He went from Swag City to Fear City in about two weeks’ time.
Mayor Adams confessed to a roomful of reporters Tuesday that he has his own trepidations about riding the subway — just three days after the tragic murder of Michelle Go, a Manhattan woman who perished after being pushed into the path of a train by a mentally ill homeless man.
Adams has spoken for months about public safety and New Yorkers’ perception that the subways aren’t safe, but his statement Tuesday signaled the first time as mayor in which he said publicly that he shares the same fears many others are gripped with when riding the trains.
“Day One, January 1, when I took the train, I saw the homelessness, the yelling, the screaming early in the morning, crimes right outside the platform,” he said during an in-person City Hall press briefing. “We know we have a job to do — and we’re going to do both. We’re going to drive down crime, and we’re going to make sure New Yorkers feel safe in our subway system. And they don’t feel that way now. I don’t feel that way when I take the train every day, or when I’m moving throughout our transportation system.”
His words Tuesday come in stark contrast to previous statements he’s made in recent days. Three days in as mayor, on Jan. 3, Adams vowed to bring swagger back to the Big Apple.
“When the mayor has swagger, the city has swagger,” he said at the time. “We’ve allowed people to beat us down so much that all we did was wallow in COVID.”
This weekend, many New Yorkers felt beaten down by Go’s tragic passing. Go, a 40-year-old senior manager at Deloitte Consulting who volunteered to help the homeless through the New York Junior League, was waiting on the platform at Times Square when Simon Martial allegedly showed her into an R train.
According to police, Martial pushed Go into the train after failing to push another woman. According to cops, he later confessed to the crime, saying, “Yeah, because I’m God.”
Before the horrific incident, Adams has suggested that he’s felt safe enough to go without an NYPD security detail, although his position on that, at least publicly, has changed over time. In Jan. 2020, when he was still serving as Brooklyn borough president, Adams said he could do without the security detail and would instead carry a gun himself if he elected mayor.
On Jan. 1, he said he’d roll with a detail “from time to time” and that they would be there “when I need them.”
Most recently — and controversially — he has argued that his brother Bernard Adams, a former NYPD sergeant, is the most qualified person to helm his security apparatus.
Bernard retired from the NYPD in 2006 and since then has worked as assistant director of parking at a Virginia college. The mayor first announced Bernard would serve as a deputy commissioner — a job that carried with it a $240,000-a-year salary — but days later he reversed course and signaled he wanted him to work as the NYPD’s executive director of mayoral security for $210,000 annually.
To justify the hire, he’s said Bernard is “the best person for the uniqueness of how I want my security to be.”
“I love my brother, my brother loves me,” he said. “I trust him.”
The appointment though is now with the city’s Conflicts of Interest Board, which is reviewing an application from the Adams’ administration that’s presumably seeking a dispensation from the city’s rules against nepotism.
Alongside that ongoing subplot, Adams’ candor Tuesday about his own fear seemed to mark a departure, albeit slight, from past rhetoric — both from his own and that of his predecessor, former Mayor Bill de Blasio, who rarely rode the subway and did not speak much about his own feelings riding it, aside from saying that the subways were by and large safe.
“It was extremely impactful for New Yorkers … losing a New Yorker in that fashion,” Adams said Tuesday of Go’s death. “Our system must be safe. It must be safe from actual crime, which we are going to do, and it must be safe [for] those who feel as though there’s a total level of disorder in our subway system.”
©2022 New York Daily News. Visit nydailynews.com. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.
This content is published through a licensing agreement with Acquire Media using its NewsEdge technology.