Mayor Eric Adams: I’m going to dress up like a reporter, and act like I like Eric. [Laughter.]
Ingrid Lewis Martin, Chief Advisor to the Mayor: Don’t you start. [Laughter.] Because I wore this, I figured I’d scare you all the way, boo!
Deputy Mayor Fabien Levy, Communications: Good morning, everybody. My name is Fabien Levy, and I serve as deputy mayor for communications for the City of New York. Happy Halloween, and welcome to the scariest day of the week, off topics. [Laughter.]
But to be serious, providing every New Yorker with clear, accurate and accessible information is a top priority for this administration. That’s why Mayor Adams launched these weekly forums: to bring senior leadership together, answer your questions and address issues that are top of mind for every New Yorker. It’s why we continue to have press conferences on a range of issues across the city.
It’s why the mayor conducts morning interviews on a regular basis with numerous stations; and it’s why, starting this week, we’re going to begin holding a weekly broadcast interview with different stations to ensure that New Yorkers who can’t hear from the mayor in the morning have a chance to do so during an evening newscast.
Our goal to do this evening newscast towards the middle of each week, but while the day and the station may change every week, one thing will not: New Yorkers can count on hearing from their mayor. And to be clear, these evening interviews won’t replace our morning interviews; instead, they’ll just provide more opportunities for New Yorkers to hear from the mayor and learn about the work of our administration. Our goal is to meet people wherever they are, and we look forward to continuing that work this morning.
So, joining us today we have Mayor Eric Adams, First Deputy Mayor Sheena Wright, Chief Advisor to the Mayor Ingrid Lewis Martin, Chief of Staff Camille Joseph Varlack, Deputy Mayor of Operations Meera Joshi, Deputy Mayor for Housing, Economic Development and Workforce Maria Torres‑Springer, Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services Anne Williams‑Isom, Deputy Mayor for Strategic Initiatives Ana Almanzar, and Deputy Chief Counsel Rahul Agarwal.
So, without further delay, I’m pleased to turn it over to Mayor Adams.
Mayor Adams: Thanks. Thanks so much, Fabien. And before we even go into our off topics, I am moving around the city. And I’ve been in this city for quite some time not only as a resident but as a police officer, state senator and borough president. I have not witnessed in my entire time in the city the level of just outward hate that I’m seeing.
And I am really calling on New Yorkers, as I say over and over again, which takes place on the stage of global conflicts play out on our streets in the City of New York. And this is a real I think challenging moment for our cities and based on our response.
Last Sunday, I was with Sikh leaders who were targeted for wearing a turban in some cases; and after 9/11, many of them experienced similar types of attacks. Last week, I sat down with Muslim leaders and Muslim staffers and employees. Some of the women indicated that they were afraid to wear a hijab on the subway station and that they felt they had to take a cab to get to and from work because of some of the emotions that are part of it.
During the same week last week I sat down with Jewish leaders, and I’m hearing from many Jewish residents that they are afraid to have their yarmulke on as they move throughout the city. We’re seeing just intentional comments that are being made. You had a person who was assaulted during a peaceful demonstration over the weekend, they were assaulted and used negative terms about Palestinians.
We are watching just is really an erosion of the decorum, the erosion of who we are as New Yorkers, one of the most diverse cities on the globe. And hate has no place in our city. Hate has no place in our city. And all of us, I believe we all have an awesome responsibility to lift up our city during this extremely challenging, challenging time.
It appears to me that we have become comfortable with displaying hate— and I want to be clear that “some” have become comfortable with displaying hate, because there’s 8.3 million people in this city, we didn’t have 8.3 million people marching in our streets, we didn’t 8.3 million people striking anyone, we didn’t have 8.3 million people assaulting anyone.
And so I don’t want to give the impression that New York City has reached a point where hate is comfortable, I want to be very clear that there is a small number of people in this city that have hijacked a dialogue, but this is a city where we live together.
And nothing personified that more for me than yesterday at our New York City Police Department graduation. Seeing that young girl up in the far part of the ceremony just jump in and sharing, showing her authentic innocence of happy to see her dad become a member of the New York City Police Department. And having Assistant Commissioner Daughtry go up into the audience and find her, bring her on the stage and just watch tears run down her face as she just was excited about her dad.
And watching her dad and mom come after her with her siblings and seeing her mom wear a hijab. I reached over to both of them and told her husband that he’s joining the Police Department in a real challenging time, and we’re going to need him. We’re going to need him as we start the process of healing our city.
And his wife stated, all his life, this is what he wanted to be: he wanted to be a member of the New York City Police Department. And he was proud to serve our city. And during the time, it was reported— I didn’t hear it, but it was reported— that I was booed while I was there. People boo people in the city. 8.3 million people, 35 million opinions.
But what I do know is that the men and women of the New York City Police Department, when I asked how many have children, they stood up. I do know when I told them I felt chills that in ’84 I walked across the stage as a police officer and now I’m a mayor, I got a round of applause. I do know when they saw that young girl on the stage and they saw those other parents, they gave them an applause.
So, those who want to focus on a numerical minority that finds a way to criticize this great city, I don’t highlight them, I highlight the people we swore in, and now they’re on the streets making our city safe. We had almost 120 demonstrations in our city in the last few days since October 7th— 120. Over the weekend, we had almost 10,000 people walking through the streets of Brooklyn.
