Posted 67 days ago
Nearly a ton of taxpayer-provided food gets tossed in the trash every day at a massive Manhattan hotel being used to house migrants — because they’d rather secretly cook their own meals on dangerous hot plates, a whistleblowing worker has revealed.
Disturbing photos show garbage bags full of sandwiches and bagels awaiting disposal at the four-star Row NYC hotel near Times Square, where the city pays a daily rate as high as $500 per room, hotel employee Felipe Rodriguez told The Post.
“It’s a crime to be throwing out so much food,” he said.
Other images show a hotel room littered with empty beer cans and bottles following a wild, World Cup viewing party in November, Rodriguez said.
That gathering — in a room whose occupant “gave the key to a cousin” while she “was in The Bronx, hanging out” — erupted into a fight over the match that left one man with a “big knot on his head,” Rodriguez said.
Rodriguez said he also shot a brief video clip of two female migrants engaged in a hair-pulling fight outside the hotel during New Year’s Eve festivities last week.
The 23-second cellphone recording shows men holding what appear to be beer cans while struggling to separate the women after they tumbled off the sidewalk into the street.
An NYPD source who was working in Times Square on New Year’s Eve confirmed the chaos at the hotel, saying the lobby was littered with broken bottles and some revelers were dancing while others were sprawled out on the furniture and the floor.
“It was a total s–t show,” the cops said.
City Hall has refused to say how much it pays to rent out the Row or any of the scores of other hotels being used to house migrants.
But Rodriguez said he’s “heard from management it’s between $400 and $500 a night, per room, depending on how big the room is.”
Rodriguez, 57, said he began working at the 1,300-room hotel in 2017 and was shocked by what’s happened since Mayor Eric Adams’ administration began using it as a “Humanitarian Response and Relief Center.”
“What changed in October was dramatic,” he said. “There are some nice migrants in that hotel looking for that American dream, that second chance to make it in society. But there are a lot of migrants there that are causing chaos. We have a lot of fights, a lot of drugs, a lot of sexual harassment abuse.”
An NYPD source confirmed that cops have responded to a string of domestic incidents at the hotel.
Rodriguez said NYPD officers were initially stationed in the lobby but were replaced by National Guard soldiers in December.
Rodriguez also said the hotel had a list “of people that are supposed to be quarantined — for COVID, chickenpox, whatever it is.”
“Nobody supervises those people,” he said. “Once they get bored, they flee. We don’t know who’s sick and who’s not sick.”
Rodriguez added ruefully: “We are in an environment that is hostile, violent and not safe anymore.”
The Row NYC is one of four HERRCs that the city has opened in large Manhattan hotels, in addition to renting out 71 smaller hotels across the city, as of Sunday.
The expanding roster of hotels is being used to house about 26,100 of the 38,700 migrants who’ve flooded into the Big Apple since the spring, according to City Hall’s latest count.
Officials initially planned to have migrants undergo processing in the HERRCs for just 72 hours but abandoned that goal after getting overwhelmed by the influx that led Adams to declare a state of emergency in October.
Rodriguez — who was wrongfully convicted in a fatal, 1987 stabbing in Queens and released from prison in January 2017 — said that at least 40 percent of the food supplied to migrants at the Row gets thrown out.
Rodriguez also estimated the amount wasted at “almost a ton” a day.
“How do I know that? Because the sanitation guys go floor-by-floor every day picking up the trash,” he said. “Before, it used to be something like six, seven bags in the back landing of each floor. Now they’re picking up 15-20 bags.
“Anything [the migrants] don’t consume is in those bags, and they’re heavy. I weighed one of the bags full of sandwiches one time and it weighed 60 pounds.”
Rodriguez added: “There have been times when we couldn’t take all of the garbage out because the bins were full, and I’m talking about 25-30 bins of garbage.”
“My problem is, why are we throwing away so much food? Someone from the city should have said, ‘Let’s order less food so we throw less food out.’ But nobody cares,” he said.
At the same time, Rodriguez said, he’s confiscated hot plates, pressure cookers and other forbidden kitchen items from hotel residents at least eight times.
“I felt horrible. They want a hot meal. They don’t want sandwiches. They want a cooked meal like in their own country. And that’s a serious issue,” he said.
In addition to sandwiches and bagels, the migrants are served food including fruit, peanuts, chips, juice, soda and prepared dinners that “you heat in a microwave,” Rodriguez said.
“They don’t like the menu. They just don’t. They want rice and beans, plantains, tostones,” he said.... (Read more)