To clarify: Eric Adams has indeed left Borough Hall in the past six weeks. The Brooklyn borough president goes for walks across the street in Columbus Park, and “every day, I spend a lot of time in our hospitals and our schools — oftentimes people don’t realize those on the front lines are in constant need of supplies, and those supplies don’t get there unless someone is dropping them off.” But at night he doesn’t go back to his place in Bedford-Stuyvesant, where he lives on his own. Instead, he’s set up a mattress in front of his desk and brought in fitness gear, some spices, and his NutriBullet blender. Apart from making a couple of laundry runs, he hasn’t been home since the staff began working remotely in March.
He’s not the first lawmaker to live at the office: Lots do it on Capitol Hill, owing to long legislative charrettes or just the cost of D.C. living. But this is different, a sort of crisis-management by proximity. Why, if he’s out all day, doesn’t he just go home? Two reasons, he says. One is symbolic, showing that he’s on the job (and perhaps eyeing a future one at City Hall): “Nothing makes you feel better than when your general is not trying to send you into battle but is leading you into battle.” But more than that, he says, it keeps his mind in the game. “When I was in the Police Department, during 9/11 and going home and coming back to ground zero, I knew that mind-set of turning off and turning on. Staying in the game-time mind-set was a different energy.” So, he said, he started sleeping at the 88th Precinct. “We didn’t know when we were going to have to be on alert, and I didn’t want to have to be deployed — I wanted to be deployed already. And that’s how I felt about this.”
It’s not bad here, he says. Adams — a rigorously healthy eater, he has a book about his regimen out this fall — doesn’t order takeout. His diet, being mostly raw, is well suited to the office kitchen. He does the little bit of cooking that’s needed himself, with a hot plate. There’s a shower, so “you don’t have to take birdbaths.” He makes a daily smoothie, and “everyone wants to know what’s in it,” he says. “Oh, it’s a real wake-me-up.” (For the record: blackberries, blueberries, kale, spinach, açai powder, carob powder, cocoa powder, maca powder, and moringa powder.) And it’s not like being stuck in a tiny apartment. He runs the stairs for more exercise; he lays out a yoga mat and meditates; he brought a big pile of books for the evenings (including, pointedly, a biography of former mayor Michael Bloomberg). Any downside? What does he miss? “Intimacy!” he says, without a moment’s pause. “You can’t do intimacy at Borough Hall! A man don’t live by bread alone.”
*A version of this article appears in the May 25, 2020, issue of New York Magazine. Subscribe Now!