We have not had violent incidents. Those of you who covered marches in the past, you witnessed violence, you witnessed looting, you witnessed disruption between the police. We did not have that in our city. Where there words that people used that I felt was inappropriate and I totally disagree with? Yes. Yes. Can we find better ways to voice our concerns without spewing hate? Yes, I’m hoping we can.
But the reality is New Yorkers were safe because of the job of the New York City Police Department. And that’s the same department that those young men and women joined yesterday when I swore them in. They’re now on our streets keeping us safe, which the Police Department has done so well.
Last week we talked about our historic jobs recovery, 4.7 million jobs recovered, nearly one million private sector jobs New York City lost during the pandemic. It was a remarkable achievement no matter what is how it’s covered. Everyone knows that independent budget office and others said it was going to take a number of years to recover, we did it in 22 months— 22 months. With all that we are going through, we are able not just allow city to survive, we will thrive. It was a major milestone in our city history: more jobs in the history of New York City— the history of New York City.
But we’re clear. I’m a five‑borough mayor, a working class mayor. That’s why we settled 100 percent of our uniform office service providers contracts, over 90 percent of other contracts. We know everyone must have the prosperity of our city. We’re going to lean into Black unemployment, which is a real problem. We’re going to lean in some of those sectors that are finding it difficult to recover, particularly our retail sectors. How do we reuse that space, how do we find ways to get individuals into shops.
Yesterday, the Department of City Planning kicked off public review of our City of Yes for Economic Opportunity proposal— a major step forward for our vision of the City of Yes. This plan would update our outdated zoning and start the next chapter in the city’s comeback. Our proposal will help small businesses start and grow, fill vacant storefronts with new businesses, strengthen our industrial sector and support some of the city’s fastest growing industries like life sciences, night life and urban agriculture. And this plan will unlock good jobs, drive inclusive economic growth and deliver a vibrant future for our communities and our city.
In September, the City Planning Commission voted to approve part of our City of Yes plan, City of Yes for carbon neutrality. The plan won support from community boards and elected officials across the city, and we’re looking ahead to the council vote this fall. We’re looking forward to winning the same kind of support for economic opportunity to continue building on the city’s historic comeback.
This city is getting stronger and stronger every day. We know we have challenges in front of us, particularly the asylum seeker issue, issue but we’re not going to stop moving and thriving based on the challenges that we are facing. And so, Fabien, open up to answer a few questions.
Deputy Mayor Levy: Thank you, mayor. Go ahead, Charles.
Question: Okay, thank you. [Laughter.] [Inaudible] time to put up my hand.
But thank you. So, actually, two questions. First of all, is the plan for tents in public or outdoor spaces still on the table as far as taking care of migrants for the near future? And second question, given that there’s higher security for the Halloween parade, will that be a given for the Thanksgiving Day parade?
Mayor Adams: First, everything’s on the table. When it comes down to the migrant and asylum seekers, I cannot elevate the point enough that everything is on the table. We have to constantly pivot and shift based on the [incoming] of over 100,000 migrant and asylum seekers going through this process every day. I think last week we got close to 2,500 in one week, one week we got 4,000. And so these numbers are not constant.
And both the chief of staff and deputy mayor are in the constant display of how do we manage the incoming. And so everything is on the table. There’s is nothing off the table that we have to ignore to try to get this issue resolved.
Question: Are you looking at locations?
Mayor Adams: Yes. Yes. But as you saw with some of the locations we had to close, we have to make sure that the FDNY, DOB and our other entities tell us we can use the spaces. If they tell us that we can’t and can point out how we’re violating any procedure, we are not going to do anything that’s going to put the lives of people in jeopardy, and we’re clear on that.
And we’re constantly looking at new spaces. But it’s a space issue and it’s an economic issue: $5 billion this fiscal year, $12 billion over three, coming out of roughly a small amount of money that we can discretionary use. And so we are looking at spaces that have to be cost effective and have to be safe, and that’s the combination that we’re looking for.
And we have already opened over 210 emergency shelters— over 210 emergency shelters. And every day we are moving around, you know, behind the scenes people don’t see the amount of maneuvering that we have to put in place to make sure that we can hit my number one goal: no child and no family will sleep on the streets. That is my…really my number one goal of preventing that from happening. And I see what’s happening in other cities, sleeping in precincts, sleeping on streets, tents all over the cities. I don’t want that to turn into our city.
And safety around the parade. NYPD is doing an amazing job with their resources and they’re being very creative getting our plainclothes officers back in uniforms to give the omnipresence that’s needed. They put in place a plan for the Halloween parade as well as the Thanksgiving Day parade. We’re going to make sure we have the proper police coverage, and we’re doing some new things that will better utilize our manpower.
It was always my number one item is the proper deployment of police personnel. Many people may not have noticed, but at our parades, there’s a different deployment of how police are used. You saw it, police 13, 14 cops standing in one place, we’ve changed that entire scenario. There’s a whole culture in policing that we’re changing.
If you look at the picture from the transit shooting in Sunset Park last year, you saw that entire street was filled for hours with police personnel. Once situations are under control the new directive is to go back to patrol, not to…this is not just to hang out and socialize. And you’re seeing a better, more professional response under this police commissioner where the manpower needs to go back where the action is after the situation is under control. That has not happened historically.
