure, ‘Oh we gave you 20 bucks last week!’ We always give them food, money. If I have money on me, I give it. I lived check-to-check for a long time and there but for the grace of god, literally, go I. Anybody could be homeless tomorrow!”