Mayor Eric Adams revealed to reporters Tuesday he was on a two-day vacation to the U.S. Virgin Islands to “reflect” on the passing of his late mother last week, while the city dealt with a deadly winter storm that brought extremely low temperatures and flooding to parts of Queens.
Hizzoner disclosed where he’d jetted off to during an unrelated press conference Tuesday afternoon, after his press office and senior officials in his administration had declined to tell reporters where he’d gone for the past several days.
Adams defended his decision to take a two-day trip the Carribean, telling reporters he deserves a “good work-life balance” and excoriated the press coverage of his absence amidst Winter Storm Elliot. City officials had said they were handling the storm response while in consultation with the mayor.
On Tuesday, Adams said that he ventured to the Virgin Islands to mark his second Christmas without his mother, who passed away while he was running for mayor last year. Hizzoner said he needed time to reflect on her loss.
“After 365 days of commitment to this city, I decided to take two days to reflect on mommy,” Adams said. “And to watch how you responded to my two days out of this city was really alarming. I deserve good work-life balance like you do.”
Adams said he also needed the time to be able to handle the litany of crises that he deals with on a day-to-day basis as mayor, such as dealing with people and police officers getting killed and fires.
“If I take time off to get my mental capacity together to get the city through the crises, I deserve those two days,” Adams said. “And I believe my fellow New Yorkers believe I deserve those two days.”
While Adams was out-of-town his first deputy mayor, Lorraine Grillo, ran the show. Grillo, along with several other senior administration officials like city Emergency Management Commissioner Zach Iscol and Deputy Mayor for Strategic Initiatives Sheena Wright, led the city’s response to the winter storm, which flooded homes and stranded cars.
When it comes to not disclosing his whereabouts whilst he was away, Adams said he deserves “private time.” He also noted that it isn’t required for him to tell the media where he is at any given moment.
“Nowhere in the City Charter does it state I have to report to the New York City press where my whereabouts are, and I’m not going to do that,” he said. “And I’m not going to apologize for having the mental and physical capacity that’s needed to do the second most difficult job in politics in America.”