Question: Thank you. Mr. Mayor, I have a handful of questions, so just bear with me, I want to make sure I can ask all of them.
Mayor Adams: You’re not going to ask all of them. You know, so let’s…ask your most important one first, because once I get to the point that I had enough of Chris, I’m moving on. So, ask your important ones first.
Question: All right, I’ll start, I’ll start, let me start.
Mayor Adams: Okay.
Question: The governor said yesterday that the city needs to manage expectations as it relates to getting more migrant crisis funding for next year. What do you make of that comment from the governor that the…and is it a cause for concern for the city that governor’s already warning that, you know, it’s not going to be that much more funding in the pipeline?
And then the other topic that I wanted to ask about is, last week one of the Manhattan DA prosecutors dismissed a case against the security guard who was in an altercation with your adviser Tim Pearson. They said that they did so in part because they had reviewed body cam footage. Have you reviewed that body camera footage? And then…
Moderator: Okay, Chris let’s go.
Question: …to boot, a DOI investigation…that Mr. Pearson is currently under, is that impacting his role in the administration in any way? [Are] his duties modified?
Mayor Adams: So, let’s peel back each one of them. The reviews take their course. I allow, when everyone is doing a review, I don’t interfere and I allow it to take its course. And that is what is going to happen here, allow it to take the course, and then the reviewing agencies and will make the determination of their findings and how they’re going to be report those findings.
That is not my job. My job is to focus on running the city during a crisis, and that is what I’m going to do. Each entity in this city, they have their responsibilities and I have trust in our reviewing agencies and bodies to let them do the job that they do. I have not reviewed any body cam video at all, so I cannot respond to something that I’m not…that I have not reviewed. And I don’t like and I would never interfere with a review when it’s underway. The reviewing agencies will do their job.
Question: And then the point about the governor.
Mayor Adams: Oh, the governor…let me answer. The governor, I didn’t understand her comments, you know, so I’m not going to interpret them for her. I’m happy she made a commitment to a give us a billion dollars this fiscal year and to fight to get us a billion dollars next. We need far more than that. As I stated, this is a $5 billion during this fiscal cycle, $12 billion in out.
And so I’m not quite, I didn’t quite understand. She didn’t say anything directly to me that they’re going to move away from the commitments that they made, and so I’m hoping that everyone understands that New York City has done more than its share. New York City residents have used their tax dollars during these difficult times and have done more than their share. We need help from the state— we’re clear on that— and we need help from the federal government.
Question: Thank you. Mr. Mayor…
Mayor Adams: Hey! How are you?
Question: Pix 11 News has spent quite a bit of time on Roosevelt Avenue in Queens in recent weeks, and we’ve been there during the day and at night. And during the day when children are getting out of school even during lunch time there are a lot of sex workers. And some of them are very aggressive. They’re soliciting. It’s very evident what they do for a living.
I understand from reading some reports that you made a visit there one time. Is this a situation that needs to be addressed? Is it impacting this neighborhood? There are several communities involved in a very negative way, and businesses.
Mayor Adams: Yes, and I would love to take a trip with you over there and show, I went out, this was brought to my attention by local leaders a few months ago. I went out there I think around about one, 1:30 a.m., and it was clear that there were illegal activity taking place there. And this is where idealism collides with realism. While we are fighting to address the issues of sex workers, sex trafficking, there are elected officials who are fighting against us trying to legalize sex work.
They believe it is a victimless crime, and I’ve had elected officials tell me that the women are just trying to work, why are you trying to harm them? There are real issues around illegal sex work not only from STDs, to sex trafficking, to young girls getting involved with it, to violence. You know, so people who don’t understand how serious this is, they are impeding our progress.
So, we have identified two locations that are of a real focus to us: one is in East New York, which is very overt during the day; and, the second is on Roosevelt Island. We started with cleaning up the plaza there. That plaza was horrendous for years. I went there with the team, we put together a task force to clean up the plaza collaborating with the Queens Borough President and Councilman Moya to clean up the plaza. And we also have several initiatives we’re doing around the sex workers there.
And we’re going to need a real partnership to prosecute the johns. We want to focus on the johns and we want to focus on giving assistance to those sex workers to make sure that they’re not being forced into this activity, but also abide by the law.
Question: We have heard that some Venezuelan women [inaudible]…
Mayor Adams: I’m sorry?
Question: We had heard that some of the Venezuelan women that coming in might have been part of this now, this increasing population.
Mayor Adams: Our intel is telling us there’s a level of accuracy to that. And this is, you know, Mary, this is what happens when you create an atmosphere that people can’t provide for themselves. You can’t work illegally, you can’t carry out your job. When I talk about the spiraling impact of how this is going to impact our city, this is what I’m talking about. It is going to impact the foundation of the quality of life of our city.
And it’s not…it’s not only the financial crisis, but we are going to create generational problems based on what the failure of the national government, and that is one example of that, when you have individuals who can’t work, can’t provide for their families, have to turn to illegal activities to do so.
Question: Yes. Mr. Mayor, two questions. First, what do you think of some of the rhetoric around the Israel Hamas war on college campuses? Is the city or the NYPD doing anything different this week than they have been doing since the conflict started?
