American nightmare: Migrants left to languish on streets as Midtown hotel reaches capacity

Migrants on a crowded street in New York
Migrants sit in despair on Sunday, hungry and confused after Midtown hotel reaches capacity.
Photo by Dean Moses

Migrants on Sunday said they are still seeking shelter on the streets of Midtown, hungry and confused, after the Roosevelt Hotel — one of the many Big Apple locales housing asylum-seekers in recent months — reportedly reached capacity over the weekend.

People were left laying on the streets near 45th Street and Madison Avenue overnight as the city scrambled to deal with the overwhelming demand of incoming migrants. The deluge of humanity wrapped around the lodging house, forcing the city to park several small buses outside of the premises, acting as both a place to sleep and a cooling center. 

While large groups were bussed from the Roosevelt to the Bronx early on July 30, individuals could still be observed sleeping in the back of small buses while others remained on the street with shirts and sweaters draped over their heads in the sweltering heat, others simply placed their head in hands in despair. Several migrants said, with the help of a translator, that they had been waiting outside since 10 p.m. the night prior and had yet to be allowed inside, leaving them worried and confused. They also revealed that while they had been provided with water, they had not been given any food by the city.

Migrants sleep on buses outside the Roosevelt Hotel. Photo by Dean Moses
Migrants wash themselves with bottles of water on the sidewalk. Photo by Dean Moses

The Mayor’s Press Secretary Fabien Levy called the situation a “heartbreaking reality” as the city runs out of resources. Still, he said the administration continues to prioritize children and families first and foremost.

“As we’ve said for a while now, with more than 93,000 asylum seekers coming through our intake system since last spring, our teams run out of space every single day and we do our best to offer placements wherever we have space available,” Levy told amNewYork Metro. “Children and families continue to be prioritized and are found a bed every night. While we at least offered all adults a temporary place to wait off the sidewalks last night, some may have chosen to sleep outside and, in all honesty, New Yorkers may continue to see that more and more as hundreds of asylum seekers continue to arrive every day.”

“This is the heartbreaking reality and something our teams have worked tirelessly to avoid, but while our compassion is limitless, our resources are not. We still desperately need help from our state and federal partners,” he went on. “In the meantime, we encourage migrants to take up placements available outside of New York City as they become available.”

Migrants could be seen washing themselves on the street with bottles of water and even brushing their teeth on the sidewalk, all the while an out-of-service MTA bus was being prepared to whisk them elsewhere. NYPD officers were also on the scene in order to keep the chaotic circumstances under control.

As more asylum seekers are expected to arrive in the coming weeks, the mayor’s office continues to ask for federal aid in what is swiftly becoming an unmanageable crisis.

Some waited overnight on the sidewalk. Photo by Dean Moses
Some waited overnight on the sidewalk. Photo by Dean Moses