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Transcript: Mayor Adams, MTA Announce new Investments in Public Space, Good Jobs, Affordable Housing Around Broadway Junction Subway Station

May 2, 2023

Deputy Mayor Maria Torres-Springer, Economic and Workforce Development: Good morning everyone. My name is Maria Torres-Springer, I’m the deputy mayor for economic and workforce development. Thanks to all of you for joining us this morning. We are so thrilled to be here today to share how we are taking major steps forward to ensure that Broadway Junction is a thriving 24/7 transit, jobs, and housing center, right here in Brooklyn. And so please join me in welcoming the person who has made sure that our economic recovery is focused squarely on creating real opportunities for local residents and businesses. I’m happy to introduce the mayor of New York City, Eric Adams.

Mayor Eric Adams: Thank you. Thank you so much, deputy mayor. And really want to thank our partnership here with Council Member Nurse. This community is just really — there is almost an emotion that’s attached to this is because this is my childhood. This is who I am. Growing up in Brownsville, using the J line, the A line, the L, the double L to move throughout the city. And for far too long this amazing connection of our public subway system has been ignored. And as Brooklyn borough president, my first year in office, I took a trip over here and saw the possibility, the vision of what we could turn this community into. And as I look at these artist renderings of what we are moving towards, it takes real partnership, real commitment, and real dedication, and real dollars.

And Deputy Mayor Maria Torres-Springer coming off of last week’s announcement on Governors Island, a few weeks ago, our Broadway Plaza Program. And you just continue to see that we do not have a one borough Manhattan centered initiative, we have a five borough, Manhattan and the other four boroughs are going to be included in this.

And when you think about it, District 33 is one of the transit commands that I used to move through when I was doing what is called TPF, Tactical Patrol Force. It was just one of the many ways that you had to — that this community received what they needed and what they deserved. We fought to bring investments here, and we are here. I believed that if we built it the opportunities would come. And as mayor I am proud to say we are getting it done, location by location, site by site, project by project.

Last year we announced an investment in the largest ever commercial building in this area, which would bring good jobs to the community. EDC head Andrew Kimball pointed that building out to me. It was last year — you already see it is up and it is being built. It is getting stuff done. As part of our CARE strategy — City Agencies Revitalizing The Economy, that’s what the acronym is for — today we are taking the landmark next step. With nearly $500 million invested in public spaces and infrastructure right here in Broadway Junction.

There is so many people from this community that wouldn’t have believed it would never happen, it could never be done. Well, those who are doubters need to get out of the way of those who are doers because we are going to get it done, including $95 million from the city for major public space improvements. These investment will help create more than 2,300 construction jobs right here in this community, more than $11 billion in economic impact for our city. We are adding two new public plazas for everyone to use and enjoy, and we are creating a safe streets for pedestrians, cyclists, and all who care and want to share our roads. We have seen more than 400 new homes recently built in this neighborhood, nearly all rent restricted. We expected another 1,700 new homes and every project will be subject to minimum affordability standard. This is a bold vision for this neighborhood. This is a neighborhood that deserves it and is going to be the anchor of this community to allow this community to continue to thrive and grow.

This process has been led by people who live here, including your councilwoman, who was crucial to getting this project done. I'm proud to have been part of this as Brooklyn borough president — to planted the initial seed and vision, and now we're seeing the fruits of the harvest of that vision as we continue to move forward. The plan reflects what the community wants and needs for our city, because enhancement should not mean displacement. Enhancement should not mean displacement. It's about people who live here, should have a voice here, and that is what we're doing. This plan is going to create good jobs and economic opportunity for the next generation, in East New York, Brownsville, and in this entire area. That's including the incredible young people that are joining us today to see the vision for tomorrow. This is how we support residents, local businesses, and promote economic opportunity.

