Mayor Eric Adams delivered his 2024 State of the City address yesterday at Hostos Community College in The Bronx. The speech — his third in as many years as he has held office — focused on a wide range of ideas, recently established and soon-to-be actualized, related to the city economy, public safety, and building new housing on public land, expanding NYC Reads, and protecting NYC from climate change.
They also included new initiatives like a Department of Sustainable Delivery for delivery-worker issues and a lockdown effort to ban underage young people from certain apps, like Tic-Toc and Facebook, declaring “social media” as a public health hazard.
Excerpts from the full text of Mayor Adams’ remarks, as prepared for delivery, is provided below:
Our city has always been about what is possible — a place where you can start a business, start a family, start a movement, make your mark. A place where you can make it.
Fifty years ago, that happened right here in the Bronx when a new generation of New Yorkers created a new kind of music: hip-hop. Now, a place once known for urban blight is famous for being the birthplace of the most transformative musical genre of all time and a thriving community that is home to nearly 1.5 million New Yorkers from all over the globe.
Here, at Hostos Community College, it is also a place to find your way forward with a world-class education — just like our very own Deputy Mayor Almanzar, a proud Hostos graduate.
When we came into office two years ago, we had a clear mission: protect public safety, rebuild our economy, and make this city more livable.
Two years in, we are seeing real results: Crime is down, jobs are up, and every day, we are delivering for working-class New Yorkers. Just look at the numbers. We’ve taken over 14,000 illegal guns off our streets, driven down the number of shootings and homicides by double digits, gotten 4 million people back on our subways, and welcomed almost 62 million tourists back to our hotels, theaters, and restaurants.
We have created 270,000 private-sector jobs, worked with our brothers and sisters in labor to get them the pay and the benefits they deserve, and delivered long-overdue raises for independent contractors, gig workers, and deliveristas.
We unlocked billions for home repairs through the NYCHA Preservation Trust, drove down the cost of subsidized childcare by almost 90 percent, increased public school enrollment, boosted test scores, and revolutionized how we are teaching kids to read.
We protected women’s health and freedom by expanding abortion access that has been denied in other states and extended individual liberty to those in the LGBTQ+ community with our landmark executive order to protect gender-affirming care in New York City.
We built more parks, paths, and recreation space; got garbage bags off our streets and into bins; and removed miles of unsightly scaffolding that has darkened our doors and blocked our views.
We got all of this done for New York City… while marshaling our entire city government to respond to the asylum seeker humanitarian crisis. This was a team effort.
And thanks to the hard work of this administration and millions of dedicated New Yorkers, the state of our city is far stronger than it was two years ago.
I want to thank every hard-working New Yorker out there for helping bring our city back from the brink. That includes members of our nonprofit sector. From stepping up during the pandemic to sheltering our asylum seekers, their work has supported and defined our city.
I also want to thank our city workforce for your dedication. Our police officers, social workers, firefighters, teachers, sanitation workers, transit workers, and health care heroes have given their all to keep our city moving in the right direction. Let’s hear it for Team New York!
When we came into office two years ago, our economy was in freefall. A global pandemic had decimated our businesses and emptied our streets. Crime was up; confidence was down. During our first month in office, in one week alone, Detectives Jason Rivera and Wilbert Mora were murdered, multiple officers were victims of gun violence, and an 11-month-old baby was shot in the head.
It was hard not to give up hope after a week like that. New Yorkers were rightfully concerned about their safety, their security, and their families.
Our first order of business was clear: get crime under control, keep New Yorkers safe, and get back to normal after so much trouble and trauma.
Our strategy is working. We have supported our law enforcement officers in every way possible, from improved training to higher pay and better benefits; we have surged police officers throughout our streets and our subways; and we are making progress on the fentanyl crisis, car theft, retail crimes, and more.
Our city has gotten safer, but we need people to feel safe, too. New Yorkers should not have to worry about crime, disorder, and their quality of life. And they shouldn’t have to worry about things like illegal smoke shops selling cannabis to their children. Legal cannabis remains the right choice for our city and our state, but New Yorkers are fed up with these illegal storefronts and their unlawful business practices.
