Photos and reporting by Stacie Joy
On Saturday morning, a reporter covering the humanitarian crisis at the Roosevelt Hotel in Midtown asked me if anyone in the neighborhood did emergency aid crisis response.
She mentioned witnessing hundreds of people on the sidewalk, with the heat index hovering around 100, without food or water while they waited for a spot to open up at the intake center. (All arriving asylum seekers are now processed through a centralized system, but they are no spaces available, so long lines have formed while people wait — up to several days — for a chance to get inside.)
I contacted some mutual aid groups I'd worked with in the past, including East Village Loves NYC, and we set up a plan to provide 250 meals to people midday after being told they'd only had a "block of cheese" and a bottle of water the night before.
In less than four hours, the volunteers with EVLovesNYC prepared hundreds of meals (beef and vegan options) at their home base, the Sixth Street Community Center, and had them ready to go...
With so many people waiting (some transported to area hospitals), the city was scrambling for places to put them. The Mayor's office hoped to move people to the Port Authority while waiting for space to open up. MTA buses were brought in as emergency mobile cooling centers.
The situation at the center was tense, and later that night, after we left, people tried to break the barrier to get inside. There isn't an end in sight, and the city repeatedly has stated they have no more room to house the influx. (City and state officials also continue to ask for assistance from the federal government.) site.