ORCHARD BEACH, the Bronx (PIX11) — New York City is relocating the migrant relief center currently under construction in the Bronx to Randall’s Island in Manhattan, Mayor Eric Adams announced, citing flooding concerns in Orchard Beach.
“Following this weekend’s storms, New York City Emergency Management determined that, while we would be able to put in place the necessary ponding mitigation measures, relocating the Orchard Beach humanitarian relief center to Randall’s Island is the most efficient and effective path forward, and work is underway to make this move,” Adams said in a statement Monday night.
The new site for the tent encampment on Randall’s Island will be a parking lot between Icahn Stadium and the Harlem River. It will provide shelter to 500 asylum seekers, according to Adams, which is half the capacity of the Orchard Beach encampment.
“We expect this site to open in approximately the same timeframe as the originally planned location,” Adams said.
Adams said he didn’t know the final numbers on how much money the move would cost, but New York City Emergency Management Commissioner Zach Iscol argued it’s “more cost-effective. We are actually saving money by moving to Randall’s Island at this stage.”
The Adams administration had faced criticism over its decision to build the migrant center in flood-prone Orchard Beach. The encampment experienced some flooding over the weekend due to heavy rainfall. Earlier Monday, Adams reiterated his commitment to sending migrants to the Bronx before reversing course.
“We are not afraid to pivot and shift. People stay down roads even though it’s bad because they are afraid of what the media is going to write about them. No, we pivot and shift based on the needs,” Adams said.
Adams said the new site on Randall’s Island will be less prone to flooding than Orchard Beach. However, similar concerns still remain at the new location. City flood hazard mapping shows there are moderate and severe flooding concerns in that part of Randall’s Island.
More than 16,000 asylum seekers have arrived in New York City since August. Most were sent from the southern border on buses by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott.
Adams confirmed he is reaching out to Gov. Kathy Hochul to call in the National Guard to assist with the migrant situation and the encampments he plans to build.
“We continue to build out our options and explore additional sites as we handle this humanitarian crisis created by human hands,” Adams said.