Eric Adams is still a borough president, in both practice and in spirit. His weeks consist mostly of photo ops, be it at a library or precinct, shaking hands with other officials and dignitaries only when a project crosses the finish line.
As a borough president, the limited scope of these proceedings are acceptable, because let’s be honest: the borough presidency is a glorified cheerleader position. The office holds very little power in its own right, amounting to only a few advisory roles in land-use changes and other proceedings, although the post does comes with a sizable budget to dole out.
This isn’t totally a bad thing, as each borough in the city deserves to have its virtues touted by someone in office. In fact, Eric Adams was a pretty great fit for the borough presidency. His penchant for catchy slogans and sing-song vocal delivery has brought life and spirit to otherwise drab ribbon-cutting proceedings.
However, the borough presidency is not the same as the mayorship, an office that affords much more real power to its occupant. The constant pats on the back and congratulatory speeches don’t cut it at Gracie Mansion. Real action is required to work productively alongside the City Council and to interface successfully with city agencies and the general public.
Yet regrettably, it seems as if Eric Adams’ approach to the mayorship is already resembling his strategies as borough president. Instead of taking the month since the general election to flesh out his policy proposals, Adams has continued with the same old hoopla: slowly introducing members of his administration, spewing nonsense about Bitcoin, and taking time to visit talk show hosts. Shaking hands. Song and dance.
Pride in your city is obviously a necessity for any mayor, yet it is not the only necessity. Simple cheerleading does not make an effective administration, as Bill de Blasio has surely taught us. (Who can forget the tremendous leadup and hilarious letdown that was the Homecoming NYC Concert in Central Park).
With his swearing-in date quickly approaching, Eric Adams needs to step out of his old role as borough president before he can successfully step into his new role as mayor. Put down the pom-poms and start talking to New Yorkers about public safety, affordable housing, and all the issues they actually want to hear about.