Floyd Bennett Field is a National Park, Not a Place to Live

By Assemblywoman Stacey Pheffer Amato

This was not what I intended to write my POV about. I had originally drafted something about my favorite and holiest holiday in the Jewish faith - Rosh Hashanah. Rosh Hashanah is the Jewish New Year and I wanted to take the opportunity to mention how it brings forward new beginnings and is the time of renewal. To those celebrating, a very happy Shana Tova. Instead, I must address the senseless plan that is being pushed onto our communities by Federal, State and City leaders: housing migrants in Floyd Bennett Field.

What should have been a weekend of celebrating my faith with my family was upended; as just hours before the start of the holiday Governor Hochul signed the lease despite the objections throughout the community. Let me be clear, I am opposed to this plan which houses migrants in Floyd Bennett Field on a decommissioned air strip. It is a complete lapse in judgment to utilize a location that is secluded, in a flood prone area, and is without adequate housing, transportation, job access, social services, and ultimately basic infrastructure. I have even offered pinpointed solutions for acceptable alternative locations as New York State has an abundance of de-commissioned facilities that would be incredibly useful.

It’s important to note that while I am sympathetic to the plight the migrants are facing, this plan (or lack thereof) at Floyd Bennett Field is truly disgraceful. I have said from the beginning that this is a national crisis and the neighborhoods of South Brooklyn and the Rockaway Peninsula cannot and should not bear the responsibility! Perhaps the President, Governor, and Mayor should refresh their memory on the responsibilities already being borne by Queens Community Board 14, which encompasses Broad Channel and the Rockaway Peninsula. We have 7 homeless shelters, 12 adult homes, 17 nursing homes, 1 hospital lacking a trauma center, and numerous supportive housing developments with more on the way. That is more than any other community board! We have done our part, and we have to say no, enough is enough.

An even greater concern of mine is the Mayor’s plan to further trim the budgets of our City agencies. The proposal calls for three rounds of 5% budget cuts to our City services. This would mean cuts to senior programs, decreased access to transportation, less funding for schools, erecting further barriers in housing assistance, and more. All of this will affect the quality of life and safety of the residents of this community.

That is why I included my name on an injunction that was filed in court this week with my colleagues in government, civic association leadership, and concerned residents throughout Brooklyn and Queens. As the Assemblywoman who represents the communities neighboring Floyd Bennett Field, I am prepared to contest this plan in our court system.

The attorneys are ready, the paperwork is filed, and we will fight this to the very end. The government cannot house migrants in a flood zone, and then take away resources the residents of the City need. Your objections are valid, they are heard, and they are the driving force behind my efforts. I will not back down from bringing forward your opposition. I will use every tool to combat this inappropriate, inhumane, and cruel plan. As always, do not hesitate to contact my office by phone at 718-945-9550 or by email at amatos@nyassembly.gov. It is a pleasure to serve you and I look forward to representing you for many more years to come.