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Transcript: Mayor Adams Hosts Community Conversation

September 6, 2023

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Commissioner Fred Kreizman, Community Affairs Unit: Good evening. Thank you very much. My name is Fred Kreizman, commissioner of the mayor's Community Affairs Unit. It's a pleasure to welcome you to the Upper West Side, the Community Conversation with Eric. 

This series, we're going around to all of the different boroughs to ensure the mayor hears directly from the people. The first part, six to seven, we had roundtable conversations with members of the mayor's office taking diligent notes to ensure that all of your concerns are heard. And they're transcribed and then relayed so this way anyone coming here, their issue is relayed to the proper people. 

Q&A cards are on every table, so in case your question isn't asked, within two weeks you get a call back dealing with your issue and we ensure accountability. 

And before we get started, I just wanted to acknowledge who's first on the dais. Today we have, obviously, the mayor of the City of New York. We have First Deputy Mayor Sheena Wright, Deputy Mayor Meera Joshi, NYPD Deputy Commissioner Mark Stewart, Sanitation Commissioner Jessica Tisch, DOE Chancellor David Banks, ACS Commissioner Jess Danhauser. 

We have New York City Emergency Management Chief of Staff Yokarina Duarte. DEP Commissioner Rohit Aggarwala, DSS Commissioner Molly Park, DOB Commissioner Jimmy Oddo, City Planning Commissioner Dan Garodnick, Probation Commissioner Juanita Holmes. NYCHA, we have Senior Vice President Brian Honan, HPD Chief of Staff George Sarkissian. 

Office of Prevention of Hate Crimes in the Mayor's Office Executive Director Hassan Naveed, Fire Department Chief John [inaudible], Rodent Mitigation Director Kathleen Corradi. EDC Vice President Gigi Lee, and Mayor's Office of People with Disabilities Commissioner, Christina Curry. 

On this side, of course, we have our Manhattan Borough President, Mark Levine, Councilmember Gale Brewer, SBS Commissioner Kevin Kim, Parks Commissioner Sue Donaghue. Mayor's Office of Immigrant Affairs Commissioner Manuel Castro. Department of Finance Commissioner Preston Niblack. DOT Commissioner Ydanis Rodriguez, Department of Consumer and Worker Protection Commissioner Vilda Vera Mayaga. 

Health + Hospital President Dr. Mitchell Katz, Department of Health and Mental Hygiene Acting Deputy Commissioner Gretchen Van Wye. Mayor's Office of Community Mental Health Deputy Executive Director Laquisha Grant. 

Human Rights Commissioner Annabel Palma, Mayor's Office of Criminal Justice Director Deanna Logan, CEC Executive Director Sarah Sayeed, Department of Aging Executive Deputy Commissioner Ryan Murray. DYCD Deputy Commissioner Susan Haskell, and Gender Based Violence Deputy Commissioner Anne Patterson, and Tiffany Raspberry, senior advisor and Intergovernmental Affairs and External Affairs Director. 

Thank you. And at this time... 

Mayor Eric Adams: I see my senator. Senator, will you come up. You can have my seat and the assemblywoman… Assemblywoman, would you come up. Come up, they've got a seat for you as well, please come on up. BP. 

Manhattan Borough President Mark Levine: Once a BP always a BP, mayor. 

Mayor Adams: Just slide down a little so we can fit these two electeds… 

Borough President Levine: We have several BPs in the room right now. We have the great Ruth Messinger. Where is Ruth? Idol and role model to me and many others. And we have the great Gale Brewer, who you have to wish happy birthday to, although she probably doesn't want us to. Thank you, Gale, for everything you do. 

Mr. Mayor, thank you for holding this event on the West Side. Thank you for doing it specifically here on the West Side, we're close to the wonderful Amsterdam Houses, we're in the middle of this vibrant new neighborhood which has really taken shape over the past decade, and there are challenges here, we will talk about them. 

Thank you for doing this meeting at PS 191, an amazing school. Shout out to Principal Stephen Hernon, who is doing a great job, and I think this school might have the most migrant children in Manhattan, at least it's one of the most, 180 or something like that. And the school has really worked hard to accommodate the young people. Thank you. Thank you for that. Thank you to the school community here. You have some great police leadership uptown. But Chief Stephenson, where is the chief? This guy is a rising star in the department. 

I think you're going to hear about the migrants a lot tonight. And I want to say, unequivocally, that I agree with Mayor Adams that the federal government must do more to support us. This is a humanitarian crisis. It is a national crisis. We need the migrants to be able to work. We need them to get work permits. We need federal financial assistance and much, much more. I want us to keep that in mind tonight. Can you applaud for that. 

This is very important. We need New York City to be united in that issue. I just want to mention one hyperlocal issue, then I'll pass the mic. I've been very engaged in the fight against the epidemic of scaffolding in this community, and the West Side. It's all over. And the mayor, I don't know if Commissioner Oddo is here. Yes, he is. Jimmy Oddo, the amazing commissioner of the Buildings Department, are very committed to this fight. If you are a co-op owner, you know about Local Law 11, and I personally think we need to have a little more flexibility in Local Law 11. Shouldn't be one size fits all. Obviously safety is the priority. But there are times when people are doing inspections, putting up scaffolding where there's not really an obvious safety compelling reason. So that we need to fix. 

I'm going to stop there. Thank you to this great crowd. Thank you Mr. Mayor and to this entire array of New York City leadership. Thank you so much. 

Mayor Adams: Thank you. We want to hear, how are you doing Gale? 

City Councilmember Gale Brewer: I'm doing fine. 

Mayor Adams: Happy birthday. 

Councilmember Brewer: Thank you very much for doing this. 

Mayor Adams: Don't lose sight that your birthday is today. 

Councilmember Brewer: I'm very well aware of it. 1,000 frickin emails. 

Mayor Adams: My birthday is September 1st we're both Virgos. 

Councilmember Brewer: I heard. Thank you, you like it better than I do appreciate being here tonight. I want to also thank Zuber and Lazarus, the 24 and 20, and Superintendent Samuels and everybody from the school district. I appreciate it very much. 

I'll go quickly through some issues and I want to say your agency heads are excellent, and so is the staff. Doesn't mean that the problems go away but they are responsive. Migrants, here we have about four or five hotels. The Stratford Arms on 70th Street today is switching from adults to children starting on Monday. And so it's been challenging. With the adults. The issue is, very specifically, I have tried to work with them and with the community. When people move into a building, they need services. They immediately need OSHA. They immediately need English as a second language. They immediately need support. 

And if you wait like a few weeks, even, without any community room, they go out on the street. So, I would love to have, when the families move in, immediate services in addition to DOE. That's happened at Stratford Arms on 81st Street. People are concerned about e-bikes and those mopeds, et cetera. It's a big issue on the Upper West Side. 

Hold on, because I don't want to take too much time. So, we're meeting on Friday at Community Board 7, thank you all members of Board 7. We have people, stakeholders in the issue. I know when we met with you, Mr. Mayor, as elected officials, we talked about it, and agencies I've met with since. I'd like all the agencies to participate with us in this meeting to come up with solutions. It's not an easy problem. I think the rules of the road need to be followed and people need their food and baristas need to be paid and have the ability to do their work. That's what my goal is there. 

On the homeless in general, on the Upper West Side, as the president knows, we don't have a lot of vacant land but we have some single room occupancies that should be purchased by nonprofits to house people on a permanent basis. That could be the way to handle that on the Upper West Side. We want permanent housing. We are very, very supportive of very low income, permanent housing. Also to your credit, you're putting in a safe haven on 83rd Street. I'm supportive. There's going to be a meeting with the community to talk about it. There was a lot of hoopla, but I think it is going in a good direction. Breaking ground is an excellent nonprofit. 

On the homeless, there are encampments they're hard. There's one on 82nd and Broadway, hard to get rid of. I think social workers need to be more involved, in addition to the police response. That happens with Be Heard, but I'd love to see city wide more social workers working with the Police Department. 

Outdoor dining, I think we're going in the right direction. Thank you for the bill. Thank you to my colleagues. Those who are concerned, I will say that down the line there will be fewer of them. They will be smaller. But you'll still be able to eat outside and the restaurants will be able to do well. So I support that. 

Sirens. People hate the loud ambulance sirens. And so the question would be, what can we do together to do rumbler or do something so that the cars move but you don't hear that piercing sound between Roosevelt and Saint Luke's Hospital, something to work on. 

I'll finish quickly. I'm done. West Presbyterian Church, we want to save, 59th Street shelter being purchased for women, I'd love for it to be permanent housing not be for transitional because I think when you have a new building you definitely need to have those that are permanently housed. Thank you very much. 

State Assembly Member Linda Rosenthal: Thank you, Mr. Mayor. Assemblymember Linda Rosenthal, welcome to 191, which as you recall, some of you, this was part of the former president's area, the one just preceding this one. 

Anyway, it's a beautiful school, and I know how hard they work, especially with the new asylum seekers here, but all the schools that have asylum seekers have done a wonderful job. Not just helping people learn but helping to clothes them, helping to feed them. Helping their families have opportunity here. And that's what New York and the U.S. is all about, opportunity. 

So, I know you also are pushing for opportunity for all. Doesn't matter how wealthy you are or how indigent you are, New York City will take care of you, and New York state as well. So, I hear all the issues. I hear them all the time. I'm working to solve a lot of them. Some of them, the mayor has to lead on and that's why he's here to hear all of our concerns. But this is a beautiful neighborhood. And I appreciate that we can all live here together. Thank you. 

State Senator Brad Hoylman-Sigal: Thank you, Mr. Mayor, thank you to my colleagues. Thank you to all the commissioners, this is one stop shopping and I really appreciate this effort. State senator from Christopher Street all the way up to West 103, thank you very much. 

Mr. Mayor, what I want to hear tonight is how Albany can help you and your city elected officials can do their job. I know that includes a billion dollars that the governor has pledged to assist the city in its struggle to house and to make the lives better for asylum seekers. I know it's legislation that we need to pass in Albany that assemblymember Rosenthal and I carry to curb the dangers of e bikes. 

And I know, Mr. Mayor, you know, having served just a couple seats down from me on that senate floor that we need to be an allyship here in Albany with City Hall. I look forward to hearing everyone's comments and making sure that the West Side is even better after tonight. Thank you. 

Mayor Adams: Thank you. And we want to open the floor up. We want to allow you to have an opportunity to speak and get your thoughts out. There's only one rule we operate under. We could disagree but we're not going to be disagreeable. 

These folks you see up here, they work nonstop, nonstop. Oftentimes I call them three, four, two a.m. in the morning… They have sacrificed their lives to help this city, and I am never going to allow anyone to disrespect this team because of their commitment. 

You have an opinion, do it. Follow the course. We're going to respect each other and we're going to communicate. When you talk, I'm going to shut my mouth and listen. When I talk, I'm going to ask you to do the same. 

