The year 2022 in New York City brought with it the arrival of a new mayor tackling years-long crises, the shock of war and rash court decisions, and a good amount of political upheaval.
Let’s take a look back at some of the city’s biggest stories, in chronological order, in 2022.
1.) Twin Parks Fire
More than a dozen residents of the Twin Parks apartment building in the Bronx were killed in a massive fire on Jan. 19. Many of the victims died from smoke inhalation, as acrid smoke spread through an unsecured door throughout the structure, suffocating residents who were trapped and couldn’t make it out. It was the borough’s deadliest fire since the Happy Land Social Club arson attack in 1990.
2.) Funerals for slain officers
St. Patrick’s Cathedral hosted in late January and early February the funerals for Police Officers Jason Rivera and Wilbert Mora. The two 32nd Precinct members were gunned down while responding to a domestic dispute in Harlem on Jan. 21. Their murders spurred an outcry of anger and sadness from New Yorkers fed up with crime, as well as gestures of support toward the NYPD, whose officers had been frequently targeted by gun-toting criminals in the weeks leading up to the double homicide.
3.) Battling homelessness
From the beginning, Mayor Eric Adams vowed to tackle the homelessness crisis that has gripped New York for years, though the methods by which he would so came with scrutiny from his critics. Early on, Adams dispatched teams of social workers and law enforcement officers into the subways to provide assistance to homeless individuals and have them relocated to other locations. In March, he announced sweeps of homeless encampments, large and small, that had lined public areas of New York. Homeless individuals living on the streets decried the methods and said the city’s alternative, to put them in homeless shelters rather than regular housing, was more dangerous in their eyes. Still, the mayor kept the focus on eliminating homelessness in other ways, such as by expanding the availability of CityFHEP vouchers to ensure that families and New Yorkers in danger of falling into homelessness had a place to live.
4.) War in Ukraine
New Yorkers rallied around the blue and gold flag of Ukraine following the Feb. 24 invasion by Vladimir Putin’s Russia. Within hours of the Russian bombs falling upon the country, The Big Apple demonstrated solidarity with the Ukrainian people in a litany of ways — from raising the nation’s flag on storefronts such as Veselka restaurant in the East Village, to playing the Ukrainian national anthem at the Metropolitan Opera House and Yankee Stadium. Putin’s Russia would be hit with severe economic sanctions, and the Ukrainian military proved mightier than most people expected in stopping the invaders. Yet 10 months on, Putin’s forces continue to bombard Ukraine, and the United States is urged by Ukrainian President Volodomyr Zelenskyy to do more to help them attain “absolute victory.”
5.) N train shooting
The most horrific incident in New York this year occurred on the morning of April 12, when a gunman unleashed a smoke canister and fired shots at commuters at the 36th Street station on the N line in Sunset Park, Brooklyn. Ten people were wounded by the gunfire, but luckily none were killed; more than two dozen others were injured amid the chaos. After a desperate manhunt, police were able to apprehend a suspect, Frank James, the following day in the East Village. He was subsequently indicted on federal terrorism charges, and is expected to enter a guilty plea to the charges early in 2023.
6.) The beginning of Roe v. Wade’s end
The public began to shift away from crime in May and onto other issues pressing the city and country. It began with an exclusive Politico report in May about a draft Supreme Court decision indicating that the conservative-dominated bench was set to overturn Roe v. Wade — the 50-year-old landmark ruling that had guaranteed reproductive rights to women. Manhattan saw numerous demonstrations in the weeks that followed calling for the court not to make the decision final — but in the end, those calls went unanswered. On June 24, the 6-3 conservative-led court nullified Roe v. Wade in its Dobbs v. Jackson ruling, leaving the individual states to make their own decisions on women’s reproductive rights. It sparked further anger from the public, and with Republicans expected to make significant gains in the November midterm elections, Democrats were re-energized into political action.
