BROOKLYN, N.Y. (PIX11) — PIX11 News got an inside look at New York City’s newest and perhaps most controversial migrant shelter.
Beginning within the week, migrant families will be housed on a runway that has been turned into a sprawling tent encampment at the old Floyd Bennett Field grounds in Brooklyn. There are concerns about floods, fire safety, and how children will get to school.
The sprawling facility features a sort of dormitory/cubicle style setup for up to 500 people. Some of the rooms feature cots and others feature Pack ‘n Plays. All of them have power and individual lighting.
Just walking past the pooled water on the way in to the intake center, where migrants will be processed and undergo a health screening, raises questions about the site. City officials continue to underscore they are out of options.
“We have built in parking lots, parks, and now literally in the middle of a runway. That’s how hard we are trying to help all these families coming with children, so they don’t end up on the streets,” said Dr. Ted Long with the city.
New York City currently has about 65,000 migrants in its care across more than 200 sites. Floyd Bennett Field is the first one on federal land. It can be expanded to house up to 2,000 people.
The location is for new migrant families who will have 60 days to find other accommodations. It features a 24/7 cafeteria, along with mobile shower and bathroom units with full plumbing.
New York City Emergency Management Commissioner Zach Iscol attempted to allay the concerns of flooding. He said the runway naturally clears flash flood water quite well. Iscol also said folding in up to 2,000 people to a major storm evacuation plan would be simple enough.
“People here would go to the coastal storm shelters just like anybody else that needs a place to stay,” Iscol said.
“There is no real cohesive plan in place. It’s all ‘what ifs,'” criticized New York City Councilwoman Joann Ariola. She said her fears go well beyond flooding, to school busing and fire hazards.
The fire department has in recent weeks closed down a handful of migrant facilities due to fire concerns. The city said Floyd Bennett Field was built with fire resistant materials, and the plugs in each individual room have breakers.
But under heavy questioning, Emergency Management Commissioner Iscol conceded: “There are a couple of other things we are working through to try and mitigate, but we are essentially there.”
City officials expect the first few migrants to arrive perhaps on Monday but certainly by the end of the week.