The Speaker speaks
Plus the BEACH!!!!!! #43
Ben Fractenberg/THE CITY
This week I wrote about Adrienne Adams, the New York City Council Speaker, in what has been a big week for the council. She made history as the first Black speaker, a sort of surprise pick after months of speculation because she didn’t seem to be doing the aggressive lobbying and backchanneling and “did you hear this about so and so” that so many of her colleagues did.
Now in her second year, she’s “sharpened,” Borough President Donovan Richards told me. She showed some of those angles during our conversation last week as she spoke openly for the first time about her issues with Mayor Adams, particularly over the city’s handling of the asylum seeker crisis.
The mayor has frequently criticized the council for what he says are complaints without actions or offers to help. But Speaker Adams said her members have largely been cut out of the city’s planning. They’ve been told about things after the fact, or not at all, she said. It’s all “panic,” she said.
“We’re going to have to be very proactive against what’s been a very reactive administration,” she told me. “So if we have to do that as the grownups in the room, then we’ve got to do that.”
Of course, both Adamses are tied together for many reasons.
They were first connected as they rode the Q31 bus together more than 40 years ago to Bayside High School, when it was predominantly white. And now they work on opposite ends of City Hall as two of the most powerful people in government — two Black leaders during a pivotal time in New York City’s history.
But: “The practicality when it comes down to the work is we’re two totally different leaders,” Speaker Adams said. I also learned about how her faith guides her and about the influence her sorority, AKA, has had in her life — including guiding her to the community board, which became her entrance into politics.
Also: The beaches officially open TOMORROW! I wrote about lifeguard shortages this week and also attended the official opening ceremony in Rockaway Beach.
I asked Parks Commissioner Sue Donoghue about some of what Mayor Adams promised last year, like integrating rescue training between lifeguards, the NYPD, and the fire department, as well as better equipment. That hasn’t happened yet. Your lifeguards will still be using whistles and hand signals to share information as opposed to a radio.
“Since last fall we’ve been focusing on lifeguards, on recruitment, on providing more opportunities for conditioning, opening up and having passes so the lifeguards can go in [to pools] to condition and be ready,” Donoghue told me following the beach event.
“It’s something that we know is vitally important and we’ve been working alongside the union to try and get as many people out there as possible.”
🌟 We had a great week at THE CITY, in my humble opinion. I’ll link to some of those stories but also ask – if you’re reading this and not already, why not become a member of THE CITY? We are a nonprofit newsroom and have many membership options.
And you’ll be supporting stories like these:
‣ If you are living with a disability, it’s now harder for you to get Access-A-Ride.
My 2023 (Rockaway) Beach Q+A 🌊
If you have any specific questions, share in the comments!
“I’ll head to the beach in the afternoon.”
Arrive early. What are you waiting for? You can sleep at the beach.
“Should I swim without a lifeguard?”
You may look at the Atlantic Ocean off of Rockaway and be like, looks chill. But that ocean does not play around. And if you’ve been drinking? Don’t do it. Dying is not worth it, plus with the tides it could be days before your body washes up and nobody looks good after spending that long in the ocean.
“Oh I’ll just bring a towel, I don’t need a chair.”
I recognize my beach privilege here, but a chair truly elevates things. It’s simply not comfortable trying to have a conversation on a beach towel. Do you sit up? Do you lay face down and then strain your neck trying to talk? I am always on a chair (which is why the back of my body is rarely tan) and although I’m coming from my parents’ house where we keep chairs in the garage, I’ve seen Tommy Bahama chairs on the Q53. If you can carry it, it’s worth it (plus you can store other stuff in the chair, if it’s a backpack chair.)
“I don’t need to bring any food, I’m not hungry right now.”
More of my beach privilege here, but I always pack lots of seltzers, a big water jug, snacks, and usually a few sandwiches for the beach. The salt water makes you hungry (I think.) If you sit by the concessions at Beach 106, 97, or 86, the lines to get food at the peak beach time are horrible. Don’t do that to yourself.
There are plenty of delis and pizza places along the peninsula (I won’t pick favorites) but I recommend stocking up BEFORE getting on the sand. It’s such a pain to get up after arriving.
“Maybe I’ll just leave my garbage strewn all over this beach, someone will clean it.”
The Parks Department keeps the equivalent of bathroom trash bins on large beaches that fill up very quickly. Don’t be a pig. Cart your trash home with you or at the very least bag it all up and leave it as close to the bin as possible.
“I won’t get bored just listening to the sound of the ocean and the seagulls.”
Bring a speaker but remember, you are not David Guetta. You are not playing to the entire beach, so don’t be an asshole and play it too loud.
“Does the bracelet guy take Apple Pay?
Maybe the nutcracker guys do but bring cash anyway. Which brings me to …
“I’m going to get super drunk, that seems wise in this summer heat.”
Don’t. Watch yourself out there.
“I’m sure street parking is plentiful.”
If you’re driving, go to Riis Park, where there is a giant parking lot, or get to Rockaway early enough for you to snag a spot in the Beach 95th Street lot or along Beach Channel Drive by the ferry. Don’t be that person at 1:30 p.m. trying to park in front of my driveway (which you can’t do anyway because of the annoying weekend parking regulations.)
“The wait for the ferry is 3 hours long, feels worth it!!!!!”
Unless you live in lower Manhattan or close to the Brooklyn Army Terminal, taking the bus or the train are WAY easier options for getting to the beach, in my opinion. The Q35 and the Q53 and the A train/shuttle have shuttled millions of people to the beach for decades. What makes you so special that you’d rather travel way out of your way to get down by boat?
“Maybe I’ll get in shape this summer by picking up surfing!”
If you’re thinking about surfing, do me a favor. Lay face down on your floor right now and try to pop up in one fluid motion using just your hands, not your knees. Now imagine it on a surfboard in the moving ocean. Surfing is a very difficult sport and the ocean seems full to me. Try Pickleball.
Archival footage of me (in the Dalmations shirt) at the beach with my mom and sister
It belongs to everybody!
Thanks for reading!