After nearly eight years of strained and periodically hostile relations between the New York mayor and his business community, the city’s likely next mayor delivered a clear message on Monday: he wants a reset.
“New York will no longer be anti-business,” Eric Adams, the Democratic mayoral candidate who is almost certain to win the November election, said in a speech at a business conference in Manhattan. “It will be a place where we welcome businesses and not turn into the dysfunctional city that we have been for so many years. “
In many ways, Mr. Adams and Mayor Bill de Blasio found political common ground, and Mr. de Blasio was thought to be favorable to Mr. Adams in this year’s primary. But Mr Adams’ brief remarks on Monday underscored what could be one of the most important differences between Blasio’s administration and a town hall in Adams: a significant change, in tone and approach, when it’s about dealing with the city’s big business community.
Mr de Blasio has at times forged close ties with the real estate community, but he based his campaign on tackling the city’s growing inequalities, claiming that New York has become a ‘tale of two cities’. He also downplayed the need to bring back wealthy New Yorkers who fled during the pandemic.
Mr. Adams also delivered a message to fight inequalities and was adopted by major unions. But its main goal was to fight crime, which was also a major concern of the city’s business elite. And he took a much warmer approach to engaging the business community, becoming a favorite of the New York donor class, with whom he spent much of the summer, while winning skepticism from the Left. In public and private, he has vowed to travel to Florida to bring former New Yorkers home.
His remarks on Monday, focused on promoting deeper partnerships between New York City and the business community, took place at the SALT conference, held at the Javits Center and overseen by Anthony Scaramucci, the former director of communications from Trump’s White House. The program promised appearances from two hedge fund billionaires who were the main backers of a super PAC backing Mr. Adams’ candidacy: Daniel S. Loeb, a prominent supporter of charter schools, and Steven A. Cohen, the owner of the Mets.
Mr. Scaramucci, a Wall Street veteran, donated $ 2,000 to Mr. Adams’ mayoral campaign. Over the weekend, former Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, who got along badly with Mr de Blasio, posted a direct video to camera noting his support for Mr. Adams, who faces Curtis Sliwa, the Republican candidate, in the legislative elections.
“As a candidate, Eric Adams has shown ambition and political courage,” Bloomberg said in the video.
In his speech, Brooklyn Borough President Adams urged employers to work with the city on a joint job application, part of a series of proposals to boost the city’s economy. and fight against unemployment and underemployment.
“I propose an unprecedented partnership between the employers of the city and the city itself to establish these links and create a common application, a job application, to bring together all the jobs available in this city,” he said. he declares. “New York wants your jobs and we want to create them. “
Mr Adams, a former police captain, also sought out a slogan that fueled his main victory – “the prerequisite for prosperity is public safety and justice” – as he argued that priorities such as reducing gun violence are essential aspects of reviving the city’s economy, a message that has long resonated with business leaders.
And he ticked off a list of other goals, from strengthening community health centers in underserved neighborhoods and efforts to be “the hub of cybersecurity” and self-driving cars, to investing in green jobs, to improving child nutrition and providing more affordable child care services. .
“Today you choose New York,” Adams told the crowd. “And we want to choose you.”
On Monday, Mr. de Blasio was asked about Mr. Adams’ claim that New York City will no longer be anti-business and “dysfunctional.”
“I will not take a few lines out of context,” replied the mayor. “Obviously, this is a city that has done so much to work with our business community. “