The inaugural ceremony marking the start of Eric Adams’ mayoralty has been postponed to a later date in the wake of a rapid rise in COVID-19 cases caused by the omicron variant.
"It's best for us to forgo an inauguration because we don't want to put people in an dangerous environment," Adams said Tuesday during an unrelated press conference in Manhattan.
"I don't need an inauguration; all I need is a mattress and a floor to execute being mayor of the city of New York," he added.
What You Need To Know
- COVID-19 cases are surging, testing capacity is lagging and despite high levels of vaccination among New Yorkers, major events are routinely being canceled
- Health officials are advising against mass gatherings, and masking while indoors is once again a requirement
- Highlighting his outer-borough roots and with a nod to Brooklyn, Adams originally planned the inauguration at Kings Theatre
- It was to be a major break from traditional inaugurations held on the steps of City Hall
It's a turn of events indicative of the city's current state of affairs: COVID-19 cases are surging, testing capacity is lagging and despite high levels of vaccination among New Yorkers, major events are routinely being canceled. Health officials are advising against mass gatherings, and masking while indoors is once again a requirement.
With Jan. 1 around the corner, the incoming mayor, comptroller Brad Lander and Public Advocate Jumaane Williams all issued a statement Tuesday saying the inauguration would be held at a later date due to concerns for public health and safety.
"After consulting with public health experts, we have decided that our joint inauguration ceremony will be postponed to a later date in order to prioritize the health of all who were planning to attend, cover, and work on this major event," they wrote.
“Health and safety must come first,” the joint statement reads. “We encourage all New Yorkers to get vaccinated, get boosted, and get tested. That is our pathway out of this pandemic, and we will come out of it together.”
Joseph Viteritti, the chair of the Department of Urban Policy and Planning at Hunter College, said inaugurations are an opportunity for incoming mayors to lay out a vision and set the tone for the incoming administration. It's also an opportunity for political messaging and despite the lack of celebration, Adams may still get to send that message.
"He's sending a very different message here and I think it's a very important message," Viteritti said, "He's telling us, we're in a very difficult time, it's different."
Highlighting his outer-borough roots and with a nod to Brooklyn, Adams originally planned the inauguration at Kings Theatre — a major break from traditional inaugurations held on the steps of City Hall.
It's not the first time an incoming mayor has to do away with the celebration. Mayor Fiorello La Guardia took office in the middle of another crisis, the Great Depression. He simply showed up to City Hall on Jan. 1 and got to work.
"He's conveying his own sense of responsibility, his own sense of sacrifice," Viteritti said about Adams. "It's a very powerful messaging that is going on here, and I think in the end it will be something that he will be admired for."
Adams is hoping to lead by example, opting to cancel one of the biggest political parties of the year and saying he wants to get right to work. There will be no pomp or circumstance as the 110th mayor prepares to take office.
"On Jan. 1, there will be a new mayor and that mayor is going to be disciplined, that mayor is going to know how to execute a plan and he's going to know how to keep this city safe," Adams said.
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