Mayor / State of the City
Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office

NEW YORK CITY - Mayor Eric Adams delivered his State of the City address this week. As his approval ratings have significantly decreased — the lowest any mayor has had since 1996 — he focused on the improvements of public safety and employments while dismissing issues like the migrant crisis. Here are the main takeaways from the speech:

Crime Has Decreased

Mayor Adams said that New York City is currently the safest big city in the country. In 2023 the city saw a 12% decline in homicides and a 25% decrease in shooting incidents compared to the year before and the police department has taken more than 14,000 illegal guns off New York City streets, he said.

"Our city has gotten safer, but we need people to feel safe, too," he said. "New Yorkers should not have to worry about crime, disorder, and their quality of life."

Last year was the second safest year for pedestrians, and Adams hopes to keep the momentum going. He plans to address additional public safety concerns on e-bikes, mopeds and cargo bikes by creating the "New York City Department of Sustainable Delivery," which will regulate nontraditional transportation modes that are so popular in the city's sidewalks.

The mayor also mentioned the lengthy time it takes for NYPD internal discipline cases to process — the often take more than a year. In 2024, the Adams hopes to expedite the process.

Adams also continued to advocate for legislation in Albany to give New York City the authority to shut down illegal smoke shops — which has become a topic of contention in the city.

Economic Resurgence

Adams boasted the successful new chapter in the city's economic recovery since the pandemic. New York City has regained all private-sector jobs lost during the pandemic—more than 270,000— and 44,000 businesses have been created since.

"Thanks to the hard work of this administration and millions of dedicated New Yorkers the state of our city is strong — far stronger than it was two years ago," he said. "I want to thank every hard working New Yorker out there for helping bring our city back from the brink."

The mayor plans to accelerate the city's job growth and hopes to reach 5 million total jobs by 2025. He said the effort will be focused on building future-focused industries such as those in the green economy. He also unveiled the "Green Economy Action Plan" that will focus on reducing emissions, build a more sustainable city and help support 400,000 green economy jobs.

Additionally, the Adams administration is launching "Women Forward NYC" a $40 million action plan to enhance employment opportunities for women. The program will build higher wages, in-demand career pathways, improve financial literacy and access to financial resources.

Mayor at State of the City
Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office

Affordability and Housing Initiatives

New York City is known to be expensive, but in the past few years, both rent and the overall cost of living have soared.

In his speech, the mayor reiterated an announcement from earlier this week on investing $18 million to purchase and forgive more than $2 billion in medical debt held by many New Yorkers. The city will also add financial counselors in city hospitals.

Adams also emphasized the improvements his administration made in regards to affordable housing — 27,000 affordable homes were financed. Adams announced the launch of the "24 in 24" plan to advance 24 affordable housing projects in 2024.

The mayor will also reopen the NYCHA Section 8 voucher waitlist later this year — aiming to give 1,000 vouchers each month.

"It is time for a powerful new housing agenda — one that acknowledges the need to build more housing is more important than preserving the old way of doing things," said Adams.

Improvements for the City's Students

The mayor launched New York City Reads, an updated curriculum to teach kids the fundamentals of reading, last year. He emphasized the success of the program and its plan for it to continue.

"This is more than a curriculum change — this is a reading revolution. A revolution that is helping children like Dallas Buie, a fourth grader at P.S. 325 in East New York," said Adams. "Dallas used to be shy and she struggled to read. But thanks to New York City Reads, her teacher, Ms. Deseree Easton, was able to give her the guidance and coaching she needed. Today, Dallas has a book with her everywhere she goes."

The mayor also designated social media as a public health hazard.

"Just as the surgeon general did with tobacco and guns, we are treating social media like other public health hazards and ensuring that tech companies take responsibility for their products," he said.

The mayor's plans to tackle this public health hazard will be coming soon.

Almost No Mention of the Migrant Crisis

The migrant crisis has presented an enormous challenge to the city — over 170,000 migrants have arrived over the past year and a half — but there was barely any mention of the issue in the speech. The mayor called to the federal government for help.

"We are proud we have done our part, but we need others to do theirs," he said. "The federal government must step up and step in. This is a national crisis that calls for a national solution, so that our newest arrivals can contribute to our economy, like the generations of immigrants before them."

Adams concluded the speech by acknowledging doubts faced by New Yorkers.

"Our city is full of questions and contradictions — the safest big city in America but one where too many feel vulnerable and afraid," he said. "It's a place where the economy is booming but too many are not getting their fair share. These contradictions and so many others are what we are working to change."

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