New York Mayor Adams yearns for order, post-COVID comeback – KXAN Austin

NEW YORK (AP) — Many New Yorkers just want their city to feel orderly, functional and fun again after two years of plague and social disruption. Their new mayor, Eric Adams, has promised to keep his promises.

The question is, can the Democrat who has pledged to bring back the swagger of New York gain momentum in the face of repeated setbacks?

Adams’ optimism remained high even as he marked his 100th day as mayor on Sunday by self-quarantining after testing positive for COVID-19.

An active politician and nightlife enthusiast, Adams, 61, caught the virus after a whirlwind week typical of his personality and tenure: He had attended the Gridiron dinner in Washington, gone to a gala in New York, had posed with Robert de Niro at a film festival, attended the opening of the Yankees and a host of events at the State Capitol.

“I will continue to try to be as visible as possible as we go through COVID and many other crises we face,” Adams said Monday, promising to resume his busy schedule after recovering from the virus.

During his first 100 days in office, Adams projected aggressive confidence as he implemented policies aimed at combating an image of New York as hampered by the pandemic and plagued by increasing crime.

He has ditched many COVID-19 precautions and is reluctant to bring them back, even though virus cases have been steadily rising.

He ordered that homeless encampments be removed from public spaces, despite complaints from activists that sweeps are inhumane.

Over objection from progressives, Adams, a former police captain, brought back an NYPD anti-gun unit disbanded by the former mayor, saying with better oversight it would shed its past reputation for overuse of the force.

Critics say Adams is adopting the worst tendencies of former mayors known for their heavy-handed approaches to police and social services.

Adams says he doesn’t like chaos, as “Saturday Night Live” noted during his first days in office. Instead, it seeks to harness the city’s entangled dynamism.

“That’s what I think our failure is in our city… We put our hands up and said this city is not manageable. That’s just not true,” he said Thursday in an interview with the Associated Press, before testing positive for COVID-19.

He said he started every morning poring over a series of spreadsheets filled with data on his major initiatives.

While inspecting his efforts to clean up tents and makeshift shelters set up by homeless people, Adams scrolls through hundreds of color-coded lines listing individual encampments reported to the city — some the mayor has himself. even telephoned.

He checks to see if the entrances are shaded blue by someone in his administration, indicating that city workers have posted notices that they are about to clean up the area. It verifies that the blue entries later turned yellow, coded as “successful cleaning”. If too many days pass and the colors don’t change, he’ll make a call to find out why.

At a press conference last month, he said the city cleared 239 encampments in its first 12 days. Although the city did not provide data on the number of people living in the encampments, only five offers agreed to move into a shelter.

Adams said he thinks the number will increase, as he has with efforts to reach the homeless on the subway.

The mayor also checks daily spreadsheets showing data on crime, the city’s sprawling public transit system, affordable and supportive housing, and his government’s hiring and promotions.

He compared himself to an airline pilot who sits and checks his instruments before taking off, calling the city “complex machinery”.

“You have to constantly inspect what you’re expecting or it’s suspicious,” Adams said, using one of his favorite catchphrases.

Adams, a former New York City police captain, state legislator, and Brooklyn borough president-elect, faced relentless crises during his first month in office.

A fire engulfed a high-rise building, killing 17 people; a baby was wounded by bullets; two police officers were shot and killed while responding to a call; a woman was pushed to death in front of a subway train by an unknown person.

“Other than 9/11, I don’t know if any other mayor has been inundated with so much at any given time,” Adams remarked.

Crime, which has increased in cities across the United States, has become one of its main concerns.

It’s by far the thorniest issue Adams has tackled, said Jon Reinish, a Democratic political strategist in New York. But 100 days is still early days, Reinish said, and a better barometer of progress would be a year in administration.

“I think he’s sailed well so far, but Rome wasn’t built in a day,” he said.

New York City’s elected public advocate Jumaane Williams, a progressive Democrat who serves as the city’s ombudsman, praised Adams for partnering with him on issues including food insecurity, black maternal health and summer jobs for young people. But he said he was concerned about too much emphasis on policing and not enough on mental health.

Adams, who is black, points out that he exposed racist and unfair practices in the department while he was an officer. He says police can learn from past mistakes while using new tools like body cameras to stay accountable — but neither can the city go back to the days of high violent crime rates.

“I know I don’t want to go back to violence or abuse. Some people just talk about not going back to abuse,” he said.

Critics have also called Adams’ actions to clean up homeless encampments short-sighted, particularly when some people living on the streets say they don’t feel safe in the city’s shelters and that it there is not enough affordable housing to provide a long-term solution.

“It seems to me like we’re doing the last thing first,” Williams said.

Adams argues that it is inhumane to allow people to sleep rough and defends his plan by citing a city law guaranteeing a right to space in a shelter for anyone homeless who needs it.

But he also notes that when an encampment is cleared, “It’s amazing how visually it just changes your mindset about your neighborhood. And that’s part of the goal. Because we are dealing with a real problem and the perception of a problem.

Perception, he said, is also why he posts photos and videos on social media of himself shoveling snow during snowstorms or meeting people all over the world. the city and frequent restaurants, nightclubs and glitzy events.

“We need to get the city back to working order and many New Yorkers are starting to do that. And they need to see me in the process,” he said. “As I deal with crises, I also have to be on that red carpet. Because Broadway is a major economic engine for our city.

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