Randall’s Island ‘tent city’ to shutter starting next week, mayor announces

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The tent city on Randall’s Island erected to house the influx of asylum seekers will be taken out of use starting next week, the mayor announced Thursday.

Officially known as the Humanitarian Emergency Response and Relief Center, the large tent facility opened to its first visitors on Oct. 19 after a controversial history that saw its original location inside the Bronx’s Orchard Beach Parking Lot abandoned due to flooding. The complex was designed to temporarily house single male migrants; however, Mayor Eric Adams says now, less than a month after it became operational, it is no longer needed.

Mayor Adams said on Nov. 10 that the Randall’s Island location will instead be replaced with the Midtown hotel the Watson and will include 600 rooms.

“We continue to welcome asylum seekers arriving in New York City with compassion and care. This Humanitarian Emergency Response and Relief Center will provide asylum seekers with a place to stay, access support, and get to their final destination,” Mayor Adams said. “The city is currently caring for over 17,500 asylum seekers, a number that continues to grow steadily. We will continue to pivot and shift as necessary to deal with this humanitarian crisis, but it’s clear that we still need financial assistance from our state and federal partners.” 

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