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Illegal Immigrants in New York City

Recently-arrived migrants waiti outside Roosevelt Hotel, midtown Manhattan
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By: Caroline Downey – nationalreview.com

Native New Yorkers who’ve lived in Manhattan for decades say recent migrant arrivals are bringing lawlessness into their formerly peaceful Upper West Side neighborhood and disrupting a residential building that’s home to elderly people with special needs.

The Stratford Arms hotel on W. 70th Street used to function as a student dormitory, operated by the American Musical and Dramatic Academy (AMDA). That is, until May, when “migrants showed up with suitcases,” Brenda McIntyre, who’s lived on that block since 2007 and in the city since 1999, told National Review.

The kids moved out and relocated to a building downtown. A couple of hundred illegal immigrants moved in. For roughly 30 years, she said, about twelve handicapped elderly people have called Stratford Arms home. One resident just turned 98 years old.

Now, they’re sharing the space with illegal immigrants placed there by the city, and “they’re very stressed out,” McIntyre said.

Practically overnight, the neighborhood devolved into chaos, she said. Before the migrants came, only two residents on the block had motorcycles in all the years McIntyre lived there.

“So, I’m going to work one day, and there’s 25 mopeds,” she recalled. “No license plates.”

When McIntyre called the NYPD precinct to clarify the rules for motor vehicles, police confirmed that these mopeds were not registered or insured and confiscated them.

“But as fast as the police are scooping them up, they’re getting them back or they’re buying more,” she said.

The migrants don’t appear to be asylum-seekers, she said, as they’re coming with brand new clothes, luggage, and cash.

“From what you see on TV, this is not the same group,” she said. “These people did not come through the jungles of wherever. As soon as they got here, they’re buying mopeds.”

Much of the shenanigans happen off Broadway, a bustling thoroughfare where migrants ride the mopeds and electric bikes down one-way streets the wrong way, popping wheelies, McIntyre said.

Mayor Eric Adams’s office announced in mid June that the city would be repurposing Stratford Arms as a “humanitarian emergency response and relief center” to “serve adult families and single women,” according to a press release from the mayor’s office. “As the estimated number of asylum seekers that have arrived in the city since last spring surpasses at least 74,000, these sites will serve more than 800 individuals in 516 rooms.”

However, most of the migrants McIntyre has seen are adults with no kids, she said.

“It’s supposed to be adult parents with children,” she said. “It just looks like they’re adults. It’s a co-ed building. There’s no families because they’re all hooking up. There’s no young children.”

The city statement claims that single adults will be kicked out of the building after 60 days.

McIntyre leaves very early in the morning for work. At about 6:30 a.m. on Wednesday, she noticed “there were a lot of people coming home from clubbing, and they were bringing people into the shelter.”

“I’m like, ‘Wait a minute, this is crazy,’” she said.

She’s noticed some migrants having sex in public in the median area of Broadway, where there are park benches. On Wednesday, she was unloading her car and saw someone she believed to be a male migrant sitting on a moped waiting for a woman to come out of the shelter. When security told him to move because he was in a no-parking zone, he refused, even when spoken to in Spanish, she said.

Joe Germanotta, the father of the famous pop singer Lady Gaga, lives on the block and, along with McIntyre, belongs to a new residents’ association committed to ending the migrant crisis in the UWS.

“The city did not think this through,” Germanotta told National Review. “And we’re all suffering. They dropped 500 people into the neighborhood that have no code of conduct.”

“We’re probably 18 months away from looking like San Francisco.”

Germanotta was told by a neighbor that a domestic dispute broke out on the street about 100 feet from his building last week. At about 12:45 a.m., a migrant beat up his wife, kicking her to the ground. Police were called but made no arrests and allowed them back into Stratford Arms, he said.

“Residents in my building along with my neighbors are scared to death,” he said.

Each room in the building used to house only one student from AMDA. Now, the rooms are packed with two or three migrants each.

“There were never more than 150 kids, and each kid had their own room,” McIntyre said. “They tripled the occupancy of the rooms.”

The overcrowding is also creating a fire hazard, Germanotta said.

On Thursday morning at around 6:45 a.m., a migrant was using a hot plate in a room to cook and started a fire, he said. The fire alarm in the building wasn’t working, but a nonmigrant resident caught it and called the police, who then had to notify the fire department.

“How did you move people in when the fire system isn’t working?,” McIntyre said. “Somehow the fire alarm went off and the system wasn’t hooked up to the fire department, so the police had to call the fire department, but before that the system wasn’t working at all.”

