Men continue to sleep huddled on the sidewalk outside of the Roosevelt Hotel in Midtown Manhattan, as the famous hotel is at full capacity and the City says it is bursting at the seams with asylum seekers.
Many immigrants could be seen laying on cardboard Tuesday outside the hotel at East 45th Street and Madison Avenue, while pedestrians pounded the pavement around them on their way to work. Some immigrants could be seen washing their hands and feet with water bottles, with others expressing desperation for food.
Several frantically reached out with open arms to a man who was distributing small paper bags containing sandwiches and muffins. It wasn’t clear whether the man was a city employee, although he did promise to return with more food since there was just not enough to go around.
Immigrants have been camped outside the hotel since the weekend. The newcomers have been told very little about whether they will have a place to stay, according to the asylum seekers who spoke to amNewYork Metro with the help of a translator.
One man from Venezuela said he has been in the streets for two days and yearns to work.
“I don’t want to stay in a shelter, I want to work,” the man said through the aid of the translator.
Savi, who did not provide his last name, arrived in New York several months ago before traveling to Ohio. He has since returned to Manhattan, saying that there was a lack of opportunity outside the Big Apple. However, he said he was surprised to find other immigrants like himself languishing on the streets of Manhattan when he came back.
“I am shocked. It wasn’t like this two months ago. They sent us to a shelter. Some people here said they have been here for like two or three days, sleeping on the street,” Savi said, who speaks English. “I am worried.”
The situation had become so dire by Tuesday that the NYPD lined the street with guard rails so pedestrian traffic could continue to pass through the area around the migrants.
Behind these bars, immigrants of the Muslim faith could be seen praying — with one man using part of a cardboard box as his prayer rug — while others simply looked on with wide-eyed confusion.
Some of the homeless migrants at the hotel have been there three days, and it is unclear how much longer they will remain unsheltered.
The Mayor’s Press Secretary Fabien Levy said that it has become a “heartbreaking reality” to see people on the streets—given the influx of new arrivals—and noted that the federal government has provided very little aid to help with the crisis. His statement comes one day after elected officials rallied in City Hall Park and called on President Biden to take action, with some 60 politicians signing a letter addressed to the White House.
Shams DaBaron, known as “Da Homeless Hero,” is a homeless advocate who has become close with Mayor Adams over the course of the administration, and visited the Roosevelt Hotel on Tuesday. He told amNewYork Metro that individuals are slowly being processed and are being taken elsewhere. He did, however, concede that more needs to be done to provide them with basic needs such as food and water.
“Well, it’s a slow process, and we probably need to get more mutual aid and stuff like that. Now when they go inside, there is access to food, the city’s gonna bring food to them and stuff like that,” DaBaron said.