Why won’t NY’s heavy hitters in DC do anything to help Mayor Adams?

Once upon a time, a sparrow couldn’t fall in City Hall Park without Chuck Schumer calling a press conference. Today America’s border chaos holds a dagger to Gotham’s heart, but he stands as dumb as a fence post.

Why is that?

Indeed, what’s the point of having big shots in Washington if New York can’t count on them in a crisis?

And apart from Joe Biden, is there a bigger shot in DC than Senate Majority Leader Schumer — fourth in line of succession to the presidency and, presumably, a man of considerable influence?

Alas, as a practical matter, poor Mayor Eric Adams wouldn’t know about that. Hizzoner is shaking a cardboard cup and hoping DC will drop in enough change to see the city through a few more busloads of destitute migrants.

Schumer’s not the only one playing shy with the mayor, of course. Hakeem Jeffries of Brooklyn, newly installed as the ranking Democrat in the House and a one-time top Gracie Mansion prospect himself, has been totally MIA for months. As has been New York’s other United States senator. Kirsten Gillibrand might as well be in a coma for all the good she’s been doing.

Precisely what constitutes doing good in the current crisis is a fair question, of course. Adams is altogether too bashful right now — pleading for money when what he really needs is a secure border and an end to the migrant influx. City Hall says more than 40,000 so-called asylum seekers have made it to New York since the first buses arrived in August. That’s roughly 8,000 arrivals a month, with many more on the way absent a radical overhaul of Biden administration immigration policies.

Adams visited the border in El Paso where he continued to push for more federal funding.
Eric Adams visited the border in El Paso, where he continued to push for more federal funding.
New York Post/ J.R. Hernandez

Adams came away from a weekend border visit with tepid criticism of White House policy — terming it a “disaster,” but not calling out Biden by name and renewing a request for $2 billion in emergency federal aid as his policy prescription. This is the Adams way. He enters his sophomore year at City Hall by once again flagging a failed policy but pulling his punches when it comes to those responsible for it.

He’s been rhetorically strong on crime in New York, for example, but he’s as light as a feather on legislative leaders and Gov. Kathy Hochul — who could go a long way toward making the city safer should they choose to.

Similarly, the White House gets a mild dusting on border policy — and Schumer, Jeffries and Gillibrand might just as well be from Peoria.

It seems that in EricWorld, it’s hate the policies (sort of) but love the policymakers. Or at least, it’s pretend that toxic policies make themselves.

Migrant families outside of Stewart Hotel in Manhattan, NY on January 6, 2023.
Migrant families outside Stewart Hotel in Manhattan on Jan. 6, 2023.
James Messerschmidt

This is not a route to a safe, sane, fiscally stable city. And it certainly doesn’t address the border breakdown.

Adams needs to put New York’s Washington bigwigs on notice — privately, perhaps, but very publicly if necessary, and very soon — that he means to hold them accountable for the effects of this completely avoidable crisis. That is, he will if he means to be taken seriously himself. Eric Adams’ rookie year is over; he stands in America’s premier bully pulpit — and the time finally has come for him to act like it.

Email: bob@bobmcmanus.nyc

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