It’s Thursday. We’ll look at how Eric Adams, the likely next mayor, has been keeping a low profile. And a rockabilly star is getting his distinctive black-and-pink bass back, 39 years after it was stolen.
Where in the world is Eric Adams, the Democratic candidate for mayor?
My colleague Katie Glueck writes that Adams’s team sometimes leaves reporters guessing about how he spends his time — in contrast to elected officials like Gov. Kathy Hochul. Her aides send out daily schedules listing everything from ribbon-cuttings and parades to news briefings.
Such schedules can be an essential tool for the editors and news directors planning coverage as they decide where to send reporters or crews — and thus how to inform readers, listeners or viewers.
For elected officials, the announcements capitalize on their incumbency, keeping them in the public eye even when they do not make headlines. For a campaign not to do everything it can to publicize a candidate’s schedule is a departure from the way other politicians engage with the press and the public, not just in New York but also nationally.
But as of Tuesday, with Election Day three weeks away, Adams’s campaign had released no more than five public schedules in October. His one planned appearance last weekend was in his capacity as the Brooklyn borough president — a visit to the Federation of Italian-American Organizations of Brooklyn.
On Monday, Hochul and Mayor Bill de Blasio both marched in the Columbus Day parade, as their schedules had said they would. But Adams did not, and his whereabouts remain unknown. A spokesman said he was organizing with volunteers. His campaign released no public schedule that day. By contrast, Curtis Sliwa, the long-shot Republican candidate, has issued a public events schedule almost every day this month.
Adams recently said in an interview with NY1 that he was participating in 13 events a day and canvassing until 1 a.m. Asked for a snapshot of Adams’s full schedule in recent weeks, a campaign spokesman, Evan Thies, did not provide one, instead offering a list of 21 public events that he said Adams had attended since Labor Day, some as a candidate, some as the borough president.
Neither his campaign nor his government office sent word in advance about many of those events. Adams’s campaign said he had also attended events with volunteers and voters that were not on the list.
This is not the first time Adams has faced questions about details of his schedule: His team had declined to say where he spent some vacation time this summer (Monaco, according to Politico).
While most candidates do not publicize every detail of their days, the scattershot way in which Adams’s team has communicated his activities has made it difficult to gauge the full extent of his engagement with the campaign. Adams, long a highly visible fixture in Brooklyn, has frequently shown up at community and political gatherings in appearances that his campaign did not advertise. But clearly he has not been hitting the trail each day in the final month of the contest.
In October 2013, the last month of the last open-seat mayoral race, de Blasio was hardly barnstorming the five boroughs day after day. But he released a near-daily public schedule of events as he rolled out endorsements, marched in parades and delivered speeches.
Adams and his team reject any suggestion that his schedule is anything less than full — even if they do not always send it out. “Eric is working hard from early in the morning until very late at night,” Thies said, adding that the candidate is meeting voters and volunteers “and holding events to ensure the working people who support him win on Election Day.”
“He is also spending significant time preparing to be mayor should he be successful on Nov. 2, meeting with government, nonprofit and business leaders to ensure he is ready to lead New York,” Thies added.
We’re having a heat wave — for October — but it’s not a tropical heat wave. The warm air that will push temps into the mid-70s is not coming from that far away. We’ll have another partly cloudy evening in the mid-60s.
In effect until Nov. 1 (All Saints Day).
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Return to previous owner: A bass stolen in 1982
Not quite 40 years later, Smutty Smiff is getting his bass back — the shiny black one with “SMUTTY” printed in pink letters across the bottom.
To recap: One night in 1982, a van loaded with all the instruments of the Rockats, the pre-eminent rockabilly band of the downtown New York music scene, was stolen outside a diner near the Holland Tunnel. Among the missing gear was the bass.
This summer, someone who remembered the Rockats noticed the bass in a Jersey City pawnshop and posted a picture on Facebook. The bass was not for sale — the pawnshop owner, Manny Vidal, a bass player himself at the time, had traded his own electric bass for it not long after the van disappeared, unaware that he was getting stolen goods.
The Times published a story about it last week, and on Monday, the pawnshop owner decided to return the bass to Smutty, who lives in Iceland and called our writer Helene Stapinski from the homeless shelter in Reykjavik where he now works. The band’s guitarist, Barry Ryan, offered to pick up the instrument for safekeeping. Smutty decided not to have it shipped to Iceland — even though a GoFundMe page set up after the article appeared raised $3,000 — because the Rockats will be playing in New York next year.
The outcome had “kind of restored my belief in humanity and karma,” Smutty said from Reykjavik. He said that he felt bad for Vidal, who became a target of social media posts and angry telephone calls, but had no hard feelings toward him.
Ryan, whose Gretsch Country Gentleman guitar was stolen with the bass and rest of the Rockats’ gear in 1982, wants Vidal to keep his eye peeled. “If you see my Gretsch, give me a shout,” he said, “and we’ll start this story all over again.”
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I ordered a ride-share car to take me back to the Upper West Side from Queens. When it showed up, to my delight, the first female driver I’d ever had was at the wheel.
We soon made another stop to pick up an elegantly dressed woman. When she slipped into the car, the driver and I remarked on how wonderful she looked and asked whether it was a special occasion.
“It’s my first date after my divorce,” the woman said, acknowledging that she was nervous.
Knowing our role in this moment, the driver and I expressed our confidence. The driver volunteered that she was about to get married again, 35 years after her first wedding. She said she had found someone who adored her.
“You have to hold out for love!” she said.
The attention then turned to me now.
“Me?” I said. “I’m single. No one in my life at the moment.”
The driver smiled at me in the rearview mirror:
“No one yet,” she said, “but you’re in New York City, honey!”
— Annie Fox
Illustrated by Agnes Lee. Read more Metropolitan Diary here.