NEW YORK (AP) – Eric Adams is New York’s new mayor, with Democrats sworn in at a Times Square ceremony shortly after the country’s largest city called in the new year Saturday.
Adams, 61, faces the huge challenge of pulling the city out of the pandemic and joining, while the city struggles with a record number of COVID-19 cases powered by the omicron variant.
While confetti continued to hover over Times Square, Adams recited his office. Assistant Judge Sylvia O. Hinds-Radix of the State Supreme Court’s Appeals Division swore adams when he laid one hand on a family Bible and the other held a photograph of his mother, Dorothy, who died in 2020.
He did not make any remarks or accept questions from journalists, but appeared on “Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin ‘Eve with Ryan Seacrest” shortly after being sworn in.
He told Seacrest that he had a few parties to attend, but that he would “get up early in the morning and work for New York City.”
He had previously appeared briefly on the main stage to confirm the city’s resilience.
“Even in the midst of COVID, in the midst of everything we go through, this is a country where hope and opportunity are always present,” he said earlier in the night.
“It’s just amazing when New York shows the whole country how we’re coming back,” he said. “We showed the globe what we are made of. We are incredible. This is an incredible city, and believe me, we are ready for a big comeback because this is New York.”
Adams is a former New York City police chief and Brooklyn city president who has taken a more business-friendly, moderate stance than his predecessor, but describes himself as a practical and progressive mayor who wants to “get things done.” He is 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 many of the policies in place outgoing mayor Bill de Blasio, including vaccine mandates, which are among the strictest in the country.
The city’s municipal workforce must be vaccinated, as must anyone trying to eat indoors, watch a show, work out in a gym, or attend a conference. But New York City has also recently demanded that private-sector employees get their shots fired, the most comprehensive mandate for any state or metropolitan area and a policy Adams said he wants to preserve.
He is also committed to keeping schools open and avoiding further closures in the city by 8.8 million.
Even without a mandatory shutdown, the city is struggling with de facto closures due to widespread COVID-19 infections.
Several metro lines were suspended because positive test results among transit workers left too few employees to run regular trains.
Rockette’s Christmas show was canceled for the season, and the New York City Ballet canceled the remaining performances of “The Nutcracker.” Several Broadway shows closed due to COVID-19 incidents, and restaurants and bars around the city closed temporarily because their workers tested positive.
Adams said he and a team of advisers are investigating whether to expand the city’s vaccine mandates, plan to distribute face masks and rapid tests, and introduce a color-coded system that warns New Yorkers of the current threat level posed by the virus.
As a mayoral candidate, Adams described his upbringing as poor in Brooklyn and Queens and talked about issues of crime, police and racial injustice that mixed his experiences as a former police captain, an officer critical of his own department and a teenager who experienced brutality in the hands of police officers.
While he promises to be an energetic man in the mayor’s office, Adams is at times one untraditional politicians which is expected to put its own stamp on the role.
He is a vegan who wrote a book in 2020 about how a plant-based diet helped him with diabetes and has shown his favorite recipe for smoothie on social media. He has been known to visit some of the city’s nightclubs and said during a performance on Stephen Colbert’s show late at night that “This is a city with nightlife. I have to test the product. I have to go out.”
Associated Press writer Bobby Caina Calvan contributed to this report.