Chic hotel in heart of Broadway converted to migrant shelter in latest sign of growing NYC migrant crisis – New York Post

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A chic hotel in the heart of Broadway has been quietly operating as a migrant shelter the latest sign of the growing Big Apple crisis.

The 141-room Square Hotel at 226 West 50th Street between Eighth Avenue and Broadway is just across from Gershwin Theatre, where the musical “Wicked” is playing, The Post has learned.

“To our valued guests: it is with great sadness that we announce the Square Hotel will be closed for the foreseeable future. We appreciate your patronage and hope to welcome you back someday soon,” the Square Hotel says on its Facebook page.

The Square hotel is operating as a migrant shelter. LP Media
The 141-room Square Hotel is located at 226 West 50th Street between Eighth Street and Broadway. LP Media

The hotel’s website says, “Please pardon our appearance as we slip into something new! We look forward to welcoming you in the future.”

The hotel site still boasts a Japanese restaurant and bar in its lobby and “Art Nouveau styled hotel rooms”  with “sophisticated furniture, plush beds with down comforters and deluxe linens, flat-screen televisions with cable and C.O. Bigelow toiletries.”

But recent visits to the Square Hotel found a much different scene.

A National Guard soldier is seen stationed at the entrance of the lobby.

A couple with carry on luggage walked into the hotel on Sunday, but were escorted out by National Guardsmen.

A sign placed at the lobby entrance last week warned that motor bikes chained to scaffolding and poles in front of the hotel would be cut and removed.

A National Guard soldier is seen stationed at the entrance of the lobby. LP Media

One critic said “lazy” hotel operators even in the Great White Way have concluded that it’s more profitable to take the easy money from the city to fully occupy their rooms with migrants rather than book tourists.

“These hotels could be doing a fine tourist business right now, but they are being lazy, and a sure-thing 100-percent occupancy on the city dime, and without having to provide traditional hotel services, is just too good a deal to pass up,” said Nicole Gelinas, a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute.

Other pro-business advocates said it’s sad that the city and the hotel industry are turning the Broadway District into a migrant district.

“We consider the Broadway District a key to the city’s economy. There is only one Broadway —in the entire world!” said state Conservative Party Chairman Gerard Kassar  

Migrants seeking asylum in the United States gather outside of hotel. Stephen Yang

Kassar said it’s another blow for the Big Apple after the historic Roosevelt Hotel near Grand Central Terminal was converted into a massive migrant shelter and intake center.

But migrants fleeing poverty and upheaval in their homelands said the shelter was a lifeline while they try to find work and become self-sufficient.

“We all pay the price for one or two bad guys. One guy goes to do something bad and then they say all Venezuelans are bad,” Jesus Delber, 27, told The Post.

“But not everyone is like that. I came to work. I didn’t find work for three months. But I didn’t give up. If you are willing to work hard, life will always help you find honest work,” said Delbert.

A sign placed at the lobby entrance last week warned that motor bikes chained to scaffolding and poles in front of the hotel would be cut and removed. LP Media

Theatergoer Nina, a 64-year-old retired executive secretary from Brooklyn was on her way to see “Sign of the Times,” playing at the nearby New World Stages and said the asylum seekers “have to go somewhere.”

How NYC feels about the migrant crisis

84% Say the migrant influx is a serious problem — including 81% of Democrats

64% Disapprove of the job the Biden administration is doing with the migrant crisis

29% think that New Yorkers should accept new migrants and work to assimilate them into New York

64% of New Yorkers think they have already done enough for new migrants and should now work to slow the flow of migrants to New York. NY Post composite

“I am an empathic person,” she said.

“But the mayor is not handling this well. The president is not handling this well.”

Retiree Judie Rudman, 57, who came to see Arthur Miller’s “Enemy of The People” with her husband and three kids, said, “I’m more concerned about the migrants than the theater goers,” Rudman said. “If they have a place to stay it makes the city safer.”

More than 100 hotels have agreed to convert into emergency shelters for migrant families and individuals who have flooded the city from the southern border.

It’s been a godsend for many hotels reeling from closures and lost business during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The city also paid hotels to provide temporary lodging to recovering COVID patients, and medical workers and homeless individuals.

The hotel’s website says, “Please pardon our appearance as we slip into something new! We look forward to welcoming you in the future.” LP Media

The Post reported last September that the city extended contracts with the hotel association for three years at a staggering price tag of $1.3 billion — nearly five times the original $275 million deal — just to pay rental fees to the vast network of hotels converted into emergency shelters.

The head of the Hotel Association of New York City said hotels are helping the city address a migrant crisis.

“The hotels make their own choices as to whether or not to participate. During the Covid crisis, hotels stepped up to the plate, and when it ended they went back to their normal course of tourism business,” Hotel Association CEO Vijay Dandapani said in a statement.

“We hope when this crisis abates, the hotels will receive help from the City and State such as tax reductions so they can recover, as well.”

Nearly 200,000 migrants have arrived in the Big Apple since spring 2022, overwhelming the city’s shelter population and forcing the Department of Homeless Services to rely on hotels and massive tent cities in Floyd Bennett Field, Creedmoor Psychiatric Center and on the grounds of Kennedy Airport.

Other pro-business advocates said it’s sad that the city and the hotel industry are turning the Broadway District into a migrant district. Christopher Sadowski

New York City is forking over an average of $387 per day to put up a single migrant household in taxpayer-funded shelters, recent data from City Hall show.

Mayor Eric Adams has moved to curb mushrooming migrant costs by setting 30- and 60-day shelter stay limits for individuals and families, respectively.

The Post reached out to the city DHS for comment but didn’t immediately receive a reply.

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