NEW YORK — In his first formal address to the city as mayor, Eric Adams on Saturday laid out his vision for the future of the five boroughs, saying he wants to leave divisive rhetoric behind and adopt a practical approach to governing.
Adams, who inherits a city battling another surge of the COVID-19 pandemic, insisted New York City is open for business and “will not be controlled by crises,” while urging New Yorkers to get vaccinated against the virus.
“Despite COVID-19 and its persistence, New York is not closed. It is still open and alive, because New Yorkers are more resilient than the pandemic,” Adams said.
The newly sworn-in mayor painted a picture of a city marred by generations of government dysfunction and where “unemployment is high, crime is high, COVID cases are high again.”
“Our government has been dysfunctional for far too long and it created its own crises long before COVID,” Adams said. “Whether it was crime-ridden communities, poor schools, economic inequality or racial injustice, our problems have been normalized for generations while New York's government struggled to match the energy and innovation of New Yorkers.”
To solve city’s most pressing problems, Adams promised a government that “weeds out waste and inefficiencies,” that takes accountability and tackles problems head on by being “radically practical.”
Foregoing a traditional swearing-in because of the pandemic, Adams’ first day as the city’s 110th mayor included several moments where his 22 years of experience as a cop were apparent.
He began his day Saturday morning by taking the subway from his home in Brooklyn to City Hall without noticeable NYPD security.
Adams said his security would be determined on a case-by-case basis.
"The city's safe. We should have just limited amount of a lot of police personnel," Adams said. "There are days that if intel tells me there is a credible threat, we will make sure we have appropriate amount. Yesterday we had officers that were with us because we were down in Times Square. So we going to have a unique modification of when we going to use our police personnel."
On his ride into Manhattan, Adams witnessed a street fight between teenagers from the subway platform. He called 911, but when police arrived on the scene, they drove past the teens.
Adams said it was a missed opportunity for the police department.
He held his first cabinet meeting in the morning.
Around 1 P.M., Adams visited an NYPD officer who was recovering in NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center after police say he suffered a bullet wound to the head Saturday morning while sleeping in his vehicle.
Afterwards, the mayor held a news conference outside the hospital, where he pledged to hold the individual responsible for the gun violence to account.
“We must not only find the gun, but we must find the person who discharged the weapon, and we must find those who believe they are going to destroy our city with gun and gang violence,” Adams said.
Later in the day, he stopped at the 103rd Precinct in Jamaica, Queens, where he addressed a roll call of officers.
“We’re establishing this covenant where we will give them the tools and the support that they need. But we are also going to hold them to a high standard,” he told reporters afterward.
Adams’ first day served as a tour of some of the dynamic settings that make New York what it is — and make him who he is.
He had been detained at the precinct after being beaten by police as a young man, an experience that led him to join the NYPD himself.
He took his oath of office and officially became the city's second Black mayor at the confetti-coated crossroads of the world, Times Square.
And he delivered his inauguration speech at the stately seat of government, City Hall, using a style all his own.
“It’s not just about doing something new, it’s about doing something right,” he said. “It’s not about showmanship, it’s about showing up.”
Adams added: “That is why the theme of my first 100 days is GSD: Get Stuff Done.”