Eric Adams’s Mantra as Rivals Apply Pressure: ‘Stay Focused and Grind’


Eric Adams, who is widely viewed as the leading Democratic candidate for mayor, stood before supporters in Harlem on Friday and dismissed questions about his residency and finances, even as rivals assailed him in hopes of scoring a few last points before Primary Day.

“All the stuff you are seeing out there is to throw Eric off his game,” Mr. Adams, the Brooklyn borough president, said. “That’s all this is. And they are not going to do it.”

For days, Mr. Adams has advised those who support him, “no distractions, stay focused and grind.” On Friday, his opponents appeared to be heeding that message as well, hopping between boroughs for campaign events and making their final appeals.

The flurry of activity heading into the weekend reflected the candidates’ urgent efforts to get their supporters to cast ballots in the final days of early voting, which ends Sunday, and to the polls on Tuesday. As of Thursday, 105,000 people had voted early, a relatively small number that suggested much the electorate could still be up for grabs.

Appearing in Queens, Andrew Yang, a onetime presidential candidate, stood with about two dozen firefighters in scarlet “Firefighters for Yang” T-shirts and knocked Mr. Adams as a career politician.

As he has often done in the weeks since Mr. Adams began to consolidate his lead in the race, Mr. Yang criticized his rival over his ties to Mayor Bill de Blasio.

“We need to break the stranglehold of the special interests that have been running our city into the ground,” Mr. Yang said.

Mr. Yang also continued to focus on public safety, an issue that has dominated the campaign’s late stages amid a rise in violent crimes, even as the rate of such offenses remains well below where it was in the 1980s and ’90s.

Mr. Yang, citing the endorsements he has received from the firefighters’ and police captains’ unions, again criticized Mr. Adams’s record on public safety. (Before entering politics, Mr. Adams was Police Department captain.)

Voters who are still undecided, Mr. Yang said, should look to the unions for guidance on choosing a candidate. Mr. Yang did not mention that the fire officers’ union, which represents lieutenants, captains, and chiefs, has endorsed Mr. Adams.

“I’m the right choice for New York City, according to the firefighters, the police captains,” Mr. Yang said. “And as New Yorkers discover this in the next number of days, they’re going to come out and vote for me.”

Maya Wiley, a former counsel to Mr. de Blasio who has also taken aim at Mr. Adams, held a rally in Brooklyn where she spoke of her support for police reform.

Surrounded by a crowd of mostly Black supporters outside the Brooklyn Public Library’s main branch, on Grand Army Plaza — a frequent site of protests after the police killing of George Floyd last year — Ms. Wiley invoked the Black Lives Matter movement and promised that she would bring its message to City Hall.

Representative Yvette Clarke, a Brooklyn Democrat who has endorsed Ms. Wiley, urged voters to advance the movement’s goals and not to be swayed by appeals for more aggressive policing.

“Vote your hopes,” Ms. Clarke said, “not your fears.”

Kirsten John Foy, a civil rights activist, went further, attacking Mr. Yang, Mr. Adams and Kathryn Garcia, a former sanitation commissioner, directly.

“There are dangerous candidates out here,” Mr. Foy, who was an aide to Mr. de Blasio before he was mayor, said. “We have got to pull the curtain back and call out these wolves in sheep’s clothing.”

Mr. Foy accused Ms. Garcia of trying to cozy up to New York’s largest police union, whose leaders are politically conservative and which has not made a formal endorsement in the race.

Ms. Garcia scoffed at the comment later, telling reporters that she had not “had any conversation” with the union at all.

At his Harlem event, Mr. Adams dismissed the criticisms leveled against him by Ms. Wiley and her supporters, dismissing her as a “college professor” with little practical understanding of public safety.

“We need a professional that knows how to keep this city safe,” Mr. Adams said. “My résumé out-beats everyone on that stage. They know it, I know it.”

Standing alongside Mr. Adams were several anti-violence activists and parents of people who had been killed in violent incidents. He and his supporters continued to argue that his experience made him the best candidate to both keep residents’ safe and address discriminatory policing.

“If you break the law, you are going to be accountable for it under Eric Adams,” said Hazel N. Dukes, president of the N.A.A.C.P.’s New York chapter. “How do I know that? Because I trained him.”

Asked about issues related to his real estate holdings, including a co-op apartment he bought in Brooklyn in 1992 with a woman he has described as a good friend, Mr. Adams said he had already answered questions on the subject. He has previously said he gave his shares in the co-op to the woman, Sylvia Cowan.

Ms. Cowan, in a text message to The New York Times on Friday, said Mr. Adams “transferred all of his shares” to her in March 2007. But an email obtained by The Times suggests that Mr. Adams still owned his shares in the co-op as recently as last month.

When asked about his residency and his finances, Mr. Adams called the criticism of him “desperate attempts” by his opponents.

“I’m so finished with all that,” he said.

Anne Barnard contributed reporting.



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