To get them shut down once and for all, we need Albany’s help. I want to thank Governor Hochul and all our elected partners who are fighting to give us the power to shut down these illegal smokeshops. Give us the proper authority, and we will get the job done.
New Yorkers must also be able to live, work, and worship without fear. But at this moment, many of us are still worried about hate crimes and the rising tide of antisemitism and Islamophobia.
Hate has no place here in New York, and our police officers are committed to protecting every community. But I want to be clear: While we will always respect the right to peaceful protest, those who violate the law will be held accountable.
We are committed to keeping the peace, in every sense of the word — that is why you elected me as your mayor and what I am determined to deliver for you every day.
Public safety means public trust, too. Our police officers are always held to the highest possible standards — but when a civilian brings a complaint, we must act more swiftly to resolve the matter. Right now, some internal discipline cases in our police department can take as long as a year to resolve, if not more.
That is far too long. This year, the NYPD will further reform their internal case process to cut that time in half — setting stricter timelines so that cases do not languish for months and eliminating redundancies to make government more responsive to the needs of our citizens.
Public safety is also about safer streets for pedestrians, cyclists, drivers, and delivery workers. New Yorkers welcome the future of transit and new electronic technologies — but we cannot have mopeds speeding down our sidewalks and forcing people to jump out of the way. We must also protect the drivers and delivery workers who show up for New Yorkers at all times of day and in all kinds of weather.
That is why we are in discussion with the City Council to create the “Department of Sustainable Delivery,” a first-in-the-nation entity that will regulate new forms of delivery transit and ensure their safety.
This department will also build on the work we have done to protect New Yorkers from the dangers of lithium-ion batteries. Our administration banned the sale of uncertified e-vehicles and refurbished batteries, but with the Department of Sustainable Delivery, we will be able to do much more, including educating riders and enforcing safety standards for lithium-ion batteries.
New Yorkers care about public safety first and foremost, because it is the foundation on which our prosperity is built. It is a simple formula: When crime goes down, jobs go up. When crime goes down, tourism goes up. When crime goes down, our quality of life goes up. And when all these things go up, there is no stopping New York City.
Crime down, jobs up. Finally, something 8.3 million New Yorkers can agree on.
We now have the most private-sector jobs in New York City history: 4.1 million. New York City has recovered all of the private-sector jobs we lost during the pandemic — more than a year ahead of projections. And one in six New York City businesses has opened since the start of this administration.
Our city is determined to support our entrepreneurs, and with our record-setting $75 million Small Business Opportunity Fund, we have been able to do just that.
New York will remain the city where people come to make it. This is the destination for young people to start their careers, for immigrants to build a better life, start a business, and live the American Dream. That dream is what draws so many to our shores and our city, and we are proud to uphold our legacy of welcoming the tired, the poor, the huddled masses yearning to breathe free.
The asylum humanitarian crisis may not be over, but New Yorkers can be proud that we have demonstrated leadership and compassion, when so many others showed only cowardice and cruelty. Over the past two years, we have helped more than 172,000 asylum seekers by providing food, medical care, and shelter. Of those, we’ve helped almost 105,000 take the next steps in their journeys and get on the path to self-sufficiency. We have helped tens of thousands file applications to extend Temporary Protected Status, seek asylum, and obtain work authorization.
We are proud we have done our part, but we need others to do theirs. The federal government must step up and step in. This is a national crisis that calls for a national solution, so that our newest arrivals can contribute to our economy, like the generations of immigrants before them.
The same harbor that has welcomed immigrants in the past will be a place of even more opportunity going forward. We are transforming the waterfronts and shorelines that first made New York the economic engine of this nation into the “Harbor of the Future.”