Look at this diverse group we have up here. This city has never witnessed a diverse group of New Yorkers that are reflective of the diversity of this city in its history. And what this administration has done in the midst of everything we've gone through, January 1st, 2022, what did we have in this city? You were unsure if your children were going to school or not. 

And we were clear, our babies will be back in school. We pushed back on all the naysayers. Our companies remained open. We returned 99 percent of the jobs we lost. We were trending in the wrong direction in crime. We turned around public safety in this city. 11,000 guns removed off our streets. 

You saw people were afraid to get on our subway system. We're capping out at four million riders now. There were encampments everywhere in this city. Drive around this city. Go Google San Francisco. Los Angeles. Chicago. Go Google those other cities and see what's happening in those cities and what is happening here in this city. 

And then we made the tough choices economically. We had to do several rounds of PEGS, Programs to Eliminate the Gaps. The bond raters looked at how we're managing the city. Rather than leaving us at an AA-, gave us a bump to AA because they stated we're managing, navigating the city. Tourism is back, 56 million last year. 65 million predicted this year. 

You look at the legislation that we pushed through Albany, putting money back in the pockets of working class people. Earned income tax credit. 20 years first time we were able to hire, to increase this. NYCHA, everyone tried to get NYCHA residents the relief they deserve. We were able to get the NYCHA Land Trust. A major project in Chelsea that I think is going to change the game of NYCHA. 

Look at fair futures, foster care children. We're paying their college tuition giving them a stipend so they won't live in a level of despair. Dyslexia screening. 30 percent of the people in Rikers Island, 30 to 40 percent are dyslexic. We're doing dyslexia screening so they end up incarcerated. Cause if you don't educate you incarcerate. 

Look online and look at our Ws, look at I ran on and look at what we did. Go item for item on what Eric Adams ran on as a candidate and look at what we've accomplished in 20 months. We turned this city around in 20 months. 

And then what happened? Started with a madman down in Texas, decided he wanted to bus people up to New York City. 110,000 migrants. We have to feed, cloth, house, educate the children, wash their laundry sheets, give them everything they need, healthcare. And this team here, we stated let's do everything possible before we have to push it out into neighborhoods and communities. Month after month I stood up and I said this is going to come to a neighborhood near you. We're here. We're here. We're getting no support on this national crisis and we're receiving no support. 

And let me tell you something, New Yorkers, never in my life have I had a problem that I did not see an ending to. I don't see an ending to this. I don't see an ending to this. This issue will destroy New York City. Destroy New York City. We're getting 10,000 migrants a month. One time we were just getting Venezuela. Now we're getting Ecuador. Now we're getting Russian-speaking coming through Mexico. We've got Western Africa. Now we're getting people from all over the globe have made their minds up that they're going to come through the southern part of the border and come into New York City. 

And everyone is saying it's New York City's problem. Every community in this city is going to be impacted. We have a $12 billion deficit that we're going to have to cut. Every service in this city is going to be impacted. All of us. And so I say to you, as I turn it over to you, this is some of the most educated, some of the most knowledgeable, probably more of my commissioners and deputy commissioners and chiefs live in this community. 

So, as you ask me a question about migrants, tell me what role you played. How many of you organized to stop what they're doing to us? How many of you were part of the movement to say, we're seeing what this mayor is trying to do and [the crisis is] destroying New York City? It's going to come to your neighborhoods. All of us are going to be impacted by this. I said it last year when we had 15,000. And I'm telling you now, with 110,000. The city we knew we're about to lose, and we're all in this together. All of us. Staten Island is saying send them out to Manhattan. Manhattan is saying send them out to Queens. Queens is saying send them out to Brooklyn. No, that's not the game we can play. Open the floor up. 

Question: Can you hear me? Mayor Adams and team thank you for making the time to talk to us, your constituents on a Wednesday evening. My name is Michael [inaudible]. I've lived in the neighborhood for the last 12 years. I thank everyone who has made this neighborhood this special place it is. I have a two part question. 

It's focused on something we've already touched on in the initial remarks. Mayor Adams, given your administration's demonstrated and articulated support for permanent affordable housing, what steps are you taking to make such housing available to deserving New Yorkers? Because of the demonstrated success in these programs and that truly is what makes New York great. 

As a more local question, we have $500 million shelter building built up here on 59th Street that was signed off in the dying days of the prior administration. There is heavy local support for this project to be converted to permanent housing, given the demonstrated success as I mention of these programs. What scope is there for that project to be converted to permanent housing? 

Mayor Adams: Is Dan here? Who is here from… Dan, tell them the plan we rolled out. People often ask the question what are we doing around housing. 

Housing is a city and a state problem. There's not one elected official that's not going to say the number one concern they hear from their constituency is housing. Housing. Senior, affordable, low income, middle income because everyone is hurting. That's the number one issue. Then you tell me why nothing was done in Albany this year on housing. 

Nothing. We presented a plan, raise FAR. We raised a plan of converting office space into housing. We presented several different plans. The governor and I put together an ambitious program of building more housing. There's no reason we left Albany last year with not one initiative on housing. Dan, can you go into what we're doing? 

Dan Garodnick, Director, Department of City Planning: First of all, I think that point is important. We need to continue to work with our partners in Albany to make sure we have support for growth in New York City of housing. 

In this neighborhood, in particular, we have a full 20 percent of the residents of Community Board 7 considered severely rent burden. Not just rent burdened, severely rent burdened. Means you pay more than 50 percent of income on rent in Community Board 7. In the last decade, this was one of the main areas of Manhattan where housing gains like the ones that we are in right now were significantly offset by housing losses in the same community board. 

Through combination of units, the Upper West Side was one of the neighborhoods which actually lost units as a result of combining smaller units into bigger ones. Also true in the Upper East Side, Greenwich Village and SoHo. The mayor asked me to talk a little bit about what we're doing in New York City. We're not obviously just sitting on our hands and waiting. We have a real understanding that we cannot solve our housing crisis. The question of affordability without every neighborhood in the city being a part of growth and supply. 

Our housing in New York has not kept up with the demand. The vacancy rates for apartments under $1,500 a month is less than 1 percent today. The result are what the questioner is asking about. Rents in Manhattan, which are exorbitantly high. They're exorbitantly high everywhere. Pressures of displacement and gentrification and homelessness, imbalance of power between landlords on one hand, tenants on the other, if you don't have vacancies, tenants have very few rights, and we need to alleviate that situation. 

So, later this fall we are going to be presenting the Mayor's Housing Opportunity Initiative, which is a zoning proposal, which is how we are trying to address this issue locally. It's a zoning text amendment, which means we're going to be making changes in every neighborhood from high density areas like this one to low density areas throughout the city and everywhere in between, adding a little bit of new housing in every neighborhood we believe will make a significant impact here. 

We'll be looking at office conversions, off-street parking regulations and a whole lot more. And the mayor has charged us with some very big goals on delivering housing for this city, and we expect to be able to deliver on that and we look forward to talking about that more publicly soon. 

Mayor Adams: So our crisis is an inventory problem. We have more people looking for housing than what we are building. We used to have the 421a, we lost that. We see the substantial impact. That was a tax incentive to incentivise building. We lost that. We wanted to do office conversions. 138 million square feet of office. People are now working from home. We wanted to convert those into housing. 

We did not get that done in Albany. We wanted to raise the FAR. We did not get that done in Albany. And then the local compensation. I can't tell you how many times we have come to communities to say let's build here. People will rally on Monday about affordable housing and then on Tuesday they say you can't build it on my block. 

Listen, we have to be honest about this conversation. I need help in Albany. We're going to do our part. We need help on the City Council. We have an inventory problem. We want to build as much as possible to place people in housing. HPD, can we talk about that shelter we were just talking about? 

Commissioner Molly Wasow Park, Department of Social Services: Thank you for the question. Building off of the point that was made about rent burden. In New York City, there's more than half a million households that earn less than $30,000 a year and pay more than 50 percent of their income in rent. That is half a million households that are one emergency away from needing shelter. The analogy that I've heard used that I think is really compelling is think of shelter as an emergency room, right?  

Absolutely we need the permanent housing, but we need that emergency solution as well. This is a project that I think is going to be a really good one. It is ground up new construction so we can really design it to meet the needs of the women. It will serve women experiencing homelessness trying to get back on their feet. There is going to be federally qualified health clinics that will serve both the clients in the shelter and the community. 

It's a well-respected provider with a long history of serving clients. So, yes, absolutely housing is critically important so is having safe, decent emergency shelter that can help people stabilize their lives. I think this is going to be a really good opportunity for women, and we are committed to working with the community so that we can make sure it's a strong experience for the community as well. 

Mayor Adams: HPD, I’m sorry about that. Next. 

Question: Mr. Mayor. I'm Ben [inaudible], I've been on the Upper West Side for four and a half years. And the question our table has is already touched upon, but we're concerned about pedestrian and biker safety due to reckless bikers and we're wondering what the city can do to enforce biking traffic laws. 

Mayor Adams: That's a great question. We were at a Park Slope senior center the other day… You can applaud for him. We were at a Park Slope senior center the other day with a group of seniors who raised that same question. We were up in Washington Heights. Same question. Something happened in the city over the last few years. Our use of streets have changed drastically. We did not adjust to those changes, and we have to do so. 

And part of it is making sure the app delivery companies are doing their job. We have to have the proper enforcement. That's not heavy handed, but we have to send the right message, riding on the sidewalks, going down one way streets. Just a total disregard for traffic safety. 

Bicyclists, scooters, everything else, is supposed to follow the same traffic safety regimen. Now, 11,000 illegal mopeds, motorcycles, three wheelers, dirt bikes we removed off the streets. Confiscated them off the streets. Many of them were being used for crimes. Many of them were being used, they were stolen, unregistered. We zeroed in on these illegal bikes that are on the streets. I think the Council must sit down and we must do some real legislation that's a full scope of things, everything from registering the e-bikes. 

You get hit by an illegal moped or what have you, you're stuck with the bill. Holding these app companies responsible. These are your employees. You see some of the vans that drive around. It says if I'm driving reckless, call this number. So, we have to think outside the box of how do we deal with this new reality of all of these different vehicles being used. Now, it's also not lost on me, you guys are probably out more than any place on the globe. So, these folks that you're complaining about, many of them are on their way to your homes to deliver the food that you order out at. You order out a lot. 

You order out a lot. So part of that, need to find out who is this company and speak to the person you are ordering from, say, listen, we expect more. There's some corporate responsibility. We have to police ourselves, and I think the council must partner with us and find out a real way to start looking at this new reality of the streets we're on now. 

These are different streets we're on. These are not the streets I grew up on. They're different from bike lanes, to scooters, to mopeds, to just a cultural difference that we have to zero in on. I hear it all over the city. It's a legitimate concern and we want to zero in on it. 

Question: Good evening, Mr. Mayor. 

Mayor Adams: How are you? 

Question: I'm doing well, thank you. Thank you to everybody who sits on the board. I appreciate your efforts incredibly every day. My name is Rachel [inaudible], I live across the street. Forgive me as I read my question, we love your dedication to housing, agree that national trends show greatest success with affordable housing compared to shelters, including remarkable statistics coming out of Houston as they tackle similar problems successfully. 

