Mayor Eric Adams enjoys celebrity status as a man of the town but can’t shake New York’s woes

Mayor Eric Adams wants New Yorkers to know it’s safe to go outside again.

The dapper Democrat and self-styled ‘celebrity mayor’ is frequently spotted hitting the city’s hotspots with VIPs and he’s stopped by the Met Gala and the broadcast booth at Yankee Stadium this month.

“We have amazing nightlife in this city. And I like to say, I’m a nightlife mayor, so I have to test the product,” he told the YES Network.

It was the kind of bluster and outside-the-box thinking that brought him to power, as he tinkered with Democratic support without espousing the progressives’ “defund the police” mantra.

But there are signs New Yorkers are dimming the lights on its afterparty, pointing to crime and quality of life issues as signs the city is locked in the doldrums despite a 24-hour recall campaign of its mayor.

Voters gave Mr. Adams an approval rating of 43% to 37% in a Quinnipiac University poll this month, down from 46% approval and 27% disapproval he saw in a similar February poll, or shortly after taking the reins from Bill de Blasio on New Year’s Day.

“There is a significant shift. It has to do with the feeling that things are always out of control and crime continues to rise. There’s a general sense of disorder, and he didn’t deliver — early — what he said he would do,” said Hank Sheinkopf, a longtime political consultant who has worked on 20 races across the country. the city. “The problem is that the expectations were so high because he was replacing someone people hated.”

“He did very well as the main booster in the city. That New York bluster has become much more pronounced,” Mr. Sheinkopf said. “Now he needs to focus more in a granular way. He needs to focus more on government management issues, which include crime.

The mayor is seeking the right balance when it comes to public safety, rejecting ‘broken windows’ policing which has been called discriminatory, while assuring residents he can cope with the frequent shootings, including a mass attack on a Brooklyn subway platform in April.

Murders are down nearly 14% from this point last year, but other major categories of crime are up, including a 45% increase in robberies, according to CompStat data from the police department. from New York.

“Mayor Adams gets a positive mark on his job performance, but it’s lukewarm. The biggest weight on his numbers: crime. This is by far the most pressing issue and voters are holding it accountable,” said Mary Snow, a polls analyst at Quinnipiac University. “In the wake of April’s mass shootings in the subway and an increase in major crimes, confidence in the mayor’s ability to reduce gun violence is waning.”

Mr. Adams pointed the finger at state officials, saying they needed to fix a revolving door criminal justice system.

“Arrests are up, but let the guys out too!” he said at a Wednesday event on efforts to combat untraceable “ghost” weapons. “Let’s make sure people serve their time. This is what we lack. »

The mayor’s office said while New Yorkers are rightly worried about crime, progress has been made. The administration reinstated anti-gun police units that Mr. de Blasio, a Democrat, disbanded amid complaints of police brutality, though Mr. Adams renamed them Neighborhood Safety Teams.

“The mayor launched the new Anti-Gun Unit to focus on getting dangerous guns off the streets, he helped implement public safety reforms in Albany that many thought were impossible, and he worked with federal government partners to stem the tide of dangerous firearms flowing into New York from other states,” said Adams press secretary Fabien Levy. “But reducing crime in the city won’t happen overnight. We are seeing movement and last month’s crime numbers reflect that with homicides, shootings, rapes and hate crimes dropping. Mayor Adams is laser-focused on reversing the failures of the previous administration while battling failed reforms to the state justice system and irresponsible laws that flood our city with foreign guns.

Even though public safety remains a work in progress, no one can accuse Mr. Adams of hiding from the spotlight.

The mayor had to self-quarantine amid the fallout from April’s subway shooting due to being diagnosed with COVID-19. But he kept up a marathon media schedule during the lockdown, making back-to-back TV hits to tell the public about the investigation – with some coughing.

Since then, he’s resumed his busy schedule, hopping from event to event during the day and hitting up restaurants, performance venues and nightclubs.

Mr Adams says tourism and hospitality are key to the city’s economic engine, so he needs to test offers before promoting them.

His office also said the mayor visits subways or homeless shelters after the evening festivities, so he was responsive to the city’s needs. However, critics say it failed to make the Big Apple appealing to everyone.

“His first four months he worked very hard to establish himself as the swaggering mayor, there’s no doubt about it. The custom suits, the Ferragamo shoes, the nightlife,” Curtis Sliwa, the GOP candidate who lost the mayoral contest to Mr. Adams, told The Washington Times. “But that’s not why he was elected. The Swagger Man never had a plan to deal with crime and it became extraordinarily obvious to all.

Fixing the crime is just one part of Mr. Adams’ attempt to restore the city’s arrogance after a pandemic bruise. He wants to restore foot traffic to key commercial areas, although it has not been easy.

A survey by the Partnership for New York City, a key business group, found that only 8% of office workers in Manhattan return to the office five days a week. Notably, about 78% of workplaces are using a hybrid model that offers a combination of remote and in-person work, a huge jump from 6% before the pandemic.

At the same time, the companies surveyed do not expect their urban footprint to collapse. According to the partnership, 39% of employers expect to increase their office workforce in New York over the next five years, while only 8% expect their office workforce to decline and 18% to expect the workforce to remain the same.

According to the Quinnipiac Poll, two-thirds of New Yorkers are very or somewhat confident that the city’s economy will rebound from the pandemic.

“There is a silver lining nestled in a somewhat dark snapshot of the city. Despite concerns about crime, half of voters expect New York tourism to increase over the next year,” Ms. Snow said.

Mr Adams recently made a direct appeal to young people who are socially conscious but getting used to staying at home.

“You stay at home, so that person who works in the cleaners who normally clean your suit doesn’t get paid. This person who is a dishwasher in a low-wage restaurant, or a cook or a waiter, they don’t get paid,” he said on a podcast hosted by former US Attorney Preet Bharara.

Mr. Adams balances efforts to fight crime and the virus with initiatives based on his personal experience. He frequently touts the benefits of a plant-based diet and has partnered with London Mayor Sadiq Khan to measure the impact of food supply chains and consumer habits on emissions and climate change .

“I’ve been talking about it for years. It’s in our food. Our food not only harms our mothers and fathers, it harms mother nature. And it’s time for us to be honest about this conversation and not be afraid to know where the facts are taking us,” Mr. Adams said.

On Thursday, the mayor announced a sweeping plan to screen public school students early for dyslexia, saying he had battled the disease long after leaving city schools.

Mr Sliwa said efforts to tackle issues such as diet and dyslexia are laudable but will be long-term projects.

“Again, the electorate is thinking, ‘Wait a second, that’s fine, that’s garnish – but you didn’t take care of the meat and the potatoes,'” he said. he declares. “And it’s crime, quality of life, and our ability to come to work and enjoy the benefits of the city.”

Mr Sheinkopf said the mayor’s honeymoon with New Yorkers is not over, but time is running out.

“New Yorkers are reasonably tolerant, they’re going to give it until the end of the year,” he said. “After that, every day will be a stunning, protracted fight.”

For more information, visit The Washington Times COVID-19 resource page.

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