Asylum seekers coming to McCarren Park’s recreation center

Politicians take cautious attitude

August 4, 2023 Brooklyn Eagle Staff
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WILLIAMSBURG — The city is set to house approximately 80 asylum seekers in one wing of the McCarren Recreation Center in Williamsburg’s McCarren Park as early as this weekend, and local officials seem to be taking a wait-and-see attitude.

The recreation center, also known as the McCarren Play Center, most notably includes the outdoor McCarren Park Pool and its bathhouses. However, the center and its adjoining groups also include a picnic area, a room for after-school activities, a playground, a cardio room, an outdoor basketball court, an outdoor soccer field, a game room, a ping-pong table, a teen room and more.  

In a joint statement, U.S Rep. Nydia Velazquez (North Brooklyn-Queens), State Sen. Kirsten Gonzalez (D-Northwest Brooklyn, Western Queens, Manhattan), Assemblymember Emily Gallagher (D-Greenpoint-Williamsburg), and Councilmembers Lincoln Restler (D-Downtown-Heights-DUMBO-Williamsburg) and Jennifer Gutierrez (D=Williamsburg-Bushwick-Ridgewood) confirmed that the Adams administration had notified them of their plan to use part of the McCarren Recreation Center to house asylum-seekers.

The Mayor’s Office, the officials stressed, assured them “that public access to the pool and fitness center will not be impacted and additional security will be in place to ensure everyone’s safety.”

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On one hand, the local officials said that “as the homelessness and asylum seeker crisis continues to worsen, it’s the responsibility of every community to open its doors and provide shelter to those in greatest need.”

On the other, they said, “We will continue pushing to secure more appropriate facilities to house people in need and expedite moving New Yorkers from our shelter system into vacant permanent housing.”

In Manhattan, some asylum seekers are sleeping on the sidewalks outside the Roosevelt Hotel, which has been turned into a migrant processing center for city shelters. 

Since last spring, more than 95,000 migrants have arrived in New York City, the Mayor’s Office said. 

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