Eric Adams on his first year in office

Beep: We need more Citi Bikes, bike lanes, not ‘old school’ cars

The Brooklyn Paper
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Former cop and state senator Eric Adams has been the president of Brooklyn for a year now, and we sat down with him to look back on his first year at the helm, and look forward to 2015. Adams said that in the new year he wants to bridge the gap between police and the public, get more security gear on the Brooklyn Bridge, keep the boards in the Coney Island Boardwalk, and “embrace bicycling” because “cars are so old school.”

Bill Egbert: Your New Year’s resolution for 2014 was to “visit every neighborhood in the borough and speak to as many residents as I can.” Did you follow through?

Eric Adams: I’ve certainly tried. I am just amazed at the vastness of the borough. There are so many cultures here. I remember when I was a child, how excited I was to go on school field trips. With this job, every time I come in I feel like I’m going on a new field trip.

Brooklyn is an amazing place under normal circumstances, but add in the other factors — the growth and change going on — and this borough forces you to be on top of your game at all times.

BE: Recently Brooklyn has been ground zero for a lot of acrimony between the police and the public, with protests erupting after the failure to indict the cop who killed Eric Garner in Staten Island, and then the murder of two police officers right here in Brooklyn. You’ve taken some heat for criticizing the police, but you also called for a hold on protests while the police mourn their own. How do you walk that line?

EA: Usually, the people who are most critical of you are your parents — because they love you. Well, I loved being a cop, so I speak critically at times. But also, I want to be part of helping people appreciate our police for all the things they do for us. Not just the ultimate sacrifice, as in the case of the two officers who were shot recently, but the smaller things — volunteering in their communities, mentoring local kids. A lot of people don’t know about that. There’s a bit of a communication gap that I want to help bridge.

BE: The city is moving forward with its plan to convert the Riegelmann Boardwalk from hardwood boards to concrete and plastic slats, but a couple of local freshmen councilmen, Mark Treyger (D–Coney Island) and Chaim Deutsch (D–Sheepshead Bay) are trying to prevent that by pushing to have the Boardwalk in Coney Island and Brighton Beach designated as a scenic landmark. What’s your view?

EA: I share their views on the Boardwalk. We do need to protect Coney Island and what makes it so special — its history and traditions — and I think a wooden Boardwalk is a part of that.

BE: Speaking of protecting things, you came out tough against people climbing the Brooklyn Bridge after incidents when the American flags atop the towers were swapped for white banners, and a tourist was arrest for climbing onto the bridge structure for a photo. Why did you stake out such a tough stance?

EA: The Brooklyn Bridge is important — as a traffic route into the city, as a symbol — and that makes it a target. When you trespass on something like the Brooklyn Bridge, the penalty should be more than for trespassing in a park. So I support state Sen. [Daniel] Squadron’s legislation to increase penalties for trespassers on certain sites.

We’re talking to vendors right now about state-of-the-art technology to create electronic fences that will let us know when someone is there. We shouldn’t have waited until the flags were stolen to realize this was an issue.

BE: What are some things that Brooklyn needs more of in 2015?

EA: We need a lot more of those Citi Bikes! We need to catch up with the rest of the globe in alternative transportation. Cars are so old school. We need to embrace bicycling as a transportation alternative, but the infrastructure needs to come with it. We need more bike lanes, buildings should have bus shelters, and we need to remake the entire borough based around that.

BE: What does Brooklyn need less of in 2015?

EA: First thing, I have to say handguns. But there’s also an attitude I want to see gone. People are living in silos, in their own little world, and they’re not appreciating the diversity around us. People need to stop thinking about how to live apart from other people and start enjoying living together. They need to embrace what I like to call “Brooklyn fusion.”