And this is how we get people to spend money right here, recirculate those dollars, use governmental services to anchor the businesses in the area and to continue to bring productivity here. This investment is part of our broader plan to build affordable housing, more office space, create good jobs, and make Broadway Junction Station more accessible for our brothers and sisters with disabilities. Thanks to a $400 million investment from the MTA, Broadway Junction's already one of the busiest stations in Brooklyn. You see it every day, the people moving to and from with all of the lines intersection here. It continues to thrive and provide a vital artery to the Central Business District and to Downtown Brooklyn. And at its center is this vision for our neighborhood and our community. It connects us to the rest of New York City and offers access to infrastructure, reflects its importance to our city.

Last year, Governor Hochul and I released the New New York Report highlighting this area as an emerging jobs hub. We have delivered on the commitment from that plan to appoint a chief public realm officer, Ya-Ting Liu, who's really taken the job by storm, looking at how do we create public spaces all over the city. Today we're opening up yet another public space across the five boroughs, and we have already begun work on projects on Fifth Avenue and on Broadway, and I'm proud to say that we have public realm projects underway in every single borough. I want you to thank my good friend from EDC, Andrew Kimball, who has really brought the vision to the job and how we continue to have the partnership that is needed, working hand in hand with the community on this new vision, as well as our partners across the public and private sector, including the community members who have given so much throughout this process to get the product that we're looking for.

I am who I am because of this neighborhood, and I've seen how members of this community have been left behind for too long. Too often government has made promises and then broken them. That ends in this administration. This is a promise made, a promise kept under this administration, and with the right partnerships throughout the city, all the promises that we made when we run for office will be produced while we're in office. Congratulations to this community. Congratulations to all the participants. This community deserved this project and is going to continue to be the anchor for this community and the community surrounding it. Thank you very much. Thank you, deputy mayor.

Deputy Mayor Torres-Springer: Thank you, mayor, for your vision and your leadership on this enormous investment in this area. Now we are here, of course, because of the leadership and partnership of so many across government. I want to acknowledge our commissioner for Housing Preservation and Development, Adolfo Carrión; our Department of Transportation Commissioner Ydanis Rodriguez — there you are. Of course, Borough President Antonio Renoso. We will hear from the amazing Council member in just a few minutes. But of course a particular shout out to Andrew Kimball and the entire team at EDC who have worked on these plans and investments for a very long time, and it's because of all of you that they are finally coming to fruition. So these public realm investments, as the mayor mentioned, really build on a series of steps that our administration is taking to create inclusive, dynamic, complete neighborhoods around transit rich communities where we can generate the most impact for those investments.

The public realm improvements will include two new public plazas on either side of Van Sinderen Avenue and Fulton Street, and they will serve as the new gateway to the transit complex. The new improvements will create a signature new public space that will complement this amazing park where we are, Callahan-Kelly Playground, this reconstruction, which has been led by the Parks Department and will open in just a few weeks. These open spaces will be further enhanced by improvements to Van Sinderen Avenue by EDC and DOT to make it a more safe and pedestrian friendly corridor. And now importantly, because this isn't just about building buildings or paving roads or even building parks, this has to be about creating the types of opportunities that accrue to local residents and community members. So working closely with Council Member Nurse, EDC will leverage city assets to create new economic opportunities for local businesses in the East New York industrial business zone, and they'll do this by promoting leasing opportunities of city assets and activating underutilized publicly owned lots.

And with the MTA, the Department of Small Business Services, and the Mayor's Office of Talent and Workforce Development, the city will use multiple strategies and programs to ensure that local residents have access to jobs and training opportunities generated by all of the economic activity in this neighborhood. Now, the culmination of work between the MTA, EDC and all of our partner agencies will ensure that Broadway Junction finally gets the investment that it has long needed, long deserved, and the area will be transformed into a dynamic and inclusive center for jobs, housing, and investments. And so the mayor mentioned the $500 million of improvements includes $400 million in investments to transit, and so to share more details about that massive investment, I'd like to welcome the president of MTA Construction and Development, Jamie Torres-Springer.

