Sunday, May 14, 2023 3:09AM
MIDTOWN EAST, Manhattan (WABC) — New York City is in crisis mode – looking everywhere for space as it tries to deliver as a sanctuary city.
It is now turning to a storied hotel, opening hundreds of rooms for children and families later this week.
The Roosevelt Hotel – with its elegant design – off Madison Avenue witnessed nearly a century of New York City history.
“The grande dame of Madison Avenue – that’s what it was referred to,” said Sal the doorman.
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.
The shuttered hotel will now be used to temporarily house migrants. The city is converting it into a central intake center for hundreds of asylum seekers being bussed in every day.
“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,” Gonzalez said.
The 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.
ALSO READ| Daniel Penny arraigned on manslaughter charge, enters no plea; Neely’s family attorneys speak out
* Get Eyewitness News Delivered
* Download the abc7NY app for breaking news alerts
Submit a tip or story idea to Eyewitness News
Copyright © 2023 WABC-TV. All Rights Reserved.