Adams vows New York won’t be ‘controlled by crises’ as NYC mayor

Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, joined the Jan. 30, 2021, Gandhi Punyatithi hosted by the Consulate of India in New York jointly with Gandhian Society USA. Photo: courtesy Indian Consulate in New York

New York City “will not be controlled by crises,” Eric Adams declared in his first speech in office, a little more than 12 hours after he was sworn in as the city’s 110th mayor.

In a brief address that lasted less than 11 minutes, Adams pledged to reunite the city, tamp down divisions and root out waste and inefficiency in city government, all while bringing New York back from the Covid-19 pandemic at a time of record daily infections.

“I take this important office at a time of great challenges for our city,” Adams said at City Hall. He said he’d been sworn in earlier at Times Square because he “wanted New Yorkers and the world to be reminded of two things.”

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“First that despite Covid-19 and its persistence, New York is not closed,” he said. “It’s still open and alive, because New York is more resilient than the pandemic.”

“New York can and should be the center of the universe again,” he said. “We all need that reminder right now.”

Adams promised a more efficient city government, after many years in which “New York’s government struggled to match the energy and innovation of New Yorkers. That changes today.”

The theme of his first 100 days in office would be to “get stuff done,” Adams said. “Now is the time to be radically practical.”

The speech wasn’t part of Adams’ original inaugural plan. Less than a month ago, he’d unveiled plans to be sworn in Saturday evening at Brooklyn’s Kings Theater, before a crowd of 3,000 people.

But an overwhelming surge of cases driven by the omicron variant foiled those plans. Instead, he was formally sworn in early Saturday morning in Times Square shortly after the ball dropped.

Adams’ speech Saturday afternoon was just one of a string of planned events in the new mayor’s crowded schedule, which included travel in at least three of the city’s five boroughs.

He began the day just before 8 a.m. with a subway ride from his home in Brooklyn to City Hall, in lower Manhattan. Before he boarded the train, he witnessed a fight taking place in the street and called 911.

“I’m ready to do what New Yorkers have been doing, and that’s working hard,” Adams told reporters gathered outside City Hall after he arrived.

Adams held a cabinet meeting at City Hall. Later Saturday, the new mayor plans to head to the 103rd police precinct in Jamaica, Queens, where he and the city’s new police commissioner Keechant Sewell, the city’s first Black, female police commissioner, will preside over a police officer roll call. Then he will hold his first official press conference.

Adams takes office at a time of uncertainty in a virus-beleaguered city, where more than 35,000 residents have died, and almost two years of Covid-induced closures still threaten the once-thriving tourism economy and commercial districts. The city’s unemployment rate, 9%, is the highest since 2013 and is more than double where it stood in the months before Covid-19 arrived, in early 2020.

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