And then secondly, we reported that only 20 percent of migrants are reapplying for shelter after their time limit is up. Other reports have found that asylum seekers are getting frustrated as they’re shuttled around from one location to another. Do you feel like this policy is contributing to street homelessness, and is the process supposed to be a deterrent of some sort?
Mayor Adams: Your first question was dealing with the rhetoric on college campuses. I am disappointed with what I am seeing on some college campuses, and I am hoping that our presidents of these institutions, we should be using this as a teaching moment and social media should not be teaching our children.
And some of the distortions and mistruths that I’m seeing on social media, if we don’t counter balance that with real opportunities of bringing our young people into an atmosphere where they can sit down and have healthy dialogue. That’s why we’re doing Breaking Bread Building Bonds of having these dinners across the city where people can sit down and communicate with each other instead of yelling at each other.
And so what I’m seeing playing out on college campuses— some college campuses— I think it is adding to the problem and not taking away from the problem. I think our college campuses should be doing a better job of really having our young people sit down and have a real conversation about the emotions that they’re feeling, what are they seeing, what are they hearing, and have a real conversation around this.
Your question dealing with these policies, Deputy Mayor Williams‑Isom can go into that. But I will say this: our goal is not to deter, our goal is to manage a situation that has been dropped in our laps for over a year now we have been talking about this crisis and really preparing New Yorkers. I’ve been trying…I’ve been as honest as possible to New Yorkers on what we’re facing. We’ve done an amazing job of not having to see the visual crisis, we’re no longer at that point. DM.
Camille Joseph Varlack, Chief of Staff: Yes, so…
Deputy Mayor Anne Williams-Isom, Health and Human Services: You want to start?
Varlack: Yes, sure. Thank you.
So, I think I would just add, you know, and I think it’s important that we don’t lose sight of this. We have been for the last year and a half managing a response that has seen over 136,000 migrants come into New York City, and I think we’ve done a fairly exceptional job.
We have also been laser clear that we cannot continue to manage this crisis on our own and have been calling on the federal government for months if not over a year to create a federal decompression strategy so that this national crisis is not sitting on the back of a municipality.
I think we have demonstrated nothing but care and concern for the asylum seekers that have been here, and so the notion that we would be purposefully trying to confuse them is not something that would be consistent with our values and how we do things. We are generally aware that there have been a few folks that have been a little confused about where to go, but we have been working on making sure that we streamline communications so there’s no more confusion.
Deputy Mayor Williams‑Isom: Can I just add, I wouldn’t…I just want to add. You use the word “deterrence” but I think I do want people to know that what’s happening in New York City and that we’re out of space and that it is not an unlimited amount of time that you can come here. So, when we give you 30 days, that means that you should be thinking about what you want to do at the end of those 30 days.
So, I just wanted to be clear, because we’re talking about the words. When we experience a surge, and at the same times of some of the other sites that we had to close down, we then had to figure out, what are we going to do for the people whose time limits have not come up yet; and as the mayor said, come up with innovative solutions to do that. So, that’s what we’ve been trying to do.
Question: A lot of things have been said about the migrant crisis, and I wondered if Deputy Mayor Almanzar can say something in Spanish and update us with this information and these concerns that they are out there?
Moderator: We’ll circle back, yes. Julia.
Question: Hi, Mr. Mayor. After the death last week of Kamari Hughes…
Mayor Adams: Hold on. He’s not going to get to you right away. Everybody’s gotta wait their turn. I know you’re new here at this open stuff, we’re going to get to you.
Deputy Mayor Levy: Not you.
Question: …stay for the last question.
Mayor Adams: No, no. we’re going to get to you when we get to you. But we never forget you. I’m sorry, ma’am.
Deputy Mayor Levy: Not her.
Deputy Mayor Levy: He wasn’t talking to you.
Mayor Adams: I wasn’t talking to you.
Mayor Adams: We’re going to change our seating arrangement…
Question: …last week Kamari Hughes…
Mayor Adams: I’m sorry, I can’t hear you.
Question: …after the death last week of Kamari Hughes in Fort Greene, you tweeted that you would do whatever it takes to keep kids safe. Can you just expand on what that means exactly and when we’d see what that is that you’re talking about?
Mayor Adams: You said “when you see”? You’re seeing it already. We have redesigned over 1,000 streets. What we doing around street safety, and Deputy Mayor Joshi can go through that. And we need to be extremely clear that this administration is not sitting on his hands. And really the journey around safe streets didn’t start last week, you know, it was my advocacy in Albany that dropped down the speed limits in this city. It was my advocacy that created safe streets for years.
I’ve said this last week and I’m going to continue to say it. People want to reinvent my history. I have a long history on street safety and I’m going to continue to advocate for that. And so we’re not “starting” to do things about making our streets safe, we have been doing that, and we’re going to continue to do that. DM Joshi, can you go into some of the things that we’re doing?
Deputy Mayor Meera Joshi, Operations: Yes. The sad reality is nine children have been killed in traffic fatalities this year, two of them pedestrians. And although we’re on track for a historic low for pedestrian fatalities, it’s a very hollow victory in the face of one child death.