There’s still no fire-alarm system, she said, so now marshals patrol all nine floors in case there’s a fire to wake people up. Migrants aren’t supposed to keep hot plates, hair dryers, and certain other devices that involve heat in the rooms, he said.

In an email obtained by National Review, a representative from NYC Health + Hospitals, which oversees the Upper West Side shelter, told McIntyre that there is a sprinkler system throughout the building, including multiple, working sprinklers on every floor — but these didn’t go off because there was no fire detected, just smoke. She confirmed that the alarm box was faulty, however, which is why FDNY was not notified. AMDA maintenance is fixing the problem, she told McIntyre.

A small Catholic school on the block will be back in session in September, McIntyre said, and local citizens are very concerned about the migrants’ disruptions. “They’re constantly smoking pot down by the school,” she said.

At the last block meeting, a couple of moms said their teenage girls were catcalled by some of the migrants as they tried walking across Broadway, McIntyre said.

Migrants have been taking up street parking, and they don’t move for street cleaning, so the block is dirty and congested now, she said.

The migrants get three meal deliveries a day from the city government, their laundry is sent out for regular cleaning, and they enjoy 24-hour security in the building — luxuries granted not even to the homeless, McIntyre said.

McIntyre said she’s seen a couple of migrant women take the water-bottle shipments to the park to sell.

NYC Health + Hospitals even allows migrants to keep pets on a case-by-case basis.

“I saw two walking in with two brown brand-new Chihuahua puppies,” she said. “You want me to believe they came through the jungle with a puppy in their arms?

Neither NYC Health + Hospitals nor AMDA responded to requests for comment.

Many migrants walk around the community with an air of invincibility, knowing that they’ll be accommodated despite their illegal activity and reckless behavior.

“The attitude is growing, like, ‘What are you going to do to me?,’” she said. “That’s the attitude.”

During Covid, Upper West Side hotels became sanctuaries for NYC’s homeless population, which includes veterans. They received a fraction of the amenities the migrants are enjoying — only breakfast — and had to follow a strict curfew and early checkout time to secure a bed for the night.

“We have senior citizens who can’t afford to live in New York anymore, but they have no place to go,” McIntyre said. “And yet we’re handing [migrants] three meals a day. This is taxpayer money.”

Many elderly people live on the block. A gentleman in Germanotta’s building has helped some of his elderly neighbors with errands because they’re afraid to walk past the migrants, she said. The migrants congregate on the dividers of Broadway. One migrant woman cuts hair there. “It’s like a shop,” McIntyre said.

“On that block I never thought twice,” she said. “Now I’m a nervous wreck. The quality of life has changed. I don’t sit outside anymore.”

It was a very quiet block, with a minimal police presence unless requested, she said. Now, police are there about four times a day.

McIntyre and Germanotta aren’t going quietly, however. They’re part of a 150-resident-strong association fighting to break the contract between the city and the landlord who owns Stratford Arms.

The mayor designated a number of city departments to run different shelters. If the building is run by the Department of Homeless Services, there’s more NYPD deployed, McIntyre said. But Stratford Arms is run by NYC Health + Hospitals. Online, the only certification of occupancy listed for the building is from 1950, when it was a hotel and cabaret bar, McIntyre said.

The block association is currently trying to figure out how the building became a migrant shelter without official authorization. A retired NYC employee, McIntyre filed a FOIA request to get a copy of the city contract, which was provided to the association last week. It showed that AMDA was given $1,890,000 to get the building ready in three days. AMDA refused to tell the association what that money is specifically allocated to.

“Neither HHC nor AMDA is keeping up their end of the bargain,” McIntyre said.

AMDA students don’t pay tuition, which is instead funded by contributions from benefactors. McIntyre suspects that the AMDA made the deal with the city for the potential profit. But the landlord is on the hook for future damages and regulatory infringements.

“They’re liable for all that,” McIntyre said. “They received the violations because they’re the landlord. You took the almost $2 million check, but you didn’t fix the fire-alarm system, and I’m sure it wasn’t working when the kids were there.”

McIntyre filed a complaint with the city three times, but it still has not dispatched an enforcement officer to investigate whether the use of the building is legitimate. Even if it was, the city did not prepare the building to take in the massive influx of migrants, Germanotta said. No inspector was sent to ensure it was ready. He doesn’t mind that the migrants are there, so long as the proper precautions are taken, he said. But that’s far from being the case.

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Source: Illegal Immigrants Create Chaos in Upscale Manhattan Neighborhood | National Review