Eric Adams spent 22 years as an NYPD cop before turning to politics — and in his first month as mayor of New York City, it has sometimes seemed like he never left the job. Often clad in an NYPD jacket, he’s been racing to crime scenes like the officer he once was — making his physical presence just as central to his crime response as his policy platform.
Adams started his first day in office with a call to 911 from a subway platform to report a fight among a group of men. From there, he’s spoken at vigils for a baby shot and the Bronx and a woman shoved to her death in front of a subway train. He’s rushed to hospitals where police officers were being treated for gunshot wounds. He’s headed to police headquarters to announce an arrest in the armed robbery death of a young Burger King cashier.
The mayor’s tendency to be always on the scene is no accident, as Erin reports. “Doesn’t matter to me if it’s a police officer shot, or if it’s a baby shot. I’m going to stay in these streets until this city is safe,” Adams said in the Bronx last week.
Backers say he’s sending an important signal that he’s personally invested in New Yorkers’ safety. But critics say that by still thinking like a cop, the mayor is placing too much trust in a police force with a long history of abuses and too little emphasis on social services and other strategies to reduce crime. They’re skeptical of both his public persona and his policy proposals, like reviving the NYPD anti-crime unit and rolling back limits on bail.
“Showing up is a critical part of the job,” said Queens Borough President Donovan Richards, who endorsed Adams. “It signals to folks that this is a mayor who’s not going to tolerate the Wild Wild West in our city.” But he added that Adams would have to back up his public pronouncements with funding in his upcoming first budget for housing, social services, and neighborhood crisis management teams. “Without these things, we can have all the rhetoric in the world, but you’ll still continue to see shootings.”
WHERE’S KATHY? Attends funeral services for NYPD Officer Jason Rivera and holds a snowstorm briefing in Suffolk County.
WHERE’S ERIC? Speaking at the funeral of Police Officer Jason Rivera and giving a snowstorm briefing.
“Mayor Adams Was Granted A Waiver To Hire His Brother At $1 Yearly Salary,” by WNYC’s Brigid Bergin: “Mayor Eric Adams’ brother will not be raking in the big bucks as head of mayoral security. Instead, Bernard Adams has been granted a waiver by the New York City Conflicts of Interest Board (COIB) to serve as senior advisor for mayoral security for the nominal salary of $1 a year, allowing him to become an official city employee. The details of COIB’s decision are outlined in a written response to the mayor’s office that Gothamist/WNYC obtained through a Freedom of Information Law request. On Wednesday, COIB sent the opinion to the mayor’s counsel, Brendan McGuire, which made clear that City Hall walked back its initial plan to pay Adams’ brother a hefty $210,000 salary but instead sought a waiver for him to play an uncompensated role in the administration, in keeping with the precedents set by previous administrations.”
“Sarah Palin Dined At Multiple Restaurants After Getting COVID,” by Gothamist’s Jake Offenhartz: “Sarah Palin is not letting COVID-19 stop her from enjoying New York City’s culinary offerings. The former Alaska governor returned to Elio’s restaurant Wednesday night and dined outdoors just days after it was revealed she tested positive for COVID-19. Palin, who has touted the fact that she is not vaccinated, was seen dining inside the Upper East Side Italian restaurant on Saturday, before her diagnosis. The city requires proof of vaccination to eat indoors. And WNYC/Gothamist confirmed the former vice presidential candidate dined al fresco Tuesday night at Campagnola, another Italian restaurant in the area. … The city will not be penalizing Elio’s for Palin’s indoor dining on Saturday, City Hall said, because the city does not issue violations unless they are directly observed by an inspector. The vaccine requirement does not extend to outdoor dining.”
— NYC mayor blasts Palin for dining while infected with Covid-19, by POLITICO’s Joe Anuta: On Thursday, the mayor’s office said her behavior was putting New Yorkers at risk. “By repeatedly flouting CDC guidelines, Ms. Palin has shown a complete disregard for the health and safety of small business workers and her fellow patrons,” mayoral spokesperson Jonah Allon said in a statement.
“Bribery Case Casts a Shadow Over Eric Adams’s Public Safety Chief,” by The New York Times’ Michael Rothfeld, William K. Rashbaum and Jan Ransom: “His voice was recorded on federal wiretaps. His luxury overseas trips were scrutinized. His massages, golf outings and steak dinners were carefully cataloged. In the end, U.S. prosecutors documented a range of questionable behavior by Philip Banks III: As a top New York City police official, he accepted paid vacations to the Dominican Republic and Los Angeles, sushi platters, cigars — even a ring worn by Muhammad Ali — from two businessmen who sought power through connections to New York City leaders. The conduct, detailed by federal investigators, revealed a willingness by Mr. Banks to embrace favor seekers while occupying a powerful government position. It also led prosecutors to label him an unindicted co-conspirator in an expansive corruption scheme.”
