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    Area hotels prepare for influx of asylum seekers; shuttered NYC hotel to be welcome center


    MIDTOWN EAST, Manhattan (WABC) — New York City is turning to an iconic hotel to house the thousands of migrants that have recently arrived at Port Authority.

    The city is in crisis mode – looking everywhere for space as it tries to deliver as a sanctuary city.

    The Roosevelt Hotel – with its elegant design – off Madison Avenue witnessed nearly a century of New York City history.

    The shuttered hotel, which closed during the pandemic, will be used as temporary housing. The city is converting it into a central intake center for hundreds of asylum seekers being bussed in every day.

    The Roosevelt Hotel is now opening 175 rooms for families, with plans to open an additional 675 rooms later this week.

    There is more criticism for Mayor Adams for a lack of communication from several places hearing they’d be receiving migrants this weekend.

    In Yonkers, officials including the mayor say they barely got any notice that migrant families will be staying at the Ramada — and it’s still not clear how many or when they’ll be arriving. Eyewitness News is told the hotel made its rooms unavailable to regular guests — starting with checkout on Sunday to make space for asylum seekers being bused up from the city — which has made it clear it is running out of shelter space.

    “You don’t know who the people are, how many there are,” said Yonkers City Councilmember Anthony Merante.

    The Ramada is in Merante’s district. He says he would also like to know how long the migrants will be there.

    “This is not an extended stay hotel. This is a week, maybe two weeks or something like that. This can’t accomodate people. There’s no cooking inside here as far as I know,” Merante added.

    There have been similar complaints about a lack of a heads up from City Hall as spaces in schools are being prepared to be used as shelters — on Staten Island and Coney Island — and now in Williamsburg, where parents at PS 17 say they got a letter thie evening from the ctiy as cots were placed in the school’s gym.

    New York City has not been shy about admitting this is a crisis it is dealing with. It took in more than 4,200 migrants just this week alone as it scrambles to find them shelter, but it is running out of space – and the buses continue to come.

    Mayor Adams is hoping the hotel will provide the additional support needed to cope with the crisis.

    “The grande dame of Madison Avenue – that’s what it was referred to,” said Sal, a doorman at the Roosevelt Hotel.

    Sal was a doorman at the Roosevelt for 23 years until its doors closed for good because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

    “I met people from all walks of earth here. Became friends with a lot of celebrities as well to this day. Then you go from that to something that’s completely different and I was an immigrant myself,” Sal added.

    “I came here just as they did – basically with nothing,” said Juan Gonzalez.

    Gonzalez also came to pursue the American Dream. He and his wife arrived from Colombia years go, and are not sure if New York City is equipped to give the asylum seekers the opportunities they seek.

    “I definitely want people to be helped. But I also see the social problem if everyone is coming you know it’s too many people and I don’t see the city will be able to offer the support they’re looking for so basically they need to think of a plan B,” Hailey Gonzalez said.

    That “plan B” has included sending buses of migrants to the Hudson Valley and housing them there at the city’s expense. This has led to lawsuits flying in every direction.

    Orange and Rockland Counties are trying to prevent migrants from arriving.

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