NEW YORK — New York City’s new mayor, Eric Adams, rode the subway to City Hall for his first day on the job, hours after being sworn into office Saturday in a Times Square ceremony as the nation’s largest city rang in the new year.
During his New Year’s Day commute, the former New York City police captain chatted with reporters and New Yorkers on the train and even called 911 to report a fight after witnessing two men tussling near the subway station.
Adams (61) faces the enormous challenge of leading the city through the pandemic. Adams takes office while the city deals with records numbers of COVID-19 patients due to the omicron variant.
Adams read his oath to office as confetti continued to flow across Times Square. Associate Justice Sylvia O. Hinds-Radix of the state Supreme Court’s appellate division swore Adams in as he placed one hand on a family Bible and his other held a photograph of his mother, Dorothy, who died in 2020.
He made no remarks nor took questions from reporters, but appeared on “Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve with Ryan Seacrest” shortly after being sworn in.
He told Seacrest he had a few parties to attend but that he would “be up early in the morning, working for the city of New York.”
Adams, who was accompanied by many reporters, made his way from Brooklyn to take the subway to City Hall.
Adams witnessed two men fight below Adams’ train station while he waited. Adams tried to stop the third man from intervening.
The new mayor called 911 to report “an assault in progress.” The fight ended and two of the men left by the time two police patrol cars arrived. Adams said that he would have done more if he was the one on the spot.
On New Year’s Eve, shortly before he took the oath, Adams appeared briefly on the main stage in Times Square to affirm the city’s resiliency.
“Even in the midst of COVID, in the midst of everything that we’re going through, this is a country where hope and opportunities is always, ever present,” he said earlier in the night.
“It’s just great when New York shows the entire country of how we come back,” he said. “We showed the entire globe what we’re made of. We’re unbelievable. This is an unbelievable city and, trust me, we’re ready for a major comeback because this is New York.”
Adams, the former Brooklyn borough president, has struck a more business-friendly, moderate stance than his predecessor but describes himself as a practical and progressive mayor who will “get stuff done.” He’s the city’s second Black mayor, after David Dinkins, who served from 1990 to 1993, and the 110th mayor of New York City.
His first cabinet meeting was held Saturday morning. He planned to deliver a speech at noon. On Saturday, he would visit Queens police precinct where he was beat by police officers as a teenager.
While promising to be a man of action in the mayor’s office, Adams is at times an unconventional politician who is expected to put his own stamp on the role.
Adams stated this week that Adams plans to continue many policies of former Mayor Bill de Blasio. This includes vaccine mandates which are some of the most stringent in the country.
The city’s municipal workforce is required to be vaccinated, as is anyone trying to dine indoors, see a show, workout at a gym or attend a conference. New York City is also requiring private sector workers to be vaccinated. Adams claimed that this mandate was the broadest of all states and big cities.
He’s also committed to keeping schools open and avoiding any further shutdowns in the city of 8.8 million.
Even without an orderly shutdown, many COVID-19-related infections are causing de facto closings in the city.
Numerous subway lines were shut down due to the fact that there was too little staff available for regular train operations after positive transit worker test results. Some performances were cancelled, while restaurants and bars have closed as employees test positive.
Adams and his advisers are examining whether it is possible to increase vaccine mandates. Adams plans to distribute quick tests and face masks as well as a color-coded system that alerts New Yorkers of the current threat level.
This report was contributed by Bobby Caina Calvan, Associated Press journalist, and Seth Wenig, Associated Press photographer.