Jamie Torres-Springer, President of Metropolitan Transit Authority Construction and Development: Thank you very much, deputy mayor and mayor. It's great to be here and be sharing this moment with the city. I, like a few others here, have been around planning and economic development circles for a long time, and people have been trying to get this done, to create this vision and back it up with investment and action for many, many years and decades. People from the community who are here today, staff from agencies, a couple in particular I know have been working on this forever. We are very proud that this governor and this mayor got past jurisdictional lines to develop a new vision for the future of Broadway Junction and the investment to go with it. We're not just literally a family here, we're also figuratively a family in the way that we've worked together on these investments. From the MTA's point of view, Broadway Junction is the heart of the MTA. It's the third-busiest station complex in Brooklyn. 100,000 daily users are using the A and the C, the J and the Z, and the L lines. Here, we have our great MTA staff who work hard every day and who are based here. It's great connectivity and we've all recognized that for many, many years, and we just needed to make the improvements to unlock all of the opportunity in this district.

I also want to emphasize, just a couple blocks away, we have the East New York Long Island Railroad Station. It now, as a result of the opening of Grand Central Madison and East Side Access, the $17 billion the MTA has invested over the last 15 years in Long Island's connectivity to the city, has a 50 percent increase in service, along with a 60 percent increase in reverse peak service, getting people to jobs on Long Island after those improvements. And with the new Atlantic Ticket, an affordable way for people to use that service. But it's not just MTA services. This is home turf for the MTA. Nearly 2,000 employees report here every day at our rail yards, our bus depots, and our various support facilities. We are deeply invested in this community and we're proud to be making the investment that we're describing today that reflects that commitment.

Later this year, we'll get started on a more than $400 million design-build project to make the entire Broadway Junction complex fully ADA accessible, with accessible transfers between all three of those lines that I described. This is not just a simple project. This is a very big project. I would say we are essentially rebuilding the entire station that you see behind us here. We're replacing all of the existing escalators. Including the escalators in that facility right there, we're adding seven new elevators to this station complex. And we're adding a new street entrance on the east side of Van Sinderen to go along with the plaza that the city is talking about. That will all get started this year, but the ADA project is just one piece of the MTA's investment in Broadway Junction and East New York.

Next month, we will start painting and structural repair of the J, Z, and L elevated structures in this area. You can actually see it if you look closely. Obviously, the disrepair to the line structure that you see here and the work that's already been done, you can see in the distance here, looks much better over there. We'll be heading up here next month. We should be done by August. That reflects a vast acceleration in what we call over-coating within the MTA's program. We're getting 26 miles of painting structures. And not just painting structures, remediating structures and making them last for much longer in this capital program versus six miles in the last capital program. That's not it.

East New York will have electric buses starting next year as part of the first phase of our Zero-Emissions Bus Plan, demonstrating how we are putting environmental justice front and center as we aim to reduce our operating emissions by 85 percent by 2040, a commitment that we announced for Earth Day last week that the transition to zero-emissions buses is a big part of. We'll be working with our partners at the city, and we've worked a lot on this to improve the public realm and clean up Broadway, which is a critical issue here that we all recognize. As I mentioned, we've increased service at the East New York LIRR Station by 50 percent. Lastly, in the future, we'll also be planning together for a future inter-borough express station at Atlantic Avenue, just to the south of the East New York Station.

Lots of investments here. We're very excited. It'll be a better place for our workers and for the communities they serve. I want to thank the mayor and the city for their dedication and their partnership. Thank you.

Deputy Mayor Torres-Springer: Thank you. Thank you, Jamie. We are, of course, excited to have the leadership and partnership of colleagues with the state. Of course, none of this can happen if we aren't working closely and collaboratively and meaningfully with local elected officials. I'd like to introduce now the Council member for this district who has been a very strong advocate for local investment here, Council Member Sandy Nurse.

