New York Mayor Eric Adams found himself in the center of a major storm as he is being criticized for waiting too long to address the public about a deluge of rain that led to large swaths of the city being underwater.
As the storm approached, Democrat New York Gov. Kathy Hochul, according to her office, appeared on radio station WINS 1010 on Thursday night, urging New Yorkers to prepare for heavy rainfall and potential flash flooding beginning overnight and continuing through Friday night in the Hudson Valley, New York City, and Long Island regions.
But Adams, a Democrat in his second year in office, didn't address the issue publicly until a news conference at around noon Friday, The New York Times reported. By that time, the city had been paralyzed after being drenched by rain, with half the subway system being suspended and multiple roads flooded. His office released its first statement about the storm, a travel advisory warning of the heavy rain, in an email at 11 p.m. Thursday, the Times reported.
Almost 7 inches (18 centimeters) of rain had fallen in parts of Brooklyn by midday Friday, with at least one spot seeing 2.5 inches in an hour, according to weather and city officials. The nearly 8 inches at John F. Kennedy Airport surpassed its record for any September day, set during Hurricane Donna in 1960, WNBC-TV reported, citing the National Weather Service.
Multiple media outlets reported Adams had been out late Thursday celebrating his 63rd birthday — which was Sept. 1 — with a fundraiser at a posh restaurant along the Hudson River in Manhattan, with contributions listed at $2,100 each. The New York Post reported Adams was 40 minutes late to the news conference Friday with Hochul and other city leaders.
The lack of communication left fellow Democrats furious.
"I am dumbfounded by the lack of communication from city hall to prepare people for this extreme weather event," Councilman Lincoln Restler, a Democrat who represents Brooklyn Heights and South Williamsburg, told the New York Post. "Aggressive, early communication and to plan for the worst-case scenario ... neither happened here."
When asked during the news conference why it took him so long to respond, Adams said the response was a team effort by the administration and didn't necessarily need a statement from him to address the issue.
"There was not an absence of a voice of this administration," Adams said, according to a transcript of the news conference. "Our team leaders that are on the front line, you know, I'm just really pleased that I have strong, competent leaders that understand the roles that they're supposed to play.
"We have good team leaders that are competent, that understand the subject matter and they know how to lead. The leadership is not only the mayor. It is all of those who are placed in those positions, and that's what you saw."
Adams also was criticized less than four months ago for not giving New Yorkers adequate warning when the city's air quality worsened rapidly after smoke spread from wildfires in Canada. And in December, when a rare storm caused flooding in the city, Adams went on vacation to the U.S. Virgin Islands.
"This morning's events have made it glaringly apparent that New York City and state must improve their processes for communicating with New Yorkers about sudden and extreme weather before it happens," Democrat Brooklyn Borough President Antonio Reynoso told the Post.
Michael Katz is a Newsmax reporter with more than 30 years of experience reporting and editing on news, culture, and politics.
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