Minutes before 10 p.m. on Election Night when Eric Adams, the mayor-elect and current Brooklyn borough president, bounded center stage inside the Brooklyn Marriott ballroom, he was flanked by throngs of supporters and well-wishers. “The champ is here!” they hollered, evoking the prizefighter Muhammad Ali entering the ring.
As the timeworn adage goes, a photo is worth a thousand words. In the case of political images, they are an exercise in stagecraft. Similar to former Mayor David Dinkins’s “gorgeous mosaic” metaphor, the Adams team assembled an array of races, ethnicities, and religions around the new mayor-elect. Not everyone who is a part of Adams’s inner circle made the final victory shot on Election Night, but many of them did. Some were old friends and allies who had lifted him up, while others may simply have hopes of hitching a ride on his winning coattails.
With so many people on stage, Gothamist/WNYC created this guide to identify most of the players who surrounded Adams on election night. Click here to enlarge image.
- Ruben Diaz Jr.: The Bronx borough president has been a longtime ally of Adams, overlapping in the New York state Legislature and partnering on a campaign to increase gifted and talented programs as borough presidents. Diaz Jr. insists he's ready to retire from politics, but with Adams at the helm, he could be brought back in.
- Ydanis Rodriguez: A term-limited Manhattan city council member who represents Washington Heights, Inwood and Marble Hill, Rodriguez was a steady presence alongside Adams during the campaign trail, especially in Latino neighborhoods. He is among the key allies who’s expected to win an appointment in the Adams administration.
- Laurie Cumbo: A term-limited member of the New York City Council from Brooklyn, Cumbo is the council’s outgoing majority leader and represents the neighborhoods of Fort Greene, Clinton Hill, Crown Heights, Bedford-Stuyvesant, and Prospect Heights. She was an early and vocal Adams supporter, helping launch his mayoral bid over Zoom and remained a consistent presence throughout his campaign.
- Bernard Adams: One of Adams’s younger brothers, Bernard introduced the mayor-elect on Election Night. Like his brother, he also served as a member of the NYPD. Adams has been extremely private when it comes to his family. Bernard is one of the few members who has spoken to the media.
- Ingrid Lewis-Martin: Currently the deputy Brooklyn borough president, Lewis-Martin has been by Adams’s side for decades, serving as a senior advisor and chief of staff for Adams when he was state senator. Adams called Lewis-Martin “my sister” during his victory speech, adding “she never left my side no matter how challenging it was.”
- Kathy Hochul: New York’s incumbent governor, who made history in August by becoming the state’s first woman to hold that office, made a strategic decision to appear at the victory party for the city’s mayor-elect. Hochul is actively seeking a full-term next year and has committed to resetting the relationship between her office and City Hall, which became increasingly hostile and dysfunctional under her predecessor. She also stands to benefit politically if she can appeal to the same coalition of voters who helped Adams win.
- Al Cockfield: As the executive pastor of God’s Battalion of Prayer Church in central Brooklyn, Cockfield is considered a close advisor to the mayor-elect. The two have known each other for around 20 years, according to Cockfield. Over the years, his church has served as a campaign stop for Adams and other elected officials, including former Governor Andrew Cuomo.
- Adrienne Adams: A member of the New York City Council who represents several neighborhoods in southeast Queens, including parts of Jamaica, Richmond Hill, Rochdale Village and South Ozone Park, Adams (who is unrelated to the mayor-elect) is among a handful of candidates vying to become the next City Council speaker. Adams, who endorsed Adams, currently chairs the council’s public safety committee, which includes oversight of the New York City Police Department.
- Debbie Almontaser: An adviser on cultural and religious diversity issues, Almontaser is best known for being the founding principal of the Khalil Gibran International Academy, a public school in Brooklyn that teaches Arabic. She backed Scott Stringer during the mayoral primary.
- Faye Franklin: Adams’s older sister, Franklin was one of at least two siblings at the victory party.
- Tommy Torres: A former district leader for Brooklyn’s 53rd Assembly District, Torres is seen as both “politically connected” and a “political wannabe,” having unsuccessfully run for City Council. He’s since volunteered for Adams’s campaign, posting numerous photos of him with the mayor-elect on the trail along with a screenshot of him onstage with Adams on Election Night.
- Moishe Indig: A leader of a Satmar Hasidic sect in Williamsburg and Borough Park, Indig is considered an unofficial lobbyist for his community. The group, which is led by Rabbi Aaron Teitelbaum from Kiryas Joel, is one of two Satmar sects. Both initially endorsed Andrew Yang during the primary but Indig’s faction switched their allegiance to Adams several weeks before the election.
- Dr. Bindu Babu: A self-described physician, life coach and Reiki healer, Babu’s LinkedIn page lists herself as a community consultant for the Adams campaign. Her website states that she has an expertise on recovering from “narcissistic toxic relationships.”
- Eric Gonzalez: The current Brooklyn district attorney is among a growing list of names mentioned as a possible candidate for state attorney general now that incumbent, Letitia James, is running for governor. He was just re-elected to a four-year term in the general election, which means he could toss his hat in the June 2022 primary for the attorney general spot without sacrificing his current seat. He also could make history as the first Latino elected to statewide office if he becomes state attorney general.