7.) Gun violence
New Yorkers bore witness this year to horrific gun violence both at home and abroad. In May, 10 people were senselessly gunned down by a white supremacist at a Buffalo supermarket, and weeks later, 19 others were shot dead at the Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas. The latest rampages finally resulted in the first meaningful federal gun control legislation to be passed in 30 years, thanks to the efforts President Biden and Congressional Democrats. Yet a day before throwing out Roe v. Wade, on June 23, the Supreme Court threw out New York state’s 109-year-old concealed carry legislation. It forced state and city lawmakers to scramble to pass legislation restricting where people could legally carry firearms, such as by declaring Times Square a “gun-free zone.” The state is now battling legal challenges to these measures.
8.) Congressional primaries
The botched redistricting process in New York forced the Congressional and state Senate primaries to be moved back from late June to late August. The new Congressional district maps also caused quite a shakeup in local politics, as two veteran Democratic House members — Jerry Nadler and Carolyn Maloney — wound up in the realigned 12th District together. Neither would step aside for the other, so Nadler and Maloney — both of whom were elected to office in 1992 — duked it out in a grueling summer primary campaign. Nadler would ultimately prevail over Maloney and a third challenger, insurgent Suraj Patel. In another big Congressional race, former Trump impeachment attorney Dan Goldman won a wide-open Democratic primary for the 10th District seat over more than a dozen rivals including Assembly Member Yuh-Line Niou.
9.) The migrant crisis
Looking to make a political point, Republican Texas Governor Greg Abbott decided to send thousands of migrants arriving daily on the border with Mexico on long bus rides to Democratic-led “sanctuary cities” such as New York. The buses began arriving daily at the Port Authority Bus Terminal, and New York City welcomed the migrants here with open arms after being rejected by Abbott. The city scrambled to find resources to care for them, and in September, the Adams administration opened various shelters as well as a tent city on Randall’s Island to help accommodate the crush of humanity. And while the Biden administration slowed the introduction of migrants into the U.S. through the enforcement of a Trump-era rule, Mayor Adams said on Dec. 18 that he expected a surge of new arrivals to begin soon after that rule was thrown out in a court decision.
10.) Stunning success, stunning failure
For years, the Giants and Jets had been stuck in the wilderness of losing, and at the start of the 2022 campaign, the sports pundits expected more of the same. However, both of New York City’s (by way of New Jersey) football teams quickly proved those pundits wrong. The Giants rattled off 6 wins in their first 7 games; not to be outdone, the Jets started out the season 7-4 as well. Both teams find themselves in the thick of the NFL playoff hunt as of this writing. And their surprising success softened the blow of October failure for fans of New York’s baseball squads. The Mets had a glorious 101-win campaign spoiled by the San Diego Padres in the Wild Card Round, while the Yankees — led by their new home run champion, Aaron Judge, who hit an AL record 62 home runs in 2022 — were once again denied an American League pennant by the Houston Astros.
11.) The red wave that wasn’t
Ahead of the midterm elections, the Republican Party was expected to do what any party out of the White House usually does: win big. Nationally, that didn’t happen. While the Republicans gained a slim majority in the House, Democrats expanded their Senate majority by one. New York, however, saw something of a “red wave.” Democratic Governor Kathy Hochul was re-elected to office over her Republican challenger, outgoing Congress Member Lee Zeldin, by a slim margin, but the GOP picked up five Congressional seats in New York state — including flipping all four Long Island seats red.
12.) The curious case of George Santos
One of the Republicans successful in the 2022 midterms was George Santos, who won the right to succeed outgoing Democrat Tom Suozzi in the 3rd District covering northeast Queens and northern Nassau County. But a bombshell New York Times report published on Dec. 18 threw the result of that contest into serious question. Santos allegedly lied about numerous aspects of his life, according to the Times report — from his claims to have worked for Citigroup and Goldman Sachs, to attending NYU or Baruch College, to even founding his own animal care charity. The Congress member-elect admitted the day after Christmas, Dec. 26, to lying about his record, but insisted that he did nothing wrong, and intends on being seated in Congress this January.