Mayor Eric Adams has spent the night on a cot alongside hundreds of migrants staying at the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal shelter on Friday.
“We’re going to stay the night with our brothers here and just let them know that we’re all in this together. This is how you get through things,” Adams said in a video posted on his Twitter account.
New York City is experiencing dangerously cold temperatures and extreme wind chill this weekend, with increased risk of hypothermia and frostbite. New York State Assemblymember Eddie Gibbs and homeless advocate Shams DaBaron joined Adams in spending the night at the shelter on the waterfront in Red Hook.
“Assemblymember Gibbs, Shams, and I wanted to show the asylum seekers staying at the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal the warmth of New York City,” Adams said in a statement. “The three of us decided to sleep at the terminal overnight alongside hundreds of migrants and experience what they are all experiencing.”
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Up until Wednesday, some migrants who are now staying at the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal had been camping in tents outside the Watson Hotel in Midtown Manhattan where they were previously staying.
The migrants were disappointed by the conditions they found at the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal and tried to return to their previous shelter at the hotel, but they were denied entry. Migrants said they were concerned about security and a lack of heat and personal space at the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal, so they decided to protest the move.
The city eventually forced the migrants to relocate Wednesday night, clearing the encampments from the sidewalk outside the hotel before temperatures became dangerously cold. Most of the migrants were transported to the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal, a city official said.
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“I’d like to be clear that the facilities at the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal are providing the same services to asylum seekers as every other humanitarian relief center in the city,” Adams said on Saturday, addressing the migrants’ concerns.
The Watson Hotel is now being used to house migrant families with children, according to Adams. The Brooklyn Cruise Terminal shelter will stay open until the weather gets warmer and cruises begin again. It’s able to house up to 1,000 single men.
“More than 44,000 asylum seekers have moved through our intake system in the last 10 months, and we’ve provided them with warm shelter, food, education, health care, legal support, and a host of other services,” Adams said.