For that particular corner, we have this morning put in LPI— that’s Leading Pedestrian Intervals— that times the traffic signals to give those crossing the intersection more time in order to address for traffic. We are also going to add calming treatments and hardened daylighting on that intersection to, again, slow the turning of vehicles. And we’re going to identify loading zones, which often the lack of loading zones is the reason why you have blocked intersections, which again is a rising cause of crashes and serious injuries and fatalities.
City‑wide, we have done 299 daylighting intersections this year— over the time of this administration, closer to 500— and we’re committed to really hitting all of our highest crash corners as well as those corners near schools to ensure that there’s day lighting as well as hardening with that day lighting because creating the space is one thing, if we don’t put something in there to block it like a planter, then often cars come in and undo the good work that daylighting does. But it’s a proven safety measure that we are on track to roll out even broader throughout the city.
We’re also conscious about the enforcement. There’s a lot of enforcement that is really tied to improving safety: blocking crosswalks, double parking, failure to yield. So, focusing and refocusing our enforcement assets— both NYPD and our traffic enforcement agents— on these particular violations, which are really the crux of building a safer city.
And as we’ve advocated for last year and will again this year, the tools to get the reckless drivers off the road, ad that’s both at state and city level. At the state level, using accountability through DMV. So, all the automated enforcement technology we have, we know who the repeat offenders are. When they get 15 or more speeding tickets in a year, we need to have a mechanism at the state level to get that registration suspended or revoked.
And likewise with red light cameras, similarly, we need to have stronger teeth at the state level to get that vehicle registration revoked and get that person disattached from their car.
Mayor Adams: And so what the DM indicated, because your question alluded to that we have not been doing much to make the city streets safe for pedestrians. As you indicated, we’re on pace to have a record level when it comes down to best pedestrian. Can you repeat that again?
Deputy Mayor Joshi: So, this year, and we don’t know it’s end of the year, and I want to caveat, you know, whenever we talk about records and Vision Zero, one death is one too many, but we are on track to have one of our lowest years of pedestrian fatalities.
Mayor Adams: And I spoke with that mother. You know, it was her only son, you know, and I have one son, Jordan. And so this is not being political, it’s personal. We don’t want to see children the victim of crashes, and we’re committed to this work.
Commissioner Ydanis Rodriguez has been committed to it, he has a committed team there. And actually I’m meeting with that team tomorrow. These are horrific incidents. And I’ve always been on the ground on these issues to, you know, see firsthand how it’s impacting the lives of people.
We have to zero in on reckless drivers. We are clear on that. We must have real strong laws to get them off the road. And it appears in this case, the child was in the crosswalk, that the operator of the vehicle was arrested and appropriate action is going to be taken.
Question: I wanted to ask about this I think $35 billion in funding that the federal DOT opened up for office residential conversions. I’m not sure if that’s something that the city can apply to access, but I was wondering if you all are aware of it. Any discussion on…?
Mayor Adams: Maria, do you want to add that?
Deputy Mayor Maria Torres-Springer, Economic and Workforce Development: I’d be happy to, mayor. So, we were happy to see the actions that the White House took and revealed last Friday, a number of actions that in our mind help solve the dual challenges of vacant office space and the crushing lack of housing across the country.
As you might know, we have been very active on these issues already in this administration whether that is through the City of Yes for housing opportunity that will enable the types of changes to do that type of conversion and a number of other approaches to streamline the process.
And so the federal government in has provided, through these actions technical assistance; financing, in some instance; and, the sale of property to better enable the conversion into housing of certain properties.
So, wherever the city can take advantage of that whether it’s financing grant opportunities or federal property that might exist here in the city, whether it’s the 35 billion that you mentioned, a few other programs from HUD, you would rest assured that we’re going to be very opportunistic because we’re going to do everything that we can on the local level, which we have, but certainly need the state and the federal government to advance our goals.
Moderator: We’re going to go to our last question. It’s going to N.J.
Question: Thank you. Mayor, can you explain to us, please, your thinking behind the reticketing center, first of all. And second, when you close your eyes, when you envision an end to the migrant crisis in New York City, what do you see? How does it end?
Mayor Adams: That’s a great question, N.J. The reticketing, I want to really thank DM Williams‑Isom and her team. We found that many people who came to New York, they fit in several categories: one was that they were compelled by other localities, particular, the governor of Texas. You know, they had no other choice. Some of them wanted to stay in Texas, some of them wanted to go somewhere else. And there was a really misleading information, so we saw how they were encouraged to go to New York City.
And so the reticketing is allowing them to go to locations that they want. Some people actually want to go back to their current country of origin because they’ve realized that when you come to New York, you’re not automatically staying in a five‑star hotel. You’re not automatically going to find a job, and now the reality has settled in and they said, I want to go back to my country of origin.
The second is, some people have loved ones and family members across the country, and they want to go to those different locales. And so what we did is create an option for people, because if we of give you a $200 ticket somewhere to go to a place where you have support, that is not having taxpayers pay for you to spend that same amount every night taking care of you.
So, it’s a smart, cost‑effective way of getting a win‑win. You go to the destination you want and taxpayers not keep picking up the tab for this, because what’s happening now is we’re having more people come into the system than that are leaving the system, and we need to address that issue.
And that is the purpose of the reticketing. It is not trying to be misleading. It’s not trying to be harmful. It’s allowing people for the first time sit down and say, do you want to go somewhere else and giving them the option of assisting them to do so, because some don’t have the financial mean to do so.
