Court Date & Updates on Floyd Bennett Migrant Shelter

By Katie McFadden

The Floyd Bennett Field migrant shelter issue is finally expected to have its day in court on Thursday, January 18. In the meantime, some updates have taken place recently relating to Floyd Bennett Field, and the general migrant crisis across the city, including curfews, costs and getting ahead of safety issues in the community.

At a recent City Hall meeting on asylum seekers, Councilwoman Joann Ariola had proposed the idea of instating a curfew for city migrant shelters, much like other Department of Homeless Services facilities. The request came in response to complaints from constituents about migrants allegedly knocking on people’s doors or trying to enter properties, sometimes late at night. This was quickly followed by an announcement from the city that they would roll out curfews for migrant facilities, starting with four intake centers. The curfews begin at 11 p.m. and end at 6 a.m., providing exceptions for school, work, legal and medical needs. Ariola says she called the mayor’s office immediately to ask that it be applied to Floyd Bennett Field, and she was told the curfew implementation was part of a slow rollout at all shelters and hotels. Ariola says she’s staying on top of it. “I’m going to keep pushing to make Floyd Bennet Field a focal point of the curfew because it’s located between two residential communities and it houses nearly 2,000 individuals,” she said.

In the meantime, Ariola called for a meeting with the NYPD’s 100th Precinct and local civic leaders, to discuss some of the issues taking place on the peninsula. On Tuesday, January 16, Ariola met with Captain Carol Hamilton and much of her team, along with Belle Harbor Property Owners Association President Paul King and Rockaway Civic Association Harold Paez, for all to discuss recent reports of those who have identified as migrants from Floyd Bennett Field, ringing doorbells in Belle Harbor to ask for monetary help, and videos of such incidents as well as incidents of trespassing or attempted break-ins. Ariola urges anyone who feels unsafe to call 911 when such incidents happen, so the NYPD can respond and have reports, so there is a paper trail, as many have taken to social media to share such things, but have not reported it to police.

Ariola says the 100th Precinct is taking the reports seriously. “Captain Hamilton and her entire team are taking it very seriously because they realize that if people are coming to properties in a -7 windchill, they can only imagine what will happen when it’s 85 degree and our beaches and doors are open. The migrants are only a one mile walk over the bridge. We want to implement what the neighborhood needs to do now so we’re ready for an influx if Floyd Bennett Field is still open come spring and summer,” Ariola said.

But she hopes it doesn’t come to that with the issue finally seeing its day in Kings County Supreme Court on Thursday. “We are really confident that Judge Sweeney will hear our case, and we’ll make our case, and the fact that so much time has lapsed since the original court date has worked in our favor because everything we have mentioned in our motion to put an injunction and stop to Floyd Bennett Field from being utilized, is now fact, especially the fact that it is unsafe,” Ariola said. “We said this from the beginning and that they would need to be evacuated and that all became factual last week. It’s happened and it will happen again in the next storm.”

As a recent report by the Times Union said the Floyd Bennett Field operation may cost as much as $308 million, and Governor Kathy Hochul proposed dedicating $2.4 billion in the state budget to this crisis across the state, Ariola says she will continue to fight the issue locally. “I will not give up. Floyd Bennett Field is the wrong place to house a migrant base camp and I will do everything I can to make sure that our communities in the 32nd council district are not negatively impacted,” she said.

Related post

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *