NEW YORK (AP) — Eric Adams is New York City’s new mayor, with the Democrat being sworn into office in a Times Square ceremony shortly after the nation’s largest city rang in the new year Saturday.
Adams, 61, faces the immense challenge of pulling the city out of the pandemic, taking office as the city is grappling with record numbers of COVID-19 cases driven by the omicron variant.
As confetti continued to drift across Times Square, Adams recited his oath of office. 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.”
He had earlier appeared briefly on the main stage 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 is a former New York City police captain and Brooklyn borough president who 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.
Adams said this week that he plans to keep in place many of the policies of outgoing Mayor Bill de Blasio, including vaccine mandates that are among the strictest in the nation.
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. But New York City has also newly required employees in the private sector to get their shots, the most sweeping mandate of any state or big city and a policy Adams said he will preserve.
He’s also committed to keeping schools open and avoiding any further shutdowns in the city of 8.8 million.
Even without a mandated shutdown, the city is grappling with de facto closures because of widespread COVID-19 infections.
Several subway lines were suspended because positive test results among transit workers left too few staffers to run regular trains.
The Rockettes Christmas show was canceled for the season, and the New York City Ballet canceled remaining performances of “The Nutcracker.” Several Broadway shows closed because of COVID-19 cases, and restaurants and bars around the city temporarily closed because their workers tested positive.
Adams said he and a team of advisers are studying whether to expand the city’s vaccine mandates, plan to distribute face masks and rapid tests and introduce a color-coded system alerting New Yorkers to the current threat level posed by the virus.
As a mayoral candidate, Adams described growing up poor in Brooklyn and Queens and spoke about issues of crime, policing and racial injustice that blended his experiences as a former police captain, an officer who was critical of his own department and a teenager who experienced brutality at the hands of police officers.
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.
He’s a vegan who wrote a book in 2020 about how a plant-based diet helped him with diabetes and has shown off his favorite smoothie recipe on social media. He’s been known to frequent some of the city’s nightclubs, saying during an appearance on Stephen Colbert’s late-night show that, “This is a city of nightlife. I must test the product. I have to be out.”
Associated Press writer Bobby Caina Calvan contributed to this report.