Eric Adams becomes NYC’s 110th mayor in Times Square New Year’s Eve bash
Hits the ground running as he inherits a city facing peril
Eric Adams was sworn in as the city’s 110th mayor — and its second Black mayor in history — in Times Square early Saturday, shortly after the New Year’s ball drop at the scaled-back, but festive tradition.
Adams, who wanted to hold the first-ever Brooklyn mayoral inauguration in an ode to his Brooklyn roots and the borough voters who backed him, was forced to switch from that unprecedented inauguration to the new one because of skyrocketing COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations, thanks to the Omicron variant.
Despite NYC hitting yet another record high COVID-19 cases that day (nearly 50,000), along with higher hospitalization and death rates, and the two headliners for the event — LL Cool J and Chlöe — canceling their performances because of COVID, Adams maintained an optimistic tone.
“Even in the midst of COVID, in the midst of everything we’re going through, this is a country where hope and opportunity is always ever-present,” Adams said before the ball drop.
The new mayor was sworn in using a family Bible, held by his son, Jordan Coleman, and clasping a framed photograph of his mother, Dorothy, who passed away last year. He appeared alongside outgoing Mayor de Blasio and his family.
During his first mayoral address on Saturday, Adams addressed unprecedented challenges
Not since the 9/11 attacks has a recent mayor inherited such daunting challenges. NYC is facing a beleaguered economy – with an unemployment rate of 9.4% – more than double the national average. And murders, shootings and violence in the city (which spiked early in the pandemic), remain higher than pre-COVID
And just as the city was starting to slowly show signs of a recovery, Omicron reared its ugly head, infecting even those with booster shots, and spreading at an alarmingly unprecedented rate. It has also caused companies in Manhattan to abandon return-to-office plans, and many already suffering Broadway shows and restaurants have closed.
Mayor Adams’ overarching approach, he said Saturday at City Hall, was to tackle the “dysfunction” of city government.
“Our government has been dysfunctional for far too long and it created its own crisis long before COVID,” Adams said.
“That changes today. I promise you one thing New York, I will make our city better every day by making our city government better every day,” said Adams. “It means weeding out the waste and eliminating the inefficiencies. It’s about accountability.”
He has already hit the ground running on that, with a newly-formed Mayor’s Office of Risk Management and Compliance, which will focus on cracking down on waste, fraud and abuse in city government.
“There’s a number of agencies that are just taking taxpayers’ dollars and are not producing a good product,” he said while announcing the office.
On the virus front, Adams rejected any option to shut down the city
“This is 2022, not 2020,” he said. “With vaccines, testing and treatments, we have the tools now to live with this virus and stay healthy if we all do our part to keep each other safe.”
He also urged New Yorkers not to let the virus control their lives, with a push to return to normal (or as close as we can get to normal in these times). Getting vaccinated “is not letting the crisis control you” and going to Broadway shows and returning to offices “are declarations of confidence that our city is our own.”
He also recently decided to keep Mayor de Blasio’s first-in-the nation vaccination requirement for private employers. Adams said he and advisers are studying whether to expand vaccine mandates.
Adams vowed to lure business back, while also tackling inequality
Mayor Adams, who grew up in poverty in Queens, and is a self-described “blue-collar mayor,” said that he wants to continue Mr. de Blasio’s focus on reducing inequality.
Yet as an unabashedly pro-business mayor (especially when compared to his predecessor), Adams has vowed to embrace and work with the business community and lure back the wealthy who have fled the city. It’s a sharp contrast to de Blasio, who said he “wasn’t going to beg” the affluent to stay.
Mr. Adams also described himself as a practical and progressive mayor who will “get stuff done” in the first 100 days.
‘Mission one is to deal with the gun violence in our city,’ Adams said
Adams, a decades-long NYPD veteran who has vowed to crack down on crime, started another Saturday press conference on a far more somber note, as an NYPD officer was grazed in the head with a bullet on Saturday morning (the officer fortunately survived).
“You don’t start bringing in the new year with bringing in violence; it’s unacceptable,” Adams said alongside his newly-appointed NYPD Commissioner Keechant Sewell
Adams has also vowed to bring back a plainclothes police unit that was disbanded last year, in an effort to get more guns off the streets.
Adams, who is known for his relentless energy and for sleeping in Brooklyn Borough Hall as the former borough president, kept that relentless energy going.
After his election night victory speech, Adams partied at Zero Bond, a ritzy private club in NoHo, alongside comedian Chris Rock, the actor Forest Whitaker, the rapper Ja Rule and business leaders like Eric Schmidt, the former chief executive of Google, and James Dolan, the owner of the Knicks and MSG.
“Yes, I do hang out with the boys at night, but I get up with the men in the morning,” he said during a November fundraiser. He made true to that promise as he hit the ground running to fix our city early next morning.
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