Mayor Eric Adams touted the creation of 270,000 private-sector jobs and removing $2 billion in medical debt off the books while he attacked the evils of social media during his third state of the city address last Wednesday at Hostos Community College.
“Thank you all for believing in New York City,” Adams said. “Our city has always been about what is possible. A place where you can start a business, start a family, start a movement, make your mark. A place where you can just make it.”
When Adams came into office two years ago, he had a clear mission, he said. That was protecting the public, rebuilding the economy and making the city more livable. He announced that the number of shootings and homicides went down in the double digits and that 14,000 illegal guns were taken off the streets.
“We’re seeing real results,” Adams said. “Crime is down, jobs are up and every day we are delivering for working class New Yorkers.”
Councilman Eric Dinowitz, who was at the address, said that he believed the mayor presented some important ideas, however he found it “problematic” that CUNY was absent from his speech while he is currently implementing cuts to them. He also critiqued the mayor’s proposed text amendment for his City of Yes for Housing Opportunity.
“What the proposal does is, it takes away local community members’ ability to have input for larger developments,” Dinowitz said. “It would allow developers to build higher, more dense and with no parking minimums, with zero input from the council.”
Typically a community and local representatives would be able to have input into what is going to be built and what it looks like for the community, he said. Without it though, he says, it takes power away from the community and local representation.
Adams said that in 2024 housing agencies would advance 24 development projects on public sites to create or preserve 12,000 units. He also spoke about the launching of a new tenant protection cabinet that aims to keep people in their homes. He also said that for the first time in 50 years they reopened the New York City Housing Authority section 8 voucher waitlist and hopes to issue a thousand vouchers a month.
The mayor announced the creation of the Department of Sustainable Delivery, an entity seeking to regulate new forms of delivery transit and ensure the safety of delivery drivers. The department will educate drivers and enforce safety standards. E-vehicles and refurbished batteries have been banned from being sold. Adams says the department will cut down on the carbon footprint, while also protecting residents from the dangers of lithium ion batteries.
The mayor also announced 4.8 million jobs have been recovered that were lost during the pandemic, more than a year ahead of projection. He also spoke about the green economy plan, which is expected to support 400,000 jobs by 2040. He said current projections have the city reaching 5 million total jobs by the end of 2026, but he said he will defy those projections by getting instead 5 million jobs in 2025.
Another point of focus was on the asylum seeker and humanitarian crisis, as the city has now helped more than 172,000 asylum seekers by providing food, medical care and shelter. Of those helped, 105,000 took the next steps in their journeys, Adam said, and got on the path to self-efficiency.
“We are proud, we have done our part,” Adams said. “But we need others to do their part. The federal government must step up and step in. This is a national crisis that calls for a national solution.”
At one point during the address Adams was heckled by a woman calling for a ceasefire in Gaza who said her father and grandparents lived through the Holocaust. There were also two groups of protestors outside the college, one that was similarly protesting the conflict in Gaza and another that was protesting Adams budget cuts and calling for Rikers Island to shut down.
During his speech, Adams reflected on the city’s 400th anniversary of its founding.
“Down in City Hall, late at night I walk through and I look at the pearl portraits to see our city’s state and former mayors,” he said.
“They may have not seen the skyscrapers or the airports or Times Square or Madison Square Garden or jazz, blues or even hip-hop or a mayor who looks at me.
“But they knew this was a place to create a new kind of city, a place that could endlessly reinvent itself, getting better each time.”