After striking a deal with the Adams administration, the famed Roosevelt Hotel in Midtown Manhattan swung its doors open for the first time in three years on Friday, May 19th. But this time, not to tourists or business travelers – it’s now a sanctuary for asylum-seeking migrants.
Marking its renaissance as the ninth Humanitarian Emergency Response and Relief Center in New York City, the hotel is joining the city’s valiant efforts to manage the burgeoning influx of migrants. An official from City Hall reported a smooth operation on opening day, though more newcomers are anticipated in the coming days.
Designed to offer temporary housing primarily to families, the historic establishment welcomes adults without children to utilize the hotel’s common areas. The precise number of individuals projected to be housed remains undetermined, with city authorities still assessing the migrant inflow.
Mayor Eric Adams, insistent that the city is exerting every effort to accommodate the over 60,000 migrants, issued a renewed call for federal assistance. “As New York City stretches to its capacity, we’re imploring our federal and state partners for a real decompression strategy. We hope to operate more temporary shelters across the state and nation,” he stated.
“Already caring for over 65,000 asylum seekers, our city has opened over 140 emergency shelters and nine large-scale humanitarian relief centers, including this one, to tackle this national crisis. While the Roosevelt’s reincarnation will create union jobs and assist asylum seekers, we can’t sustain our humanitarian efforts without federal or state assistance,” he further added.
The migrants themselves, through a translator, expressed gratitude for the chance to secure a brighter future for their children. Among the many migrants who were bused to the Roosevelt Hotel relief center, many new residents were parents cradling young ones.
While the migrants are appreciative of the city’s efforts and the Roosevelt Hotel location, some so called volunteer activist groups are complaining. The activists are upset the city has closed down the Port Authority welcome center and not having access to the Roosevelt Hotel. Sources have claimed that these activists are encouraging migrants to come to New York City.
In a statement last week, Fabien Levy, spokesman for Mayor Adams said, “A network of activists are organizing large-scale arrivals of asylum seekers to New York City via plane, bus, and other modes of transportation — taking advantage of city and state laws and luring them here with false promises.”
The Roosevelt Hotel, an iconic landmark, is now writing a new chapter in its illustrious history, providing much-needed refuge to those seeking asylum and playing a crucial role in New York City’s humanitarian response, the largest humanitarian crisis in city history.