Mayor Eric Adams was criticized for his slow response to the major storm that hit New York, leaving large parts of the city flooded and half the subway system suspended. While Governor Kathy Hochul warned residents of flash floods and held a news conference on the storm, Adams did not address the public until almost noon the next day. Instead, he attended a campaign fundraiser the night before the storm hit. Adams defended his response, stating that all necessary precautions were taken and blamed his administration for not alerting residents. However, critics argue that the city needs to be better prepared for climate emergencies and that Adams’ response was inadequate.
Critics of Mayor Adams argue that New York City is ill-prepared for climate emergencies and that Adams’ response to the major storm was sluggish. Democratic state senator Jessica Ramos stated that New Yorkers should have been warned more urgently, while City Council member Jennifer Gutiérrez argued that the city did not learn from the lessons of Hurricane Ida in 2021. City councilman Shekar Krishnan highlighted the lack of preparedness and called attention to the concerns of residents living in basement apartments who fear a repeat of the deaths during Hurricane Ida. The criticism of Adams’ response is not new, as he was also criticized for his slow reaction to a smoky air episode caused by Canadian forest fires earlier this year.
While some city agencies took action before the storm, such as clearing catch basins and sending flood alerts, others responded more slowly. The Transportation Department, for example, did not announce a suspension of parking regulations until the next day. Despite flooding in some schools, Adams defended the decision to keep schools open and not switch to remote learning. Critics argue that the city’s response to the storm was inadequate, especially for low-income residents living in basement apartments who received little assistance. The city’s promises after Hurricane Ida to take more aggressive action in response to extreme weather events, such as appointing an Extreme Weather Coordinator and assisting basement apartment dwellers with evacuation plans, have yet to be fulfilled.