The city unveiled Mayor Eric Adams’ controversial tent city on Tuesday – detailing how migrants staying there will be given three meals a day, fluff-and-fold laundry service and an array of entertainment including TV and video games.
“This is a place people can come, rest, relax and kick their feet up after the journey they have been on,” Emergency Management Commissioner Zach Iscol told reporters at the facility on Randall’s Island.
An initial wave of 500 single men is slated to start moving in on Wednesday after arriving from Texas at the Port Authority Bus Terminal in Midtown Manhattan.
But while Iscol called it “a short-term solution for people to figure out what their next destination will be,” officials acknowledged that no one would get kicked out for staying beyond a goal of just four days.
“Our focus is to get you where you want to go and not put a numerical limit in terms of number of hours to restrict anything,” Dr. Ted Long, a senior vice president at NYC Health + Hospitals, said in response to a question from The Post.
Adams has said previously said that no deadline would be imposed in part because the city is struggling with a shortage of shelter space due to the ongoing flood of migrants, which reached 20,500 on Sunday.
Some aspects of the set-up seem designed to encourage long-term occupancy, including the rotating menu of grub cooked on-site in a fully equipped commercial kitchen.
“Those meals are all culturally appropriate. It is South American fare, ”Iscol said.
“The folks have already been providing food, which is great. Crews, including myself, have been eating it for the past couple of weeks. “
In addition, snacks will be provided and coffee, tea and water will be available around the clock.
More than 60 dining tables are set up in a tent that also houses a recreation room with two popcorn machines, TVs, Xbox game consoles, ping-pong and foosball tables, board games and a bank of 12 phones that can be used to make international calls.
The entire site is also equipped with Wi-Fi, with heating and cooling units expected to keep the temperature in all three tents around 70 degrees.
Adams skipped Tuesday’s news conference, with City Hall later saying he did so because he’d toured the facility on Monday night.
Adams initially announced on Sept. 22 that the tent city would be built in the Orchard Beach parking lot in The Bronx.
But with construction nearly complete, that site was abandoned after heavy rains flooded the area and Adams said Oct. 3 that the facility was being relocated to the parking lot at Icahn Stadium on Randall’s Island.
Iscol revealed a partial price tag on Tuesday, saying, “It cost about $ 325,000 to demobilize from Orchard Beach and another $ 325,000 to set up this facility.”
“The rest of the costs we’re still analyzing – we don’t know how many people we will be caring for and a lot of the costs are variable, so many of those ongoing costs we’re now figuring out,” he added .
A source familiar with the matter has previously told The Post it would have cost $ 15 million a month to operate the Orchard Beach site, which was slated to accommodate 1,000 people.
“Right now this is a 500-bed facility but if we need to expand it to 1,000 we can do that, but we would need to bring in additional staff,” Iscol said.
In addition to the creature comforts, migrants who stay in the tent city will be able to come and go as they please, with hourly bus service to and from Manhattan – raising the possibility that they could secure off-the-books employment during the day .
Officials said there will be a 10 pm curfew in effect, but it was unclear what would happen to anyone who breaks that rule.