Our question is addressing the same city contract for a half a billion dollar 200 bed women's bed shelter during the final hours of de Blasio administration. A familiar story from what I'm told. Mr. Mayor, I appreciate your comments regarding Albany's need to help but this money is coming from New York City taxpayers. Immediately next to the playground which Councilwoman Gale Brewer helped build. Thank you for that, councilwoman. 

Given the need for the need of housing inventory problem the pricing shelter seems even more out of place than before especially when there is a new 100 plus bed shelter which opened in 2019 only a few blocks south serving the exact same population of women and there are still open beds at that shelter. 

Here, the people of the City of New York are paying for a new shelter when there's an appeal over all five boroughs for affordable units as you have correctly stated time and time again. Why is the site not constructing what every New Yorker is asking for. Can you intervene before building begins. 

It's a unique opportunity. It's an empty lot at this point. Can you reroute the decision made by de Blasio to make this affordable housing instead? The opportunity seems unique since it's a lot. The organization, which is Project Renewal, which was awarded this project, is willing to adjust the plans with your blessing, and it is preparing for construction, and it's perfect to address your inventory problem. 

Mayor Adams: Thank you. And that’s not going to address our inventory problem. We have a real inventory problem. Who do I have from HPD. Give our numbers of people we've placed… I need you to stand up because they can't hear. That was the note that DJ gave me. Give the numbers of the people we've placed through FHEPS, put aside housing as we move forward. 

Deputy Commissioner George Sarkissian, Department of Housing Preservation and Development: That might be another DHS question…  

Mayor Adams: That's number one. And I don't think many of you heard what Molly stated. You can't subscribe to the theory of, listen, we need hospital beds so move out the emergency room. 

That's theoretical. That is not real life. We need a required amount of shelter spaces. Prior to the crisis, we had thousands of people in our shelters we're trying to constantly trying to cycle out. Yes, idealism collides with realism when you have to deal with all the populations. 

We have to have a place, domestic violence, women in shelters, people dealing with mental health issues. We need to have the emergency housing. That is what we need to have, and it's a combination of the two. How many folks have we cycled out? You can explain it. 

Commissioner Wasow Park: Yes, we place about 200 households a week into subsidized housing out of the DHS shelters. Permanent housing is absolutely the goal for everybody. We really appreciate our collaboration with HPD, with City Planning, with NYCHA and other housing agencies. But at the end of the day we have to be able to meet people's emergency needs. It's really critical. We cannot set up a dichotomy between shelter or housing; it's really shelter and housing because we have to be able to meet people where they are. 

When somebody is facing an emergency, when a woman comes in and in many cases the mayor alluded it's domestic violence situation, or even something as simple as the financial emergency that can affect somebody who is living paycheck to paycheck in what is let's face it an expensive city. We have to be able to meet their need right then at the time. We can't say come back in a week when we have space. 

So, it is really a question of how do we make sure that we are providing good quality shelter across the city. One of the things this administration has been really committed is making sure that core Manhattan has as many shelters as the South Bronx. It's really important. It's correcting a 40 year change in shelter policy. But making sure we have sites across the city where we can meet emergencies because there are people who need shelter who come from every community. 

Mayor Adams: And post Covid, and I'm sure my state lawmakers would tell you, post Covid, the number of people who are behind in their rents, the number of people who are going through eviction court right now, this is not only us being benevolent, which we are going to be, we're required by law. Every day New Yorkers, if they lose their housing, we have to place them in housing in a certain period of time. We're required by law. 

So, yes, we would love not to have a shelter and build permanent housing. I'm sure a hospital would rather have a preventive care and not the emergency room. There's an emergency room for a reason. Stuff happens. And we have to respond to that stuff when it happens, particularly children and families. 

First Deputy Mayor Sheena Wright: Mayor, I think we should also, you wanted George to stand up because we've also been doing some record-breaking housing development. 

Deputy Commissioner Sarkissian: Happy to talk about it, deputy mayor. This past year, we produced 24,000 units of housing. So that is up 8,000 units from the previous year where we produced 16,000 units of housing. 

So, we've been doing a lot of work at HPD to build the permanent affordable housing you're talking about. If there are sites in your neighborhood that you would like us to take a look at, we're happy to take a look at and think about a path forward for permanent affordable housing, in addition to the shelter that's important to DHS. 

Mayor Adams: We have the FHEPS numbers, anybody have that? We had a couple of records. Like I said, this was my Aaron Judge year. We need to talk about it. The post, not... 

Commissioner Wasow Park: CityFHEPS is the city-funded rental program. As far as I know we're the only city in the country that puts its own tax dollars to work to fund permanent housing. When I got started in this business we used to talk about how many new Section 8 vouchers we were going to get. The feds haven't funded new Section 8 in decades. The city stepped up. We have a city funded rental subsidy program. 

Last year, there's a total of about 30,000 households currently receiving CityFHEPS. Many of them exited shelter. Many of them received it in order to prevent eviction. Last year we did about 9,000 vouchers. It's the most we have ever done, and we have increased placements out of shelter into permanent housing both with CityFHEPS and other subsidies by more than 20 percent. 

Mayor Adams: Thank you. Where are we? How are you?  

Question: Good, Mr. Mayor, how are you? 

Mayor Adams: Good. We go to the same barber shop. 

Question: There we go. In about 12 hours, we have over 1 million kids going back to school. We’ve got a bussing challenge, we’ve got 150,000 kids approximately who take the bus. We heard from Chancellor Banks’ team there's a possible bike strike next week. 

The city purchased NYCSBUS and created a nonprofit which is controlled by you with mayoral control, and by Chancellor Banks [inaudible] leading NYCSBUS. We've heard the problem is it's the contracts, but since we the citizens own one of those bus companies, what are you and your team going to do to ensure that NYCSBUS gets the contract signed and gets our legally-mandated students to school on time all year? 

Mayor Adams: Thank you for that. Listen, nothing is more important than making sure our children are educated. And when you do an analysis of how the contracts are done...and Chancellor Banks can respond to that… There's a negotiation that takes place with ATU, the bus companies. 

And we're not the direct vendor of that contract. It's negotiated with the bus companies and the third party for lack of a better phrase. 

Question: [Inaudible.] 

Mayor Adams: Okay. Remember what the deal was. You talk, I listen. I talk you listen. Your apology is accepted. The goal is to have the negotiation of all of them. We don't want a bus strike. We want our children to be able to get to the schools accordingly. 

It's not lost on me that 80 percent of the union contracts, 81 percent, actually, of the union contracts were settled by me. One of them was out for 13 years. I settled my teachers, my DC37. My police officers. My firefighters. I'm a blue collar mayor and we're going to make sure we continue to settle 100 percent. Our goal is to do so. 

But in any relationship, the settlement must come on both sides. Both of us must sit down, negotiate and come to a conclusion. I have to manage a fiscal crisis in this city. 

And I have to be the keeper of taxpayers' dollars. I did it with every other union. Many of them had 97, 95, 96 percent ratification rate based on how we made sure we took care of our public servants. We're going to do it here. We're going to close the deal. I don't want a strike. I want us to avoid a strike. Chancellor, you want to add anything to that? 

Chancellor Banks: Not a lot more to add, Mr. Mayor. I think you pretty much said it all. If we were to have a strike, it could affect close to 90,000 students, including 25,000 students with special needs. The students that we carry on the roster for NYC bus small percentage of that. Our focus has been how do we resolve this altogether. The mayor just clearly led out. 

We're not direct parties here. It's the union, together with these vendors. So, but we're there, we're working with them. We feel like some progress is being made. There won't be a strike for the first couple of days, an opportunity to get everybody in. In the event there's a strike we've laid out a contingency plan, emergency metro cards and ride shares and reimbursement for folks who have to take tax sis and the like. There's a number of things we're doing. 

But strikes are always messy. Last strike we had was about 10 years ago. We don't want another strike. The mayor has been able to come to agreement on a wide range of contracts. We're certainly hopeful we'll be able to get this one done here. We'll hear more about it in the next couple of days. 

Mayor Adams: Thank you. 

Question: How is it going, Mr. Mayor? 

Mayor Adams: Quite well, how are you? 

Question: Good. Back in 2012...a little strong...back in 2012, the budget for DHS was $508 million under Mayor Bloomberg, and our homeless population was 43,000 people. 

10 years later, the budget is 3.5 billion and our native homeless population is a little bit over 50,000. Spending on homelessness is a runaway train and no one seems concerned, especially our comptroller, Brad Lander, whose wife runs New York City's largest lobbying firm for homeless shelters. 

Mayor Adams: I'm sorry, could you say that again? 

Question: Okay. Let's do it. So, clearly Brad Lander does not care about the rising cost of our DHS shelter system, which has ballooned since Bloomberg to $3.5 billion, estimated of 4.1 billion dollars next year but was once $508 million under Bloomberg. 

So anyway, the Upper West Side currently ranks ninth in the amount of shelters amongst the 51 districts of New York City. So I feel like there's a really contentious thing that's happening here about the Upper West Side not doing its share, and they're already ninth, and that's before the new shelter that's supposed to go up. 

In this neighborhood, the one on 83rd Street the HERRC centers, they're really doing their part. Just wanted to put that out there. 

Going back to my question, which is supposed to relate to quality of life, right, let's simplify things. I'll give you a clear question. We'll get a clear answer. It is common practice for homeless shelters to ask their clients to leave in the morning and return back at check in time. Many suffer from addiction and mental illness. 

A recent study from UCLA said that 75 percent of homeless people suffer from addiction and 78 percent suffer from mental illness, the study is less than six months old. 

There are drug dealers who prey specifically on this population. They wait at the local McDonald's or local bodegas for the homeless customers to get released or asked to leave the shelter system. Keeping them trapped in addiction and stuck in the shelter system. And we would like to see the NYPD address this directly. 

Mayor Adams: And listen, I'm sorry, what's your name? Jason. Listen, I agree with you. I've been spending a lot of time trying to figure out how do we get out of this professional shelter cycle. A lot of time trying to figure it out. 

I've been really pushing the envelope. I've been sitting down with focus groups, ex shelter providers, people who are in this business. I spent a lot of time really focused on it because I'm frustrated and I'm angry about how much money we spend on shelters. 

It's a losing system. And I don't want people to get comfortable and believe that they're permanently supposed to be in the shelter, because it's a downstream mindset. If you're a child and you grow up in a shelter, you're less likely to graduate from high school. You know what I say, if you don't educate you're going to incarcerate. We're feeding on ourselves and we have to break this cycle. 

Haven't figured it out yet, but I'm 100 percent with you. We should not be spending this amount of money on a shelter system. Dealing with those drug issues that you're talking about, previous administration stopped doing the street enforcement of drugs. I said, listen, are you out of your mind? Listen, this city was an anything goes city. You guys can't imagine what I inherited [inaudible]. It was an any and everything goes city, where people basically, you had good workers, we had terrible policies and whoever yelled at you, you moved away from them. 

