Good morning. A death in a subway station over the weekend highlighted the challenges Mayor Eric Adams faces in making good on his promise to make the city safer. We’ll also look at new efforts to generate electricity from offshore wind projects.
A death in a subway station over the weekend highlighted the challenges that Mayor Eric Adams faces in fulfilling his promise to make New York safer.
Michelle Alyssa Go, a 40-year-old woman of Asian descent who worked at the consulting firm Deloitte, was pushed to her death in front of a train pulling into a Times Square station on Saturday. The man who confessed was homeless and has a history of mental illness, the police said.
Violence beyond the subway commanded Adams’s attention on his first day as mayor, when a bullet struck an off-duty police officer who was napping in a car between shifts. And last week a 19-year-old woman was fatally shot during a botched robbery at an East Harlem Burger King. Adams and other officials announced the arrest of a 30-year-old man who the police said had fired a gun at the woman, Kristal Bayron-Nieves, as she cowered behind the counter and fumbled for a key to open the cash register.
Such widely reported incidents have compounded many New Yorkers’ fears about the city’s direction as it struggles to pull through the pandemic. Go’s death rekindled conversations about public safety, a defining issue of Adams’s campaign last fall. But as my colleague Katie Glueck writes, there is a difference now: As mayor, he will be held accountable.
“That’s the biggest challenge he really faces,” said Kathryn Wylde, the president and chief executive of the business-aligned organization Partnership for New York City. “It’s one thing when you’re on the campaign trail, but it’s something else where you actually have to make policy decisions.”
She emphasized that business leaders were “rooting for the mayor and his commitment to restoring public safety.”
Asked about the issue on Monday, Adams said, “I want the expectations to be high.” He added: “The stakes are high.”
Officials must “make sure we don’t have these incidents where an innocent person is murdered,” he said. “And we also must fight the fact that there’s a feeling that our system is unsafe and is out of control based on what happens every day.”
Even before the killing in the subway on Saturday, Adams and Gov. Kathy Hochul had said they would assign more police officers to patrol the system and to work with homeless outreach teams — evidence of Adams’s determination to strike a balance between, as he puts it, “intervention and prevention.”
“Our recovery is dependent on the public safety in this city and in this subway system,” he said on Sunday. “We can do that with the right balance, a balance of safety and a balance of proactively giving people the assistance they need when they’re in mental health crisis.”
Officials to the left of Adams politically note that there has long been a sizable police presence in Times Square; two officers were on the platform when Go was shoved, transit officials said.
“This notion that just adding more police is going to solve something, that notion is proven not to work in a place like Times Square,” said Jumaane Williams, New York City’s public advocate and a Democratic candidate for governor. “That doesn’t mean that law enforcement doesn’t have a part to play.”
It’s a breezy, mostly sunny day in the mid-30s. The evening is partly cloudy, with temps dropping to the high 20s.
In effect until Jan. 31. (Lunar New Year’s Eve).
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Electricity from offshore wind projects
Last week officials, including Jennifer Granholm, the U.S. energy secretary, and Gov. Kathy Hochul, said that contracts had been finalized for two offshore wind projects. They said it was a milestone in the development of wind power in New York State. I asked Anne Barnard, a Metro reporter who covers climate and the environment, to put the announcement in context.
How significant are the two projects?
The goal that New York State has is to generate 9,000 megawatts of electricity from offshore wind turbines by 2035, keeping in mind that the big picture is to get all our electricity from zero-emission sources by 2040. That’s a big lift.
When we’re talking about the full 9,000 megawatts, that’s enough to generate 30 percent of the electricity New York State needs, enough to power six million homes. Right now, only about 5 percent of the state’s electricity comes from renewable energy, even though the state has been talking for at least a decade about ramping up this sector.
The idea of two large offshore wind projects sounds impressive. Is it?
On the one hand, yes, it is, because the United States doesn’t have any offshore wind to speak of. There are only two offshore wind farms operating so far, one off Block Island, R.I., the other off Virginia Beach, so anything to get us started.
On the other hand, if you ask any climate expert or renewable power expert, they will say wind power needs to be scaled up quickly and massively. These projects are only a beginning.
You can’t just order a ready-made wind turbine and have it delivered the next day. Where will the wind towers for the two projects be built?
The big towers are to be built in Albany and floated in pieces down the Hudson River on barges. They’ll go to a terminal in Sunset Park in Brooklyn, where the blades and generators will be attached. Then the whole thing has to go on a specialized ship out into the Atlantic Ocean, where it will be planted on the ocean floor.
The ships are amazing. To put the turbines in place, the ship puts down stilts to stabilize itself while an onboard crane lifts the huge, heavy turbines into place.
One of the holdups is that there aren’t enough ships. I think there’s only one that can do the installation at sea that’s available to work in these waters. The rest are in Europe.
The announcement about the two projects wasn’t the only development in wind power in New York last week. The Interior Department, along with Hochul and Gov. Philip Murphy of New Jersey, announced they would lease 488,000 acres for offshore wind development in the New York Bight. What will that bring?
Eventually, more wind turbines and more electricity. The turbines will be out in the New York Bight, the triangular-shaped section of the continental shelf between the New Jersey shore and the South Shore of Long Island. The reason they put them farther out to sea was the winds are stronger and more consistent out there.
New York and New Jersey hope there will be a coordinated offshore wind supply chain centered in New York Harbor — architectural and engineering firms and other companies with the blue- and white-collar jobs that are needed to staff up this effort.
The community in Sunset Park, Brooklyn, has been a huge supporter of this. They have been pushing for two decades to revitalize maritime industry. They want the community to have industrial jobs, so they’re excited about having these industries come. Uprose, a longstanding community group in Sunset Park, has been at the forefront.
One of the concerns is Sunset Park is what’s known as an environmental-justice community, disproportionately affected by environmental problems over the decades — smokestacks from factories and then the B.Q.E. and all the stuff that gets dumped in a working-class area. Sunset Park wants to see that when the ships come to service the turbines that the ships themselves will be green and not bringing diesel fumes to the area.
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Help on wheels
I was meeting my children for dinner in Manhattan.
As the taxi I was in neared the restaurant, rain began to fall. I had forgotten to bring an umbrella and was worried about getting soaked.
Opening the taxi door gingerly, I began to step out.
Just then, a young man riding past on a skateboard produced an umbrella, led me to the restaurant’s entrance without saying a word and then continued on his way.
— Holly Schwartztol
Glad we could get together here. See you tomorrow. — J.B.
Melissa Guerrero, Olivia Parker and Ed Shanahan contributed to New York Today. You can reach the team at [email protected].
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