Eric Adams needs address senseless crime in NYC after Times Square shove

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Whose subways are they, anyway? 

Michelle Go of Manhattan, dead at 40 beneath the wheels of an R train in a Times Square station Saturday morning? Or Simon Martial, 61, the apparently insane vagrant with a violent history who police say shoved Go to her death? 

“Yeah, because I’m God,” shouted Martial while in NYPD custody soon after the crime. “Yes, I did. I’m God. I can do it.” 

How grotesque. But how utterly, banally predictable. 

Take a bow, Bill de Blasio — Michelle Go’s death is on you. You and your feckless ideologue of a social-services czar, Steven Banks, the man most responsible for the return of pre-Giuliani chaos to New York’s public spaces. 

And take a deep breath, Eric Adams — those spaces are recoverable, but not without prompt and ruthless effort and a willingness to sail directly into New York’s prevailing political winds. 

Michelle Go’s death is being cast as yet another crime against Asian-American New Yorkers. And there may be something to that; who knows what lunatic impulses drove Martial to murder? 

Police investigate the subway following Go'd murder.
Police say there is no indication that Michelle Go’s death was a hate crime and believe she was chosen at random.
J.C.Rice

But that’s not the issue. And that’s not the challenge now before Mayor Adams. 

The point is this: Why are the subways so full of babbling lunatics in the first place — them and nodding-out addicts and in-your-face panhandlers and cold-weather campers who easily could find space in New York’s billion-dollar-plus shelter system, but who prefer not to? 

They are there because de Blasio aggressively rejected the tough-love approach to public-space management initiated by Rudy Giuliani and maintained by Mike Bloomberg. They kept the city’s subways and terminals and parks mostly clean and safe for two decades. 

Michelle Go smiling.
Go was waiting on the southbound platform at the Times Square subway station Saturday morning when she was shoved onto the tracks.
LinkedIn

There was nothing complicated about how it was done: A robust social-services delivery system was coupled to policing practices founded on the principle that no one has a right to homestead on public property. 

That is, if beat cops keep vagrants moving — and they did; their sergeants saw to that — pretty soon most of them tire and come into the shelters. They’re better off there, the mentally ill are more easily managed, and the straphangers get the trains back. 

Was this approach perfect? Of course not. Was it sufficient? By and large, yes. 

Is the present situation even remotely acceptable? Absolutely not. 

And therein resides Adams’ challenge. New York’s rookie mayor was a veteran cop when the Giuliani reclamation began. If he was paying attention, he knows that in addition to the relatively simple mechanics involved, success hinged on the then-mayor’s formidable will. He was determined to give New Yorkers safe streets, and he largely succeeded. 

But if Adams is to do the same, he’ll have to confront — and defeat — a political culture that has normalized social decay and its attending violent disruptions. 

When former Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. announced he would no longer prosecute farebeating, he symbolically surrendered the subways to the lawless. 

That is, if the DA doesn’t give a damn, why should criminals, to say nothing of people like Simon Martial? And now Vance’s successor, Alvin Bragg, has ratified the policy — and, indeed, has extended it far beyond simple turnstile jumping. 

Eric Adams wears a face mask that says "GSD: Get Stuff Done."
In his campaign to become mayor, Eric Adams had promised to focus on addressing rising crime.
Andrew Schwartz / SplashNews.com

Bragg is not alone. Both The City Council and the state Legislature are actively hostile to energetic law enforcement; cops themselves understandably are reluctant to engage, and Gov. Hochul, who ultimately is responsible for the subways, simply is absent from the debate. 

Last week, the tears were for Kristal Bayron-Nieves, 19, murdered in an East Harlem fast-food joint for $100. This week, it’s Michelle Go, dead at the Crossroads of the World for reasons known only to her killer. Next week? And the week after? 

And then most important questions of all: Is Mayor Adams tough enough to do what he knows in his heart must be done — declare just war on a bankrupt political culture? If so, when?



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