What we're doing around mental health, particularly severe mental health, those who can't take care of themselves and a danger to themselves and others on the subway system, on our streets. Dr. Vasan, department of mental health and hygiene, wrap around services being more proactive in what we're doing. We're not walking by this stuff anymore. 

We're not saying this is just life in the big city. That's not what we do. I spend hours on the subway system dealing with how are we engaging people who are dealing with severe mental health illnesses. 

And so I'm with you. I'm also with you about something you said. You are doing your share. That would never come out of my mouth that this community is not doing its share. 

This community has some of the most folks who are employed in nonprofits. They do a lot of volunteerism. You're all doing your share. I'm not part of the game that says hey Upper West Side is not doing your share. You're doing your share. It's calling all of us to do even more than our share now. That's how this thing is. 

I'm with you. I'd love for you to be part of the round tables we're having of how do we fix this sick shelter system that has perpetuated and grown into a monster. We need to rein it back under control. My team will connect with you. I'd love for you to be part of that conversation. 

Commissioner Wasow Park: Mr. Mayor, can I add on. Holly. I just want to add on about the policy around leaving shelter during the day. 

That was the case...that was ended about 15 years ago, give or take. At this point, individuals, families in shelter, they may have to leave their dorm, the individuals would have to leave their dorm so we can clean it, but there is space in shelters where people may stay. 

We absolutely agree that it is not a good idea to have people roaming the street. The idea is that people are inside; that they're getting connected with services, whether it's healthcare services, employment, housing. Nobody is forced to leave the shelter full stop. 

Mayor Adams: But with that said, Molly is not saying that even when they're not forced to, my home, in Brooklyn, was around Bedford and Atlantic. And all day every day people, they were outside. I was up in Harlem the other day. People were just outside. 

Now, that's on steroids when you tell 60,000 people that you can't work. You can't do anything. You can't even volunteer. We wanted to get migrants to help volunteer clean the street that they wanted to do. We can't even get them to do that. We can't get them a stipend. We can't allow them to do anything. 

They have to sit around all day doing nothing. Now, imagine you're 18 to 24 years old, all day you're doing nothing. Remember what we were doing at 18? 

Question: Hi my name is Mary Evancho and I have lived on the Upper West Side for 44 years. New York City is home. Nice to meet you, Mayor Adams. 

Mayor Adams: Thank you very much. 

Question: Our table would like to know how do we better enforce our existing laws? For example, bike laws that already exist where commercial riders are required to wear vests with ID numbers for better accountability so they obey the traffic laws, and in particular dining shed guidelines where there has been zero enforcement for three years and counting. And then our littlest member of the table would like to say something. 

Mayor Adams: What's up, Jason, how are you? 

Question: Good. 

Mayor Adams: Do you want to read your question? 

Question: I just wanted to say I want...I just want to have a cleaner, safer city now. 

Mayor Adams: Thank you. He said he wanted...he wants a cleaner, safer city now. Now, what was the VEST, I don't know that law. 

Question: There's an existing law. I don't have the number. 

Mayor Adams: Anybody from the police department that know about it? Let the deputy mayor, because I don't know... 

Deputy Mayor Meera Joshi, Operations: Good evening, I'm Meera Joshi, Deputy Mayor for operations. You're correct in 2017 there was a council law that was passed that required... 

Question: Whose law was that? 

Mayor Adams: Probably yours. 

Deputy Mayor Meera Joshi, Operations: Required helmet vest and ID. It was passed at a time when those delivery drivers were linked to brick and mortar restaurants so enforcement could go straight back to the restaurant. 

What we need to do...I know the council is working with us on do we incorporate more regulation with the delivery apps, including safe equipment, but more accountability because there's no world any more where there's brick and mortar restaurants that are accountable for the comings and goings of the delivery apps but the foundation is there. 

You also mentioned open restaurants. We do have an Open Restaurants Task Force. We'll make sure that we get your information because we've taken down hundreds of abandoned and noncompliant sheds throughout this city and we're happy to do the same in the Upper West Side. We just need the locations and we'll be on the spot. 

Mayor Adams: But I like your idea. We need to look...maybe we can get Gale...we need to look because that's a good idea if you are a delivery person having a vest with an identifiable number that's attached to you, we connect it back to...right now we have no way of knowing who is the person breaking the rule. 

Question: So, Mayor Adams, it's not a good idea. It's a law… It's the current law, and starting with vest and ID. 

Mayor Adams: Does that vest have the number that you were saying? Is that the way the law is? 

Question: On the back of the vest should be an identifying number. If you recall a few years ago you would see them pretty frequently and then it came into sort of disuse in terms of enforcement. 

It should be the name of the establishment, which would give advertisement to the restaurant or whichever that is. I'm not sure how the delivery apps would work. That's a whole different ball game. But the ID is accountability. If you get hit, it can be photographed. I want to know why that can't happen next week. 

Mayor Adams: Okay. First of all... 

First of all, done. I'm going to meet with the commissioner, and we're going to meet with DOT. We're going to bring the team together and say, if this law is on the books, we're going to follow the law and we're going to make it's difficult with the restaurants because now we have app deliveries. They all sign up to apps. But we're going to institute and make sure we start putting in place a law that's already on the books. 

Question: Okay. 

Mayor Adams: You're taking a lot of time, sister. I answered your question. I've got to answer the little man's question. 

Question: You're not afraid of my question are you? 

Mayor Adams: You said let's get it done. I said I'm going to meet with the commissioner and meet with the team and we're going to start enforcing that law. 

Question: Okay. Great. 

Mayor Adams: Now to my guy. Tisch, my guy said that he wants a cleaner, safer city. This is going to be the safest big city, cleanest...we're the safest big city in America. First of all, that's a fact. But we're going to be the cleanest big city in America. 

We're already my rats may not know it already, but I hate rats. We have a decrease in rat complaints. But what Commissioner Tisch is doing around trash, just give some highlights on what we're doing around trash, how we're changing the game of trash in this city. 

Commissioner Jessica Tisch, Department of Sanitation: Sure. To answer your question, Jason, for the way we're going to make this the cleanest city in the world is we have renewed our focus specifically at the department of sanitation on cleaning up New York City. We're doing that a few ways. The first thing we're doing is we're putting all of the trash in this city in containers starting now. We started with restaurants. We've moved to chain stores, and there is a whole lot to come. 

I am not going to be satisfied until all 44 million pounds of trash bags that sit on our streets every single day are placed in containers rather than on our streets. 

And the other things that we're doing around cleanliness, Jason, that's going to make a really big difference is we are focusing on the basic rules around cleanliness that have not been enforced in this city for a decade. So cleaning up in front of your property. Littering, giving leave dog poop on the street. All of those things are things that this department is laser focused on. I hope really soon you'll see good results. 

Mayor Adams: Tell them what you're doing around schools and tell them what we did with the leaves and stuff. 

Commissioner Tisch: Two more things, Jason. There are schools in every single neighborhood every single community in New York City, and schools are a great place. They also happen to produce a huge amount of trash. 

And so oftentimes, the dirtiest part in every neighborhood is the street that the school is on. And so one of the things we're focusing on is getting all of that trash in all of the schools off of the street and into containers. We are piloting this right now in Hamilton Heights, and this is something that we expect to roll out city wide soon. 

The other thing we're doing is we are taking all of the food waste out of the black bags. Human food is rat food. And by taking the food out of the black bags and composting it, we, first, not only fight rats but we also do really good for the environment, which is so important for you and your generation, in particular. 

And we are leading that effort in all of the schools where we're composting in every school in New York City, but that's not it. We are rolling out universal curbside composting service to all 3.5 million residents every New Yorker over the next year. 

Mayor Adams: That's right. You're not going to see garbage bags lining our streets feeding rodents, and they said to me when I got elected, they said Eric it's going to take four years to do it. I said no, this is a GSD administration. Get stuff done. 

Within two years we're going to see garbage off our streets in containers like every other civilized city that we were way behind. What are our numbers in rats. Don't we have a decrease in rats, in our rat mitigation zones? 

Kathleen Corradi, Director of Rodent Mitigation : Yes. From May, June and July, from this year compared to last, we saw a 20 percent decrease across the city, and then our four rodent mitigation zones, almost 40 percent decrease, which tells us the work we're doing across the city, the work commissioner Tish in sanitation and health are doing, New Yorkers are feeling that impact seeing let's rats, complaining less about rats and we're dropping those populations and New Yorkers are noticing. 

Mayor Adams: Came out of Gracie Mansion today and a woman stopped. She said, you don't have to tell the whole city but what did you with those rats. 

The city is going to be covered. The city is managed. We've been duped that you can't manage a city. The city is manageable. Yes, ma'am. 

Question: Good evening, thank you so much for this opportunity, I'm [Elizabeth Espirt], proud member of the IS91 community. I'm thrilled to say we have gotten it right in terms of how to treat the newcomers. 

While we have many questions from our table, we all agreed that because the children come first that we should focus on the newcomers. One thing that I've experienced as an educator, this is my 35th year, is that there's a need to streamline how we welcome and how we service the newcomers. 

I've gone at one point last year I welcomed...we welcomed the family at 191. I escorted them to schools. I walked them to the enrollment center, and to a large extent, it wasn't that the people did not want to help, but they were not really aware of all the regs and how to best help. 

Our question is, how can the mayor office streamline the services to newcomers so that they receive the proper service; it's less stressful for the families, especially because they may not have the language skills; and also how do we support the schools because, for example, we have teachers at 191 learning Spanish to better serve the students. 

We have a pantry in the school to make sure that the families get all that they need in one stop shopping. We would like to see more of that throughout the city, and we know people would like to do it but they're not quite sure of how to do it. 

Mayor Adams: Chancellor, do you want to touch on? One of the most touching moments for me was back, chancellor, we had that Zoom call with the principals from schools that had migrants, and this was back last year. Those principals got on, and it was a real touching moment for me how they were just like these are children. They weren't caught up in all the politics. 

They were saying these are children, and they did stuff like you were talking about food pantries, getting clothing for them. It was a real touching moment for me. 

But what are we doing in the preparation? I know you're doing some stuff around Spanish speaking, to help those, what are we doing? 

Chancellor David Banks, Department of Education: Let me say to all the educators, all the educators here, thank you. Welcome back. Hope you all had a great summer. 

But be very clear, the summer is over. We're back to school tomorrow. And I want to thank...if you would just stand up again...I want to thank you, the woman who just asked the question, our educator, thank you. Thank you for 35 years of dedicated service to the kids of New York City. 

We greatly appreciate it. And I appreciate your question and the spirit in which you asked your question. I'd love to talk to you when we're done as well. One of the things the mayor is making reference to is the fact that we had during the last semester a Zoom meeting with a whole range of principals around the city. 

Many of whom broke out into tears just talking about how much they care about this issue, how much they are trying to do. And I think if you want to see New York City and our public schools at its finest, it has been how we have welcomed these newcomers with open arms. 