City Council Member Sandy Nurse: Thank you. Thank you. Good morning. Good morning, everyone. It's so good to be here with you all. I see many leaders here from East New York and Cypress Hills and Brownsville and Bushwick, and it's really great to be here with so many of you who have pushed really hard and advocated really hard to bring us to this day. After listening and working with you for such a long period of time, I'm really proud to be part of having helped push and deliver 95 million in public dollars for Broadway Junction.

Our community really feels that Broadway Junction has been neglected, and I think for many in this community, it has come to symbolize broken public promises. I really think that this investment is a critical step in rebuilding between residents and advocates who have worked really, really hard and have been advocating for decades, for long-overdue improvements in our city institutions. I very much see this as a very big deal, and I think we should celebrate that. I think we should.

For the last 15 months, I've spent some portion of every single day here at Broadway Junction because my office was just right up the street. We actually used to call it the dungeon because it's the darkest area in this district, and no one wants to come here. I train here and mostly take the stairs because the escalators inconsistently work. If I want to go get a cup of coffee from Paphos, I'm walking in the middle of the street because there's cars all over the sidewalk.

Our seniors and residents who have mobility devices don't want to come to our office because the sidewalks are torn up and dangerous for them. Even our team, we'd come here and park our cars or get off the train and we're dashing across Broadway because cars are just flying down this street because it's a hidden area. I share this to say that I'm here every day, my team is here every day, and we know how much this investment really means to our community.

We know how much this investment has been owed to our community, and we know that communities further east from us who use this junction will finally have an accessible junction, an accessible transit hub. East New York deserves a safe, inviting, a beautiful, modern transit hub for our community that benefits the residents and small businesses here and not displaces them. Thank you, Mayor Adams.

These funds will address very stubborn issues, pedestrian safety, lighting, traffic-calming, and I really welcome this vision for an open space plaza that our community residents can really enjoy and gather in. I also want to just acknowledge the investments that were made by our former Council Member Rafael Espinal for this park. I want to thank you, Mayor Adams, for committing these resources to our community today. I know you have a vision for this junction, and I believe that with intentional and deliberate community planning, there is a pathway to transform the junction in a way that is just, and a way that safeguards this community from displacement and gentrification. I know that is your goal as well, and so I'm very committed to working with you.

I want to thank you, Andrew, for spending time walking this area with myself, my team, community members. Thank you, Justin, and all the other EDC members for all the work you've done on this and all the time you've spent talking to our team. Really appreciate it. Thank you to the MTA and DOT for showing up and making yourself available to countless meetings and town halls and really making yourself available to answer community questions. I want to thank our borough president, Antonio Reynoso. Thank you for your partnership and your mentorship on this project, as well as many others.

I also just want to really thank Ryan, Ryan from my team. Ryan spends 50 percent of his time on Broadway Junction on IBZ, talking with community, talking with the agencies. You're doing a great job, and I couldn't be more grateful. Thank you.

So since coming into office, my team, we've worked really hard to be in collaboration with everyone mentioned here and really try to co-govern with the community groups and residents who have been fighting for these long-awaited public investments. I think it's important to note that the community leaders here today see public funding in the public realm not just as a means to spark private investment, but fundamentally as a right in and of itself. And I think that's just really important to underscore.

So today's commitment really belongs to you all, belongs to them. I want to thank the Coalition for Community Advancement, the East New York Community Land Trust, United Community Center, Cypress Hills LDC, East New York LDC, University, Community Boards 5, 4, and 16, and many others who have all pushed for this historic investment. This is really exciting. It's very exciting. And it also demands prolonged accountability and real community engagement to ensure that those who live here benefit first. So I am very appreciative. Thank you so much for accommodating my schedule. Thank you, Mayor Adams. Thank you, everyone else. Thank you.

Deputy Mayor Torres-Springer: Thank you. Council Member Nurse for your powerful words. I know you're on a tight schedule, so thank you for joining us. Finally, I would like to bring up a local leader, A.B. Whitfield, who is the co-founder of the Trey Whitfield School in Brooklyn, which has become a real beacon for high quality and affordable education in the area. A.B.

