All that remains of the standoff between asylum seekers refusing to relocate to a migrant center at the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal and the city is a small police presence, barricades and a partially closed side walk.
Around 8 p.m. Wednesday night, the NYPD, the Department of Sanitation and other city agencies began clearing out the three-day old sidewalk encampment outside the Watson Hotel in Manhattan. Migrants protested their relocation to the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal.
When NY1 arrived at the hotel just after 9:20 p.m., the encampment was completely gone, save for a number of bicycles which were being loaded onto a truck.
Earlier Wednesday night, city workers played a message in Spanish over speakers encouraging migrants to leave, according to video provided to NY1 by Ariadna Phillips, founder of the South Bronx Mutual Aid Fund, which has been helping those camped outside the hotel this week.
“This is the Department of Sanitation. You must leave the area and take your belongings,” the recording said in Spanish.
Mayor Adams’ administration set up the Watson Hotel as a temporary shelter for single male migrants as it turned it into a shelter for migrant families.
Many were worried about unfounded concerns that the thousand-bed Brooklyn facility lacked heat and enough bathrooms.
“Every New Yorker deserves a home, safety and dignity,” said Phillips. “Last night, it was clear that Mayor Adams prefers to attack the human rights of refugees instead of planning a real housing solution that meets the needs of all unhoused New Yorkers.”
The migrant encampment was clear just hours after a half a dozen City Council members toured the Cruise Terminal. Many said the mayor’s administration should do better — calling the facility in Red Hook isolated, poorly lit and lacking privacy.
But they debunked many of the humanitarian concerns.
“It is well organized. It is comfortable. Theres banks of TVs in there, there’s cots, there’s lockers for the men,” said Queens Council Member Bob Holden. “The bathrooms are better, the showers are better here than for our veterans so if anyone is going to say anything that we are mistreating migrants is lying.”
According to the city, the majority of those left still camping out Wednesday night boarded busses to relocate to the Brooklyn facility.
Fabien Levy, the mayor’s press secretary, said six asylum seekers left to meet friends and family in other cities, while an unidentified number “chose to go their own ways as agitators outside the Watson continued to encourage them to endanger their lives in these freezing temperatures and not accept shelter.”
Mayor Eric Adams and his administration have repeatedly referred to activists working alongside the migrants who stayed outside the hotel as "agitators.”
No arrests were made, Levy said.
City Hall says those who left on their own will still have the ability to stay at the cruise terminal if they want.