New Mayor Eric Adams quite literally had to hit the ground running after his swearing into office on Saturday morning, New Year’s Day. Despite dealing with an ominous police shooting, the COVID surge, and school closures in the first few hours to days of his term, Adams appeared energized during his press circuits.
Saturday, Jan. 1 was Adams’ first full day. On his subway commute into city hall, Adams, a former transit cop, seemingly flashed back to old beat cop ways by calling 911 to report two men fighting in view of the J train platform at Broadway and Kosciuszko in Brooklyn. Later that same morning, he and newly appointed NYPD Police Commissioner Keechant L. Sewell had to hold a press conference after an officer was injured in a shooting.
At around 2:30 a.m. on Saturday, Officer Keith Wagenhauser, 33, was resting in his personal car in between shifts near the 25th Precinct in East Harlem. At about 6:15 a.m., Wagenhauser woke up to a shattered rear window and pain in his head. He hadn’t realized he was shot until fellow officers helped him. Wagenhauser was rushed to NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center in Manhattan, underwent surgery for a fractured skull, and survived the shooting, said Sewell.
“We are truly happy but angry,” said Adams at the press conference. “As I looked at Crystal, his wife, I knew that this could have turned out differently. I knew that a bullet when it strikes an individual, it does not stop its path. It continues to rip apart the anatomy of a family and the community.”
Adams and Sewell doubled down on their “aggressive” mission to root out gun violence. In comparison, Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday were much lighter in tone.
On Sunday, Adams was all smiles as he effervescently citi-biked from Gracie Mansion to The Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine to pay his respects to former Mayor David Dinkins, the first ever elected Black mayor of New York City. Then he met with sanitation workers about the incoming storms and cold front.
On Monday, he was up bright and early hobnobbing with morning news anchors, such as the Rev. Al Sharpton on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” He spoke about creating a more “visible” presence of officers in the subway, his social and frenetic style, and the COVID-19 Omicron variant in schools.
“This city was missing our oomph. We were missing our excitement. People need to see and feel what this city is all about,” said Adams on the show. “This is a place to be and the mayor should personify that. Everything about the mayor should show the energy and excitement and why you want to be in New York. It’s a privilege to live in New York City.”
Later, Adams headed to the Bronx to join newly appointed Schools Chancellor David Banks and local elected leaders as they greeted students and parents at Concourse Village Elementary School. Adams said that “the safest place for our children is in a school building” and that they would do everything they could to keep schools open with a flood of test kits on sites, vaccinations, and the Department of Education’s COVID Command Center.
“I know every parent takes the health of their child very seriously,” said Banks. “My guarantee, today, is that we are not relaxing our standards, we’re reinforcing them. We owe it to our children to bring all our resources to bear to support schools staying open. We’ve seen what isolation does to all of us, and we know that it impacts our young people even more.”
Ariama C. Long is a Report for America Corps member and writes about culture and politics in New York City for the Amsterdam News. Your donation to match our RFA grant helps keep her writing stories like this one; please consider making a tax-deductible gift of any amount today by visiting: https://tinyurl.com/fcszwj8w