February 6, 2023
Bianca Peters: In an effort to promote the city's new facility for migrants, Mayor Adams, he stayed overnight at the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal. This was Friday night, alongside hundreds of asylum seekers. It was very cold Friday night.
Rosanna Scotto: It was one of the coldest nights of the year so far. The mayor slept on a cot, posted pictures to Twitter, sharing how he spent his stay with the migrants at the facility. He also posted a video of him playing a video game with one of the men staying there, and the mayor says his stay proves the terminal is warm, welcoming. He joins us this morning from City Hall. Nice to have you back on Good Day New York, mayor.
Mayor Eric Adams: Good. Good to see you both. Good morning to you.
Scotto: Before we get to the migrants, let's talk about that off-duty police officer fighting for his life. What do you know this morning? Is he going to make it? And any leeway or any headway on finding the person who did it?
Mayor Adams: We are lifting his family up in prayer, the officer as well. Just a real unfortunate situation and just highlights the 1,700 bad guys that we keep talking about, recidivism. I guarantee you when we catch him, and we will catch him, the shooter, I guarantee you he will have an extensive past and a criminal record of violence. And it's just so unfortunate, a young officer with children and a young wife, we are going to continue to lift him up in prayers.
Scotto: Mayor, I know you keep talking about 1,700 people. Where did you get that number? What if it's 3,000? How do you know it's 1,700 people who continue to do the same thing over and over again, breaking the law here in New York City?
Mayor Adams: Well, we did an analysis, Chief LiPetri, that's in our crime analysis unit, we did an analysis of those who have been arrested two or more times. We call them extreme recidivists. And you see that they're repeatedly part of the criminal justice system, and continue to commit violent crimes. Many of them are gun related, but also robberies, burglaries, grand larcenies. And you narrow it down, there's a pocket of people that commit a substantial amount of crimes in the city.
Scotto: All right. Right, so mayor, let's talk about your stay in the tent over the weekend on one of the coldest nights of the year. Did it seem like the people that you were with, were they happy being in those tents?
Mayor Adams: Well, first of all, I never thought in my life I would be saying the quote, but, "Baby, it's cold outside." It was cold that day, and going inside, it wasn't a tent, it was the Brooklyn Army Terminal. And when I walked in and spoke with the men who were there, they were extremely appreciative and they understood that we were moving them from the hotel so that children and families can be in the hotel. Over 80 hotels we opened.
And think about this for a moment, in January 1st, 2022, I inherited 45,000 people in our homeless system. In one year we received an additional 43,000 in our system, and we had to do the same things that we've been doing for 400 years. And that is really being hospitable as we deal with people who are seeking the American dream.
Peters: Sometimes being hospitable means you can't take care of everyone, and you kind of leave behind some of the other people, which are women. We're talking about the Coalition for Homeless emailed the city saying that they can't find beds for up to 30 women, some of them fleeing domestic abuse. That's because the city has turned a women's shelter to house men in Brooklyn. How do you seem to rectify some issues like this?
Mayor Adams: Well, I don't know which 30 women they're talking about, but I know that over 45,000 that we have in the beginning of January, and I know the 43,000, we had additional, every one of them that needed a place to sleep, they found a place. If people can point to one or two issues where we didn't move as fast enough, then that is something that we will address and make sure we do what's right.
But no one is being turned away from our shelter system, or turned away from the HERRCs and we are going to continue to do what we've always done. This is a responsibility of the national government. I stated it months ago, we communicated with the White House the same thing. This is their responsibility, and we have done our share as New Yorkers.
Peters: Has the federal government filled in and stepped up to that responsibility? Because it sounds like you're still asking for a whole lot more help.
Mayor Adams: Yes, we are. But I want to take my hat off to Senator Schumer and Congressman Jeffries and the New York delegation. They passed an omnibus bill with $800 million that is going to focus on this issue. We received $8 million from FEMA, but that's not enough. We have to have real comprehensive immigration reform so that we can deal with this issue at the source.