We really have. We know that it's a stress and a strain on our city and on our school system. So, it has costs that we need help and support with. But when you see kids who step up to say, I'm going to help my new classmate learn Spanish; I'm going to interpret for them myself. When you see the parents who are coming to the schools and opening up those food pantries and doing the food drives and the clothing drives, when you see the teachers who are wrapping arms around these kids, it is the best that New York City really has to offer. 

We're making a...we're having a press conference tomorrow morning, the mayor and I will be together in the Bronx with the head of the UFT, Michael Mulgrew. And we'll be making an announcement. I don't want to make it today. 

But we'll be making an announcement tomorrow that we think will also help us increase the number of educators who actually speak the language who can actually help in these classrooms because we know that's been a challenge, but we're feeling really good about that, that we have the amount of educators that we need and a couple of other things we're going to talk about with respect to that tomorrow. 

But I appreciate your question. We're meeting and talking to parent Koreaeders all around the city. You're right, we need to streamline this in a way we can communicate best practice all across the city and we're going to do that. I appreciate you even raising that. 

Mayor Adams: Thank you. History always touches me every time I hear about it. Here's a dreamer, came from Mexico with his family. His mom as a little boy, and now just to show the beauty of the American dream now he runs the agency mayor office of immigrant affairs where he's helping other dreamers fulfill their dream, Commissioner Castro. 

Commissioner Manuel Castro, Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs: Thank you so much, mayor. 

And thank you so much for the person that asked the question. My wife is actually an educator herself. And since last year has been working with many of the families who have arrived and entered our system. And I know how critical schools have been in helping our nearly arrived immigrants. 

I also wanted to mention we set up an arrival center, which is really one of its kind in the country where children and families receive immediate attention upon arriving in our city. 

And often this is when they first get enrolled in schools or into the system and get their vaccinations, which has been so, so important. But what I am the most proudest about and what I am most proud of the mayor's leadership of the chancellor's leadership, is that you have not seen children sleeping in the streets like we've seen in other countries. And other countries, other states. 

And that is something that New York should feel very proud about because everyone up here is working extremely hard to make sure that our families feel supported the moment they arrive. And before I end, I want to shout out, Ruth messenger, who was one of the first volunteers at port authority when the asylum seekers began to arrive. Thank you. 

Mayor Adams: Thank you so much. And what we are doing no other municipality in the country is doing. What we're doing, no one else is doing. I was at El Paso border. I've been in other cities. No one is doing what we are doing. But it's not sustainable. 

Question: Hi, Mr. Mayor. 

Mayor Adams: How are you? 

Question: I'm fine, my name is [Pam Menasi.] Over a year ago I was hit by a moped. I think the most compelling person to talk about e safety would be myself, and that's what our group EVSA is doing. That's E-Vehicle Safety Alliance. I'm not here just for the group but I'm here because this has been a passion of Janet Schroeder who sought me out after reading my article in the REG. 

This crash kept me somewhat paralyzed, unable to keep take care of myself and my children. I lost my livelihood. I was a cellist. And so we have a couple of specific points, and I'll just go to one of them because I know we're almost at the end. 

It's illegal, we know, to have a gas powered moped riding illegally on the street. And we would like to know if you would support legislation to sign on to this that would require licensing and registration before these dangerous mopeds even ever leave the store because they're being sold to people who don't have licenses and don't have any intention of getting them. So that's a specific question. 

Mayor Adams: First of all, I am deeply, deeply sorry what happened to you. And when we get so much pushback from people about our crack down on these illegal mopeds, I'm going to tell your story. This is a real issue. Yes, I would love to look at that legislation. I'd love to meet with your group and hear some of your other ideas that you have. 

We have to address this problem. It's a real issue. I hear it all the time. My team is...Malcolm is sitting next to you. He's going to get your contact information. I want to get a date, come sit down with your group and hear your advocacy. 

I need you to help raise your voice because when I start doing a lot of these crackdowns everybody called me the mean mean cop. All I want to do is do crackdowns. But no, I know the quality of life of a city that's out of control. 

You can't have a city where people disregard the common decency of their neighbors. You just can't. And so they color me as I'm just trying to be mean in spirit, but, no, we have to set a standard. 

I don't want to work on my house and see you injecting yourself with heroin in front of my house. I don't want to see you where my children are playing relieving yourself. I just don't want that. That's not the city I want to live in. 

And that is the standards we can raise it to. We're in a multicultural, multiethnic, multi, multi, multi, if you don't have clear rules and standards of behaviors, your city will go to pots. And we can't have that. 

Question: Thank you, Mr. Mayor, Councilmember Brewer, Assemblymember Rosenthal and Hoylman and many who get here you get emails from me all the time I'm elan. Thanks for taking the time to respond and meet with me. The table here is a group of mostly homeowners. 

We're concerned about a lot of the safety issues you raised and a lot of the cleanliness issues you've raised. I don't want to touch on them since we touched on them already. But one is affordability. I know there's a housing crisis for renters and across all classes but you're a homeowner, Councilmember Brewer is a homeowner, other homeowners on stage there. 

And almost every initiative we talk about has an opposite side of the coin. We talked about tickets for sanitation issues. Owners have to pay the tickets at the end of the day when it could be just a passerby that dropped a can by their building or didn't pick up after their dog. 

But aside of that one of the issues on people's minds was Local Law 18, just the challenge it creates for folks that are trying to create affordability for themselves and ownership by renting out one or two bedrooms of their homes to others. 

We understand there's a need for permanent housing for everybody. Nobody should take that away from anybody. We should build, build, build I understand that's the mantra. I'm with you. Give me a hammer, I'll be there wherever you like. But it's so hard to get approved. 

There's something like 4,000 applications. I know they're not just sitting. I know [inaudible] and that team is working hard. But since March there’s been 800 applications reviewed, 237 approved of the tens of thousands of units that are previously listed on Airbnb and other sites. 

What can we do to accelerate, make it a closer partnership between those agencies and those of us that want to do the right thing, want to do the legal thing, want to protect our buildings from people that may be a problem but also pay for our buildings because the property taxes exist. The fines in the city exist. The maintenance costs exist, and Local Law 18 is making it very hard for us to keep affording our homes. 

Mayor Adams: Thank you for that. We often ignore homeowners and the struggle and the foundation of home ownership. That's really the precursor to sleep that allows us to experience the American dream. My home helped me pay the tuition of my son. 

It really gave me the foundation that I needed. We met with a group of homeowners last week. Dean Logan and I, to talk about some of the parts of the local law. Now, what part is slowing in the pipeline? What part... 

Question: I talked to homeowners every day that are trying to do the right thing, trying to get legal. Try to go the application process. They're telling me that their applications are sitting in a queue for four plus months. 

Mayor Adams: Deanna, do you know anything about that? 

Deanna Logan, Director, Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice: Good evening. 

Question: To be clear my application is also sitting in a queue for some time, but not as long as others. 

Logan: Good evening. Thank you, mayor. [Christian] who you referenced is director of the Office of Special Enforcement. They're in the process of onboarding, we have a backlog, we're onboarding people to remove the backlog. We saw a huge spike of people looking to register in May and June, even though this law was on the books as of last year and folks kind of waited. 

So we now have a bottleneck of applications that we're in the process of moving. Most individuals have at least heard from the office of special enforcement. There are pieces of documentation that are missing, and we're getting them in as quickly as possible and moving those registrations out as quickly as possible. 

Mayor Adams: Tell me something. The registration process means that there are things they have to do to register to be placed in the system; is that... 

Logan: To be given the number, that they will then give to whichever the platform is that they work with, to say that they have a legal occupancy for short term rental. 

Mayor Adams: If a person sends in an application, we go through it to see if they could be registered? 

Logan: Correct. 

Mayor Adams: And so there are things that we would come back and say, okay, you can't be registered? 

Logan: Either you can't be could be registered if you give us this lease that shows that you're allowed to do this in your apartment. 

Mayor Adams: Let me do this. Let me to this, let me build the process, build out the flowchart to understand the process and let me see if I have the power as mayor to to do the presumption that you register and you can get the number that you need. Let me see if I can do that. If it's a law, I can't. I follow the law, but I make policy. 

Question: Understood. And I think the ask would be, if there are things that can be done to accelerate it or to reduce the burden on the office there. 

The registration process started in March. We're now, what, September 6. That's not a small amount of months. I know there was a large influx until recently. But that's, what, ten applications a week, maybe 15, for an office with 13 people in it. There's got to be something that's, some red tape in the way that we could do to help them do their job better. If I can come down there and volunteer and help go through applications, I will do it. 

Mayor Adams: I gotcha. 

Question: Right now we can't get them to answer the phone. I've probably left 200 messages.They don’t answer.  

Mayor Adams: Send me a flowchart. I'm a former computer programmer. Everything I look through flowchart. 

Question: Same. 

Mayor Adams: Give me a flowchart. We'll see where the bottleneck we've been amazing particularly with first Deputy Mayor Wright we've been amazed at seeing the process and why are we doing this, why do we need this step in the process. The backlogs, the deputy mayor cleaned up with nonprofits. How much was it? 

First Deputy Mayor Sheena Wright: $6 billion. 

Mayor Adams: $6 billion nonprofits were not being paid. She went in and just expedited the system. So, let me look at what is the problem. And there may be steps in the process that there's no reason we're doing it. 

So, I'm going to use the full leverage I'm able to use to see how we resolve this to register. You're trying to do the right thing. Give me a couple days. 

Question: I appreciate that. One follow up. 

Mayor Adams: Come on brother. 

Question: If we could just get guidance on what we're supposed to do if we haven't heard back enforcement was supposed to start yesterday, according to the law, if I rent out a room I could be fined even though I'm in the queue nobody told me I should stop? Can you? What do I do? 

Mayor Adams: Great question. I've got to look at the full scope what I'm allowed to do. If we have a backlog, we should not be going out trying to hit you with a fine. So, if I have the authority to say hold up, let's clean up this backlog, if we don't have our act together we cannot be running to your house to give you a fine for something. 

Let me see what the scope of my authority, what it is, and then...get his number. I'll cycle back to you tomorrow. So, can we find out what leverage I have here, what could I do that's not in violation of the law so that I can figure out, if we've got to suspend going out doing enforcement until we clean up the backlog, if I have the authority to do that, I'm willing to do that. Okay. 

Question: Thank you Mr. Mayor. I'm Allison Gardy. Upper West Side. Three kids in school one in your alma mater. Thank you for bringing us together. We need to feel that community to give us strength. I want to appreciate everyone who has taken time out of your busy evening and maybe your kids are making dinner by themselves and everyone of your team who has come out today because more than ever we really need to feel that community to kind of give us that strength. 

And my question is how can we zero in on the illegal activity, activities in our neighborhood? You know, yes, states who are not valuing their humanity are sending humanity our way and asking us to care and show that we're New York, and yes people are in many ways more dysregulated than ever through our mental health crisis, through these breaks that we've identified all evening and why there are disconnects between law and enforcement. 

