Long Island castle owner wants NYC to ship migrants to his struggling upstate hotel — but hasn’t heard back


The castle-owning proprietor of a financially struggling upstate hotel is begging Mayor Eric Adams to send him his poor, tired, huddled migrants.

Gary Melius, who owns the renowned historic Oheka Castle hotel and catering hall in Huntington, Long Island, says his rep reached out to Adams’ administration weeks ago to offer his “ideal” 115-room Quality Inn in Massena in St. Lawrence County near the Canadian border.

But the hotel owner said he has not yet gotten a response, despite the city being desperate to figure out how to house thousands of migrants –– dozens of whom were forced to sleep on cardboard on the sidewalk outside Manhattan’s makeshift processing center last week.

“I keep trying. We could take 180 people. I don’t get it. It doesn’t make sense to me,” said Melius, who famously survived a mysterious assassination attempt outside Oheka Castle in 2014.

“My place is ideal,” Melius said of his budget Quality hotel, which has an occupancy rate of 40%, meaning more than half the rooms are empty on any given day.

Gary Melius is the owner of the Oheka Castle in Huntington, Long Island.
New York Post

“The hotel is in the center of town,” noted the owner of Oheka, where the “Real Housewives of New York” filmed their Season 12 reunion in 2020. “You don’t need any transit once you get here.”

“I have a kitchen. I have a restaurant. I have a catering hall” there, too, he said.

“This would be very good for me, it would be very good for the city and very good for the migrants. It’s a win-win,” added Melius, who said his rep reached out to the city’s Department of Homeless Services but has yet to hear back.

Rooms at Melius’s Quality Inn go for about $120 per night.

Hotel owners who provide space for migrants are paid with taxpayer funds at an agreed-upon rate.


Quality inn, 10 W Orvis St, Massena, NY 13662.  Gary Melius, who owns the historic Oheka Castle hotel in Long Island.
Melius also owns a struggling Quality Inn near the Canadian border that he believes would be ideal for NYC’s migrants.
Quality Inn

Melius said he will be not be offering space at his Oheka Castle, one of the top wedding reception venues on Long Island whose hotel rooms go for $400 to $1,200 a night, to shelter migrants.

The hotel owner — whose shooting outside the Oheka nearly a decade ago has yet to be solved — called the migrant crisis “terrible.

“We’re leaving our door open,” he said of the border. “People should come in the right way.”

Brad Gerstman, a lobbying rep for Melius, said, “I want to help the city I love, so I scoured all my clients and those I have other business relationships with to find more space for the migrants.


Located in Huntington, sites on the highest point of Long Island, Weddings and hotel.
Oheka Castle is one of the top wedding venues on Long Island.
Edmund J Coppa

“I hope the Adams administration can move on this opportunity.”

Former GOP Sen. Al D’Amato, a regular patron at Melius’s Oheka Inn, said, “It makes sense for Gary and the mayor.

“The city is overwhelmed,” D’Amato, now a powerhouse lobbyist, told The Post on Sunday. This is the federal government’s fault for not securing the border, and it will keep getting worse if they don’t get the border under control.”

Nearly 100,000 asylum seekers have arrived in New York City since spring 2022.

More than 56,000 migrants are currently in the city’s swelled shelter system — more than half of its record-shattering 100,000 occupants. 


Oheka Castle Westgate.
Rooms at the castle go for up to $1,200 a night.
VICTORALCORN.COM

Dozens of adult migrants were relocated to McCarren Park in Brooklyn over the weekend, and City Hall and emergency officials are eyeing other park sites.

An encampment also has been set up on the grounds of the state Creedmoor Psychiatric Center in Queens Village, and the mayor has imposed a 60-day limit on shelter stays for migrants to relieve space constraints.

Adams has redirected some migrants to some suburban and upstate hotels but also faced fierce resistance from local residents and elected officials, who claim they are not not equipped to handle the influx. The local officials argue that unlike New York City, their municipalities are not “sanctuary” localities that have agreed to take in migrants who came here illegally after crossing the Mexican border.

But Melius said some upstate hotels such as his in Massena are in economically depressed areas and could use the business of sheltering migrants. Massena has a population of about 12,000 residents.


Quality inn, 10 W Orvis St, Massena, NY.
The Quality Inn features 115 rooms for rent.
Google Maps

“There are many hotels upstate in the same boat,” an upstate hotel-industry insider said.

More than 100 Big Apple hotels have already been converted into emergency migrant shelters. The taxpayer dollars flowing into these hotels has helped the hotel industry rebound from the COVID-19 pandemic, when travel bans and lockdowns shut down tourism, left hotel rooms empty and triggered closures.

The once-closed 1,000 room Roosevelt Hotel in Midtown, for example, has been converted into one of the city’s main Humanitarian Emergency Response and Relief Centers to process and shelter migrants, though chaos ensued last week with many migrants sleeping on the street as the facility hit capacity.

Meanwhile, the city just posted social service contracts for two other hotel sites that were converted into migrant shelters.

Home/Life Services was awarded an $8 million contract to aid migrants at the Nirvana hotel in Long Island City in Queens.

In The Bronx, the New Hope Housing Corporation was awarded a $4.1 million contract to run a migrant facility at the Hotel Ninety Five Fordham hotel at 4387 Third Ave. near St. Barnabas hospital.

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