Several migrant families with children bussed to a newly-opened shelter at Floyd Bennett Field in Brooklyn re-entered a bus shortly after arriving at the massive facility on Sunday, telling the city they did not like the accommodations.
City Hall confirmed some families did not want to come to settle at the shelter while acknowledging there was no other placement for migrants if they declined the site.
In video taken by local Brooklyn Assemblywoman Jamie Williams, migrant families who arrived to the defunct airfield via an MTA bus with children on Sunday did an about-face and went back on the bus, carrying their belongings.
After, a city worker ignored Williams’ question on why migrants were not being housed at the site.
“Families got off of the bus and saw the accommodations,” she said in a text message from the airfield. “When they realized they wouldn’t be staying at a hotel they refused to stay and demanded to be taken somewhere else. They were not told in advance that they would be going a tent city.”
In another video posting, the lawmaker can be heard urging workers to “tell the mayor that this is inhumane.”
“No woman or children should be having to be bussed around like this,” she said. “Let them know that this is not the place for you guys to be — in an isolated area.”
Mayoral spokesperson Kayla Mamelak said the lack of space has presented few options for migrants.
“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,” the she stated.
Last week, Mayor Adams was expected to meet with White House officials to discuss the crisis but abruptly had to return to the city shortly after the FBI raided his campaign fundraiser’s home as part of an inquiry.
As first reported by the Daily News, some two-dozen families totaling 100 people were expected to be brought to the site on Sunday. It’s now unclear how many families have stayed.
Unlike conventional family shelters, migrants staying at Floyd Bennett Field were expected to live in so-called pods. The rooms were not wholly private and lacked a kitchen.
The mayor’s office did not return a request for comment on why migrants were brought back to the bus.
Adams’ announcement over the use of Floyd Bennett Field as a shelter was immediately opposed by Williams and Queens Councilmember Joann Ariola, who have cited the area’s designation as a floodplain as one reason the site was unsuitable. Ariola has since sued the city and state, asking a judge to shut down the site.
“This is a remote location, far from any transportation hubs, and lacking in any real infrastructure, and it is simply not suitable for habitation,” Ariola said in a statement. “We’ve been told that, of the handful that initially opted to stay, most of them are now requesting to be transferred as well.