NYC’s historic Roosevelt Hotel becomes arrival center for asylum seekers

May 15, 2023

A historic hotel in Midtown that has been closed since the start of the pandemic will become the city’s first arrival center for migrants, Mayor Eric Adams announced on Saturday. Located at 45 East 45th Street, The Roosevelt Hotel will serve as a “centralized intake center” for all arriving asylum seekers, providing them with legal, medical, and reconnection services and up to 175 rooms for children and families starting later this week. The new shelter is the ninth Humanitarian Emergency Response and Relief Center opened by the city; more migrants are expected to arrive in New York after the end of the pandemic-era rule Title 42, which let the U.S. quickly expel migrants without documentation.

Asylum seekers already in the five boroughs can visit the arrival center to use the offered services. Eventually, the 175 rooms will be scaled up to roughly 850 rooms, with an additional 100 to 150 rooms reserved for migrants transitioning to other shelters. Other services offered at the arrival center will include Department of Education school enrollment, Fair Fares enrollment, health insurance enrollment, mental health counseling, and a variety of other services provided by local community organizations.

With the recent lifting of Title 42, the city expects an exponential increase in the number of migrants arriving seeking asylum. First instated in March 2020 amidst the breakout of the Covid-19 pandemic, Title 42 allowed United States Border Control to bar entry to migrants coming from countries where a “communicable disease” was present.

Adams has once again asked for support from the state and federal governments to help accommodate the influx of migrants to the city.

“With the opening of yet another humanitarian relief center, we continue to ask for our federal and state partners for a real decompression strategy and hope to open and operate temporary shelters across the state and nation, as New York City has reached its capacity,” Adams said.

“New York City has now cared for more than 65,000 asylum seekers — already opening up over 140 emergency shelters and eight large-scale humanitarian relief centers in addition to this one to manage this national crisis. While this new arrival center and humanitarian relief center will create hundreds of good-paying, union jobs and provide the infrastructure to help asylum seekers reach their final destination, without federal or state assistance, we will be unable to continue treating new arrivals and those already here with the dignity and care that they deserve.”

Named for President Theodore Roosevelt, the Roosevelt Hotel opened in 1924 and was designed by Beaux-Arts architect George Post. The building has a storied New York City history. As 6sqft previously reported, Gov. Thomas Dewey used suite 1527 from 1943 to 1955 as his official city home and as his campaign headquarters when he unsuccessfully ran again Harry Truman for president in 1948. The Roosevelt Hotel has also been featured in more than a dozen films including “Wall Street,” “Malcolm X,” “Maid in Manhattan,” and “The Irishman.”

In 2020, the owner, Pakistan International Airlines, announced the hotel would close due to “very low demand” because of the pandemic.


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