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NY Post
New York Post
5 Aug 2023

NextImg:Over 50 migrants settling in at makeshift shelter in Brooklyn’s hip McCarren Park — as some worry about thefts, shower access

Dozens of adult migrants who had been previously housed in Queens are settling in at the newly opened makeshift shelter at McCarren Park on the border of hipster Brooklyn neighborhoods Williamsburg and Greenpoint Saturday.

Just after midnight, 55 migrants who appeared to be all men were bused to the park’s popular Play Center, where city workers were seen bringing 100 military-style cots and baby supplies Friday, according to asylum-seekers and a spokesperson for the mayor’s office.

In videos and photos obtained by The Post, the floors of the complex’s airy rooms that housed after-school arts programs have been filled with rows of green cots covered in blue blankets. The wood-slat walls are still lined with butcher paper, photos of past events and images of Pokemon characters.

One migrant, who had been staying at a shelter in Rockaways, Queens, said he was given a heads-up two weeks ago about an upcoming move.

“We got on the bus, and they gave us the address and brought us here,” said Albeiro, a 35-year-old father of three from Colombia.

“The truth [is], we were just with the unknown on the bus. They said they were looking for a place to send us and, well, they noticed here.”

Rooms at McCarren Park’s Play Center have been transformed into a makeshift shelter.
Provided to New York Post

Maikel Perez, 25, of Venezuela, said he and other migrants are storing their belongings under their cots, but worry about thefts.

“In reality, we don’t have anything safe,” he said. “It’s very difficult … we are together, we don’t know how to store things.

“But we see each other, we know each other, we stick together.” 

City Hall informed local lawmakers Wednesday that 80 adult migrants would be housed in McCarren Park, which is popular for its pool and other facilities — just days after Hizzoner warned that the spiraling migrant crisis would soon be coming “to a neighborhood near you.” 

Migrants outside McCarren Park

Dozens of migrants are settling in at the makeshift shelter in McCarren Park in Brooklyn.
Michael Dalton for NY Post

One migrant said he had no idea the city was moving him to a makeshift shelter in Brooklyn’s popular McCarren Park.
Gregory P. Mango

Several migrants, however, were concerned about the lack of showers in the immediate shelter facility — especially since they did not seem to have clearance to use the pool’s showers as of Saturday afternoon.

Pols representing the North Brooklyn nabes promised that access to the pool and fitness center “won’t be impacted” by the impromptu shelter, but migrants staying there will have to use the same showers as poolgoers — with private access in the morning and alongside the public in the afternoon, according to City Hall.

“There is no shower here, just a few stretchers,” said Martin Cordero, a 30-year-old Venezuelan who told The Post he works construction in the Bronx and had not yet been able to bathe.

“They said they are reaching some agreement to be able to use the shower near the pool.”

Some of the migrants are concerned about people stealing things in their new shelter.
Michael Dalton for NY Post

A Parks Department official declined to comment on the migrants’ use of the pool’s showers.

One migrant, however, said the McCarren Park setup is “fine.”

“I feel comfortable here — with a roof where you can sleep and [to] not be cold or sunny, it’s fine,” said 28-year-old Carlos Enrique Sanchez Guzman, who came from Mexico and was bused up to New York two months ago.

Local lawmakers said the shelter should not affect the public’s access to the McCarren Park’s pools and other facilities.
Gregory P. Mango

When asked about neighbors’ concerns about the Play Center’s new use Friday, Adams snapped, “Everybody should have concerns.”

“We need the federal government’s help and when we make announcements on our next move, we will let everybody know,” he told The Post.

A Manhattan Supreme Court judge meanwhile suggested that she may require Gov. Kathy Hochul and state lawmakers to provide more aid to the city for it to comply with its decades-old “Right to Shelter” legal obligations, which requires City Hall to provide a bed to any person in need. 

Albany has doled out $1 billion so far to help with the estimated $4 billion-plus bill for housing and providing social services to over 56,000 migrants currently in the Big Apple shelter system. 

Nearly 100,000 asylum seekers have arrived in New York City since spring 2022.

The federal government has forked over $142 million to the city — an amount that the mayor and lawmakers have ripped as paltry.