And so when you talk about, I do see the ending if the federal government does not take action. And what I must do is solve this problem, that the bottom line is, no matter how challenging it is of this administration, we must solve this problem. And that is why we went to South America to speak with leaders down there. That is why the team is constantly in a state of, how do we address this issue, how do we send the right message that it is not forever?
You can’t come to the city and expect that for as long as you want to stay here, of that you can stay here on taxpayers’ dime forever, and that’s what the 30 days and the 60 days is all about.
Now remember, currently, N.J., even if you are working, you can stay in our shelter system on taxpayers’ dime. So, we need to be very clear on the schools of thoughts in the city. There are many New Yorkers that join me that say, this is not fair to taxpayers. It’s not fair to migrant and asylum seekers.
Varlack: I think I would also just add on that point that the reticketing is not new, we’ve been doing it for months and months. As a matter of fact, most folks, when they first come in as they’re going through the screening process at the Roosevelt Hotel, they are immediately offered the opportunity to be reticketed, and I think one in four actually usually take it, right? They stay overnight and then they leave the next morning.
So, we have found as people have moved around, as notices have come up, et cetera, that people didn’t realize that reticketing was an option that remained available to them. And so our constant sort of communication on this point is to make sure that they do know that we are always available to reticket them if they’re ready to go.
Deputy Mayor Levy: I would also just add, if I can. You said months and months, it’s actually over a year since we first launched our first HERRC— Humanitarian Relief Center. We put it in the first release, we’ve said it in every single release since then, and we’ve said reticketing is a big part of this whole thing.
And remember, if we have 65,600 asylum seekers currently in our care— over 136,500 that have come through our system— that means, doing my math, over 60,000 have left. A lot of those have been reticketed and a lot have just left on their own. So, it’s great if they can find friends or family to go to as well. But 60,000 left…
Mayor Adams: So, and that’s so important, what you raised. Close to 50 percent of those who came to this city found it on their own. Now, if they would have resolved this and said, listen, we just going to give you 130‑something thousand, you guys got to figure it out, we’d be halfway there. We’d be halfway there of doing what no one else was able to do, allow almost 50 percent to move on.
If we were just dealing with this and not getting an increase 2,500 a month…2,500 a week, we would be beyond this. And so that’s what people really must understand. We put in policies that allow almost 50 percent of the people to become self‑sustaining. That’s what is being missed in this conversation. And we just constantly, as successful as we are, we are constantly getting more coming through the door, coming through the door, coming through the door.
Deputy Mayor Levy: Apologies, mayor, I made a mistake. It’s 71,500, so it’s over 50 percent have actually moved on.
Mayor Adams: Over 50 percent— over 50 percent because of what we have done were able to move and stabilize their lives. Over 50 percent. I don’t know if that’s lost on everyone. Because of what this administration has done, over 50 percent are now contributing to this society. Take a few more, Charles. Get this young lady in the back, because you know…
Question: [inaudible] so these questions are related to the redevelopment of East Broadway Mall in Chinatown. So, this March, your son Jordan and Asian Affairs Director Winnie Greco showed up at an event in San Francisco at the Chinese Community Organizations event and presented a proclamation from your office to them. So, may I ask why your son was at that event, and who paid for the trip for
Winnie Greco…Winnie Greco’s trip to that event?
Mayor Adams: I’m sure she paid on her own, but let me have someone give you a direct…can someone, Charles, can someone follow up…
Deputy Mayor Levy: That’s correct.
Mayor Adams: Huh?
Deputy Mayor Levy: You were correct.
Mayor Adams: Okay. Yes, I’m sure she paid on her own.
Question: Yes. And why your [son] was at the event, too?
Mayor Adams: One thing about my son, my son doesn’t get in my politics and I don’t get into his personal business. If I was in his personal business, he’d be married right now and I’d be having some grandchildren. [Laughter.]
I don’t get into his business. He does his thing. He’s living his best life right now. And I’m happy for him. He just did a new video, a new movie. I went to see it. It is, you know, it’s pretty good. But my son doesn’t tell me… [Laughter.] …my son doesn’t tell me where he travels to. He doesn’t…he tells me, dad, stay out of my business, you know?
Question: Yes. But because his organization’s member have direct connection with the East Broadway Mall redevelopment deal, so do you think this trip affects the deal?
Mayor Adams: My son does not get in my business, I do not get in my son’s business. You know, and he says, dad, stay out of my business. So, I have no idea where he goes. I just want him to get married. [Laughter.]
Question: Hi, Mayor Adams.
Mayor Adams: What’s up, Katie?
Question: I’m good. Given the reporting on the DA dropping the charges against the security guard he said assaulted him and my colleague Greg’s reporting on him impeding in an IAB investigation. I know you said that you don’t do that. Do you think he’s still a credible person to work in the administration?
And additionally, after his altercation at the midtown shelter and I know they reported his visit to the Randall’s Island Shelter, how many more shelters has he visited here in the city; and what, if anything, has he found during his surprise visits?
Mayor Adams: Again, the review would take care of itself. Tim is really doing an amazing job of assisting DM Williams‑Isom, the team, Molly, the chief of staff and analyzing on the ground of how do we get real cost savings, how do we inspect our product and make sure we’re getting what we we’re supposed to get.