A.B. Whitfield: Thank you. Always, always. Good morning, everybody. I'm just happy to be here. Happy to be invited. Well our school has been here for 40 years, believe it or not, 40 years. It's an anchor in the community. But what we have going for us right now is the premier anchor. This project will revitalize this entire area ... so much needed. It will do so much for our families, for our children. It'll make our community safe.

And then finally, we have a mayor who's going to get stuff done. I've known him for a long time. Before he became mayor, he did some things that you would love to know. He's heart, all heart, not a lot of talk. He's a doer. I'm so proud that we have a mayor that gets things done like you, Mayor Adams.

I'd like to thank East New York Development, Bill Wilkins and his group. From the time we've been in this neighborhood 40 years ago, they reached out for us, helped us maintain our [inaudible], and our school has produced guys like Justin Turner, an alum from our school, mayor. Love him. Mr. Justin Turner, where are you? Beautiful.

Those are the types of products that we produce. We will continue to do better when this project emerges, and we'll grow like flowers. We'll blossom in the spring. I'm just so glad that Sandy Nurse was here. First got elected, she visited our school right away. Came over to say hello and, "I'm here to help you. I'm for education. I'm for the community and whatnot." So we've had help all the way for 40 years. We've been anchored here. And hope I can stay another 40 years, if I live long enough, that we can see this project come to fruition. It'll make my world.

But Mayor Adams, again, I thank you so much for all that you do behind the scenes, in front, whatnot. I owe you so much. To your office and your staff, we thank you. Our families from Trey Whitfield School thank you so much, and thanks for having us. I'm so excited to take this back to our families and our children. Our babies want to come out, mayor, but it's raining and we don't want them to catch cold. They're a little upset because I kept them back. I thought it would rain on them. But the babies are upset with me, so you got to come over sometime and say, "Oh, it's okay." But thanks so much, everybody. This project's going to make all of us happy. Thank you so much.

Deputy Mayor Torres-Springer: Thank you, Mr. Whitfield. At this point, I'd like to bring back the mayor for questions and answers.

Mayor Adams: And before we open up the questions, I want to bring back the amazing borough president for this community, borough president, please say a few words.

Brooklyn Borough President Antonio Reynoso: Thank you, Mr. Mayor. I'll be quick. It's about faith. It's about building trust with government. And it's very difficult in communities like this. The outer portions of Brooklyn really feel neglected constantly. A lot of it has to do with transportation access or lack thereof. And what we're seeing today is a commitment to the outer portion of Brooklyn. And when that happens, we rebuild trust, and we show that we can actually get it done. But that hasn't been the history. So I want to thank Mayor Adams for doubling down, committing to making sure that whatever we talked about or that we said during the campaign, we could actually follow through on and see ... This is going to be great for East New York. Their confidence in government is very low. But once they see this work happen, we can start talking about not only maintaining and surviving, but thriving in this area.

So I'm really excited about it. I'm looking forward to what the next steps after this revitalization are. And also want to talk about that the center of the universe is not Manhattan. It is not. And to be honest, it's not necessarily the economic hubs of every single borough. Downtown Brooklyn is also not the center of the universe. That the economic development of the future is about building in local communities. So they don't need to take the train for an hour to get to Manhattan. They don't need to take the train for 20 ... for 30 minutes to get to downtown Brooklyn. That they can have jobs here. They can learn here. They can eat here. They can do everything here. That's the future. It's economic centers around the entire city, not just in central hubs. And seeing this happen speaks to that future that I know Andrew and I have talked about in the past.

So again, want to thank Mayor Adams for following through and getting stuff done so that in the future when we come back, they can't say, "You never did anything." They can't do it. You can't walk in front of Mayor Adams and say, "We're from East New York and nothing ever happened." You're actually seeing it happen. So I want to say thank you to him and thank you to Councilwoman Sandy Nurse and former Council Member Rafael Espinal that really centered their work in this. So thank you. And don't forget to spread love. It's the Brooklyn way. Thank you.

