As a Brooklyn teenager, Eric Leroy Adams was beaten by cops.
Adams and a fellow “7-Crowns” gang member had stolen a TV from a prostitute, and the (white) arresting officers wanted answers. As the story goes, a black officer intervened and sorted things out peacefully. And so a seed was planted. True story or apocryphal, Adams would go on to become one of New York’s Finest, a 20+ year career that he would draw upon in order to forge a successful political run. Six years in the state senate, then seven more as Borough President of Brooklyn, eventually culminating in his mayoral election. He was sworn in on January 1, 2022.
“From the gutter to Gracie Mansion” has a nice movie title ring to it, maybe too much so, more on that later. What do New Yorkers know about Adams? In conversations with fellow city dwellers, the answers are often paltry. Aside from a few gaffes, Adams is best known for once wearing a badge, and lately, for wearing tuxedoes and darkening the door of posh joints like Cipriani. The designation of “Nightlife Mayor” is self-applied: his embrace of after-hours fun is an endorsement of all New York has to offer (even if Adams sticks to the same two questionable spots).
As a city, we audited the eight year class about how psychology can shape a mayor. CIA agent Warren Wilhelm, Bill de Blasio’s father, lost his job after McCarthy-era hearings exposed familial ties to the communist party. He ultimately committed suicide in 1979 when DeBlasio was 18. Such events can shape a person. Indeed, de Blasio sought to make New York the “fairest” large city in the country, not the safest. The two unfortunate terms of de Blasio slowly stripped the tall man of his many guises. All that finally remained was a naked, clumsy charlatan (RIP Staten Island Chuck) bargaining with the public to get the Covid vaccine in exchange for free french fries. Apart from awkward photos of his dating life (for some reason he divorced Chirlane McCray), he now resides in the where-are-they-now file, his political relevance–as Wilhelm, Sr. might have put it–kaput.