What does one do as the lead candidate in a race for Brooklyn Borough President? He announces his candidacy outside Borough Hall so he can begin measuring the drapes and picking out furniture.
At least that’s what current Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz said when Eric Adams officially began his campaign to succeed him on the steps of Borough Hall on a chilly Sunday afternoon. “I have to remind the senator, my wife chose those draperies, and she chose the color the office is painted in,” Markowitz joked.
Adams made his run official in front of about 200 supporters, made up of Brooklynites, religious leaders and politicians endorsing him. He has been a Democratic State Senator since 2007, and appears to have an easy path to the office. He has raised about $420,000 as of mid-January, and his most prominent opponent, Democratic City Councilman Dominic Recchia, dropped out of the race in late January. One opponent, 73-year-old attorney John Gangemi, a Democrat and former Councilman-at-large for Brooklyn, faces an uphill battle to gain name recognition and campaign funds after he announced his candidacy for the democratic primaries last month.
During the event, Markowitz, a democrat, expressed his gratitude to what he called, the “Republic of Brooklyn,” for his three terms as borough president that come to an end this year due to term limits. “I really want to thank all of the Brooklynites that are here for allowing me to serve for 12 years and allowing me to realize my dream and my life.”
Markowitz jokingly warned that after his term comes to a close at the year’s end, he’ll live in Brooklyn for another century, and will keep an eye on Adams. “My final landlord will be Green-Wood Cemetery” the historic resting place in the center of, where else, Brooklyn.
Democratic New York City Public Advocate Bill de Blasio, who is running for mayor, endorsed Adams in the 35-degree weather that brought several attendees out in elegant fur coats and hats. “This is a crowd as beautiful as Brooklyn itself,” de Blasio said. “There is a reason Eric Adams brings out so many people on a winter’s day. Eric has done so much for us, in every way. Eric takes care of people each and every day.”
De Blasio alluded to Markowitz’s girth before the current borough head lost 25 pounds after a heart attack in 2007. “I’m saying this in the strongest, most metaphoric way, but he has really big shoes to fill,” de Blasio teased. “The only one with a personality big enough, a vision big enough and a heart big enough to succeed Marty Markowitz is Eric Adams.”
Adams worked as a New York Police Department officer for 22 years, and retired as a captain in 2006 before running for the State Senate. Democratic New York State Senator Velmanette Montgomery joked with Adams about his history. “I refer to Eric as Senator ‘Popo’,” Montgomery said, using a slang word for police as the crowd laughed. “It’s my way of constantly reminding him and myself of where he came from.”
“I can say to you, Senator Adams votes and speaks on behalf of the people he knows can’t always speak for themselves,” Montgomery said.
While Adams served as a police officer, he co-founded 100 Blacks in Law Enforcement Who Care, an advocacy group that raised money for African-American communities. As a State Senator, Adams has been vocal against racial profiling and police brutality, and is on the board of the Eastern District Counseling Service, an organization that helps former substance abusers reform their lives. Adams was elected as State Senator for a fourth term last year.
Democratic Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer praised Adams for his personality and told Brooklyn they should be confident that in electing Adams they’d get the “complete package.”
Before starting his speech, Adams asked for a moment of silence for the young Orthodox husband and his pregnant wife who died in a car accident early Sunday in Williamsburg. Their child, delivered via emergency cesarean section, died Monday morning.
Adams talked about his life, what led him to enter the police force, and then later to run for office. “I know Brooklyn, and I know Brooklyn well, not because I read it in a newspaper, but because I put on a bulletproof vest for 22 years to protect the children’s and families in this borough,” he said.
Brooklyn is a place of opportunity more than it ever has been, Adams added. “People must believe they are part of the greatness of this borough. If we can build a home for the Nets, then we can build affordable homes for families.”
“Brooklyn is the greatest place on earth, because of the strength and love the people are willing to pour into it,” he said. “When you ask a person from Brooklyn where they are from, they don’t say New York City, they say…” Adams paused.
“Brooklyn!” cheered the crowd.
“We’re from Brooklyn, baby,” Adams said in response.