Mayor Adams: Thank you. Just want to acknowledge some of my leaders here as well, Dan Garodnick from City Planning and my commissioner of Small Business Services, Commissioner Kim. Thank you as well. I hope I didn't miss anyone. Thank you all for coming out. Let's open to a few questions.

Question: The 2,000 new homes, are those coming out of East New York rezoning? Or are they separate from that?

Andrew Kimball, President             and CEO, New York City Economic Development Corporation: Those homes were entitled through the past rezoning, but we expect that this kind of investment here locally will be catalytic in moving those projects forward. So there are about 400, as the mayor said, deeply affordable homes that are already in the pipeline, and there'll be another 1,300 coming. As a result, we expect, of this investment, a new improved transit hub near to where folks will be living.

Mayor Adams: Thanks all. We're going to do a few off topics. You guys could free yourselves. Doing a few off topics.

Question: Good morning, Mr. Mayor. 

Mayor Adams: How are you?

Question: Good, how you doing?

Mayor Adams: Good.

Question: Do you think that El Paso Mayor Oscar Leeser sent two times more migrants to New York City than Abbott targeting New York City and other cities because they're run by Black mayors?

Mayor Adams: Let's be clear, because we need to correct the front page of The Post. I never used the term racist. That was a little creative journalism that was used. But let's look at the facts. 108,000 cities and New York ... 108,000. Governor Abbott sent asylum seekers to New York, Black mayor; to Washington, Black mayor; to Houston, Black mayor; to Washington, Black mayor; to Houston, Black mayor; to Los Angeles, Black mayor; to Denver, Black mayor. He passed over thousands of cities to land here, and so I don't think El Paso, I don't think Brownsville, Texas, I don't think any of those other cities should have to bear the weight of the failure in Washington D.C. And so it was wrong for the mayor of El Paso to do it. No one should use human beings as political pawns, and I cannot ignore the fact that Governor Abbott sent migrants only to cities where there are Black mayors, and he's undermining our cities.

Question: Thank you. Mr. Mayor, also on a migrant-related issue, but a bit closer to home, state budget has about $1 billion in it to reimburse the city of migrant related costs. You've spoken a lot about the fiscal impact that the crisis is having on the city. The fact that you have now secured this reimbursement, does this mean that you can start looking at reversing some of the proposed cuts in your executive budget? Are you thinking you can roll some things back, invest more in other areas?

Mayor Adams: Okay, first of all, we didn't do cuts. We did PEGs, Program to Eliminate the Gaps. When I ran for office, if you go look at the tapes, you'll see the tapes stated that I'm going to find efficiencies in government and we're going to do PEGs. I stated this over and over again. The New York City public heard me say it. They heard others talk and they said, nope. We like to plan that Mayor Adams, the candidate is running. And that was the right thing to do. I don't know if people are aware of what we said is the financial impact of the city, $4.3 billion. $4.3 billion. So because we are getting a billion, which is coming in layers from the state, do we go back and just spend wily again? No, the city must be efficient without layoffs and without cuts to services and we have to really acknowledge the turbulent forecast that's in the future. Wall Street is not doing well. We are seeing real challenges that the city is facing and we are going to be smart, prudent, and protectors of New York City taxpayers dollars.

Question: Mr. Mayor, good to see you. On the state budget as well, you got some wins as in regards to bail reform, you like to say criminal justice reform and also in terms of the MTA funding and the migrant crisis, like Chris just said, but some of the housing policies that you pushed for like the raising the FAR cap and Extension 421a for projects in the pipeline, those didn't go anywhere. Do you think those have potential to get through before the end of session? Are you going to be lobbying for them?

Mayor Adams: Well, first I cannot thank my statewide leaders, Speaker Heastie, Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins, the governor for the conversations that we've had leading up to the budget. We spent a lot of time in Albany sitting down with them. They heard our concerns. We were facing over a half a billion dollars a year in additional subsidies to the MTA. They heard us, they substantially brought that down and there's some real W's. The budget bills have not been printed completely yet of my knowledge. We're going to look through them. I was briefed yesterday by the governor. We're going to look through them and see what other initiatives were going to push through throughout the rest of the session. The session's still in place, we need a housing plan.

