close More than 70 migrants sleeping in this New York City basement Video

More than 70 migrants sleeping in this New York City basement

Living in a cramped basement below a furniture store in Queens, only half of the migrants can sleep there at one time. (Obtained by New York Post)

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Dozens of illegal migrants from western Africa have been found living in cramped conditions inside the basement and first floor of a furniture store in New York City, with the owner charging them $300 to live in the confined spaces where they had to sleep in shifts, according to reports.

About 74 migrants had been holed up inside the two-story furniture store in Richmond Hills, Queens, its owner, Ebou Sarr, told Fox 5 New York after city officials visited the premises on Monday and ordered all the men to leave. 

Sarr, 47, has been hit with two violations after officials found illegal plumbing work that had been done without permits. The other violation was for occupying a building contrary to city records, with the spaces having no ventilation, no natural light and not enough space for the people sleeping there.

Migrants living in a basement in New York City

Sarr’s Wholesale Furniture is shown in Queens, New York City. (Paul Martinka for New York Post)


The New York City Department of Buildings (DOB) issued a full vacate order for the first floor and the cellar due to severe overcrowding. The store, called Sarr’s Wholesale Furniture, is located at 132-02 Liberty Ave.

Migrants living in a basement in New York City

This view shows the basement of a Queens furniture store where a building inspection led to the discovery of at least 74 migrants crammed into the tight space. (Paul Martinka for New York Post)

Cellphone video from inside the building shows the African men in a bright white room full of beds with a low ceiling. The beds are placed close together with limited walking room — a single narrow lane runs through the room with beds on either side.

Another video shows a similar room full of bunk beds.

“It’s a big space, so we have bunk beds, queen bunk beds, some twin bunk beds just to make space for everybody to fit, and we can have space to pray,” the owner told Fox 5.

Migrants living in a basement in New York City

An order to vacate is posted on the door. (Paul Martinka for New York Post)


Sarr told Pix11 News he was charging the migrants $300 a month to live there. The outlet said as many as 87 people were living there and about 40 beds were discovered. The New York Post, citing city officials, reports that only half of the migrants could sleep there at one time.

Sarr said most of the migrants are from Senegal and that he was providing them with breakfast, lunch and dinner.

A neighbor said she had been calling 311 for weeks about the number of people living at the store and the number of e-bikes she said she saw in the backyard.

Migrants living in a basement in New York City

An NYPD officer stands guard by the back entrance to the building. (Paul Martinka for New York Post)

“Monday morning, I come outside, I see bikes in the back. That’s when I got alarmed,” she said. 

“And all over the news you see that these e-bikes are exploding, and they are lighting up the whole block. Nobody’s safety [the owner] was concerned about.”

Photos from the scene show the small backyard filled with electrically powered bicycles, mopeds and carts. 

It is unclear how long the men were living inside the building or where they have moved to.

A man being interviewed after his store was found to be housing migrants

Ebou Sarr, the owner of the store, said there was enough space for the migrants to live. (Fox 5)


New York City Mayor Eric Adams said the incident shows that the system “did its job.”

“It was first reported to the FDNY, and then DOB came in and made sure that those who were there were removed and given the services that are available,” Adams said during his weekly briefing at City Hall on Tuesday, according to QNS.

“We’re still investigating what happened here. When you have situations like we are facing here, there’s going to be an attempt to exploit it, there’s going to be an attempt to do illegal housing, so we have an obligation with DOB, FDNY and all of our services to respond and take [the] necessary action that was done last night.”

Michael Dorgan is a writer for Fox News Digital and Fox Business.

You can send tips to [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @M_Dorgan.

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