As Mayor-elect Eric Adams’ trip to the Dominican Republic comes to an end, he says he’s already looking past the boundaries of the five boroughs.
"I have to fix New York,” Adams said. "My feet, they will be on the ground in New York. We are going to deal with all of those New York issues: education, housing, employment, I have to fix New York. But this is what I’m learning — I’m learning that national governments make the policies, but darn it, it’s the cities. Cities must determine how to move people forward."
Adams sat down with NY1 for an exclusive interview as he gets ready to head home and begin the transition. Miles away, issues back home were still center stage, including newly available COVID-19 vaccinations for children and mask requirements in city schools.
“If we’re going to make a decision that children must wear masks throughout their school year, we better bring in sociologists and behavior scientists and say, 'How much does this impact my son long term?' and then let's weigh, should we modify that, should we change it?” he said.
As Adams prepares to take office in January, he said he believes many of the answers to problems back in New York City may lie abroad, and indicated he plans to travel abroad as part of his mayoralty.
“Germany, is one place for example, they've figured out education. How do we engage the trade schools? Why don’t we create tracks so that people can be gainfully employed?” Adams said. "Transportation, we are so behind in the globe. You go to other countries in South and Central America, they’re doing such an amazing job of using alternative forms of transportation."
Adams told NY1 he wants his own version of the United Nations Assembly, but one that would be focused on cities, a gathering of city leaders to collaborate on solutions to common problems affecting urban centers across the world.
“Let’s look globally, what are you doing in your country that we can invite you here or I can send delegations there and say let’s learn what they’re doing there so we can do it here," he said.
Adams spent his second day in Santo Domingo meeting with top elected officials. It's all part of an effort he says will build a stronger relationship between the Dominican Republic and New York City — home to more than 700,000 Dominicans, a crucial bloc which Adams says helped deliver his win.
“We have to be really clear on what the Dominican community specifically, but the Latino community in general, has played in this election, close election. They really mobilized their voters and they were stronger in my corner,” Adams said.
President Luis Abinader hosted a luncheon for Adams at the Presidential Palace in Santo Domingo. The two men held a private audience and pledged to work together in the near future.
Earlier on Monday, Adams also met with leaders of the Dominican Senate and he spoke about the link between the two countries, promising to lend a helping hand should they ever need it.
"You are connected to New York as much as New York is connected to you. Every year, billions of dollars are sent to your country, from those in New York City," Adams said.