Metropolis

Wait, Does Eric Adams Really Live in New Jersey?

A late-breaking New York City mayoral-primary controversy, explained.

Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams appears in Flushing, Queens to open a new campaign office on June 8, 2021 in the Queens borough of  New York City. He's seen surrounded by a crowd of supporters who are waving American flags.
Forget leading New York, who wants to live here? Spencer Platt/Getty Images

The race to become mayor of New York City really began in January, when Andrew Yang admitted he had spent much of the pandemic in a house upstate. “Is he a New Yorker? I don’t even know,” Kathryn S. Wylde, who leads the business group Partnership for New York City, said at the time. For Yang, who has never voted in a city election, the perception stuck around. “Why did you flee this city during our darkest hour?” rival Eric Adams asked last week.

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In a nice bit of symmetry, the race will end this month with the roles reversed. This week it is Adams, the Brooklyn borough president leading in the polls, who is defending his New York bona fides. And it is Adams’ rivals, all of a sudden, who are on the offensive. “Release your EZ-Pass records!” Yang said on Wednesday, referring to the eastern U.S. toll-reader. “But I have a feeling that he will not release his EZ-Pass records, because it will show very, very clearly that he has been living in New Jersey for most of the last two years.”

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The campaign manager for left-wing candidate Maya Wiley released five questions for Adams, including: “WTF?!?!” and “Does Eric Adams live in New Jersey?”

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Adams’ rivals were reacting to a story published on Wednesday in Politico, which suggested he might not actually live in the Brooklyn apartment he has long called his primary residence. Instead, Politico suggested, Adams is spending a lot of nights at Brooklyn Borough Hall.

Adams’ rivals seem to think the mystery is pretty simple: Adams may still be sleeping at Borough Hall, as he did in the early days of the pandemic, but he actually lives with his partner in a co-op he owns across the river in Fort Lee, New Jersey.

The Adams campaign says despite the paperwork issues noted by Politico, Adams is just a hardworking guy who spends a lot of time at the office.

But if you’d like to go down the rabbit hole of conspiracies about the residence of the man favored to become the next mayor of New York City, join me for the tour of his Brooklyn apartment that Adams scrambled to give to to press this morning.

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First, internet sleuths pointed out that Adams’ bed is flanked by some shoes that appear to be more the style of his 25-year-old son.

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The contents of the fridge (sausage, salmon) don’t seem like they belong to the famously vegan borough president. (They are his son’s, the campaign says.)

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Most suspiciously, the fridge looks like an older, single-door model—a contrast with the newer, double-door fridge that Adams showed off in a 2017 tweet of his groceries “in Bed-Stuy.” Might the double-door fridge in fact be from Adams’ crib in Fort Lee?

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Does it matter if Adams lets his 25-year-old son live in his apartment while he stays with his girlfriend? Maybe not, but that’s not his line … for now. Voters head to the polls on Saturday, with a chance to give Adams a place to lay his head at Gracie Mansion, the mayor’s residence. It’s just about halfway between Brooklyn and Fort Lee. As for the truth, well, we might have to wait until the public-records requests for Adams’ city-issued EZ-Pass come back.

To understand more about why former police officer Eric Adams is near the front of the Democratic pack, listen to this episode of What Next. 

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