In a continuing tradition where Mother Nature spites New York City mayors, Mayor Eric Adams was nowhere to be found as New Yorkers braced for freezing weather and icy road conditions and as parts of the city flooded.
The mayor left town on Thursday, according to his office. Fabien Levy, a spokesperson for Adams, did not reveal his current location, but said he will return Saturday..
“The mayor is still in touch with everybody on the ground,” Levy told Gothamist. “He is coordinating all the city’s responses.”
Levy said the mayor conducted a conference call this morning with city officials.
His absence comes as parts of Queens experience severe coastal flooding and residents were ordered to seek higher ground Friday morning. Temperatures are expected to drop precipitously to the teens in the evening, potentially causing black ice conditions on city streets. City sanitation crews have been spreading salt on roadways in anticipation of the weather event.
His absence is a contrast to earlier this year when the mayor traveled to all five boroughs during the first major snowstorm in January.
Lorraine Grillo, the city’s outgoing first deputy mayor, has taken the reins while the mayor is away, following protocol.
At a press conference at City Hall on Friday, Grillo gave an update on the city’s response to the weather event. Joined by a flank of commissioners, she said the mayor had instructed them to deliver a briefing to New Yorkers.
But pressed by reporters several times, Grillo refused to divulge where the mayor was, saying only that he was on a two-day vacation.
“He might as well be here because we’ve been speaking to each other constantly throughout the day,” she said.
Adams is not the only mayor to suffer an untimely absence. In 2010, former Mayor Michael Bloomberg was criticized for the city’s response to a winter blizzard that hit the city over Christmas weekend. The New York Times later revealed that Bloomberg was in Bermuda.