NEW YORK (AP) — Giant tents for temporarily housing migrants arriving in New York City are being moved to an island off Manhattan from a remote corner of the Bronx, after storms raised concerns over flooding at the original site.
Mayor Eric Adams announced Monday that the city’s humanitarian relief center will now be on Randall’s Island, which sits in the waters between Manhattan, Queens and the Bronx. It’s connected by five bridges to the three boroughs, and people can take buses or walk off the island to reach the city’s subway system.
The center’s tents had been put up in a parking lot at Orchard Beach, in the northeast part of the Bronx on Long Island Sound, where access to public transportation is limited. Images online showed water ponding at the site following rainfall over the weekend.
In a statement announcing the change, Adams said while the city could have made the original location work, moving the center “is the most efficient and effective path forward.”
The city’s plan for Orchard Beach had been met with concern by immigration advocates, who cited its inaccessibility among other reasons, and that concern extended to the new location.
“The city must look to other solutions instead of tent cities, where our clients will be isolated, vulnerable to extreme weather, and far from public transportation and other critical services,” the Legal Aid Society and the Coalition for the Homeless said in a statement issued Tuesday.
Adams said the new site would open in around the same time as the original one, although he didn’t specify when that would be, and would house 500 people.
In recent months, New York City has seen an unexpected increase in migrants seeking asylum in the United States, sent to the city from other states including Texas and Arizona.
The influx has put a strain on the city’s shelter system, leading officials to look for places to house people and proposing the temporary tent facilities.