Migrants who have landed in New York City are protesting the decision to send them from a midtown hotel to a ferry cruise terminal in Brooklyn by camping outside of their affluent lodgings.
On Wednesday, DailyMail.com witnessed activists serving the migrants food including pizza, donuts, coffee, avocados and fruit while protecting them from the public glare with black umbrellas.
Sergio Tupac Uzurin, an anti-NYPD and pro-migrant activist who attended Manhattan’s exclusive Stuyvesant High School, earlier told a group of reporters and residents of the area around West 57th Street this week that the reason for the protest was that the ‘cold’ shelter was ‘not meant to be inhabited’ and that the beds are made of ‘hard materials.’
The previous night, dozens of migrants were pictured sleeping out on the street in front of the hotel as temperatures plummeted to the 20s, followed by snowfall in the early hours of Wednesday.
Activists shield the migrants from members of the media on Wednesday afternoon outside of The Watson Hotel
Uzurin also argued that Mayor Eric Adams and New York Governor Kathy Hochul should give the newly arrived migrants access to the apartments in the area around The Watson Hotel known as ‘Billionaire’s Row.’
Rooms at The Watson Hotel usually go for around $450 per night.
Another activist, named only as Philip, told DailyMail.com that the outreach to the migrants was ‘a community organized effort. This is neighbors, helping neighbors. New Yorkers, helping New Yorkers a community organized lead grassroots effort working together – we all need housing.
‘These migrants have been through so much to survive to reach the country. They want to make a home here and work. I am one person among many working together with the migrants. I am Christian. I am a person who believes in human dignity I believe that everyone deserves housing,’ he added.
When asked what the migrants expected when the came to the US, Phillip said: ‘I don’t think they expected to put in a cruise terminal without adequate heating.’
He added: ‘I think there is an image of the United States abroad that I think that’s projected. If you are poor while working class, if you are a minority and anyway in this country, I don’t think that dream was never really designed for you.’
Activists outside of the hotel told the migrants not to speak to members of the media.
The cruise terminal is around 45 minutes away from the Watson in Brooklyn’s Red Hook neighborhood, and comes equipped with a buffet food service, over 100 toilets, and is temperature controlled.
Some of the food that has been supplied to the migrants outside of the hotel
Activist Sergio Tupac Uzurin told a group of reporters and residents that the reason for the protest was that the ‘cold’ shelter was ‘not meant to be inhabited’ and that the beds are made of ‘hard materials’
Accommodations set up for the migrants at the ferry terminal include a ping pong table
More than 43,000 asylum seekers have flooded the Big Apple since last spring, leading the city to set up emergency shelters at hotels while it constructed mass housing for the migrants.
Sergio Uzurin, who graduated from the same high school as former Attorney General Eric Holder and Obama senior advisor David Axelrod, told ABC New York: ‘So the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal is a large structure, it’s not meant to be inhabited. It is a thousand beds, beds made out of hard material.
‘There’s not space for personal belongings. If you have personal belongings you have to put them in a locker. That’s out of your control. There’s only four bathrooms for a thousand men which is unsustainable for anybody who’s working.
‘It’s in an isolated part of the city away from where many of them work and it’s cold.’
While touring the facility on Monday, Mayor Adams noted that he saw a man wearing shorts.
The Queens-born activist continued: ‘The immediate resolution is that the Hotel Watson needs to accept these men back and put them back into their rooms.
‘The longer-term solution is to reallocate funding from over-funded departments like the NYPD into housing vouchers and into other programs that get people into permanent stable housing.’
Rooms at The Watson Hotel typically go for anywhere between $325 and $450
A video showing Mayor Eric Adams’ visit to the shelter also showed off a buffet at the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal in Red Hook
The photos show a mass of roughly 1,000 of cot-style beds
A photo provided by one of the migrants shows rows of beds set up at the terminal
More than 43,000 asylum seekers have flooded the Big Apple since last spring, leading the city to set up emergency shelters at hotels while it constructed mass housing for the migrants
Rooms at The Watson Hotel usually go for around $450 per night
Activists have called on the mayor to open up luxury apartments for migrants
While some migrants have been moved outside the hotels, many at The Watson have refused to take up the city’s offer to ship them to the Red Hook housing facility in Brooklyn, causing headaches for longtime residents in Hell’s Kitchen
The city’s office of immigrant affairs said that the shelter is temperature-controlled with free-food, security, over 100 toilets and that residents are given vouchers for public transportation to get them to where they need to be.
