Borough President Adams has been banned for life from the Sunset Park Puerto Rican Day Parade after pulling out of a town hall organizers asked he attend as a condition of walking in the march — but the Beep’s office said they only received an invite to the forum two days before the parade and never committed to the town hall.
Organizers say they welcomed Adams to the June 11 parade as long as he agreed to join other marching politicians for a Sunset Park town hall on “broken-windows” policing later this month. But the morning after the march a rep told organizers that the pol will not attend the June 30 forum, according to parade honchos who feel the move is a slap in the face.
“I was in shock when I got the call that he won’t attend the town hall with no explanation — the day after our parade,” said Dennis Flores, the parade’s lead organizer with community-activist group El Grito of Sunset Park. “That’s disrespectful to us and shows that they don’t care about what we’re trying to do for our community. They just see us as a photo op.”
Adams has walked in the Sunset Park parade since it began in 2015 and — according to Flores — agreed to attend the June 30 town hall earlier this month. But the morning after the Fifth Avenue march from 59th Street to Sunset Park proper, Flores received a call from the Brooklyn commander-in-chief’s office saying that Adams will not attend the meeting, which prompted more than a dozen parade committee members to boot the Beep from the parade for the rest of his natural life, said Flores.
But it was never communicated to Adams’s office that organizers were looking for a commitment from pols to participate in the forum in order to be a part of the parade — and the town hall invite was only received two days before the parade, said the borough president’s director of communications.
“First of all, the invitation to the town hall came to our office on Friday,” said Stefan Ringel. “There was no agreement to come to the town hall regarding attendance in the parade or any other matter. The borough president wanted to attend the town hall, unfortunately, there were several events that were conflicting on his calendar.”
Others feel the Beep — a former police officer who has spoken in favor of broken-windows strategy in the past — is trying to get out of making an appearance at the town hall, and speaks to a larger issues of politicians taking advantage of community celebrations, said an organizer behind the forum.
“He’s trying to wiggle out of it, and that to me is symbolic of the problem of our political system,” said Josmar Trujillo, part of the Coalition to End Broken Windows, which is helping to plan the Sunset Park forum. “Elected officials want to be a part of the glamorous side of things, but don’t want to deal with the community in a way that is serious.”
Parade organizers found the news particularly upsetting after they spotted the New York Police Department marching band and Eric Adams hanging around the start of the parade when they were set to march farther back, said Flores.
“We have a set way of who goes first in the parade and out of nowhere the NYPD marching band show up at the front and then I see Eric Adams, and if I wasn’t there to push them back they would have just started the parade,” said Flores. “And then this happened. It’s disrespectful.”
But Ringel rejected planners’ claims that Adams was trying to muscle his way to the start.
“That did not happen,” he said.
Nonetheless, on top of the life-time ban, the livid locals have decided to return a proclamation commending the parade that was given to Flores by a Beep staffer, he said.
“How do you recognize our accomplishment if you commit yourself to having a dialogue on police community relations and then you don’t hold up your end of the bargain?” said Flores. “We don’t want it. We’re going to send it back. And we don’t want him in our parade.”