And without saying what that enforcement looks like, the people at our table don't feel a presence that allows us law abiding citizens to feel that we can do our part to be good neighbors. We see older people being harassed for calling out bad behavior. We see really dysregulated behavior. 

And I think everyone in the room has pretty much pointed out that when you see cannabis stores operating illegally, still, and cannabis trucks that look like they're selling candy and vape shops everywhere you look. It's in your face. It's right near our schools. 

There's this sense of despair that creeps in, because why are they getting to break the rules again and again and again and why do we feel powerless to say, basic, you know, what...basic decency, like what should be done. And there's no question everyone here has talked about it. Our colleague from 191, I see so many other people in the room. 

We're good neighbors to each other. We are. That's why we're here. But we need to feel that we're part of something, and maybe this is a beginning. But you know, the electric bikes also at my table here, really terrified, your story, Pamela, breaks my heart. All of us, we're overwhelmed. 

Like, I watched police officers unable to chase down a marauding group of e bikes. You know, there's two problems, right? There's the signage that delivery employees should be wearing and then there's just kind of marauding. And the police couldn't do it, and they explained we can't chase them, it's a greater public hazard if we engage in a street chase. 

So, the result is like our public schools are hemorrhaging families. That's the reality. We are losing families who are losing faith in us. And we have, at our largest middle school on the Upper West Side we have one security officer. And bless him, he comes to work when he's injured. He won't let us down for a moment. He is a human being. And we know other schools have had situations where they have also lacked that safety. 

At the last moment before school started, a school was starting, we're hearing a family, sorry, we're not coming. We're bailing out of the system. And we believe in public school a hundred percent. And hust to add to what we talked about at our table, like I think what's so hard to understand is we have lonely older people, we have children who can't read. We have something like the CUNY Reading Corner, which is going out to some schools. 

But why can't we...why can't we just take all this neighborliness and all this goodwill and really channel and do something big on a big scale. 

Mayor Adams: First of all, you know, first of all, I love your energy, and I thought everyone would give you a lot of love for, you know, bringing all of that energy together. 

I thank you so much for that, particularly in a day where, you know, I believe, you know, I don't want to be political but I think Trump has divided this country beyond our imagination. 

And I don't know about him, I worry about us. You know, how do we come back again? And so you gave us a list of items. All I can say to you, don't be consumed about the enormity of the problems that we're facing. I do not wake up one day, one day with all that is going on, and my team would tell you, from the days of Covid to the days of trend in crime, there's not one day that I don't wake up saying we got this. We got this. 

This city is the most resilient city you could imagine. You know, this is a city of immigrants, it's a city of struggling. This is a city of people who saw their center of trade collapse right before their eyes. And although we celebrate in a few days, 9/11, the day I remember the most is 9/12. 

We got up. Teachers taught, builders built, retailers sold goods. We never run. New Yorkers are the heart and soul of America. The American dream starts in New York City. That's what I believe with all my heart. 

And so as long as we keep doing this. As long as we keep coming together talking, having the ability to sit down and negotiate out. We can resolve all of these issues. And my team is ready. My team is ready, from what the chanceller is doing this year in school. We're going to have for the first time in history breathing exercises for our children, mindfulness and yoga. We're going to give them healthy food to eat. 

We're going at the core of problems. And it's a challenge when you go at the core of problems. But that's where we are. We're looking to use systemic changes and would love for you to be a part of the team New York. But I thank you for your presentation. 

Where am I? 

Question: Right here. 

Mayor Adams: How are you, ma'am? 

Question: Thank you, Mr. Mayor, for visiting our neighborhood. My name is [Kathleen Matisich], I live right across the street. And compared to the monstrous problems you folks have all talked about, ours seems very petty. 

But I want you to know you're in an invisible neighborhood. We don't exist. Waterline Square does not exist on city maps. So, if you think it's funny, it's not. Try to get a cab to find this place. When I moved here, it took one month to get my furniture here because three times two companies delivered to the East 61st Street. We don't exist. Your map does not show us. 

Now that's a bit of a problem for other agencies. We...according to what we have found out at the community board meeting, until the Department of Transportation comes and, you're going to love this,    measures the sidewalks and the gutters to make sure they made all the difference between federal, state and city rules, we don't exist. This is a private community. So, as a private community, we kind of fell off the map. 

I will say we have– and you're going to love this one, too–  we have seven schools from West of Freedom Place to 11th Avenue. In this neighborhood there's a lot of kids, and this...the schools do not put out waste. We have, and anyone who lives around here will tell you, our schools around here do not put waste out on the streets. They are fantastic. 

The problem is after school all these kids eat somewhere. We have one miserable garbage can for four blocks. That's a lot of garbage. And we're all unhappy about rats. We don't want them. You don't like them. We sure don't like them. We're going to start naming them, they're so frequent. 

But is there any way we can get sanitation to please give us more garbage cans? We've tolerated the loss of our mailboxes for whatever bizarre reason that occurred. Kid you not, we don't have mailboxes. But we would like garbage cans, we really would like garbage cans. 

Mayor Adams: [Inaudible], can you respond? 

Question: And could you get us on the map, please? 

Mayor Adams: And Dan, who's that, is it...I used to draw the street maps when we were borough president. What's going on, man? 

I think It's the BPs that do... 

Borough President Levine: It is the DOT, I'm passing the buck to my buddy... 

...Commissioner Rodriguez. Do you want to help us out here, Commish? 

Mayor Adams: Commissioner, what do we need to do here? 

Commissioner Ydanis Rodriguez, Department of Transportation: So, let me go back to my team and let's figure out what...and we'll follow with you. 

Mayor Adams: Okay. Okay, so and grab the commissioner. We need to get that done, okay? All right, commissioner? Whatever we need to do to get it done we'll get it done. 

Question: Mr. Mayor, I just want you to know the DOT has been out because the streets are mapped private and we need them to be mapped DOT. And the wonderful Margaret Forgione and Ed Pincar, your wonderful colleagues, have been out. And they're working to get these streets to be city streets and not private streets. That would make a big difference. 

Mayor Adams: So, let's come up with a plan. Come up with a plan what needs to be done. 

Commissioner Rodriguez: And [soon] that happened is also developers when they built, you know, they tried try to find a way how, you know, to build without, you know, and not be responsible for such an area. So, I cannot talk about the details, but we will follow with you tomorrow. 

Mayor Adams: Some of this stuff just doesn't make sense, man. 

Question: [Inaudible]  

Mayor Adams: Okay. All right. Grab the commissioner. Thank you. Thank you for that. 

Commissioner Tisch: Mayor, could I just address the litter baskets? 

Mayor Adams: Yes. 

Commissioner Tisch: I was noticing the same thing when I was walking over here, and I want you to note not only is this neighborhood going to get additional litter baskets, you're going to get the first of the new rat resistant litter baskets, which just came in. So, I thought you might enjoy that. 

Mayor Adams: What's your name? 

Question: [Kathleen Matisich]. 

Mayor Adams: Put a little sign on one of the baskets… [Laughter] ...with her name. You know, donated on behalf of her, you know. 

Question: Mr. Mayor, I would love to start by saying that any New Yorker who denies another New Yorker shelter has obviously not been shelter less. My parents came here from Cuba and had they not had an emergency shelter my outcome as an educated Afro Latino man would not be the same. So, be conscious about when you deny another New Yorker shelter. 

Mr. Mayor, I'd also like to say that it's nice to see a man who looks like me, I'm also losing my hair, so they almost confused me. 

Mayor Adams: I'm not losing mine. 

Question: Oh! 

I am. I am. I am. But it's nice to see a man who looks like me on the [wheel], Mr. Mayor. I still I don't always agree with policy, but I celebrate you every day. 

Mayor Adams: Thank you. 

Question: Mr. Mayor, we have a table, of course, of Upper West Side residents. Most of composed of parents and educators. We have been experiencing a concern about the diminishing or the lack of youth educational development programs here in New York City. 

And likewise, we're also seeing an extreme disconnect among the youth and young adults with some of the policies for the better or the worse that are happening here in New York City. You have, why in your communication system, which I applaud and I do want to remind people the mayor responds to the people not to the press, so I applaud that, Mr. Mayor. 

However, the communication systems are not reaching younger adults and students who would then have the platform and power through civic engagement to actively participate in your policies. What can your administration do or is doing to increase youth and development opportunities but also civic engagement among youth and young adults. 

Mayor Adams: So important, a great question. And we did DYCD, who is… How many town halls we did with the youth? 

Deputy Commissioner Susan Haskell, Department of Youth and Community Development: My recollection, six, I think we did about six town halls with young people across the city. 

Mayor Adams: Yep. We went across the city and did town halls with young people. We came in, we sat down, we heard from them. What blew my mind, two things came up at every town hall, mental health issues and building a better relationship with the police. 

Each one of the town halls, our young people are so concerned about public safety, and we...DYCD has done a series of things from the successful Summer Rising Program that the chancellor and the first deputy mayor and our team put together to Summer of...what was the other, 100,000 first time in the history of this city, 100,000 summer youth jobs. Yesterday we stood up with young people who are helping us design the of PSAs for subway surfing. We lost five young people to subway surfing. 

We want to engage our young people in a real way, and so I would love if you have some input and feedback on what we could do better I want to hear it. There was something I heard the chancellor say one day that I think about all the time when he talked about a tribe in Africa, when they greet each other they don't say "how are you, they say "how are the children." 

And if we were honest with ourselves and asked that question, we're in real trouble. Social media has hijacked our children. They're teaching them how to steal cars, they're teaching them how to do dangerous challenges. They're teaching them how to subway surf. 

They are just really messing with their mental state. Cannabis, the woman who was talking about cannabis, the cannabis issue in our city, our young people. We know what cannabis does to a young mind in the developmental stages, yet our children are using them. Depression, suicidal rates are increasing. When you look at some of the hate crime we see in this city it’s carried out among young people. 

We have to regain our young people, and civil engagement and allowing them to do volunteerism, allowing them to have a sense of purpose and that we're hearing them can turn this around. And that's what we want to do. But if you have some ideas DYCD is here, we want to hear those ideas and get our young people engaged in a real way. 

And I meant to answer to your cannabis [question]. We will close down the illegal cannabis shops in three months if we just get the power from Albany. They're not giving us the enforcement power. My sheriffs in NYPD will close down these illegal shops in three months. 

Gale has been harassing the hell out of me about these illegal places, but we don't have the power to do so. We need Albany to say local jurisdiction, go and do the enforcement, and I promise you within three months we will have all of these illegal cannabis shops closed down. 

How are you doing? 

Question: Very well. Good evening, Mr. Mayor. 

Mayor Adams: Good to see you. 

Question: I've actually been on the West Side for most of 82 years, so I think I beat that record. 

Mayor Adams: That's a good thing. That's a good thing. 

Question: I want to thank you for doing this with all the commissioners, and I want to thank Sherman for organizing our table and Commissioners Castro and Rodriguez for stopping by, because we also have people concerned about bike safety, people riding bikes for bikes, for bike infrastructure and people worried about e bikes. 

