More than 50 migrants were outside of the hotel, along with activists who were handing out food and water.
City officials said that single men were supposed to be brought to a new shelter at the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal that would provide the same services that they were receiving at the hotel. The city bus arrived, but only a small number of migrants hopped on the bus. Most decided to stay outside the hotel on West 57th Street. Activists claimed that migrants were being relocated from the hotel. One activist was quoted telling the New York Post that they were prepared to stay overnight.
"They feel that it’s not livable," said activist Valerie, who did not give her last name. "The hotel won’t let them in so they’re planning to sleep here."
"More than 42,000 asylum seekers have arrived in New York City since last spring and we continue to surpass our moral obligations as we provide asylum seekers with shelter, food, health care, education, and a host of other services," City Hall spokesperson Fabien Levy said in a statement to the New York Post. Levy said that the Watson was being transitioned to house migrant families.
"The facilities at Brooklyn Cruise Terminal will provide the same services as every other humanitarian relief center in the city, and the scheduled relocations to Brooklyn Cruise Terminal this weekend took place as planned. We remain in serious need of support from both our state and federal governments."
A dozen police were originally stationed at the Watson hotel, with police remaining on-scene until around midnight as migrants were still surrounding the entrance of the hotel.
The Brooklyn Cruise Terminal is a new mega shelter that can house as many as 1,000 single adult men, Mayor Eric Adams said last week.
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