As they’re running the day to day, what I found from my days in policing, quality assurance teams really allow you to have a fresh set of eyes. And that’s what he’s doing. Then review will take care of itself. You know, right now I have to manage the city, and if I’m distracted from managing this city, you’re not going to get the quality of services that you need.
You know, no distractions, stay focused and grind. We’ve heard that on the campaign trail so much. It hasn’t changed. Same campaign theme I had is what I have now: stay focused, no distractions and grind. Let the investigators, the reviewers team do their job, I have to do my job of managing the city and moving it forward.
Question: Are Winnie and Jordan friends, are they…
Moderator: Katie, I want to try to get to everyone, so…
Mayor Adams: I don’t get into my son’s business. I just want him to get married so I could have grandchildren.
Question: Mr. Mayor, you talked a little bit at the top. I have two unrelated questions. So, you talked a little bit at the top about the importance of college presidents doing more to crackdown on antisemitism on college campuses in the city. Do you think they’ve done enough? And the city has a lot of contracts with those universities, should they be reviewed if you don’t believe the presidents are taking sufficient action?
Mayor Adams: Well, okay. That was the question?
Question: That’s the first one. The second one is, the Bronx District Attorney found that there were integrity problems with Tim Pearson, who was put on a list. How do you square your defense of Tim Pearson with the ethics findings against him by the Bronx DA?
Mayor Adams: Okay. I don’t…the Bronx DA has not shared that with me, that while Tim was in this office that she found some integrity problems. I’m not…
Question: Back when he was on the force, when he was a police officer, he was on a list of cops that they said should not be brought to the stand because of… [inaudible.]
Mayor Adams: Okay. I am not aware of that. The 30 years I’ve known Tim, he has always been a sharp, ethical non‑violent person. And I think that, you know, when these things happen it’s amazing, stuff comes up from all over the place. I think the job he’s doing here is what the city needs right now as I’m managing the complex time of the city.
What I said and what I will continue to say, hate on college campuses, hate, if it’s anti LGBTQ, if it’s antisemitism, if it’s anti Islamophobia, we should not have hate on our college campuses. Our college campuses should be producing young people who are going to lead our entire country, hopefully, and part of that is not being academically smart only but also emotionally intelligence.
And when you spew hate or you create an atmosphere where hate is allowed to fester and grow, I think it does a negative to that experience. And I think this is a teaching moment for all of us, but that teaching moment should be based on facts and accuracy, not based on what’s on Twitter and what’s on social media.
So, college presidents should really, they shouldn’t be sitting back right now and say, well, let’s just act like this is going to blow over. No. We need to be proactive. Use these campuses where many of our young people are and be thoughtful in how do we get people in the room to have conversations about what our feelings are and what we are experiencing.
And when it comes down to, should we look at the funding, private donors donate to many of these private institutions. They make the determination what they want to do with their dollars based on what happens on those institutions.
As the mayor of the city and the areas where we do fund like CUNY and others, we have to operate within the law. You know, you know, as much as we like it or dislike First Amendment rights is what this country is about. It’s the foundation of our countries.
And are there moments we wish that it wasn’t there? I’ll never forget, as you know, watching the Ku Klux Klan march in our city. I wish we could have stopped them. You know, as a police officer, I had to be there watching my officers protect them.
But the reality is this is the country we’re in. This is the reality of this great country called America, and there’s parts we’re going to like, and parts that we are going to dislike. I wish I could…there’s a lot of stuff I wish I could ban, but that is not within my constitutional powers.
Moderator: So, we’re going to take one more. I believe the mayor already used his mayor’s pick today.
Mayor Adams: No, no, no. I ain’t used my mayor’s pick. [Laughter.]
I got my mayor’s pick for the cowboy boot wearing guy that’s up in the front seat and wearing an earring.
Moderator: We’ll take one first and then we’ll go to the mayor’s pick.
Question: Thank you. Mayor, you’ve said before that it’s not a matter of if but when migrants will be sleeping on the streets. If you’re preparing for that as an inevitability, what plans, what contingencies are being put in place right now to keep your goal of making sure that no children or families are sleeping on the streets? What plans are being made right now?
Mayor Adams: You know, I like that question, because you know, it’s interesting that the City Council passed a law that anyone has the right to sleep on the streets. And I didn’t like that law, because we were trying to make sure that we don’t have what we’re seeing in other cities of encampments all over the place. The City Council said, no, anyone has the right to sleep on the streets.
And now that I say that, you know, some people may be sleeping on the streets, people are like saying, oh, my God, what are you doing? Well, you just passed the law.
You just passed a law that says anyone should have a right to sleep on the street and there’s nothing we can do about it. Someone can sleep in front of your house right now and there’s nothing we can do about it, because that’s the law they passed. Now, the same people are saying, what is Eric doing saying, are people going to sleep on the street? It can’t be “I just hate everything Eric says.”
This is your law. And so your law says people can sleep on the street. We have reached capacity. The deputy mayor’s been saying this over and over again, we’re full of capacity. We can’t put people in places that will violate their safety. We are not going to do that. We’re going to follow the rules. We’re going to follow the procedures.
