City clears sidewalk in front for Hell's Kitchen hotel housing migrants

Migrants and advocates say the conditions at the emergency shelter at the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal are subpar

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Wednesday, February 1, 2023
NYC clears out sidewalk in front for Manhattan hotel housing migrants
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Josh Einiger reports that NYPD officers and members of the Sanitation Department moved in Wednesday night to clear out the sidewalk in front of a hotel being used by migrants.

HELL'S KITCHEN, Manhattan (WABC) -- A days-long standoff between the city and some migrants came to an end Wednesday night when NYPD officers and the Sanitation Department cleared out the sidewalk in front of a Hell's Kitchen hotel.

Police officers took chainsaws to locks holding many of the migrants' bikes in an unannounced clearing of the sidewalk outside the Watson Hotel.

It came after the city's days-long effort to move migrants from outside the Hell's Kitchen hotel to the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal in Red Hook.

Some of the migrants said they'd rather be on the sidewalk, in the cold and snow, than a shelter in Brooklyn. However, the handful of men that were originally camped out in front of the hotel, were absent as the city moved in Wednesday night.

Some of the migrants and activists claimed that the conditions were uninhabitable at the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal. They said that it's cold and there aren't enough bathrooms, that it's isolated, and that they don't like the congregate setting.

The city has refuted those claims, saying there is free transportation, plenty of bathrooms and it's not cold.

On Wednesday, Mayor Eric Adams denied there is a "standoff" outside the Watson Hotel and questioned whether people sleeping outside are even asylum seekers.

"I am not even sure they are migrants," the mayor said of the "about 30" people still camped out in front of the hotel.

Adams suggested those remaining outside were actually "agitators."

"There are some agitators that just really, I think are doing a disservice to the migrants and doing a disservice to the children and families we are moving into the hotels," Adams said. "We are moving children and families into the hotel. Single adult males all over the city are living in congregate settings, single adult males, children and families, we don't want to put them in congregate settings."

Adams said over 1,000 people were in the hotel and an overwhelming number of them moved.

The mayor revealed he spoke to President Biden about the border during his trip to NYC on Tuesday.

"I shared with the President that what was big for me is the coordination, having someone that's going to coordinate the entire effort that we have to deal with this crisis," Adams said. "That was my primary conversation, he stated that we need to sit down and collaborate on how to get this done."

Meanwhile, the migrants who have already moved to the 1,000-bed facility in Brooklyn tell Eyewitness News that they're comfortable, happy and thankful for a place to sleep.

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