The expected win means Adams, the current Brooklyn borough president, will become the city’s second Black mayor, following David Dinkins’ historic election to the post more than three decades ago in 1989.
Democrat Eric Adams will become the 110th mayor of New York City, according to preliminary city Board of Elections results released Tuesday, propelled to apparent victory over Republican rival Curtis Sliwa because of strong support in the city’s outer boroughs.
Even before Adams, the current Brooklyn borough president, addressed supporters at an election night celebration at the Brooklyn Marriott, members of his team took to the stage to acknowledge the win just after the polls closed on Election Day. He scored just over 66 percent of votes over Sliwa’s nearly 28 percent, according to early BOE tallies.
The unofficial win means Adams will become the city’s second Black mayor, following David Dinkins’ historic election to the post more than three decades ago in 1989.
“Started from the bottom now we here,” a triumphant Adams said Tuesday, quoting the rapper Drake, who he called one of “the great philosophical geniuses of our time.”
Acknowledging both the significance of his win and the challenges ahead, namely the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, accompanying financial crises, and persistent tension around the subjects of race, class, and equity in the nation’s largest city, Adams, clad in a signature white button-down shirt, took the stage at exactly 10 p.m. on Tuesday, his hands clasped.
“The people of our city, they have spoken,” Adams told the hundreds of attendees present. “And tonight New York has chosen one of us.”
Throughout his campaign, which officially commenced in November 2020, Adams has played up his working-class background and his decades of experience as a public servant—first as a transit cop in the NYPD, then as a police captain and a state senator who served four terms in Albany. A father of one, Adams has been Brooklyn borough president for seven years.
“The campaign was never, never, never about me,” Adams said Tuesday.
“This campaign was about the city and the people in it,” he added—“the underserved, the marginalized, the abandoned.”
Still, Adams’ everyman speech Tuesday struck a somewhat different tone from the relationships with big business he’s worked to cultivate during the campaign. He’s promised to work to woo more businesses to the city as part of his economic recovery plan, which includes universal childcare and workforce development programs.
“It’s time to build bridges that we’ve destroyed in the past,” he said, saying he’d “reach his hand out to businesses” to create new jobs and entice new industries to the city.
Some of Adams closest political allies in the race were also in attendance at the Brooklyn Marriott Tuesday, celebrating the win, including term-limited Councilmembers Ydanis Rodriguez and Laurie Cumbo. Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz and State Sen. Diane Savino also made remarks.
“The city needs healing, and we need to stand with Eric Adams and help him heal the city we love so much,” Diaz said, part of a bilingual address in English and Spanish.
Still, little could shatter the celebratory tone of the evening.
“Tonight we celebrate, tonight we party,” Diaz said, adding that the hard work would begin soon.
Near the end of the evening, Gov. Kathy Hochul made a surprise appearance, congratulating Adams.
Many non-politicians attended the event, too, some telling City Limits that the win had personal importance. Camille Doherty, 50, was one of them. Just after 9:15 p.m., when she learned Adams had a handy lead in the race with almost half of city scanners reporting results, she cheered loudly.
“When I was a senior in high school in 1989, David Dinkins was elected,” Doherty told City Limits. “My daughter is a senior in high school and Eric Adams is getting elected.”
A St. Albans, Queens resident, Doherty attended the Brooklyn event with her teenage daughter, a dancer who performed with DeVore Dance Center of Hollis, Queens, during the program.
Not far away in midtown Manhattan, Curtis Sliwa, who held his election night event at Empire Steakhouse on East 50th Street, told supporters that he plans to continue working of behalf of New Yorkers—particularly the first responders, like police officers, firefighters and teachers who are subject the city’s recently-instituted vaccine mandate, which Sliwa vehemently opposes.
“I am telling you I am going to continue to work on their behalf, to promote their cause,” he said, saying he would push to ensure those workers are rehired, get back pay and are “once again put up on a pedestal.”
“I don’t like defeat, though I’ve been knocked down before many times,” said Republican Sliwa, the Guardian Angels founder who has made public safety and criticism of vaccine mandates central pieces of his campaign in the last several weeks, culminating on Election Day, during which he crisscrossed some of the neighborhoods in which he has the strongest connections and attempted, unsuccessfully, to take one of his many cats to the voting booth.
He also offered some words for his rival and mayor-elect Adams.
“Tonight is the night that we offer our friendship and solidarity to the new mayor,” Sliwa told the crowd. “He’s gonna need it.”