The New York City migrant population is bursting at the seams and city officials say the “city is stretched to its breaking point,” a characterization most recently displayed by the hundreds of migrants sleeping outside of the Roosevelt Hotel (which has since become national news). In the midst of this discussion, Mayor Eric Adams is considering housing migrants in tents in Central Park and other green spaces.
“There is no more room,” he told reporters on Monday, and this could be his temporary solution to the migrant problem.
He was expected to appear at a briefing on Wednesday at City Hall about the Asylum Seeker Response with Anne Williams-Isom, the Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services, but canceled that appearance shortly before the start time. The newly announced Asylum Seeker Application Help Center receiving 1,300 applications was something Williams-Isom touted to show they are responding to the issue. When asked specifically about the report on housing people in Central Park, she said “we are making the best decisions that we can given the information that we get,” before admitting that “right now everything is on the table.” Politico got a quote from New York City Emergency Management Commissioner Zach Iscol saying nearly the same thing: “nothing’s off the table.”
The mayor’s press secretary, Fabien Levy, would also not confirm nor deny the potential plans, while Manhattan Borough President Mark Levine said he was concerned about putting people in Central Park but acknowledged they are running out of traditional spaces.
A reporter for 1010 Wins managed to ask Adams about the Central Park issue as he was walking into an elevator, but he merely smiled and ignored the question.
If this plan goes through, it wouldn’t be the first time Central Park is used as an emergency housing site as desperate New Yorkers built shacks on Central Park’s Great Lawn during the Great Depression. More recently, the Christian organization Samaritan’s Purse set up a field hospital there during the Covid-19 pandemic.