But the biggest concern at this table, we represent the Interfaith Center of New York Open Hearts, the District 3 Coalition. We have people here with vast outreach working 24/7 with the immigrants, the refugees and the asylum seekers. The response from New Yorkers from everything from donated clothing to working and providing direct services to joining you and advocacy to the state and city is huge. 

I want to thank this brother from the last table, most of the people in this room    think about it, everybody    are second generation Americans. And we know what it meant to have a city that welcomed immigrants. We're doing that work, Mr. Mayor, mayor and we have drafted a covenant which we're sending to your staff talking to Deputy Mayor Williams Isom. 

But we have people willing to work in better partnership with every agency in the city starting with the Department of Education for the kids that are going to're going to have a need for 20,000 kids with coats. I promise you on the West Side we have 10,000 of those coats. 

We need to get a way to really do a partnership and a covenant with the city that would allow us to directly help you with what you want. We have promised the city that we could put together volunteers in every single neighborhood of the city to help people with their asylum applications so they can complete their working paper applications. We just need a better and more open partnership, and we're hoping you'll provide it. 

Mayor Adams: Thank you. Thank you so much. 

And that's a powerful statement. I don't know, Deputy Mayor Williams Isom, who we call the saint of our deputy mayors, help me understand, let's meet with the group that you're talking about, help me... 

I live off of lists. I like lists. This way I can be judged by the items on the list and I fulfill the items on the list. So, I need for, who do we have, who's from the deputy...anybody from the Deputy Mayor Williams Isom team? 

Let's create, let's set up a time when we get DM WIlliams Isom in a room, come in with a list and say here's what we need from the administration. And we will go over that list one item at a time and make sure we fulfill it, because we need the partnership that you described. That's a real win. 

You know, so we're going to do that, okay? But let me tell you about Sherman while I'm here. Sherman is an amazing, amazing person. Sherman has been part of, he was with me in Borough Hall, he's been a part of many administrations. A good heart, committed, dedicated. 

And I was home one day, just finished drinking my green smoothie, and there was a Daily News article that he was having a problem because twists and turns in life, he fell on hard times and he was in a shelter. 

And I called him up and said that your mind is just too powerful for it to be wasted this way. He came in and volunteered with me at Borough Hall, he got hired, he moved from that shelter into a one bedroom apartment. He joined me at City Hall. He's been such an asset for me. I thought I was blessing him by giving him a job, you have blessed me by being my friend. 

Thank you so much. 

Love it. Love it. Love it. So, let's make sure DJ and Sheena, Deputy Mayor Williams Isom, we love this covenant. And that's a nice call in for the people of this city to be connected to the covenant. So, we're all in. We're all in. 

Question: Hi, Mr. Mayor. 

Mayor Adams: How are you? 

Question: Good. Thank you for your leadership. 

Mayor Adams: Thank you. 

Question: And I want to say it's refreshing to have an executive in office that actually prioritizes getting things done, so thank you for that. 

Mayor Adams: Thank you. 

Question: My question is about the sirens. I think they're too damn loud. 

I understand public safety, you know, if you're in the back of the ambulance you want it to get to hospitals as fast as possible. But it just doesn't need to be that loud. And we're in a dense city. Every time the driver chooses to turn on that siren, thousands or tens of thousands of people are hearing it. And it's disrupting their work, it's disrupting their lives. 

If you're next to it on the street, it's very piercing. It's very annoying. And there have been studies that show that it actually increases the risk of cardiovascular disease. 

The second issue is, from what I've been told, when the drivers go on a call they have to turn the siren on through the entire time that they're on that call, and sometimes I see them going down the street at 10 miles an hour with the siren blasting and there's cars whizzing passed them to, you know, it doesn't seem like they're in any kind of emergency or rush but they're required to keep it on and it's unnecessary. 

So, I know it's Gale Brewer's birthday, I don't want to speak for her but I think one of her birthday wishes would be for you to voice your support for her bill that she so graciously... 

Mayor Adams: So, you know, and it's interesting. You know, I was grinning and laughing, but I was out in Rockaway and someone did a presentation to me showing me the impact of noise. You know, the airplanes that fly over and how it impacts your overall health. 

So, what we should do, we should have...who's here from Department of Health and Mental Hygiene? Okay. So, can we look and see that...I know we have a decibel meter for a noise complaint, can we look and see that can we do this better, and there's some real data out there around health. 

And then we pulled in the commissioner and see if we can somehow modify, you know, how it's used. And actually, there may be other methods out there to determine when the police vehicle is coming that's a more, I don't know, kinder, gentler siren system. 

You know, so let us look into that. Let us look into that, because noise concerns is a real issue. It's a real issue. And I think that's one of our top 311 complaints, by the way, noise in the city. So, let's look at it. You know, and I thank you for bringing that out. 

You know, this is an interesting city. There are 3.3 million people, boy, you've got 35 million different ways of doing things, you know. So, let us look at that, okay, and we'll circle back. Exchange your information so we make sure we get back to you and let you know what we found. All right? 

Question: Hello. 

Mayor Adams: How are you? 

Question: Good, how are you? 

Mayor Adams: Quite well. 

Question: My name is Megan Martin. I am living on the Upper West Side for over 10 years. I have two beautiful little girls. Many people at our table are mothers, parents, people with small children, people with grown children and so most of our concerns were regarding public safety. 

So, this would be about a twofold question. So, I want to just echo what some of the concerns were at some of the other tables were really about consequences. And I think our representatives at Albany, I'm happy that they are here because I feel that this does reflect on our larger government in New York. 

What can we do to create consequences for criminal activity so that we don't live with this tolerance of sort of constant crimes being created as a base lifestyle, and just small examples that many of us could give just off the top of our heads: IV drug use, there's random assaults, people being punched in the face. Zabar’s is a really common sight of this happening. The illegal smoke shops, obviously; and then, marijuana cannabis being sold to our children, no consequences. So, that's really one. 

But the other issue that we discussed was this revolving door what we see of people, recidivism but mostly with those who are considered the EDP, Emotionally Disturbed Individuals, and those suffering from substance abuse. Many of us are told, call 911, use 311. These are your best tools in order to get people the help that they need. 

I'm a physician. I am proud to say that our health and hospital systems are top notch in New York and really around the world, I would think. But unfortunately what happens is if someone is picked up and an EDP call is made, they are taken to the hospital, they're right back on to the streets. 

Over the past two decades about 75 percent of our psychiatric beds especially in New York City have been decreasing, and that's a direct result of our policies made in Albany. We know that you and Governor Hochul did have a plan to increase the amount of psychiatric beds. Many psychiatric beds were taken offline because of Covid, they were repurposed. But now we need to have some sort of a solution in order to increase those beds. 

So, how can we assure that people with severe psychiatric issues, with substance abuse problems are getting to the right resources and then staying there and not being returned to the streets. 

Mayor Adams: Thank you. Thank you. Your team uptown, you have been doing some great advocacy around these important issues of, there's about, I think the number is 1,300, 1,360 extreme recidivists. They're just bad people. And they get arrested, they come home, they do it again. 

When you look at the robberies and burglaries, the records are unbelievable. We had a shooting in Brooklyn today, four people shot. The shooters were committing crimes already in August. Like, what are they doing out on the streets? We need to zero in on the extreme recidivists, a small population of people that are committing so many crimes. 

They have made up their mind they're going to prey on innocent people. That should be our focus. Somebody make a mistake in life, they go through the system, we should allow them to be back on a pathway so their entire lives are not destroyed. 

But when you have someone that's arrested for a robbery with a gun while out on trial, they do another robbery with a gun, something is wrong. They've made up their mind, they're not going to live in a society that where you won't prey on innocent people. That is what I believe our focus should be, to focus on those extreme recidivists. 

And then we have to have real quality of life enforcement. You send the wrong message, then people are going to believe as I say all the time that any and everything will go in your city. 

I take my hat off to our former Police Commissioner Sewell, current Police Commissioner Caban. We're really zeroing in on those quality of life issues. Like I said, thousands of illegal bikes, mopeds, scooters, motorcycles. Remember those days of all these motorcycles running up and down the block? And all of you slept on during the month of June and July 1st, 2nd and 3rd because you didn't hear all those darn fireworks. 

You remember what it was like in 2021? You couldn't sleep in this city. You thought you were in a war zone with so much fireworks. You did not hear it this year, because we were proactive. And that is why we need to continue to do so. 

But I need your voices, because I'm telling you, every time I say we need to take these quality of life issues, I'm painted as, there goes that darn popo Eric Adams again trying to be heavy handed. No. People should live in this city safe, clean and dignity and our children should live in the same way. And I'm not going to move off of that. 

I'm not going to move off of that. So, I'm with you, I hear you. Advocacy, your voice being heard is so important. And we're doing some major stuff with Dr. Vasan who came from Fountain House. We believe in wraparound services with those who are dealing with severe mental health illnesses. And Dr. Katz and his team, we're no longer doing what we saw before when people were just coming in and we're just sending them back out. 

Dr. Katz and his team, Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, they're giving that wraparound services that we that we need. Now, we need more, but a lot of this calls for funding. We've been really severely hurt with the funding crisis that we're facing, but this team is doing good work, Dr. Vasan is doing some amazing stuff around mental health. He's a real plus to our administration and his team over at the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. But thank you for that. 

Commissioner Kreizman: Three more questions. 

Mayor Adams: Uno, dos, tres. What's up, brother? 

Question: What's up, my brother? How you doin'? 

Mayor Adams: I'm good, man. Grinding all the time, man. 

Question: Hey, that's all you can do. Wake up and grind. 

My name is Charles Davis. I'm born and raised in Amsterdam houses right across the street. I've been in the community for over 53 years, now I'm a resident at 100 Freedom Place South. I worked in the community. I've seen the community grow. I've seen it grow in a positive direction. 

Our table, we came together as New Yorkers and we just said, you know, it's kind of hard to follow up all the tables, all the questions have been asked. But we wanted to go with the safety with the homeless, mental ill, who's responsible, because in this area as it has grown and as shelters have opened up and the 80 20 buildings, you have put in a lot of mentally ill people that live in these buildings not just the middle class working people, affordable housing people., 

My building, which is 100 Freedom Place South, we's a real diverse building. We have a lot of people from shelters, we have a lot of mentally ill people, and they roam around the streets. So, I have kids. I have three young children, 11, I have a four year old I have a one year old that lives with me also. 

And they are exposed to a lot that goes on in this community. And we're looking for police presence. I know years ago you had community police officers who patrolled, and actually the neighbors, they knew who the cops were. Now, you don't even see the police like you used to. 

And I'm not blaming the police, I know there's a lot of things going on, it's a big city and you're handling a lot of things that are going on. But this is what our table wanted to know more about safety, we're about safety and about the quality of life in New York City. 

Mayor Adams: No, good point. And but it's a big city, but we're a big Police Department. And you know, [cats] have to park their cars and walk and interact with people. And so you should see that omnipresent, that visible presence. And you know, we should see exactly, we have our community affairs officers who are here in blue shirts. You know, the feeling of seeing police interacting with the community is a real win. 

