Mayor Adams Recommends Cooling Centers to Beat Heat Wave

By: Shenal Tissera

New York City Mayor Eric Adams asked all New Yorkers to stay vigilant during the heat wave, addressed a recent spike in gun violence in Brownsville and supported the possibility of a mask ban on subways.

The mayor said the city will open up cooling centers across the city on Tuesday in preparation for the heat wave. He encouraged people to sign up for Notify NYC, the city’s free emergency notification system, during his regular press briefing at City Hall on Monday.

“We want people to really be conscious,” about the heat, the mayor said. Combined with the humidity, temperatures could feel like it is above 100 degrees Fahrenheit.

Zach Iscol, commissioner of New York City Emergency Management, said the worst looks to be on Thursday and Friday, as he cautioned residents to keep tabs on the heat index.

Adams also offered resolute support for a ban on wearing masks in the subway, a proposal floated by New York Governor Kathy Hochul in her attempt to combat what she has described as antisemitic acts.

“I’m a strong supporter of the decision of stopping masks on our subway system, masks in protests, masks in other areas where it’s not health related,” said Adams. “I believe the governor is in the right place and I strongly support it and I hope we get it done.”

Hochul did not make clear the exact details of the plan, nor the incident that spurred her to potentially go forward with such legislation, but gave assurances that there will be exemptions for health, cultural or religious reasons.

When asked about gun violence in Brownsville, where there’s been about 30 shootings within the 73rd Precinct borders and most recently on Saturday where two older residents got caught in the crossfire of a shooting, the mayor said he was alarmed to find out from his staff that many young people under the age of 21 are in possession of, and are using, guns.

“Our focus is to continue to look at what’s happening there. Is this gang-driven? That’s what we believe it is, and to really respond to it accordingly like we’ve done throughout the city,” he said. “Too many guns on our streets, too many repeated offenders are armed with these weapons, and some of the targets were innocent people. That is why we have to take a real close look at what are we doing with recidivism and repeated offenders that are carrying guns.”

The mayor also addressed questions about the increase in rent for rent stabilized apartments, which was approved by the New York City Rent Guidelines Board after the weekly press conference on Monday night.

Ultimately, the board, where all members are appointed by the mayor, voted to increase rent by 2.75% for one-year leases and 5.25% for two-year leases. The rent hikes are set to kick in during the fall.

Adams noted “the rent is too damn high,” and hoped for the increase to come in on the lower threshold set for the vote. For one-year leases, the minimum increase proposed was 2% and for two-year leases, it was 4%.

“We are grateful for the board’s careful consideration of the data and their decision to limit increases this year,” said Adams in a statement released after the board vote. “As we have said from day one, the only way to ultimately lower rents is to build more housing.”

The board has voted for rent increases every year since Adams assumed office in January 2022.

“Inflation is real…What $100 bought me a little while ago. It’s not buying me now,” said Adams during the press conference. “We have to find a way that we don’t run out those landlords, particularly those small property owners.”

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