This Sunday, April 10, marked the 100th day of Mayor Eric Adams’ time in office. From the first whirlwind days of dealing with the shooting of police officers, gun violence, subway safety, and homelessness to recently testing positive for COVID-19, here’s a look at the job he’s done so far.
“Since January, my administration has lived up to our promise to New Yorkers, addressing the issues that matter the most to our city’s residents, from fighting the epidemic of gun violence to giving our kids and youth access to better jobs and educational opportunities,” said Adams in a statement. “Our work is far from over, but we will continue to push forward an agenda that meets the needs of each and every New Yorker every single day.”
Right off the bat, Adams is a visible departure from the previous administration. Not only is he a moderate, centrist Black Democrat with a hardline public safety plan, Adams seems to be making a conscious effort to be on the ground in the city. His movements, like holding gatherings at the sites of the city’s atrocities in the last few months to show his support for the most vulnerable, could be seen as a callback to his mantra of ‘getting stuff done.’
Adams has been lauded as well as heavily criticized in the almost four months he’s been in office. Here’s just some of the highlights of incidents and policies that have sparked debate:
in January, Officers Wilbert Mora, 27, and Jason Rivera, 22, were shot on duty while dealing with a domestic disturbance call. Rivera died at the scene, Mora and the shooter died later from injuries. There was a devastating fire at the Twin Parks apartment building in the Bronx. Adams also first introduced his somewhat controversial “Blueprint to End Gun Violence,” which called for the implementation of Neighborhood Safety
Teams as well as violence interrupters and expanded mental health care. These safety teams, or modified anti-crime units, have been railed at for having a racist history of targeting Black and Brown communities.
In February, Adams homed in on rampant subway crimes, and the spike in crime overall, after the tragic death of Michelle Go, 40, who was pushed in front a train by a mentally disturbed homeless man. He released his Subway Safety Plan that put more cops in the subways and expanded outreach and mental health services to homeless individuals.
In March, cops caught onto a lone gunman targeting homeless people in New York City and Washington, D.C. The spree resulted in five shootings, two deaths, and an urgent manhunt in both cities. Adams also decided to lift mask mandates for most schools, for pro athletes and performers, and the private-sector vaccine mandate. Many people saw it as just a carve-out for Brooklyn Nets star Kyrie Irving to return to playing and avoid getting vaccinated.
In April, Adams rallied with the family of 12-year-old Kade Lewin, who was fatally shot in a parked car with family members in East Flatbush, Brooklyn. He also began a two-week blitz of sweeping homeless encampments off the streets and subways, while offering safe haven and stabilization beds in shelters. Advocates were not happy at all about the sweeps, calling them an inefficient and callous way to deal with the unhoused.
Adams has had some contention with the media and colleagues in government.
“I am disappointed in Mayor Adams’ agenda which is making New York into even more of a police state,” said Councilmember Kristin Richardson Jordan in Harlem. “At every turn he has criminalized every prospect of living and forced budget cuts to the agencies our city needs, while the city has a surplus of funds. You can’t arrest your way through a homeless crisis, you cannot fix transportation with more police, and you can not handle a rodent infestation by removing trash bins and limiting garbage pick up.”
Jordan said that the mayor spoke out against Florida’s Don’t Say Gay bill, but insisted on the hiring of people with homophobic beliefs. She called Adams “reckless and untrustworthy.”
At an Manhattan Institute event last week, political commentator for Spectrum News NY1 Erroll Louis and Deputy Editor of THE CITY Alyssa Katz spoke to Adams’ performance as mayor in a panel.
Katz called Adams a bit “armored” and consistently trying to control the narrative of stories. On April 4, Politico released a leaked Zoom call where Adams demanded that all city agency communications be run through a bottleneck at city hall before being made public.
“It’s a mistake,” said Louis. He said it’s understandable to want to message discipline as a politician but ultimately the media and city hall are supposed to have a conversation.
Louis said that the best of this administration will be expressed if it “sticks to strategies that address underlying conditions” that predate both it and the COVID-19 pandemic. He said short-term tactics that address “symptoms rather than causes” are likely to lead to unpopularity for Adams.
Louis also questioned if there were practical limits to Adams’ governing style of empathy and emotional intelligence, and if the crisis on Rikers Island was receiving enough attention.
Still Adams inspires support and a degree of loyalty from plenty of officials.
“Since Mayor Adams took office, my team and I have been deeply engaged with his administration to help build a stronger, fairer Queens for all 2.4 million people who call The World’s Borough home,” said Queens Borough President Donovan Richards Jr.
Richards said he looks forward to working with Adams on long-standing health care inequities facing Rockaway families, supporting Queens small businesses, investing heavily in sustainability efforts, and combating a rise in hate crimes.
Bronx Borough President Vanessa L. Gibson said that Adams recognizes the challenges the city is facing and is putting forth a bold plan to address inequity, poverty, and public safety, among other issues.
“It is never easy to create a plan that everyone can support but I appreciate Mayor Adams’ commitment to serving all five boroughs and recognizing that the Bronx needs investments in the Hunts Point Produce Market, our public schools, and in creating access and opportunities for our youth,” said Gibson. “Our administration looks forward to working with the Adams administration to address systemic inequality, unstable housing, protect tenants and homeowners, invest in education and our small businesses and identify creative approaches to address public safety for all New Yorkers.
Press secretary Fabien Levy announced this past weekend that Adams had “a raspy voice,” took a PCR test, and was confirmed positive for COVID. While isolating Adams will be working remotely, which is probably an annoying and unfortunate way to end his first 100 days in office.
“At this time, the mayor has no other symptoms, but he is already isolating and will be canceling all public events for the remainder of the week,” said Levy. “He is also going to immediately begin taking the anti-viral medications offered for free to New York City residents and encourages all New Yorkers eligible for these medications to take them as well.”
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