- Vicki Schneps: A community media mogul, Schneps is a major booster for Adams, having produced numerous publications praising the mayor-elect well before his run for Gracie Mansion (she also donated $1,000 to his campaign, the highest amount she’s given to a politician in decades). Schneps owns more than two-dozen newspapers in the tri-state area, including amNew York/Metro, a free daily newspaper found across the five boroughs.
- Chanina Sperlin: A longtime prominent leader of the Hasidic Crown Heights community, Sperlin and Adams go back to when the mayor-elect was running as a state senator. Sperlin was among a coalition of Orthodox leaders belonging to the Chabad-Lubavitch sect in Crown Heights that endorsed Adams. He serves as the executive vice president of governmental affairs at the Crown Heights Community Council.
- Rodneyse Bichotte: A state Assembly member representing Brooklyn’s 42nd District, Bichotte’s true power comes as head of the Brooklyn Democratic Party, where she aggressively stumped for the mayor-elect during the primary and general election. Bichotte has also brokered meetings with some of Brooklyn’s high profile political players, including the orthodox Jewish community, whom Bichotte says will have access to Adams.
- Ben Kallos: Kallos is a term-limited City Councilmember who represents the Upper East Side and came out in support of Adams during the general election. During the primary, the Democrat ran for Manhattan borough president but lost to fellow Councilmember Mark Levine.
- Diane Savino: A state senator representing parts of Brooklyn and Staten Island, Savino’s center-left views closely align with Adams’s. Adams has promised the areas she represents will no longer be forgotten when he’s sworn into office.
- Dilip Chauhan: Recognized as “of the most prominent and dedicated advocate for the South Asian-American community,” Chauhan is known for bringing civic awareness to Asian communities through workshops. A political power broker, Chauhan’s influence in the South Asian community drew the attention of U.S. Representative Grace Meng, who designated November 12th, 2016 as “Dilip Chauhan Day”.
- Gladys Miranda: Adams’s executive assistant at Brooklyn borough hall, Miranda received a special shout out from Adams during his victory speech and cited her backstory of mastering her job as an immigrant and non-fluent English-speaker from Peru. “She took over my entire life and made sure that we were able to be a functioning office,” he said.
- Rosita Chan: President of the Brooklyn Community Improvement Association, Chan is a staple in the borough’s civic engagement circuit, earning accolades from Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez.
- Peter Koo: The so-called “Mayor of Flushing” and New York City Council member helped build support in parts of Queens, endorsing Adams over Andrew Yang.
- Xiu Yan Li: The mother of slain NYPD Detective Wenjian Liu has been a staunch supporter of Mayor-elect Adams, officially endorsing him in March just as Andrew Yang sought to cobble support from Asian New Yorkers.
OFF-STAGE PEOPLE TO WATCH
Frank Carone: An attorney who serves as counsel to the Brooklyn Democratic Party, Carone has long been a well-known figure in city politics and considered one of Adams’s closest confidants. Carone’s clients include Adams himself as well as real estate developers and property owners that have drawn scrutiny for their deals with the city.
Nathan Smith: The founder of the political consultant group Red Horse Strategies, Smith is a longtime advisor to Adams and considered part of his inner circle that includes Evan Thies and Katie Moore (see below). He was among those Adams specifically thanked at the start of his victory speech. Smith formerly oversaw de Blasio’s Campaign for One New York, a nonprofit that drew an investigation for questionable fundraising practices.
Evan Thies: On Election Night, Adams credited Thies for being “the man that captured my voice.” As the official campaign spokesperson,Thies helped shape Adams’s message and priority policies. He is the co-founder of Pythia Public Affairs, which he runs with Alexis Grenell.
Katie Moore: A campaign manager, Moore has been described as the unofficial chief of staff for Adams. She formerly served as the political director for the Hotel Trades Council, a politically connected group that supported Adams, and could likely play a role in his administration.
Sheena Wright: The CEO of United Way of New York City, Wright heads the mayor-elect’s transition team whose job it is to assist Adams in vetting and appointing key members of his administration that include deputy mayors and commissioners. Under de Blasio, Wright was appointed to an advisory council on education. Her partner is David Banks (see below).
David Banks: The founder of Eagle Academy, a network of all-boys preparatory schools, Banks is considered one of the main advisors to Adams on education. He is also said to be one of the top contenders for the job of schools chancellor. Although anti-charter activists have pointed to Adams’s ties to the charter world, Eagle Academy, which has locations in New York and New Jersey, is considered a hybrid model. The schools operate within the public school system using union teachers, but also raise money through a foundation.
Tracey Collins: A school administrator in the city’s public school system, Collins is Adams’s partner. She has kept a low-profile throughout the campaign and it is yet unclear whether she would join the future mayor at official events. She lives in Jersey City at a condo that she purchased together with Adams, a fact that raised questions during the campaign about how often the mayor-elect sleeps in his Brooklyn home.
An earlier version of this story misspelled Chanina Sperlin's first name.
This story and image have been updated as we've identified more people on the stage.