Skip to Content
Morning Spew

It’s Wednesday and City Hall Is Aware the Migrant Tent Isn’t Actually Shelter

The city has broken ground on its tent in Orchard Beach, and other links to start your beautiful Wednesday.

5:30 AM EDT on September 28, 2022

New York City Mayor Eric Adams tours the City’s Asylum Seeker Resource Navigation Center in Manhattan on Thursday, September 15, 2022. (Michael Appleton/ City Hall)

Eric Adams returned from his weekend trip to Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic on Tuesday to give some updates on the City’s handling of asylum seekers. (He’s jetting off to Washington, D.C., today). During a press conference yesterday, the mayor said that he didn’t believe that asylum seekers should be treated the same way as other homeless New Yorkers, and that “these are two different entities.”

The mayor was defending the ongoing construction of a large tent to house 1,000 asylum seekers in Orchard Beach, an area that is in a flood zone. Placing migrants so close together in this tent, not having access to laundry, and not providing separate rooms to families—would violate parts of the City’s “right to shelter” requirement. City Hall, in explaining the tent idea, concedes that it’s not a “shelter”—what the tent is meant to do is buy the administration time. Instead of sending arriving migrants directly to Department of Homeless Services intake centers, which would require the City to find shelter for them that night, migrants sent to the tent would first be asked if they have anywhere else in the country they’d like to (voluntarily) go, if they have family in the United States they’d like to reunite with, or if they have pressing health issues which need immediate attention. 

City Hall has stressed to Legal Aid that staying in the tent facility is entirely up to individual asylum seekers—they can leave at any time, and if they so wish, can also find their way to a DHS intake shelter to ask for shelter. Still, this redirection of migrants can only help so much. Of the estimated 14,600 migrants who have arrived or been sent to NYC in recent months, 11,000 are now currently in the City’s shelter system. The already stressed and underresourced system is well beyond its capacity, and needs people who are already in the system to begin moving out into more permanent housing. Instead of building a massive tent in a far-flung part of the city, Legal Aid has called on the Adams administration to swiftly take action to provide housing subsidies to those who have already been waiting months to leave the City’s shelter system. With thousands of affordable apartments still vacant across the city, a massive tent in a flood zone feels like a very strange way to tackle a solvable problem. 

Let’s pour ourselves a giant steaming cup o’ links: 

  • Today is a perfect weather day. Hell Gate has not left the ascetic and dim confines of its  “blog chamber” but we might go for a nice long walk later. 
  • A scaffold that has been up for 22 years in the West Village has finally come down, reports Gothamist. “I couldn’t believe it, I went there and asked: ‘Are you taking it off? Oh my God,’” said one resident. “I don’t know what to say. I’m just happy.” The now-deceased shed was the second-oldest in the city. The oldest scaffolding, located in Harlem’s Sugar Hill neighborhood, remains standing amidst a variety of safety issues with its building’s facade. The City has moved to crack down on sidewalk scaffolds in recent years…and it appears there are beginning to be some cracks of sunlight peeking through. 
  • Unvaccinated NYPD officers can now return to the beat after a judge struck down the City’s vaccine mandate for police officers last week. The City is appealing the decision. 
  • A Flatbush landlord was sentenced to six months in jail on Tuesday. He was found guilty of criminally negligent homicide in the 2019 death of one of his tenants, who jumped to his death from the building during an electrical fire. At that time, Evener Leon had stopped paying gas and electric bills, and was running electricity to his tenants from his own apartment. 
  • Who could have foreseen that the ethnic paramilitary force NYC has been shoveling money at for years wouldn’t carry any insurance to pay out the judgment for the guy they blinded?
  • The mayor’s not going to tell you where he’s been, but he might just bust in on you while you’re in your “nighties” and ask you to ride the N train with him. 
  • A Pakistani American taxi driver is suing the NYPD after he was arrested while enforcing the City’s pandemic-era social distancing guidelines at his mosque. Ishtiaq Ahmed says he lost his taxi license following the arrest, which he claims was retaliation  by an NYPD officer who was upset that Ahmed wouldn’t let her into the mosque (which the NYPD has a history of surveilling). 
  • Family members of and advocates for incarcerated people rallied in front of Governor Kathy Hochul’s office, decrying a change in state policy that eliminated in-person visitors from giving packages to those in prison. The new policy has also cut down on mailed packages, limiting items people can send to only a designated list of vendors. “These are small, small pleasures,” said the mother of an incarcerated person at Attica. “It’s a treat beyond words for them to get a package from home.”
  • And finally, this promises to be a fun time for all:

Stay in touch

Sign up for our free newsletter

More from Hell Gate

Locked Up

NYC Will Pay Millions for Locking Up People Who Had Already Paid Bail, But It’s Still Doing That

As the City settles a major class-action lawsuit, it’s still dragging its feet releasing people who have posted bail.

December 1, 2022
Horoscopes

Prepare Yourself for Sagittarius December Doldrums

It's December at last, which means New York's indisputable worst month (November) is over.

Morning Spew

It’s Thursday and the MTA Is Yet Again Staring Into the Abyss

Albany to NYC Subways, Drop Dead? And other links to start your day.

December 1, 2022
Eternal City

Henry Hill Slept Here: My Journey Through the ‘Goodfellas’ Locations of NYC

The tour’s locations capture a relatively ungentrified slice of deep Brooklyn and Queens, where mobsters once reigned like kings, hijacking and stealing and paying off the cops...And now it’s all over.

November 30, 2022
Eternal City

Let’s All Marvel at the Giant Tree We Murdered And Dragged Into Midtown Manhattan

A Norway spruce might live 300 years or longer, but this one would have to die.

See all posts