And today, we are excited to announce a new investment: $100 million for the Climate Innovation Hub at the Brooklyn Army Terminal (to) bring business development, incubation, and research to a 4-million-square-foot campus, turning Sunset Park into a center for clean tech innovation and manufacturing. Over the coming years, the Harbor of the Future will create 53,000 temporary and permanent new jobs, generate $95 billion in economic impact, and establish New York City as the global destination for green technology, innovation, and opportunity.
The green economy is already here and is expected to support a total of 400,000 jobs by the year 2040. That’s a big number, but I think we can go even bigger.
Right now, projections have us reaching 5 million total jobs by the end of 2026. I am charging us with getting there a year ahead of schedule: 5 million jobs in 2025.
More jobs mean more prosperity for every New Yorker — because all New Yorkers deserve to share in our city’s success. This is why our administration made a record $6 billion-plus investment in minority- and women-owned businesses; funded new programs that ensure that older New Yorkers can work, learn, and volunteer in the city they love; and help New Yorkers living with disabilities connect with jobs and opportunities.
We will soon release a $40 million roadmap to make New York a better place for women to work, live, and thrive. Our “Women Forward” plan will offer important new services and benefits to the women of our city. That will include expanded access to maternal mental health care, improved screening for postpartum depression, and help for women in need — including domestic violence survivors, women in shelters, and women leaving incarceration.
Next to public safety, there is no greater anxiety for the average New Yorker than being priced out of their home or their neighborhood. I know because I’ve been there.
It is time for a powerful new housing agenda — one that acknowledges the need to build more housing is more important than preserving the old way of doing things.
Over the past year, we have made record-breaking progress on multiple fronts: the most new affordable homes financed in city history (a record), the most New Yorkers connected to affordable homes (a record), and the most homes created for New Yorkers who used to be homeless (a record).
Now is the time to aim even higher. We have a moonshot goal of building 500,000 housing units over the next decade, and we need everyone — developers, citizens, community boards, and our partners in Albany and on the City Council — to help get us there.
We cannot say “no” to our neighbors and our fellow New Yorkers. We must be a “City of Yes” — “yes” in my backyard, “yes” on my block, “yes” in my city. That is why we introduced our “City of Yes for Housing Opportunity” plan to build a little more housing in every neighborhood. And we’re excited for the City Council to say “yes” to this plan later this year.
We also need our state legislators to step up and deliver a plan that will change how we build from the ground up. That means incentives for affordable housing development, including a new version of the 421-A program and legislation to help convert up to 136 million square feet of unused office space into affordable housing for hardworking New Yorkers.
Governor Hochul was right in her State of the State address: New York City must build. And we need Albany to clear the way for the housing we need now. Let us build.
Later this year, for the first time in 15 years, we will reopen the NYCHA Section 8 voucher waitlist, aiming to issue 1,000 vouchers a month. We will also launch a new Tenant Protection Cabinet to help more people stay in the homes they already have and expand our Homeowner Help Desk pilot, which connects homeowners with resources and counseling to prevent deed theft.
We are going to keep New Yorkers in their homes and on their blocks — but we need Albany’s help. We support the governor’s efforts to pass legislation that will create a new crime: deed theft. And we must give New York Attorney General Letitia James more power to prosecute deed theft cases.
In addition to fighting deed theft, we want to take on other financial practices that are drowning New Yorkers in unpayable debts. On Monday, we announced that we are cancelling over $2 billion in medical debt for up to half a million working-class New Yorkers. T
This past year, we launched New York City Reads, an updated curriculum that teaches our kids the fundamentals of reading, including how to decode words. It used to be called phonics, but today, it is known as the “science of reading.”
This is more than a curriculum change — this is a reading revolution.
We are going to help the rest of our students read to succeed, too. New York City Reads is already in over 90 percent of our early childhood system and across nearly half of our K-5 classes. And starting this September, this curriculum will be used in every early childhood and elementary classroom across our city. This month, Governor Hochul announced that she is also bringing the science of reading to every school district across the state.
