The first enormous hangar-sized structures are being constructed in the parking lot of a beach in the Bronx as New York City attempts to deal with the unexpected new flow of migrants seeking asylum in the United States, and the Big Apple in particular.
The tents are part of the city’s plan to accommodate 13,000 international migrants who have been bused into the city as part of a campaign by Republican governors to disrupt federal border policies.
The tents are among an array of options – from using cruise ships to summer camps – the city has considering as it struggles to find housing for migrants who have wound up in New York after being bused north from border towns in Texas and Arizona.
Cherry pickers were seen hoisting the giant metal framework into place while workers could be seen heaving the massive tarps into position to provide a shelter from the elements.
The construction has occurred particularly quickly given that the idea was apparently only floated last week by New York Mayor Eric Adams.
The first site has been constructed at Orchard Beach with a second site yet to be determined
Workers install a hangar-sized tent in the parking lot of Orchard Beach in the Bronx, New York
The city is erecting tents as temporary shelter for thousands of international migrants who have been bused into the Big Apple by Republican governors to disrupt federal border policies
Large tents are constructed in a parking lot at Orchard Beach in the Bronx
Workers install lights inside the tents at the newly built structures at Orchard Beach
Workers erect a structure as New York City prepares to open an emergency center to process and temporarily house adult migrants arriving by bus to New York from Texas
Residents look at large being constructed in a parking lot at Orchard Beach in the Bronx
The temporary tents will be used to house some of the estimated 13,000 migrants who have been bussed since August into the city from Texas
‘This is not an everyday homelessness crisis, but a humanitarian crisis that requires a different approach,’ Mayor Adams said in a statement last week.
New York City’s huge system of homeless shelters has been straining to accommodate the unexpected new flow of migrants seeking asylum in the United States.
The first few tents are being erected at Orchard Beach in a remote corner of the Bronx, where public transportation is limited. Officials are also said to be looking into other areas.
Workers in hardhats were seen carrying metal poles that were delivered on trucks – as others drilled into the ground with the framework of the tents now visible.
Workers pull on ropes to pull the tarps over the tents. The Migrant tent city at Orchard Beach in The Bronx will have a total of 7 structures to house men and women only, not families
Workers assemble emergency tents to house some of the many migrants arriving to the city in the parking lot of Orchard Beach in the Bronx
The temporary tents will be used to house some of the estimated 13,000 migrants who have been bussed into the city from Texas since August
Workers heave on ropes in order to pull up the material that will cover the entire structure
Construction workers in the Bronx were continuing on Wednesday to build the first of two tent cities
New York City shelters are currently at capacity leaving little room for the migrant community that continues to arrive in the city weekly
A land surveyor walks by large tents being constructed in a parking lot at Orchard Beach in the Bronx on Wednesday
Once complete, rows and rows of cots will be set up with the tent heated, as cooler autumn nights in the city take hold
Once complete, rows and rows of cots will be set up with the tent heated, as cooler autumn nights in the city take hold.
City officials said the facilities – which they call ‘humanitarian emergency response and relief centers – would only house migrants for up to four days while the city arranged other types of shelter.
Immigration advocates have said the plan was not well thought out.
‘While we recognize there is urgency in meeting the very real needs of asylum seeking families while our shelter system remains over-burdened, we believe that any effort to open a temporary relief camp at Orchard Beach is ridiculous and likely to cause more harm than good, especially as the fall turns into winter,’ said Murad Awawdeh, the executive director of the New York Immigration Coalition.
‘We fear that what was meant to be a temporary solution will become an inadequate permanent one,’ he said.
Groups advocating for the homeless said they were reserving judgment.
‘We just don’t have enough detail to about what their plan is to form an opinion,’ said Josh Goldfein, a staff attorney with the Legal Aid Society. ‘If the goal here is to sort of quickly assess what people need and get them connected to services that will help them, then that will be great.’
The tarp was gradually pulled across the metal frames on Wednesday
The tents have been constructed extremely quickly given the idea was only mooted last week
Metal beams are first laid out on the ground before being hoisted into position
One of the huge metal frameworks skeletons can be seen before being covered by material
The National Guard arrives at the tent city in order to assist with their construction
The first of New York’s tent cities is being constructed at Orchard Beach, on the peripheries of the city
Mayor Eric Adams declared a humanitarian crisis last week with city services stretched thin and shelters overwhelmed with new arrivals yearning to breathe free in the Big Apple
‘All we know, is a location, and a picture of a big tent,’ he said. ‘We don’t know what’s going to be in it – or who.’
In a joint statement, the Legal Aid Society and the Coalition for the Homeless said it was working with city officials to come up with ‘a viable solution that satisfies New York’s legal and moral obligation to provide safe and adequate shelter to all who seek it, including asylum seekers.’
Earlier this month, Adams had floated the idea of housing hundreds of migrants on cruise ships.
Critics pounced on that idea, saying he needs to offer more lasting solutions to a problem that has long vexed the city: How to find permanent shelter for the city’s unhoused – not just new migrants but for the considerable population of the homeless.
Overall, the number of people staying nightly in New York City’s homeless shelters had fallen in recent years, partly due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
That led city officials to reduce shelter capacity, leaving the system unprepared for the sudden surge in people needing help.
A land surveyor works next to large tents being constructed in a parking lot at Orchard Beach
Work has begun in earnest on a tent city in the parking lot of Bronx’s Orchard Beach designed to accommodate the overflow of migrants coming to New York
Crews lugged beams, screwed nails, and drove trucks filled with what will be the tents’ coverings, all in anticipation of thousands of migrants being dropped off in New York City
NYC Mayor Eric Adams recently announced the planned tent accommodations, which are expected to take two weeks to complete, as a way for the city manage needing to provide some sort of shelter to the large number of migrants being bused north by Republicans
An aerial photo taken with a drone shows workers assemble emergency tents to house some of the many migrants arriving to the city in the parking lot of Orchard Beach, with the skyline of Manhattan in the background
Construction workers in the Bronx were continuing to build the first of two tent cities
The tent city starts to take shape as the roof was erected on one of the tents
This is how the parking lot looked before the construction began
An artists impression of how the site will eventually look once all the tents are operational
Orchard Beach, shown here, is the only public beach in The Bronx, it is part of Pelham Bay Park and located at the western end of the Long Island Sound
The mayor revealed the plans on Thursday along with photos of the planned relief sites, which resembled the type of tented landscapes often seen in war zones