First Migrants Arrive at NYC’s Floyd Bennett Field — Only to Scoff and Leave Isolated Site After Just One Look-Around
Kevin Sheehan et al., New York Post, November 12, 2023
The first batch of migrants was bused to Floyd Bennett Field’s makeshift tent city in Brooklyn on Sunday — and wanted no part of it.
Dozens of migrant families arrived at the controversial remote housing site courtesy of the Adams administration shortly after 12:30 p.m., looked around and promptly hopped back on the bus to try to return to their previous shelters.
“We weren’t told where we were going,” one of the bused migrant dads griped to The Post. “I work in the Bronx. My kids go to school in the Bronx. For us to live out here is ridiculous.
“We’re going back,” he fumed.
Another migrant father bused to the field said he has been living at the Roosevelt Hotel in Midtown Manhattan, the city processing site for the migrants — and was heading back there.
“They are going to take us back to the train so we can go back to 45th Street,” he said. “We didn’t know we were coming here. They just said they were taking us to a shelter.
“I cannot stay here,” he added. “This is crazy.”
About 2,000 asylum seekers from the US border with Mexico are expected to eventually be housed at the site, which has drawn widespread criticism for everything from its remote location to fire safety concerns.
State Assemblywoman Jaime Williams (D-Brooklyn), whose district includes the national park, was at the field Sunday and spoke with a man who told her he was with the city’s Health & Hospitals system and had talked with some of the migrants.
“When I asked him why did they leave immediately like that, he said the people, they were scared,” the pol said. “They weren’t sure what they were doing here. They don’t want to be here, and they asked to leave.
A spokesman for Adams said Sunday that while some migrants did reject the site and signed release forms, others — including a second busload that arrived shortly before 2:30 p.m. — opted to remain.
“As we have said time and time again, more than 139,500 asylum seekers have moved through our intake system since the spring of 2022, all of whom have been offered vital services,” the spokesman said in a statement.
“But with more than 65,600 migrants still currently in our care, and thousands more continuing to arrive every week, we have used every possible corner of New York City and are quite simply out of good options to shelter migrants,” he said.
A bus driver said workers were stunned when many of the migrants bused to the site refused to stay.
“We were shocked when they turned around and left — shocked,” the driver told The Post. “Only a few people stayed. We didn’t see that coming.”