— City Hall has yet to request a waiver to allow Banks to collect his deputy mayor salary on top of his NYPD pension.
New $4B terminal completed at LaGuardia airport, by POLITICO’s Erin Durkin: LaGuardia Airport’s new $4 billion Terminal B has been completed, officials announced Thursday. The overhauled terminal is part of a $8 billion rebuilding of the notorious airport, which broke ground in 2016. Gov. Kathy Hochul and Mayor Eric Adams visited LaGuardia Thursday morning to mark the completion of the new terminal — at an airport that President Joe Biden, when he was vice president in 2014, compared to a “third world country.” “We’re going to invite President Biden here and when he takes off the blindfold and sees this he’ll know that we listened,” Hochul said. “We have literally gone from worst to best, and I love it.” The new terminal features 1.35 million square feet of space, 35 gates and a 3,000-car parking garage.
“Youth, Advocates See Pros and Cons in Adams’ Sprawling Public Safety Proposals,” by The City’s Eileen Grench: “Mayor Eric Adams made a last-minute visit to Horizon Juvenile Center in The Bronx on Thursday afternoon, following reports of a hostage situation there early Tuesday morning, as teen detainees allegedly threatened staff with makeshift weapons and stole their keys. The hastily announced trip, which was closed to journalists, was the latest big move for a new administration that has had a plate full of youth justice issues in its first month. From his support of gang raids and violence interrupters, to a new plan to improve youth employment and help pledged for foster and homeless teens, and now Thursday’s listening session with juvenile detention guards, Adams has touted a broad strategy he calls ‘intervention and prevention.’”
— “16 Men Died in New York City Jails Last Year. Who Were They?,” by The New York Times’ Michael Wilson and Chelsia Rose Marcius
The odds are stacked against Tom Suozzi. So why does he think he can beat Hochul?, by POLITICO’s Anna Gronewold: Just 6 percent of New York Democrats would back Rep. Tom Suozzi for governor, according to the most recent polling, which tied him for last place. The chair of the state party is publicly encouraging him to drop his primary challenge against Gov. Kathy Hochul, who both the right and left called a political force even before she announced a $21 million war chest and a budget full of spending for all. But Suozzi has a plan. It requires roughly $15 million, a very specific coalition of support and for New York voters to hold a level of mistrust toward Hochul’s fledgling administration, according to an internal memo shared with POLITICO that lays out the campaign’s next steps. The three-term congressman from Long Island, who also ran a long-shot gubernatorial primary against then-Attorney General Eliot Spitzer in 2006, said he won’t be daunted by the perceived long odds.
— Suozzi assailed Hochul’s proposal to eliminate single-family zoning laws.
“Adams Once Lobbied For Raise The Age Law — Now His Push To Roll It Back Faces Headwinds In Albany,” by WNYC’s Gwynne Hogan: “In Mayor Eric Adams’ telling, kids are increasingly falling prey to adults who put guns in their hands — an unintended consequence of criminal justice reforms in Albany. As he unveiled his plan to combat an alarming and continued spike in gun violence during a City Hall speech this week, Adams warned, ‘far too many men above the age of 18 are victimizing children by forcing them to carry the weapons. … Children are being used as pawns.’ He then suggested a rollback of the state’s Raise the Age law, a hard-won piece of legislation that civil rights leaders — and Adams himself — had lobbied for for years before it was passed in 2017.”
“New York’s Landmark Water Testing Law Hinges on State Health Department,” by New York Focus’s Peter Mantius: “Six years after New York health officials were caught flat-footed by a water contamination crisis in Hoosick Falls, the state is set to require what may be the most extensive drinking water testing program in the nation for the PFAS family of ‘forever chemicals.’ But the law’s impact will depend on the approach taken by the state Department of Health – an agency with a history of dragging its feet in implementing water quality legislation — and the state Drinking Water Quality Council that advises it.”
“Fewer New York schools face financial strain,” by Spectrum’s Nick Reisman: “Only a fraction of the state’s more than 670 school districts are under some form of financial strain as of June, according to a report released Thursday by Comptroller Tom DiNapoli. All told, 23 school districts in New York have been designated as fiscally stressed, down from 31 districts a year ago. … The report found New York school districts have largely weathered the financial headwinds created by the COVID pandemic, which had led to uncertainty over state funding and the potential to have tax revenue depleted. The report does not include the state’s four largest school districts, Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse and Yonkers.”
“NYC public defenders call on Biden to visit troubled Rikers Island on his NYC trip,” by New York Daily News’ John Annese: “New York City’s public defender services want President Biden to visit Rikers Island when he comes to the city next week to get a first-hand look at the crisis conditions at the troubled jail complex. Biden is slated to meet with Mayor Adams in Manhattan next Thursday to focus on the president’s ‘comprehensive strategy to combat gun crime,’ the White House announced Wednesday.”
