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Mayor Adams’s Campaign Sto—Er, Town Hall—Gets Spoiled in Astoria

A contentious community conversation, and more news for your Wednesday.

(Hell Gate)

Astoria greeted Mayor Eric Adams with a protest, holding homemade signs bearing slogans like "ERIC ADAMS SUCKS," "Honk if you hate Eric Adams," and "Even the robot hates him," the last alongside an illustrator of the now-retired Knightscope K5 that the mayor deployed to patrol subways in 2023, then retired in February.

The mayor was in Queens—or more specifically, "the People's Republic of Astoria"—to hold his latest community conversation, answering questions from Astoria residents alongside allies like NYPD Deputy Commissioner Kaz Daughtry and Queens Assemblymember Jenifer Rajkumar (who doesn't actually represent the district where the town hall was held—actual rep Zohran Mamdani said on Twitter that he didn't get an invite.)

When the event finally kicked off, the mayor and his team answered questions from attendees about street crime, rats, mental health crises, and the administration's proposed budget cuts to parks, libraries, and youth programs; but, more memorably, the town hall devolved into a kind of call and response between Adams and his detractors, who periodically stood up and punctuated the mayor and his team's monologues with pro-Palestine chants before quickly being escorted out. According to reporters present at the Astoria event, at least six people were booted for shouting at the mayor.

Responses from the mayor, per usual not afraid to backtalk a hater, were characteristically quick and characteristically weird. "Pray for you, brother—I pray for you," he told the first protester who interrupted him. "Love you, love you, love you," he said to another. He gave impromptu directions to the blue shirted NYPD Community Affairs officers who leapt into action with each new shout: "The men officers, I got women officers here—if women wanna jump up and yell, let the women officers handle it, I don't want you handling a woman protester; now, if the guys jump up, do your thing, let's be clear." 

In spite of these interruptions, the "conversation" dragged on. When Astoria members asked questions, the mayor jumped to reassurances that his administration was already on top of their problems, but generally steered clear of specifics. He was more direct when tangling with detractors. "I'm surprised it took him that long, he's been sitting there all that time lurking—I wanted to ask him, man, when are you getting up?" Adams said, as yet another protester was escorted out, just shy of an hour into the event. "You're sitting there—I'm like, I thought if I come near him, he'd get up sooner! Hiding behind this mask, 'Free, free, free,'" he continued, with a confident guy laugh as he mockingly imitated the disruptor. "First of all, I had that guy clocked about a half hour ago," Chief of Patrol John Chell said as he took the mic to build on a response from the mayor about the ongoing crackdown on unlicensed weed vendors.

All told, the back and forth—the self-congratulatory rapport between the mayor and his team, the signature "Empire State of Mind" walkup music and the hostility between the mayor and his critics—left attendees and the mayor in the same places they found themselves in when they arrived and assumed their respective positions. After all, these town halls are effectively campaign events for Adams, who will have at least two primary challengers in the upcoming mayoral election—which means that when the conversation doesn't revolve around basking in praise from his supporters or touting his accomplishments during his current term, Adams doesn't really need to listen.

Some links, uninterrupted:

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