Eric Adams’ speech offers a vision for rebuilding New York

In his first months in office, Mayor Eric Adams faced many obstacles to rebuilding New York.

Violent crime has risen, as evidenced by the massive subway shooting this month. The incidence of coronavirus has recently increased again, and the unemployment rate in the city remains higher than the national average.

In his first State of the City Address, Mr. Adams acknowledged the enormous challenges the city is facing after two years of devastation and devastation caused by the pandemic, saying on Tuesday that New York “is still going through a period of deep concern.”

But, keen to mark a new chapter in New York’s rebuilding, the mayor has laid out a hopeful vision for its future, arguing that he will accelerate the city’s rebirth by focusing on public safety and inequality.

The mayor, a former police captain, has pledged more money to fight what he says are the root causes of crime: guns, mental illness and homelessness. He said that the rebuilding of the city will not happen if New Yorkers do not feel safe.

“We cannot have a city where people are afraid to walk the streets, ride the subway or send their children to school,” he said.

Mr. Adams highlighted several spending priorities in his latest $99.7 billion budget proposal, including $5 billion for affordable housing over 10 years and $55 million to expand a program that sends emergency medical technicians and mental health professionals on certain 911 calls.

Mr. Adams also revealed that he would soon publish a plan to expand childcare that would allow families making $55,000 a year to pay as little as $10 a week.

In recent days, the mayor announced other plans to allocate an additional $171 million in homeless services to create 1,400 specialized shelters and more. $900 million in five years make city streets safer.

“Despite the fear, the trauma, the uncertainty and the grief, we kept going,” Mr Adams told a crowd of hundreds at the gilded Theater Royal in Brooklyn. “Because every New Yorker knew deep down that our city was coming back. It’s already happening. I feel it everywhere I go.”

Mr. Adams also faced a lot of criticism in his first 100 days on the job: for bringing back controversial crime-fighting police units, clearing out homeless camps, making some controversial hires, lifting pandemic restrictions and making an exception to vaccination rules. for athletes, and also showed reluctance to release his tax returns.

Mr. Adams remained optimistic and said he was inspired by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who faced “a cascade of crises not unlike what we are experiencing today” in the wake of the Great Depression.

“FDR understood that people needed an honest calculation of problems and bold plans to solve them,” he said. “This is what I intend to convey to my fellow New Yorkers.”

Mr Adams, the former Brooklyn borough president, had planned to hold the inauguration ceremony at the Theater Royal in January but canceled it due to safety concerns during a surge in coronavirus cases. Mr. Adams chose the theatre, a lavishly restored Brooklyn cultural icon, as a tribute to the area that helped fuel its rise in politics.

In February, Mr. Adams released his preliminary budget and pledged to cut most city agencies’ spending by 3 percent. He proposed keeping the police budget the same, arguing that it could improve public safety by moving officers off the tables to the streets, and called for a reduction in the municipal workforce, which had reached an all-time high under his predecessor, Bill de Blasio.

The mayor’s executive budget, released Tuesday, is up about $1.2 billion from his previous proposal. The mayor and city council must reach a final agreement on the budget by July 1.

City council leaders have criticized the mayor’s previous proposal, arguing that it does not spend enough money to help the city’s most vulnerable residents. Council Speaker Adrienne Adams and others called on the city to spend more on youth programs and mental health services, as well as $4 billion to be spent on affordable and comfortable housing.

Andrew Rein, president of the Citizens Budget Commission, a financial watchdog group, said the mayor’s new budget proposal added too many costs.

“There are some positive steps being taken in the executive budget, but the focus is on increased spending, all but excluding the savings, restructuring and efficiencies needed to bolster the city’s financial home,” he said.

Mr. de Blasio delivered his final State of the City speech almost last year and promised a “recovery for all of us” that focused on vaccinating millions of New Yorkers. Recently, the number of cases of the virus in the city has increased again, and on April 10, Mr. Adams tested positive for the virus.

But on Tuesday, Mr. Adams made little to no mention of the city’s vaccination efforts or spoke of boosters. More than 87 percent of adults in the city are fully vaccinated, but only about 45 percent have received additional boosters. Vaccination and revaccination rates are lower for children aged 5 to 17 years.

On Tuesday, Mr. Adams strongly supported the police department and criticized Democrats, who he said said “we don’t need our police,” part of his recent critique of the “defend the police” movement.

“Let me tell you right here and now: I will support my police and we will make our city a safe city,” he said to the applause of the crowd.