The last day of a 15-month-long race for mayor of New York was not boring — even the outcome of the contest was not in doubt. Eric Adams, the Democratic nominee, made his final public appearance on a radio show — in this case, one hosted by Trump lawyer Alan Dershowitz and Trump donor John Catsimatidis. He faced further questions about his residency and parking habits. And even before he was declared the winner it was announced that he would be heading to an Election Night party after his official Election Night party at Zero Bond, the exclusive downtown social club that his late-night visits to during the campaign provided fodder for his Republican opponent, Curtis Sliwa, to argue that he was not serious about the job.
In fact, Adams was not serious about Curtis Sliwa, and he didn’t need to be: Keeping a limited public schedule since securing the Democratic nomination, Adams still romped, leading by nearly 40 points with half the precincts counted.
Adams will come into office leading a city facing a daunting set of problems: a pandemic that has left 34,000 dead and an unemployment rate still higher than the national average, an ongoing crisis in housing and homelessness, a school system that has lost 50,000 students since a year ago, and a stubbornly high crime rate. But he will also come into office as an immensely powerful mayor, one with a broad base of support in the city’s labor unions and working-class communities of color, and dealing with a business and real-estate community who see him as an ally.
And he will serve at least the first year of his first term with a governor new to the job and looking to make inroads with the very same voters who vaulted Adams into City Hall. As evidence of the shifting dynamic, one in which governors have frequently lorded over New York City mayors their constitutional authority, Governor Kathy Hochul was a surprise and unannounced guest at Adams’s victory party at the Marriott in Downtown Brooklyn, sidling up next to the next mayor just as he was delivering his victory speech.
“We will fight for you, not fight each other anymore,” Hochul said. “I am excited to have a tremendous partner.”
For his part, Adams promised a sweeping agenda. He pledged to keep the streets safe while kicking rogue police out of the department, refocusing the city’s efforts on improving the lives of its poorest residents while not asking more of big business and the rich, improving schools while keeping the basic outlines of the city’s educational system intact.
And he all but promised to be a mayor that will keep the attention of New Yorkers. There were no TV screens and no announcement at his Election Night party that Adams had actually won, and he surprised those in attendance by making his way through the crowd from a back entrance. When Adams eventually appeared onstage, he first words were about how his staff had tried to tell him where to stand, but he ignored them. “I’m the mayor now,” he said. And after ticking through his thank-you’s to his campaign team, and laying out his biography and what he hoped to accomplish as mayor, Adams introduced his five siblings onstage. “It’s hard to be the sibling of Eric Adams,” he said in conclusion, and with that, a new political era in New York had begun.