And this weekend, sleeping in the shelter was really a reflection of my life. People often hear me talk about, as a child, going from location to location until mom was able to stabilize the family. We slept on the floor, we slept with neighbors, we slept wherever we thought was possible. So I know what it is to have housing insecurity, and I wanted to go there and let those migrant and asylum seekers know, the American dream, sometimes it's bumpy, but trust me, this is the only country on the globe where dream is attached to our name.
Scotto: Mayor, is it true that some of the migrants are asking to go to Canada, and we're getting them a bus ticket?
Mayor Adams: An amazing partnership with Catholic Charities who... They have the history of being there for those in need. Those who are seeking to go somewhere else, not we're pushing or forcing, if they're seeking to go somewhere else, we are helping in the re-ticketing process. We found that people had other destinations, but they were being compelled only to come to New York City, and we are assisting in interviewing those who seek to go somewhere else. Some want to go to Canada, some want to go to warmer states, and we are there for them as they continue to move on with their pursuit of this dream.
Peters: Well, mayor, speaking about paying for stuff, let's talk about the MTA budget because ooh, that is a whole lot of money that the governor is asking to contribute. $500 million. I know you're a mayor, but I also know you're a cop, I also know you're a businessman. Was there some conversations where she started a little bit higher and you said, "No, I'm not going to go." And you guys met at 500 million? Because I feel like you didn't want to budge with that.
Mayor Adams: There's some good stuff in the budget for the City of New York. We are a little concerned about the fiscal requirements, particularly the $500 million. That's not a one shot. Let's be clear that that's a half a billion dollars for the duration of our lives, I guess. But we are going to sit down with the governor, share our thoughts. She has been an amazing partner on some very tough issues, and we look forward to speaking with her.
Peters: But she's asking you for a lot of money.
Mayor Adams: Yes, it is. A half a billion dollars is a lot of money, particularly when you look at, in 2025, we're going to hit a fiscal cliff. I keep saying this over and over again. Federal dollars are going to run out. We're dealing with this year, fiscal year, $1.4 billion in the migrants. Next year, $2.8 billion. We have the class size bill with capital dollars that are taking place. We are in a financial crisis, and I have to be fiscally prudent to navigate us throughout this turbulent period.
Scotto: So the bottom line, do we have the money to give to the MTA?
Mayor Adams: No, we do not. That is too much money to be part of New York City's budget. New York City has taken a hit, and what is even more troubling, no other municipality in the state is being asked to make that contribution to the MTA system. I'm just not clear on why, but we're going to sit down and have a conversation with the governor, that I believe understands what New York City has been going through.
Peters: All right.
Scotto: I know that you're going to do it. You go up to Albany a lot. Hey, by the way, did you really fall asleep?
Mayor Adams: Listen, I slept like a baby. It was warm. I had my nice little blanket. That's my favorite blanket. I'm like Linus on Charlie Brown. I have my favorite blanket that I just hung up on, and I had pleasant dreams. Got up the next day, had breakfast and sat down and spoke with the asylum seekers. They want to work, they are thankful to this city. And you have one or two of those who agitators got riled up.
Mayor Adams: But you know what? They came inside also.
Scotto: Mayor, somebody was blaming the press as the agitators, but the press had nothing to do... They were just recording what was going on over there. The agitators were, you know who the agitators were?
Mayor Adams: Yeah. This is one I don't blame the press on. This is one that's clearly, there was a group of people who were agitating the situation, trying to get the migrants not to leave so that we can make room for children and families. It's the right thing to do. Children and families should be in those hotels. Single adult males should be in facilities that are dormitory, which other New Yorkers are in, in other parts of the shelter system.
Scotto: Mayor Adams, we always appreciate you coming on Good Day New York. Thank you so much for what you do for our city. You've got your hands full.
Mayor Adams: Yes, I do, but I'm a New Yorker.
Scotto: All right. Thank you.
Mayor Adams: Thank you.