And so we know that we are at the point of not when…or, not if but when. People who we can’t house, if they make the decision like they did in under the BQE, people under the BQE that we had to go and clean up that area, they made the decision. I went over there to speak with them. They said, we don’t want to stay in the shelter. We want to stay outdoors. We want to sleep outdoors. We’d rather sleep on the street.
Now, what am I supposed to do since the City Council made that law that they can? I can’t tell them not to. If they make, if an adult…if you right now, Dana, decide that you don’t want to live in your high‑priced condominium, that you want sleep on the street…[Laughter.]
Question: And where is that?
Mayor Adams: There’s nothing I can do about it. I can’t stop you, because the law was passed that the police can’t stop you, Eric can’t stop you, no one can stop you. So, that question should be presented to those who presented that bill and passed on it.
Deputy Mayor Williams-Isom: And can I add, Annie, can I just add what are we doing right now? So, resettlement is the thing. There is no magic. You know, N.J., you asked, how do we see this ending? We see less people coming to New York City and then we would resettle the people who are here.
So, I’m looking forward to the MRAP program with the state because they said they’re going to help us to resettle 1,200 families. And then they said that probably even more after that, once that gets going. What we’re doing right now is our legal clinics so that we can make sure that people have asylum applications and work authorization. I think those are the things that we’re doing to make sure that families and children are not on the streets.
Mayor Adams: Right. And you know what’s interesting? That, you know, I’m just a common sense guy. I’m just an old‑fashioned common sense guy. Idealism collides with realism all the time. When people say to me a person who’s dealing with severe mental health illness should be allowed to ride to subways, I say, but if they can’t have the capacity to know that they’re dealing with severe mental health illness, I need to use involuntary removal to get them to care. No, you’re not. You just, you know, you Mayor Po‑Po, you want to lock everybody up.
When I say that people who are repeated users of gun violence should not come into our streets, oh, you just want to put everybody in Rikers Island. When I say people should not be sleeping on our streets and camps, oh, people should have a right to sleep on the streets.
Where’s the common sense? I’m just taking a common sense approach, the good old‑fashioned common sense that my mother gave me. Common sense needs to prevail. All this idealism that people want to live in an ideal setting with their rules and regulations.
Now, when it becomes real, when they come outside their house and they see someone laying there and they call me and say, you know what? I’m City Council or I’m state such and such, and someone is sleeping in front of my house, I say, you passed the bill, they can sleep there. They can sleep there.
Eric, why are there so many people with mental health illness at the 4 train station? You all told me not to do involuntary removal. Why is there so much prostitution on Roosevelt Island? You all said legalize it. You’ve got to start asking the people who are making these rules that do you know the outcome of the rules that you’re making? I do.
I do, because I’m out there on the streets where the impacts of the rules that are being making, the laws that are being making, I see it in real time. And that’s what we are seeing in the city. You are having too many people with an idealistic way of approaching the realistic problems that we’re having. So, this is my last question, but now I want to share this. How many of you see the mini series, Madam Secretary?
You’ve got to see that, right?
Mayor Adams: Right. Her one day…her one day, multiply that by 10 for being the mayor of the City of New York. Yes. Her, one day, she deal with one or two crisis, you multiply it by 10. This city, every day, all day stuff is jumping off, every day, all day.
And when you see that show, you realize that this city is so complex. You cannot believe how much happens in this city in one day. You wake up in the morning, this crisis happened, that crisis, some guy’s on the bridge about to jump off. Someone is asking you about Tim, someone is asking you about, whatever happened to your co‑op.
It’s like, what are you wearing on to the Halloween Parade? You better not come as a flasher, you know it’s like all day, every day. You guys are going to love my book when I’m done. [Laughter.]
Deputy Mayor Levy: Alright. Time for mayor’s question. [Laughter.]
Mayor Adams: Yes, let me get my…
Question: First of all, you live for this.
Mayor Adams: Yes, I do. [Laughter.] Every moment.
Question: I just want to say that that was an awesome boomer music pick coming in here. So, Tim Pearson.
Mayor Adams: Yes.
Question: You’ve known him for, I think, 30 years maybe, right?
Mayor Adams: Yes.
Question: So, you knew him at the time when the New York City Police Department trial judge found that he was guilty of impeding an IAB investigation involving some incident [inaudible]. So, you knew him at that time. And you…you know, he’s your senior advisor and now there’s a DOI investigation. So, theoretically, he’s a witness. So, what do you think about…what’s your just intuitive take on his credibility as a witness?
Mayor Adams: If I did not believe he could do the job and his 30, I think he did 34, 35 years in law enforcement and the different agencies he held and how he led those agencies, the innovation that he brought, if I didn’t think he could do the job, he would not have been hired to do the job.
And he’s doing the job. The number of things that he has done in innovative ways of running this city has been a real asset to me. And I continue to have that position, and reviewers will do their review.
Moderator: Thanks very much, everyone.
Question: Thank you.
New York City Hall Manhattan NY October 31 2923
Midtown Tribune, New York – Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island, Bronx news, NYC updates, Manhattan events, local news, breaking news, New York City, Midtown Manhattan, business news, politics, culture, entertainment, technology, lifestyle, sports, finance, education, real estate, tourism, travel, restaurants, events calendar, community, opinions, reviews, features, investigations, journalism, latest news, top stories om Midtown Tribune.com