The outdoor migrant tent facility on Randall’s Island, which has been billed by the city as an initial stop for hundreds of asylum seekers arriving in the city, is opening Wednesday.
The city says the center will provide migrants with any and all services they might need before relocating to a more permanent destination. The 85,000 square foot facility consists of multiple tents and trailers. The main facility includes a room where bilingual case workers will greet asylum seekers and help them with logistical information they may need, according to the city.
Officials say it is expected to hold 500 single adult men at a time.
The site includes a dining hall with a buffet that will provide three meals per day, a recreation room with Wi-Fi, televisions, phone centers and laundry stations.
The mayor’s office says buses will begin transporting migrants arriving at Port Authority to the facility starting today.
“We, in New York City, want to be as helpful as possible to asylum seekers to get to wherever they need to get to,” said Manuel Castro, the commissioner of the Mayor’s Office of Migrant Affairs, Tuesday during a tour of the facility. “Unfortunately, for many, New York City is not the place, so this will give us the capacity to be able to do that for so many people.”
Critics of the facility have pointed to the fact that the center is a tent located in a flood-prone zone but, city officials have said the facility can withstand various weather conditions, including winds up to 90 mph.
City officials say that the tents are temperature controlled, and that if flooding does become a problem there is an evacuation plan in place.
The city said the facility cost approximately $325,000 to set up.
On Oct. 2, Mayor Eric Adams announced the city’s previous migrant facility located on Orchard Beach would be moved to Randall’s Island amid mounting concerns that the original site would be susceptible to flooding.
The city says it cost about $325,000 to demobilize from the Orchard Beach Center.
Mayor Adams on Oct. 1 implored federal and state officials to help address the continued arrival of asylum seekers in the five boroughs, declaring the influx a “state of emergency” set to cost the city more than $1 billion.
Adams also called on the federal government to enact legislation allowing asylum seekers to “legally work — now, not in six months.”