Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams officially announced his run for mayor on Wednesday after months of speculation, saying that the city needs a commander who “leads from the front” during the COVID-19 outbreak and fiscal crisis.
“We saw fights over should schools open, should restaurants, should we shut down the city. That was just wrong and it traumatized New Yorkers,”Adams said. “I’m a believer that generals lead from the front, that’s why I put that mattress on the floor in Borough Hall during COVID-19, so I could get up early in the morning every day and late at night.”
Adams, who launched his campaign months after rumors about his run began circulating, said he delayed the announcement to focus on helping Brooklynites cope during the pandemic.
In an interview with Brooklyn Paper’s sister publication amNewYork Metro, Adams vowed to build more safe cycling infrastructure if elected to the city’s highest post. In 2019, 29 cyclists died across the city, and 18 cyclists have died so far this year.
Adams, who had no criticisms of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s Vision Zero program, said he would bring in advocates such as Transportation Alternatives to help build safe corridors that would allow children to bike to school.
“If our children feel safe enough to utilized the biking systems that we create, we will start raising young people who see biking as part of a normal day activity,” he said.
Bike-share program Citi Bike would continue expanding into more working-class neighborhoods under Adams’ administration, he added.
Though the Metropolitan Transit Authority remains in Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s purview, Adams, a former NYPD captain, also said he would prioritize stationing more cops in subway stations and buses.
“We need to make sure, particularly in those times of the day when crime is a real problem, we need to put our police officers back riding the subways as well as at stations that sometimes I think we ignore,” Adams explained. “If we don’t make the subway system a safe place, we are going to have a hard time getting our economy up and running again.”
Adams also said he would consider working to reduce the cost of a MetroCard.
“I’m a believer that the subway system should be free to encourage use, but if we can’t do that right away, let’s make it as inexpensive as possible for those everyday New Yorkers who are struggling. If you reduce that fare, you’re putting money right back in their pockets and we will encourage more people to use the system instead of driving vehicles,” Adams argued.
When it comes to the controversial calls for police reform, Adams proposed minor changes to help diversify the department. Under his watch, a female NYPD commissioner would be tasked with diversifying the force and promoting officers based on merit, he said.
A larger percent of the department would also be required to live in New York City — not only to have more in common with the people they serve, but also to recycle the city’s tax dollars back into the local economy. Currently, more than 30 percent of police officers live outside the city limits.
Adams also outlined a plan to conquer the city’s $9 billion deficit by giving each city agency a five to 10 percent budget cut either through attrition, temporary furloughs, or early retirement. This way, “strategic” borrowing could bring the city out of its fiscal crisis, he said.
Lastly, the perennial issue of homelessness would take on new – and old – forms if Adams is elected.
New York City made a mistake in eliminating the Advantage program in 2011, which provided rental subsidies to families living in shelters, and Adams aims to bring it back, the mayoral hopeful said.
To help house the homeless, the city should convert hotel rooms into single-room occupancy housing for single individuals who can get by with a small kitchenette and other bare necessities while getting back on their feet.
Adams is one of nearly 30 candidates who have filed to fun for mayor, including Comptroller Scott Stringer, former de Blasio staffer Maya Wiley, and Sunset Park Councilman Carlos Menchaca.
A version of this story first appeared on AMNY.com.