Having known Eric Adams since his time as a State Senator and as Brooklyn Borough President, I was not surprised, but rather delighted to hear his first message to the public and his team of officials: SHOW UP and GSD (Get Stuff Done)!
I remember one of my first Power People podcast interviews where I asked former Forest Hills Gardens resident Peter Kalikow, then the president of the MTA, what advice he would give our listeners to be as successful as he is. He simply said, “show up!”
As a business owner I learned over the years how true those simple words are.
By nature and by action, I’m a person who is driven to “GSD.”
From listening to Eric’s mantra throughout the campaign trail to his first formal City Hall message, I heard that same message. I know he will do everything in his power to fight through the city’s bureaucracy and “GSD!”
With his appointments of experienced talented “doers,” it is clear that Eric is a man on a mission, and based on his history of achieving his goals, we will be the benefactors.
At Eric’s November Election Night victory party at the Brooklyn Marriot’s Grand Ballroom, I had a chance to chat with Eric’s brother Bernie, a former police officer who served in Queens.
Bernie shared with me that his brother Eric, as a young man, told his blessed mother, “Mom, I’m going into the police force and will become a captain. Then I’m running for State Senate. Then I’m running for Brooklyn Borough President and then I’m going to be Mayor!” It all came true!
He’s a man with a mission who has accomplished every goal he has set for himself and he will be a game changer for our city! He’s the right man at the right time in our history!
Over New Year’s weekend, I was inspired by a quote I found from Gloria Steinem that is as appropriate today as it was when she wrote it in her 1983 book, “Outrageous Acts and Everyday Rebellions.”
“If the shoe doesn’t fit, must we change the foot?”
Steinem argued that the country’s prejudiced policies and sexist culture often fail to protect its people, and that instead of trying to change each individual to fit the mold, the system itself needed a radical transformation.
Today, I think we need to have both people and our government changing. Mayor Adams is set up to make changes, but sadly, day after day, we see people fearful of our changing world.
While watching my Sunday morning news programs, I was startled when a reporter shared the analysis done by the University of Chicago of the people in the mob that violently rioted through our sacred Capitol building in Washington, D.C., against the results of the last presidential election, claiming it was fraudulent.
The study showed the majority of those rioters were from areas that were changing demographically, and had been economically challenged during the past downturns.
Obviously, they feared change.
Fear of people who are different from ourselves was a challenge I faced decades ago.
My husband and I were visiting the Willowbrook State School on Staten Island to consider their Infant Rehabilitation Program for our darling 2-year-old daughter Lara.
While waiting in the lobby for our appointment, we saw for the first time of our lives a young woman with Down syndrome, then minutes later, a man curled into a wheelchair drooling.
My husband Murray and I silently looked at each other and simultaneously got up to sit outside in the garden. Our discomfort seeing people who looked so different from our beautiful baby frightened us.
It was a lesson I’ve never forgotten.
Each of our following visits to Willowbrook began to take down the curtain of our discomfort. But it took a while to begin to feel comfortable around people who looked so different.
Learning that lesson 50 years ago made me realize how critically important it is to understand the prejudices I experienced decades before.
Lara taught me great lessons, one of which was that I had been uncomfortable with people whom I didn’t know.
I wish I could invite the world to visit Queens and walk through the streets of our many diverse neighborhoods living side by side peacefully.
For example, in Jackson Heights, on 74th Street, it feels and looks and smells like you are in Mumbai. Then, walking down Roosevelt Avenue, you see the Spanish communities have created clubs, restaurants, bodegas and stores. Then just a few blocks west, the Asian world has created shops for their community featuring their locales’ specialities.
Flushing has become a prominent destination for the city’s Asian population and is home to a plethora of great restaurants, shops, hotels and Flushing High School, where 130 languages are spoken. Now, Queens is home to the city’s biggest and best “Chinatown.”
I love walking down those streets, passing from one world into another.
Queens is America in a microcosm. The “World’s Borough” is a symbol for what our roots are: A nation of immigrants.
Our world is ever changing, and while it will never be the same, it can be better.
I await the better days for our city and for each of us. Mayor Adams can make it so.
Cheers to a year like no other and may it be the best year yet!