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Quality of life tanking in NYC communities with most migrant shelters: residents

For Sunday News:07-03-2024:Migrant Hotel Glut:Queens, New York- Scene outside migrant hotel at 47-11 Austell Place in Long Island City. This neighborhood has the most migrant hotels. Photo by Helayne Seidman Migrant Hotel Glut

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The influx of illegal migrants to the Big Apple over the past two years has meant a sea-change in the quality of life for workers and residents in zip codes swamped with shelters, they told The Post.

“It’s overpopulated here [with migrants] and that’s a concern,” said Maria Katirtzoglou, 38, who works for a Long Island City engineering firm next door to a hotel-turned-migrant shelter on Crescent Street.

“That’s a concern for people who were born and raised here, people that have property here, because people that do own property and then they see all this coming in, they don’t like it,” she said. “At night, I don’t feel safe in this area…It’s not safe. Things happen – robberies and knives, you know, people take out knives.”

In the 114th Precinct, which covers the shelter-saturated neighborhood where she works, robberies, assaults and other reported “major” crimes rose 12.3% during the first half of this year, compared to the same period in 2022 — a stark difference from the .5% drop in major crime citywide over the same time, records show.

Complaints to the city’s 311 hotline in the 11101 zip code also surged since Texas Gov. Greg Abbott in spring 2022 began bussing illegal border crossers to New York and other blue states with sanctuary policies, with 15,256 lodged through the end of June – a 42% increase from 10,745 made during the first six months of 2022. There’s 24 migrant shelters in the 11101 — including 23 in LIC — the most of an NYC zip code, records show.

Shawarn Shields, 50, of Queensbridge Houses, said parents are afraid to take their kids to local parks and playgrounds because migrants typically race electric scooters and have sex there.

“This is not a third-world country,” said Shields. “We can’t just let anyone come into our neighborhood and do whatever the f— they want!”

Stuart Gleiber, 82, and his son Doug, 51, said the migrant shelters’ arrival in LIC is a gut punch to the community.

Since 1998, the father-son duo have run a successful wooden box-making company out of an office building they own on 10th Street.

But they’re now considering relocating after a former Holiday Inn across the street began housing migrants. They claim their new neighbors routinely take over the block for all sorts of rogue activities — including dangerously firing up a barbecue with a propane gas tank next to plywood the Gleibers store in a lot for their business.

“We called the police; the police removed them, but the next day they were back,” sighed Stuart.

Doug said the migrants “party every day, so there’s beer, food containers everywhere.”

“We called the police; the police removed them, but the next day they were back,” sighed Stuart.

“This is our business… We have people who come in through the front door, [so] it’s not a really professional way to have it,” he added.

On Thursday, a Post reporter witnessed migrant men brazenly speed up and down 10th Street on mopeds and pop wheelies. Others sat in herds along the street and sidewalk, which were littered with empty cigarette boxes and food containers. A young boy watched while getting a haircut on the sidewalk.

In Jamaica, one resident said his block has become a complete nightmare since a migrant shelter opened three doors down on Liberty Avenue, with many of the new arrivals spending their days outside drinking booze and smoking weed.

Some were kicked out of the shelter, formerly the Van Wyck Hotel, for bad behavior but later returned in vehicles to park on the street and sleep, recalled videographer Craig Richardson.

“I don’t know where they’re getting the money to buy cars,” said Richardson, 53. “And when they have to go to the bathroom, where’d they go? In my backyard!”

He also blames migrants for littering the block with all sorts of debris and attracting “huge rats.”

“We get tickets for garbage because they throw trash all over the place,” said Richardson. “Why do I have dirty baby diapers in front of my house when I don’t have kids here? I’m picking up beer bottles, weed bags, diapers.”

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