Mayor Bill de Blasio faced his challengers, Republican Nicole Malliotakis and Independent Bo Dietl, Tuesday night in a raucous debate hosted by NY1.
The debate at Symphony Space on the Upper West Side, the first of the general election race for City Hall, was a shouting match for large chunks of the night.
"I'd like to go to Rikers Island with the mayor!" Dietl said. "I'll lock up for two days! Me and you! General population!"
De Blasio's opponents often attacked him over his record on issues like homelessness, affordable housing, Riker's Island, and the troubles with the mass transit system.
Malliotakis: That's your job: To plan for long-term population economic growth. I will absolutely work with Governor Cuomo to resolve this. Are you afraid of Governor Cuomo?
De Blasio: I am very comfortable taking on the governor when he is wrong and when he's doing something that doesn't help New York City, and I'm comfortable working with him when he does the right thing.
"We'll take down Rikers. We'll get rid of our subways. We'll break down NYCHA. We'll destroy everything that's 80 years old. That's not the answer. The answer is fixing what you got and making it work better," Dietl said.
"We need inmates that are going to get educated, so when they come out of jail, they have a job, so they don't go back to jail! Common sense!" Dietl said.
The incumbent, meanwhile, was ready to play the Trump card right out of the gate.
"My two opponents are right-wing Republicans who voted for Donald Trump," de Blasio said.
"I do not like Donald Trump, and I don't like what he's done," Dietl said. "I did vote for him, but I would take that vote back for tomorrow."
"This election is not about Donald Trump," Malliotakis said. "You have to stop trying to deflect from your lousy record as a mayor."
But de Blasio came to the debate prepared to recite a long list of first-term achievements:
"The pre-K initiative, the after school initiative, the paid sick leave, the effort to increase the minimum wage," de Blasio said. "Safest big city in America, increasing graduation rates."
With de Blasio miles ahead in the polls, Malliotakis, a relatively unknown Staten Island assemblywoman, knew she had score points. So she went on the offensive, challenging the mayor at every turn.
Dietl, a former NYPD detective, similarly disparaged the mayor, arguing he has accomplished nothing. And as expected, he flashed his uniquely colorful style along the way.
The debate was marked by repeated interruptions and crosstalk, with Dietl earning more than one reprimand.
"No, just turn off the mic. Just turn off the mic," moderator NY1 Political Anchor Errol Louis said to stop Dietl from interrupting the other candidates.
A raucous crowd was another guilty party, leading to an ejection at one point.
"Goodbye. You have a nice evening," Louis said to the person ejected.
The leading candidates are scheduled to meet again Nov. 1, before voters make their decision six days later.