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Eric Adams

Dear Eric Adams: It’s Time to Go Beyond ‘Haters’ and ‘Waiters’

A few suggestions for new phrases our mayor can use instead of his old favorite.

4:18 PM EDT on August 1, 2023

Eric Adams in a polka-dot blazer giving the thumbs-up

On the way to the Table of Success. (Photo: Michael Appleton / Mayoral Photography Office)

Some things about Eric Adams are mysterious. Where does he live? What will happen to the souls of the candidates who tried to prevent his divinely ordained primary victory in 2021 when they die? Where was he at 4 a.m. last night? But one thing about Eric Adams is dead certain: He isn't preoccupied with his haters. He doesn't think about them at all. We know this because he repeatedly, insistently tells us it is so—in a very particular and memorable way. 

"Let your haters be your waiters," he advised the attendees of a diversity summit in 2015. Earlier that year, he was quoted trying out a variation: "When you dine at the table of success, turn your haters into your waiters and give them a 15 percent tip." 

In 2017, he told Midwood High School graduates to "have your haters be your waiters as you conquer the world." Perhaps recognizing the unlikely imagery of someone conquering the world while dining at a restaurant, the mayor kept workshopping. 

"Let your haters be your waiters!" he told Brooklyn College Graduates in 2018

In the New York Times in 2021: "Turn your haters into your waiters."  In 2022, at the Pace University commencement: "Have your haters become your waiters when you sit down at the table of success." At the Queens College commencement, the same year, the same line.

Some observers (haters) have noticed Adams's compulsive repetition of this phrase, and have pointed it out. Others have heard in it an unfortunate dismissiveness of service workers. Has any of this stopped Adams from using it so much? Has it broken his stride one iota? Ha! Adams, addressing the press today: "All my haters become my waiters when I sit down at the table of success." (This last variation is particularly intriguing because it posits a causal relationship, a sort of ritual magic in which the sacramental gesture of Adams seating himself at the hallowed table effects a transformation in his erstwhile haters, much as Cinderella's mice are turned into footmen.)

Don't get it twisted: We at Hell Gate are not haters. We love this phrase! If you searched "haters" and "waiters" in our office chat, it would probably come up dozens of times. In the spirit of this enthusiasm, though, we wondered if there might be more good stuff where this came from. Might there be other phrases that carry the same power as that acknowledged classic, "Let your haters be your waiters when you sit down at the table of success?" 

We put our heads together, and came up with the following list of contenders.

"Let your doubters become pouters at the smile contest of success."

"Let your doubters be your routers on the Wi-Fi network of success."

"Let your detractors become your benefactors at the charity gala of success."

"Let your skeptics take your best pics at the photoshoot of success."

"Let your meanies be your beanies on the ice rink of accomplishment."

"Put on a clinic for your cynics at the basketball game of life."

"Let those who neg you, beg you to sit at the cool kids' table."

"Let your opposition become your optician at the LensCrafters of success."

"Let your detractors become your tractors in the intensive large-scale monoculture of your success."

"Let your saboteurs become amateurs who don't even play in the professional sports league of success."

"Let those who plan the betrayal of you instead be compelled to produce a flattering portrayal of you in the portrait studio of success."

"Let those who do the mocking come and hang your Christmas stocking."

"Let those who write mean headlines tuck you in at bedtime in the big comfy bed of success."

"May your slanderers become Brad Landerers in the something something of success." [STILL WORKING ON THIS ONE DON'T PUBLISH, I REPEAT DO NOT PUBLISH]

"Let your enemies pour you Hennesseys at the nightclub of success."

"Let your opponents sell you donuts at the Dunkin of success."

"Let your foes suck your toes at the kink meetup of success."

"Let your press corps be impressed more by your perfectly imperfect mayoralty."

"Let those who bust your chops soon be pushing mops across the gleaming mahogany floor of your success."

"Let the albatross weighing you down become your good friend Ross of renown, in this show of life we call Friends."

"Let your trolls be your rolls in the bread basket of success."

"Let your off-topics be the hot tropics in the beach vacation of your success."

"Let your critics play Quiddich because you're because you're an adult making Harry Potter references (of success)."

"Let your critics cue up Chronicles of Riddick at the Vin Diesel movie marathon of your success."

"Let your rivals be your Fievels in your 1986 classic American Tail of success, in that they will be like little squeaky mice."

"Let your antagonists be your tobacconists at the high-end cigar shop of success."

"Let your challengers mark their calendars for the national holiday that will be declared to celebrate your great success."

Mayor Adams, if you read this and see any you like, they're yours. A gift from us to you, passed graciously and with a knowing upward nod of the head across the great table of success.

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