Then Adams, who first drew public attention early in his career as a police officer who criticized police brutality, advised them: “You must be your brother’s keeper. You must ensure that he or she never reaches the point where they tarnish the shield, because one officer could destroy all the work that we are attempting to do.”
His younger brother, Bernard, a former police officer who is the director of mayoral security with a salary of $1 a year, told me that their mom drilled into them that “you have to be your brother’s keeper” and watch out for the little guy who wasn’t getting a fair shake.
Six months into the job, Eric Adams, 61, is at a crucial juncture. The honeymoon, filled with hope for a dynamic new mayor, is over. Adams’s poll numbers have dived, which the optimistic politician took with aplomb. “A C is not an A, but a C is not an F,” he told reporters, adding that he interpreted the numbers from tough New York graders to mean “We’re going to give Eric a shot.”
The New York Post, which endorsed his candidacy, has now given Adams the Homeric epithet “club-hopping.” The Times’s Emma G. Fitzsimmons wrote that his efforts in Albany, where he once served as a state senator from Brooklyn, fell short of achieving long-term mayoral control of public schools and other measures. David Freedlander of New York magazine, asserting that Adams can boast of few accomplishments, wrote recently, “It’s become hard to escape the impression that New York City is being led by a mayor who is, frankly, winging it.”
What Adams has brought to the job is a flair that’s refreshing after eight years of the dyspeptic Bill de Blasio. Over the July 4 weekend, he tweeted a video of himself taking a spin on a jet ski and “looking like a pro” in Mill Basin between Brooklyn events. But the questions echo: Is he all hat and no cattle? Is he skewing too much to swagger at the expense of substance?
“It’s like the second coming of ‘Beau James,’ Jimmy Walker,’’ one top Democratic politico said, referring to the vivacious Roaring Twenties mayor (who left office in a cloud of scandal). “But the most important thing is what you do between 9 and 5, not 5 and 9.”