“‘He Stole From Me’: Stormy Daniels Testifies at Avenatti Trial,” by The New York Times’ Colin Moynihan: “Stormy Daniels, the pornographic film star whose lawsuit against then-President Donald J. Trump was at the center of a 2018 scandal, took the stand as a witness in Federal District Court in Manhattan on Thursday in a different matter: the trial of Michael Avenatti, the lawyer who led her explosive lawsuit but who now stands accused of stealing from her. ‘He stole from me and lied to me,’ Ms. Daniels testified after taking the stand shortly after 11 a.m. Mr. Avenatti, who is serving as his own lawyer in the trial, is expected to question Ms. Daniels himself during cross-examination.”
— A wake was held at St. Patrick’s Cathedral for slain NYPD Police Officer Jason Rivera.
— Environmentalists are asking the state to deny a permit to National Grid to expand a Greenpoint natural gas plant.
— The city Economic Development Corporation approved up to $62 million in new spending on the NYC Ferry system.
— It’s going to snow this weekend, possibly a lot.
— A Manhattan restaurant had to stop serving 25-cent martinis with lunch after the State Liquor Authority intervened.
— A gun was found underneath a toilet used by detainees in NYPD’s 110th Precinct in Elmhurst.
— More than 2,400 parents who kept their children home from school due to Covid-19 fears were reported for neglect.
— Before mid-winter break, New York City’s Department of Education is sending K-12 students home with Covid-19 testing kits.
— An Asian woman was struck in the face last week in Brooklyn.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY: Rep. Antonio Delgado (D-N.Y.) … Fed Vice Chair nominee Lael Brainard is 6-0 … former Rep. Tom Downey (D-N.Y.) … Alexandra Thornton … Clear’s Maria Comella … CNN’s Jay McMichael … Justin Fox … Ellen Hershkin is 75 … Donna Redel … Shalom David Staub … Jonathan Barnett … Perry Bloch
KNOWING FRED DIXON — “Meet the man responsible for bringing tourists back to New York City,” by The Points Guy’s Scott Mayerowitz
MEDIAWATCH — Vanessa Mobley will join the NYT as head of the op-ed team. She’s coming from the book publishing world, most recently as VP and executive editor at Little, Brown and Co. Brian Zittel is also expanding his role to be managing editor for op-ed and newsletters. Announcement … Adam Aston will join RMI in the new role of chief storyteller. He previously co-founded the NYT’s T Brand Studio and was founding editor of BusinessWeek’s green business beat. (h/t POLITICO Playbook)
MAKING MOVES — Hope Arcuri has been promoted to be senior officer for global communications at the International Rescue Committee. She most recently was a global communications officer for the organization. … Anna Maria Atanaszov is leaving the Hungarian Embassy in Washington where she has been head of press and is getting posted to the Permanent Mission of Hungary to the UN where she will be a diplomat responsible for the UN’s Second (Economic and Financial) Committee and press.
“Will the City Council approve a Harlem development over the wishes of the socialist local member?,” by City & State’s Jeff Coltin: “It’s a brand new day in the New York City Council – and the next land use battle is already brewing over a project in Harlem, pitting a new council member with few political allies against power players such as the Rev. Al Sharpton. And even though City Council Member Kristin Richardson Jordan has drawn a line in the sand opposing the upzoning to allow the One45/ Museum of Civil Rights project, the developer is going forward with the application. That means the City Council under Speaker Adrienne Adams could once again buck member deference – the de facto policy of voting with the local member on land use matters.”
“Tax Lien Sales Tick Toward Expiration Date Without Alternative in Sight,” by The City’s Samantha Maldonado: “New York City’s controversial tax lien sales system for collecting unpaid property and water debts expires at the end of next month — without any clear path toward what comes next. Mayor Eric Adams and City Council Speaker Adrienne Adams have both come out against the longtime practice of selling off tax liens to investors, which generates tens of millions of dollars each year and steps up pressure on property owners to pay their bills. The city sold the liens from 2,841 properties in December 2021. It was the first sale since May 2019, after postponing the 2020 sale because of the pandemic.”
“Turns Out the Standard Hotel Was Literally Falling Apart,” by Curbed’s Caroline Spivack: “Over the past year, anyone visiting the High Line would have to pass under a stretch of scaffolding that surrounded the Standard Hotel. Nothing out of the ordinary for a New York building. Probably a renovation, one might think for the briefest moment before proceeding with their day. In fact, it’s been up so long that you would be forgiven for completely forgetting that a surfboard-size hunk of cement-and-fiberglass paneling had fallen from the 12th story of the hotel and crashed onto the roof of a neighboring building last January.”