While some migrants have been moved outside the hotels, many at The Watson have refused to take up the city’s offer to ship them to Red Hook, causing headaches for longtime residents in Hell’s Kitchen.
The migrants were given the option to tour the facility before moving their belongings there, but most refused.
One who did see the shelter, named only as Labrador by NewsNation, told the station: ‘The conditions are so bad we have to cross the street to take a shower. We need to come back to our beds, which are all together like a jail.’
A young couple, Simon and Melissa Marie, who live beside the hotel told DailyMail.com: ‘I didn’t want to change my lifestyle because of them, but it’s inconvenient. This is a residential area. You should respect the street there is trash all over the floor and they are not being respectful of the accommodations being given to them.’
The couple said that they had to put a muzzle on their dog to stop him from eating discarded trash left by the migrants and that they group blasts music at night.
Some migrants have said they have boarded the buses to the Brooklyn facilities, but have plans to immediately come back to The Watson later
Pictured: Food and coffee being served to the migrants outside the hotel
The city has declared a state of emergency over the surge of migrants arriving every day
The city plans to begin moving migrant families into the Watson as early as next week, reports CBS New York.
New York City Immigrant Affairs Commissioner Manuel Castro said this week: ‘The truth is we are max capacity with hotels. We need the space for children and families. And this was always meant to be temporary.’
On Tuesday, a Holiday Inn hotel in Manhattan’s Financial District won court approval to host migrants to the tune of $190 per room per night, the New York Post reported.
The hotel had applied for bankruptcy just this November in the fallout from the Covid-19 pandemic. The new arrangement will net the hotel over $93,000 a day and nearly $3million a month.
Allan Robert, who lives in an apartment with his wife next to the Watson, slammed the city for moving the migrants to the hotel in the first place, and said the crowded streets have become safety concerns for residents.
‘No information was given to the neighborhood prior to this happening,’ Robert said. ‘They were just dropped here.
‘I don’t mind helping migrants but I do mind helping migrants that are undocumented – which we are paying for per night, per room. Really, how much is it?’
Pictured: A sign set up by the hotel that reads: No to the discrimination of immigrants
Migrants are opting to stay at The Watson as earlier reports indicated they enjoyed free food and other amenities
Pictured: A surge of migrants setting up camp outside The Watson Hotel
Adams has also been bullish on asking for federal help.
Washington has approved $800million in spending to aid the crisis but it will go to various cities across the country.
Another resident said: ‘They are taking the migrants out to Brooklyn to put a whole new set of people here. Our tax dollars are paying for this.
‘They are making a mockery of what we worked so hard for decades to fix. It’s ridiculous. It’s a puppet show.’
Pictured: Paramedics tending to a migrant who needed help on Tuesday. Some residents feared for the migrants camping out in the streets in the winter
Although police moved in on Monday to remove tents, many are still their in sleeping bags
Residents said they are frustrated by the sight of migrants smoking cigarettes and marijuana on the streets outside The Watson Hotel
The city is pushing the migrants to board buses bound for Brooklyn (above), but the migrants and advocates say the facility is ill-equipped to accommodate them
Local residents expressed outrage at the sight and slammed the city and federal government for failing to curb the number of asylum seekers reaching the Big Apple
Migrants have been camping outside The Watson Hotel in Hell’s Kitchen after refusing to relocate to a NYC housing shelter in Brooklyn
In a seemingly prepared speech, Uzurin earlier told the gathered media: ‘We need one thing to be clear, Eric Adams only has one plan so far. Eric Adams’ plan is to loot the city’s departments and give that money to the NYPD and the developers who are gentrifying this city.
‘He could have easily, along with Governor Hochul, opened up all of the vacant luxury apartments. We are on 57th Street right now. This is Billionaire’s Row.
‘Half of the super towers on this street are empty. These are $40million apartments!’
Migrant Oscar Veliz told ABC 7 that the 1,000-bed Red Hook facility is ill-equipped, and that food isn’t always readily available.
‘We do not want to go to Brooklyn Terminal, I was there yesterday, there was no heat; it’s cold,’ he said.
One of the migrants who was shuttled off to Red Hook told DailyMail.com that many are leaving their belongings behind at The Watson Hotel because they plan on returning.
City Hall spokesman Fabien Levy said in a statement this week: ‘The facilities at Brooklyn Cruise Terminal will provide the same services as every other humanitarian relief center in the city.’
Buses of migrants have been arriving in NYC since fall when Republican governors, primarily Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, began sending asylum seekers from the border to largely Democratic-leaning cities.