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Historic New York hotel to house asylum seekers

31 May 20230 comments

New York’s iconic Roosevelt Hotel in downtown Manhattan has re-opened as a ‘new arrivals centre’ for asylum seekers.

The move comes as city authorities admit they are struggling to find space for asylum seekers.

The historic hotel has been home to a long list of celebrities over its 100–year history, including Charlie Chaplin, H. G. Wells, Clark Gable, Max Baer, Carole Lombard, Marilyn Monroe, Montgomery Clift and Errol Flynn.

The 850-room hotel in Midtown will be the official port of entry for asylum seekers after New York Mayor Eric Adams closed the welcoming centre that had been established at the Port Authority Bus Terminal. 

The hotel will provide legal, medical and other services in addition to housing.

The magnitude of the city’s problem is evident in the latest numbers. More than 65,000 asylum seekers have arrived in New York over the past year, with thousands more expected.

Currently, 42,400 are being sheltered by the city, including 9,000 who are attending public schools. 

“We don’t know if this is something we can sustain for much longer,” said a spokesman for Mayor Adams said.

The Roosevelt Hotel has appeared in several films and TV shows. A scene from the 1987 drama film ‘Wall Street’ was shot inside the ballroom.

The films ‘Boiler Room’, ‘Monday Night Mayhem’, ‘Hoax’, ‘1408’, ‘Hanky Panky’, ‘French Connection’, and ‘Quiz Show’, as well as ‘Maid in Manhattan’, were also partially filmed in the hotel.

Also, the majority of the 2012 film ‘Man on a Ledge’ was shot on the Roosevelt’s roof; a replica of a hotel room had to be hoisted to the roof during filming.

The hotel closed in 2020 due to continued financial losses associated with the COVIDF-19 pandemic.

It is located at 45 East 45th Street in Midtown Manhattan neighbourhood. It occupies an entire city block bounded by Madison Avenue to the west, 46th Street to the north, Vanderbilt Avenue to the east, and 45th Street to the south.