And that is what we want to have a hallmark in doing so. And if you're not seeing that...what precinct... 

Question: The 20th precinct. 

Mayor Adams: Two oh? Okay. So, we should come out to the precinct council meetings, which is very important, you know, and raise your concerns about the presence of police. And then invite police in. Hold meetings right in your building. 

Question: We tried to. We called in and we actually spoke to one of the representatives. I know that Rodriguez was one of the community affairs officers that used to work with the community within Amsterdam Houses. For me myself, I actually, I'm a community activist. I work along with the community activists from Amsterdam Houses. 

Gale Brewer has always been supportive of the community, so I worked along with her. I'm also, I was a business owner, I owned a business on 94th and 95th, a restaurant. I own a business within this community now, a vegan business, as you're a vegan also, too [laughter]. That's a shameless plug. 

Mayor Adams: That's okay. You've got to give me the location so I can come... 

Question: I'll give you the location. I actually came to one of your events that you had when you were the Brooklyn Borough president. You had a vegan event. You showed the film, I think it was Forks over Knives and Knives over Forks? 

Mayor Adams: Forks over Knives, okay. 

Question: Yes, I took a picture with you and everything. I just want to say one other thing. I want to say thank you to you, thank you to the panel, thank you to everybody that was here. I learned a lot about the community I grew up in, and it is good to see that is such a diverse audience that's here now. And everybody's concerned with the community. I'm concerned with both sides as far as the businesses, all the empty storefronts, what we do with that. 

When you say you're bringing New York back, New York' looks like a ghost town at certain times, that you have all the vacant storefronts. There's no businesses open. So, I wanted to touch on that. But our table, we wanted to touch more on the security. 

Mayor Adams: Good. But it's all right, inspector, you know, just connect. And we want...and Commissioner Stewart, Deputy Commissioner of Community Affairs, who has really changed the game on community affairs with Commissioner Stewart is doing. 

But make sure you come to the precinct council meeting and lay out those concerns, okay? But just good to see you. Make sure you get the address to his restaurant. Okay. 

Question: Thank you, hello. 

Mayor Adams: How are you? 

Question: Hello, good evening. 

My name is Rosa Dias, I'm from East Harlem and also a citywide parent leader. We have a very diverse group over here, and most of us are parent leaders, yay! So, we come to a consensus on asking this question. 

Mayor Adams: Yes. 

Question: How can you effectively and efficiently provide services for all of our students in need of programming, wraparound services, housing and community space, especially for our most vulnerable students. Thank you. 

Mayor Adams: This is so important. You want to touch on that, chancellor? She was asking, how do we provide the whole wraparound services for children, community space. I know we're doing an initiative around opening the schools more, but just your overall theme as you coming into empowering parents in this coming year. 

And you know, I must say that I've been, I have been looking for David to be my commissioner for almost eight years...I mean, my chancellor for almost eight years. I don't know a chancellor that has a better relationship with parents and parents organizations then Chancellor Banks. I mean, his commitment, his dedication. 

His dad was a lieutenant, was my lieutenant in the police department. His brother was the chief in the New York City Police Department, chief of the department. This is a family of service, and he authentically cares about children. The founders of Eagle schools, you know about if you don't fix broken boys you're going to have broken men. He is so dedicated to children and families. But her question was about the overall support system that we're putting in place. 

Chancellor Banks: Yes, and I'll… let’s talk when we're finished here as well, would love to connect with you, because I think your question goes even beyond what we're doing in the New York City public schools. You're talking about additional support for families with housing and other services across the entire spectrum. So, there are others on this panel who we can certainly connect with to talk about how we can be even more supportive. 

I know the superintendent, there he is over there as well, Superintendent [Kamar Samuels], thank you so much for your leadership in this district as well. 

And he's standing with the principal of this school, [Steve Hernan]. Thank you so much for allowing us to be here tonight as you're getting ready to open up school tomorrow. So, I know you can't wait until this meeting is over. 

But let's work together, and Superintendent Samuels, maybe if you can get the information here, get the contact for the parent, and we can talk about further ways in which we can be supportive, particularly in this community. You know, each community has its own flavor, has its own needs. 

It's interesting as we all are sitting here tonight and we hear the questions, every town hall that we go to has a different flavor. And so that's the uniqueness of our city, and so we want to make sure that we are meeting whatever the issues and the concerns that you're really thinking about here. 

[Yvette Crespo] is she still in the back there? Yvette, please make sure you speak to them as well. [Yvette Crespo] was my parent coordinator from my very early years as a principal and now she's a special assistant. She moves with me, she was missing...she was the first Lady of Eagle Academy, all the parents would go to her. 

And so anything on parent issues she can be very, very helpful. And let's make sure that we follow up with all the parents here tonight. Thank you. 

Mayor Adams: And what's interesting to hear, that my administration has a mandate, the raising our children is not the chancellor's issue, it's not a New York City public schools issue. It's all of ours. It's all of ours. 

Department of Health and Mental Hygiene must partner with our food entity to come up with healthy food for our children. Commissioner Stewart, what he's doing. Commissioner Stewart is teaching English to Spanish speakers. He has a course teaching English to them to learn English. 

Commissioner Stewart has a program that he's doing that's called baby showers. He has large baby showers for women in underserved communities and so they can have those basic supplies and services. He has redefined the community affairs. 

So, we say let's not have just the chancellor deal with the education issue or uplifting our children, everyone on this list here, they have a responsibility that's on this panel. We all must focus on children and families in the city. No one can say that's not my job, it's all of our jobs to focus on children and families in this city so our children can grow up and be productive citizens. 

And that's what this whole team is doing here from safe streets first time, we had open streets in all five boroughs because of DOT [we want] our children to be on our streets safely. We closed it out, it was just Manhattan, now we're hitting all five boroughs. 

You look up here, and I could tell you what each one of them are doing around children and families. Children and families, that's all we think about in our administration. What are we doing for children, and what are we doing for families. 

Commissioner Jess Dannhauser, Administration for Children’s Services: Mr. Mayor, can I add one quick thing to that? 

Mayor Adams: Yes. 

Commissioner Dannhauser: Good evening. I just want everyone to be sure to know that the mayor has launched My City, and the first program that's available on my city is childcare. And it might not be known that because of great advocacy with the state it is now up to 300 percent of the federal poverty line. 

So, a family of four making about $83000 a year is eligible for subsidized childcare. Those families we have tripled in a year from about 8,000 children enrolled to 24,000 children enrolled. 

The city's also investing in family enrichment centers, 30 that are coming in the next year or so. So, we're making a lot of investments upstream in families. 

Mayor Adams: And we need to think our senator and assemblywoman. We went to Albany to bring down the cost of childcare annually. Because of their support, we reduced...what was the number that we brought it down to? Who has that number for childcare? 

Commissioner Dannhauser: Yes, we went from a wait list of 35,000 children to zero. 

Mayor Adams: The cost of... 

Commissioner Dannhauser: The cost went to one percent. We're also now exploring ways for families who are between 100 percent and 200 percent of the poverty line that we can eliminate the cost. 

First Deputy Mayor Wright: The cost went down from was about $1,200 a year to $100 a year for a family that needs childcare. 


Mayor Adams: Money back in the pocket. And we did...what happened during Covid, there were they these services that you had to go online to do so, and low income New Yorkers were not able to go online and pay those darn cable bills. So, what did we do? We did cable connect with our CTO, we have free cable in NYCHA right now. We're getting a discount in affordable housing, those who are on a different subsidies to bring down the cost of cable. 

We're finding ways of putting money in the pockets of everyday New Yorkers. And when you start to look at it, we've got to list all of our wins. You know, the stuff we have done in 20 months, people all the time say, Eric, we didn't know that. We have so many W's, this administration, this amazing team up here. 

I am so blessed to have these New Yorkers that are here. And you can tell, hear all of their stories. These are everyday people. I'm a straight up, blue collar perfectly imperfect mayor. Perfectly imperfect. But I'm dedicated. 

Question: So, I found a question no one's asked about. We had a lot of topics that have been touched on relating to tenants rights, sustainability, and your great team member [inaudible] I'm sure will pass them along. But my question is, what is being done or what can be done to address the complete lack of free public restrooms in the city? I strongly believe that this is a human rights, a public health, a cleanliness and I honestly believe in economic development and tourism issue. What can be done? 

Mayor Adams: Well, what can we do, you know, because you know, we have the amazing, amazing Sue from Department of...Sue was the parks person and Prospect Prospect Park Alliance, and she was just unbelievable. And I told her about five or six years ago, how long was it, five or six years ago, I told her, I said, Sue, in 2022 I'm going to be the mayor and you're going to be my commissioner of Department of Parks. She's really changing the game. But how do we get these toilets? 

Commissioner Sue Donoghue, Department of Parks: Thank you, Mr. Mayor, and thank you for the question. The Parks Department oversees over 680 public restrooms today, so we have an incredible, incredible amount. But we recognize it's the number one issue we hear from our park patrons. We know we need more. 

So, with the support of Deputy Mayor Joshi and this administration, we are piloting a huge number of new ways to provide more restroom services to the public– everything from we're at looking at trailers, we're looking at prefab buildings. We're partnering with an organization out in Portland that has something called the Portland Loo that can be added or easily sustainable in a way that doesn't need as much space. 

So, we are looking at all kinds of options to be able to provide more restroom facilities, cheaper, faster and in areas that are really hard to get to. So, we hear you, and it's something that we are taking very seriously both at the Parks Department and as an administration. 

Mayor Adams: What was that company we saw that had the park where you didn't need to... 

Commissioner Donoghue: It's the throne, you're maybe thinking? 

Mayor Adams: Yes, is it? Yes, funny name. 

What was it, was it the one that you don't need to water, it doesn't have to be hooked up to the water line. Do you remember which one it was? Deputy mayor, do you know what it was? They did a presentation to your... 

Commissioner Donoghue: It is, yes, it is...there is the throne and it's a good point, Mr. Mayor, that you raise, too. The other thing that we're looking at is composting toilets across the city, sustainable, good for the environment. We have one in Prospect Park. We have one that we're opening that's part of our brand new park opening in Freshkills in Staten Island. 

So, we're looking at all kinds of different ways including not having to hook up to the sewer system, providing more environmentally sustainable options as well. 

Mayor Adams: So, there's a lot of, we are spanning the globe to find what are the new ways of having public toilets, and there's some great adventures out there. I had a presentation on a couple of them. We're looking at them. We hear you. Not only in the parks but really on our streets. 

And it is a tourist issue. You know, people want good, clean restroom facilities. And we saw some great...folks have been giving us a presentation, we saw some good ideas. We want to see how do we implement them. So, we're with you, because...listen, one thing is clear, I don't care who you are, what block you live in, on, or where you attend, when you've got to go, you've got to go. 


And we want to make sure you go a place that's clean and safe. You know. Listen, thank you, West Side, for allowing me to come in. Thank my team.

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