Updated 10:17 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

CitiBiker says:
How about Citi Bike learns how to balance the system before it expands? Lots of docking stations in Brooklyn but hardly any bikes.
Jan. 2, 2015, 10:54 am
bkmanhatman from nubrucklyn says:
I just hope Eric Adams can fight the Hassids and the anti-bike jihadi/Taliban people.
Jan. 2, 2015, 11:03 am
Dan from Greenpoint says:
if that's the case why is Eric Adams driving still a car, its easy to say we need more Citi bikes, Eric be example give up your car will ya???
Jan. 2, 2015, 11:43 am
Milton from Crown Heights says:
Just a bunch of talk...
Jan. 2, 2015, 11:48 am
Milton from Crown Heights says:
Sure Brooklyn needs less handguns. Duh. But what are you REALLY going to do to address that? What about black on black violence? Address THAT.
Jan. 2, 2015, 11:50 am
ty from pps says:
will he bike to events? to work?
Jan. 2, 2015, 1:07 pm
The Chooch from the gentrifactor says:
"Sure Brooklyn needs less handguns."

Fewer handguns.
Jan. 2, 2015, 1:45 pm
Epiphany from Ex-Brooklyn says:
Somebody at The Brooklyn Paper should follow up, instead of just chatting and track how many miles a day Adams uses his car every single day, how long he keeps it idling, what kind of gas mileage his vehicle gets etc. Those are real facts. How about not just a self-promotional interview, a day in the life on a Brooklyn environmentalist.

And what about all those fellow cops he "loves" so much, parking in bike lanes and letting their patrol cars idle endlessly in the summer with the windows rolled up tight and their air conditioners on. They would be protesting and turning their backs on Adams if he ever suggested they ought to get out of their cars and patrol on bike.

Adams, who courts luxury housing developers while talking out the side of his mouth about the hood—and something he obviously has very little hands on experience with, like biking and bike commerce in the borough, is Brooklyn's problem, not its solution.
Jan. 2, 2015, 3:22 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
I wonder what Eric Adams thinks about having cyclists actually following the rules. It's not that anyone has something against those who like who like to ride bicycles, it's how they act that is the problem. Unfortunately, the bike zealots will always be crying foul whenever the rules are being enforced on them even though they demand everyone else to follow them while claiming that they are always above the law.
Jan. 2, 2015, 4:39 pm
Demi Monde from Prospect Heights says:
But what about people with respiratory problems, or other health problems, and cannot bicycle? Or the elderly? How can they be accommodated?
Jan. 2, 2015, 4:53 pm
Jimmy from Flatbush says:
I really hope Demi Monde was trying to be funny, but somehow I doubt it. Why does "We need more X and less dependence on Y" always mean "We need to totally eradicate Y and probably slap your grandmother for fun" to so many people? When they expand bus routes and add trains to subway lines, does that mean you are forbidden from using an airplane?!
Jan. 2, 2015, 5:21 pm
ty from pps says:
demi monde there are tandem bicycles and we could put the elderly on them.
Jan. 2, 2015, 5:30 pm
Vinny Polack from Greenpoint says:
Cars are old school, bikes are in!

We should all live in tents also because buildings are old school! Buildings are 80% of emissions, think of the positive changes to the environment!
Jan. 3, 2015, 4:39 pm
Michael from Bay Ridge says:
I agree with other commenters - if he actually wants anyone to listen, then he can set an example by bicycling himself.
I have ridden a bike down 4th avenue in Sunset Park when I worked in red hook - it's incredibly dangerous. Why not install more, better and safer bike lanes? Or why not just run more subway trains (I'm talking R trains, which can take forever to arrive)? I believe that's no concern of his because his words are nothing but hot air. He loves to talk, but doesn't actually have any intention of doing anything.
Jan. 4, 2015, 7:56 am
Me from Bay Ridge says:
The R trains run frequently enough for the amount of riders on them.
Jan. 4, 2015, 9:42 am
Common Cents from Crown Heights says:
For a position with no law making powers I wonder why he hasn't gotten to all neighborhoods yet. What was he doing? The easiest thing to do would be to visit each Brooklyn library, and don't drive there since he is so big on alternate transportation. He will then realize that cars are needed. I. Sure he hasn't experienced having to drop your kids off at two different schools or grocery shopping for an entire family. He'll realize that some areas aren't served by trains and you need to take buses, buses that run infrequently and are overcrowded. I'm sure he never had to take a B103 in the dead of winter. Cars aren't old school either, fossil fuels are, and why do some Mexivan cities have better designed bike lanes?
Jan. 5, 2015, 5:43 am
uncommon says:
Actually, one of the few powers that the borough presidents have retained is the ability to introduce legislation.
Jan. 5, 2015, 10:43 am

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