I've made it clear that we're looking forward to finding a way we could do 421a and we could do some of the other initiatives to go with our real moonshot goal of 500,000 units of housing. In order to build, we have to put in place the infrastructure to build and that is what we're going to continue to advocate for. If we leave without any real plans on how we're going to build our way out of this affordable housing crisis, it'll be a big mistake on my part and I'm going to continue to talk with my leaders up there, see if we can land the plane.

Mayor Adams: What's up Dana?

Question: Hi, how are you?

Mayor Adams: Quite well.

Question: You've talked a lot about the economic impact of the migrant issue. Are there any proactive policy initiatives that you would have taken, undertaken, were it not the migrant issue? And relatedly, are you at all concerned that your rhetoric on the migrants will in any way inflame anti-immigrant sentiment here in New York City?

Mayor Adams: Yeah. Well, one, I'm not going to speculate on what isn't. I'm going to deal with what is. I got a $4.3 billion budget. Second, I'm not spewing rhetoric and I take offense to that. I've made it clear from day one. If you look at every comment that I made, it is not about the asylum seekers and migrants. All of us came from somewhere to pursue the American dream. It is the irresponsibility of the Republican Party in Washington for refusing to do real immigration reform. And it's the irresponsibility of the White House for not addressing this problem. Brownsville, Texas, El Paso, Denver, Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, we should not be burdening the weight of this problem. And so, it's not about the people who are suing the American dream. It's the irresponsibility of those that are allowing them to come to a country and not build the infrastructure to allow them to pursue that dream.

So people who are attempting to make it that this is an attack on the migrants. I did not see them sleep with the migrants in a hurry. A lot of people sit on the sideline. I don't see them on 34th Street volunteering to give out food. I don't see people on the ground. I'm on the ground. If they love our migrant and asylum seekers, they need to stop being intellectual and philosophical and come and participate and help. We need a lot of volunteers, so they should come and volunteer their time. English is their second language. They should come and volunteer job training. They should come and volunteer a food service and how to navigate filling out the documents. People need to stop criticizing and lead from the front like we are, come out and volunteer and help our migrant asylum seekers. And that's not rhetoric, that's commitment.

Question: I was wondering why you didn't attend the Met Gala yesterday and also why you seem to be out less at night lately?

Mayor Adams: Why?

Question: You didn't attend the Met Gala, and also why you seem to be out less at night lately?

Mayor Adams: Oh, well, I had four events around the same time. One of them, I was being honored by a literacy organization. I was receiving the Literacy Hero Award down at Casa Cipriani. They acknowledged the good work we're doing around literacy, and I had several of the events that was in conflict. I would love to have come and sport a nice tuxedo, but I had other engagements. I mean, this is a big city. Every night they are 1,000,001 things going, and I try to spread love the New York way, and so that's why I couldn't make it. Now you say I haven't been out lately. No, New York Times just haven't been following me lately.

They've been sort of just falling back. They realize that writing our articles about me going to different places is not going to stop me. I'm the nightlife mayor. This is a 24/7 city. I'm obligated to go patronize my restaurants, patronize my theater. I was at “New York, New York” play the other night. That's my responsibility. This city doesn't shut down at 6 PM. We have people who work from 4 to 12, overnight shifts. I didn't fall into the house last night until 2 AM. So it is not that I'm not out. Y'all have finally realized that I'm going to be out no matter how much you write about me and criticize me. This is my city and this is our city. We just need to enjoy it throughout the day. So I'm still out if you want to hang out, I got some nice spots we can hang out in where we can enjoy it. I'm a Tito’s and seltzer person, or I like a good cognac and a nice cigar, but I'm out. I enjoy the city. I don't get home early.


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