By: OSCAR FOCK / STAFF REPORTER
He is a former police captain. He meditates. He is a vegan. He references himself in the third person. Now – Eric Adams is a month away from taking office as New York’s second-ever Black mayor.
In a blowout victory on November 2, 2021, the Democrat received 67% of the votes to beat Republican nominee Curtis Sliwa. Succeeding current Mayor Bill de Blasio, Adams will take office on January 1, 2022.
From de Blasio, Adams will inherit many problems in dire need of attention, including a high unemployment rate, a stuttering recovery from the pandemic and a budget gap of $5 billion.
Bill de Blasio has served as the Mayor of New York City since 2014. During his tenure, de Blasio's approval rating has varied and controversial decisions, such as his initial response to the COVID-19 pandemic, moving funds from the police department to social programs and sweeping vaccine mandates, has made him a polarizing figure.
Now, as Adams gears up to take the reins, he is already making history.
Adams is just the second Black mayor the city has ever had, as well as the first blue-collar mayor in 70 years. The ex-police officer is also the first vegan mayor in New York City.
Adams also carries an unusual personality trait: he talks about himself in the third person.
The reason is, the mayor-elect explained in an interview with New York radio station 710 WOR, that it makes it easier for him to critique himself.
”I am my own worst critic. So I guess when you look at the third person, [it's] easier to critique the third person instead of critiquing yourself," Adams said.
When Adams officially begins his tenure as mayor, on January 1, 2022, he will have a road riddled with obstacles ahead of him: New York City is still battling the effects of the pandemic, unemployment remains high, and the economy is lagging.
A major focus for Adams will be to rebuild the economy, prioritizing spending on programs and services that reduces inequality. He has also announced that New York will become more business-friendly when he becomes mayor.
One group that is happy Adams was elected mayor is the crypto community.
For one, Adams will receive his first three paychecks in bitcoin, sending a message to tech start-ups and companies in the new economy that New York City is open for business. During a rally, he also promised that the city is going to be ”the center of bitcoin.”
When it comes to public safety, the former police officer does not intend to reallocate resources from NYPD to social services, as some other Democratic candidates and activists have called for.
Instead, he wants to increase police visibility on the subways and reinstitute a reformed version of the plainclothes anti-crime unit that was disbanded in the summer of 2020 due to its overrepresentation in police shootings.
At LIU, Eric Adams has yet to become a household name. But, for students Alanna N. and Yami R., questions regarding the mayor-elect’s stance on the police, has them wary.
“We don’t know if he is going to defund the police or increase the funding, so I’m waiting to see that,” Alanna said.
But the fact that he is the second Black mayor in the city’s history is meaningful.
“Definitely. It’s something,” Yami said.
In his campaign, Adams zeroed in on the issues of inequality and public safety, taking a different stance on the police than many of his challengers during both the Democratic primary and the general election. His background and campaign focus on voters of color proved a success; Black and Latino voters largely propelled Adams to victory.
Adams himself grew up in a working-class household in South Jamaica, Queens. At the age of 15, he became a victim of police brutality, something that later motivated him to join the New York Police Department.
Between working as a police officer and running for Mayor, Adams served in the New York State Senate and is currently the Brooklyn Borough President, a position he has held since 2014.
Adams’ victory was not the only historic election result in New York City this year. Alvin Bragg became the first person of color to be elected Manhattan district attorney.
With the addition of Adams and Bragg, people of color now occupy the office of mayor, three of the city’s five district attorneys and the public advocate.