New York City has long been a leader when it comes to world-class public education, but we want to do more — including making sure our young people can seamlessly transition to college or the job market. We are giving students a head start with our Summer Rising and Summer Youth Employment programs, and we are equipping them with paid work experiences, career discovery programs, and professional mentorship.
We know academic preparation is essential to our children’s future, but so is mental health. We are proud of all we have done to promote mental health, in and out of the classroom. Last year, we launched Teenspace to help young people connect with a licensed therapist over phone, video, or text. So far, over 1,500 children have used this free service, and we will continue to get our students the help they need in a way that works for them.
We also need to protect our students from harm online, including the growing dangers presented by social media. Companies like TikTok, YouTube, and Facebook are fueling a mental health crisis by designing their platforms with addictive and dangerous features. We cannot stand by and let Big Tech monetize our children’s privacy and jeopardize their mental health.
That’s why today, Dr. Ashwin Vasan is issuing a Health Commissioner’s Advisory, officially designating social media as a public health hazard in New York City. We are the first major American city to take this step and call out the danger of social media like this. Just as the surgeon general did with tobacco and guns, we are treating social media like other public health hazards and ensuring that tech companies take responsibility for their products. You’ll be hearing more about this soon.
Everybody knows that New York City is the greatest city in the world, but we’re also one of the greenest, too. Thanks to our transit and our density, our city has a head start on sustainability — and we don’t intend to give it up.
This year, we will break ground on a $200 million coastal resiliency project to protect Lower Manhattan from the next Superstorm Sandy, while preserving green space for New Yorkers. We are also protecting our city from flash floods and extreme rainfall by extending water management infrastructure to every corner of the city — including rain gardens, drainage ponds, and holding tanks that will keep our streets clear and our basements dry. We have secured $450 million from our federal partners to build a more resilient New York, as part of a record $1 billion in federal infrastructure money that will go to build a better city.
Working with our partners in the City Council, we established “Dining Out NYC,” creating clear rules so outdoor dining setups work for restaurants, for diners, for neighbors, and for our streets.
Most importantly, we kept those streets cleaner than ever, with major new initiatives around trash containerization and rat reduction. By removing those mountains of black bags on the sidewalks, our city closed down the rat buffet once and for all. And as a result, we are seeing major reductions in rat complaints citywide.
Soon, we’ll be taking our sanitation strategy to the next level, by bringing containerization to our high-density buildings and taking steps to take every single black trash bag off our streets. Every single bag
And we are going to continue to transform our city for the better, including a complete makeover of Kimlau Plaza in Chinatown and a plan to build and refurbish four major public skate parks in the Bronx and in Brooklyn.
Our entrepreneurial drive and creative spirit have taken us far over the years, especially the last two of them. But we have a long way to go in so many ways. Our city is full of questions and contradictions — the safest big city in America but one where too many feel vulnerable and afraid; a place where the economy is booming but too many are not getting their fair share. These contradictions and so many others are what we are working to change. History shows us what kind of progress is possible when New Yorkers work together, and as mayor, I never forget that I am part of a much bigger story of revolution and resilience.
This year, we will start planning for a major milestone in history: the 400th anniversary of the founding of New York City. 2025 will be a year to look back on how far we have come in four centuries and celebrate the enduring spirit of our city. What began four centuries ago as a Dutch trading village on Lenape land has grown into the global capital of politics, commerce, and culture — a great city made up of my favorite people on earth: my fellow New Yorkers.
Thanks to you and the work we have done together, New York City will remain a place where anyone has the opportunity to make it — even a young man named Eric Adams from South Jamaica, Queens.
Down at City Hall, I see the portraits of many who served our city, state, and nation. They may not have foreseen the skyscrapers or the airports, Times Square or Madison Square Garden, jazz, blues, hip-hop, or a mayor who looks like me. But they knew that this was a place to create a new kind of city — a place that could endlessly reinvent itself, getting better each time. A place that welcomes the world and looks to the future. A place where anyone can make it — a business, a dream, a goal, a career, a family, a life.
Thank you, New York!