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His first day on the job is done — and it was a doozy.
Eric Adams, New York City’s newly-minted 110th mayor, kicked off his morning waiting for the J train with a call to 911 after witnessing a fight. He gave his first speech to New Yorkers as mayor — remotely from City Hall’s Blue Room. And after that, he headed to New York-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center to check on a cop who’d been shot earlier in the morning.
By then, it wasn’t even 2 o’clock yet.
But Adams — just hours after being sworn in at the Times Square New Year’s Eve ball drop — appeared well rested and exuding hope, even in the face of a resurgent COVID pandemic, rising crime and what he has called the city’s dysfunctional government.
“We will get our city back by making a commitment to each other, right here, right now, beginning today. This will be our New Year’s resolution: we will not be controlled by crisis,” he said. “We will make this city better every day through actions big and small. Getting vaccinated is not letting the crisis control you. Enjoying a Broadway show. Sending your kids to school. Going back to the office. These are our declarations of confidence that our city is our own.”
Adams started his day early — in marked contrast to his predecessor Mayor Bill de Blasio, who was often criticized for arriving late to City Hall — but that was not the only way he set himself apart from the man formerly known as Hizzoner.
At a 3:30 press briefing outside the 103rd Precinct in Jamaica, Queens — the place where Adams was abused by cops in his youth — he joked with reporters and even complimented some of them — not a de Blasio hallmark for much of his time at City Hall.
Adams also took the train to work — one more move that appeared designed to differentiate him from the the now ex-mayor — and said he intends to take the subway “often.”
While standing on the platform, he witnessed a violent confrontation on the street below. And since he was not accompanied by a police detail, he called 911 to report the fracas.
When asked why he didn’t have an NYPD detail with him, Adams laughed.
“Grandma doesn’t have a detail. So, if the city’s safe, we should have just a limited amount ... of police personnel,” he said. “If Intel tells me there’s a credible threat, we’ll make sure we have the appropriate amount.”
He later told reporters he was not carrying a gun with him to work — something he suggested he might do if elected in the months preceding his November general election victory. He didn’t rule out using a security detail though, and indicated he’d travel with a pared down unit or none at all moving forward — another departure from de Blasio, who was slammed in a recent city Department of Investigation report for misusing his NYPD security team.
“I informed the police department and told them how I want to move around the city,” he said outside the 103rd Precinct. “I don’t want anybody holding doors for me. I don’t want anyone to hold my umbrella. I don’t want anyone deifying me.”
During his City Hall speech and at his q-and-a in Queens, he ticked off some promises and goals, and touched on how being beaten by police as a youth inside the 103rd Precinct changed him and his path forward.
“This experience here had a major impact on me becoming a police officer,” said the former NYPD captain. “I turned that pain into purpose. I was able to become a captain, and I’m able to come back here today in front of the same precinct. It’s an American story.
“Today the demon is off my back after 61 years,” he added.
And while he did lay out some promises, he also wasn’t heavy on specifics when it comes to his immediate policy goals.
In his speech, he promised to make “city government better every day.”
“That does not just mean grand plans and proposals; it means weeding out the waste and eliminating the inefficiency,” he said. “It’s about accountability.”
The theme of his first 100 days will be “GSD — get stuff done,” he said, but when asked what concrete goals he aims to accomplish within those 100 days, he wouldn’t lay out anything very precise.
“We have a comprehensive 100 day plan. With concrete things that we want to do in those 100 days. We’re going to start rolling them out,” he said. “We have to start right away, day one, so you’ll get them all.”
But as of Saturday evening, City Hall still had not released a plan.
With at least four years ahead of him, Adams has time though. One top priority will be wrapping his head around the city’s COVID situation, and on Saturday, he vowed to have something solid ready by next week.
“I want to make sure we have a real plan in place for Monday,” he said.