Just when you think you’ve got a bead on this mayoral race, it takes a new turn: It is vaguely possible that the front-runner lives in another state.
Well, that’s overstating the case, but here’s the recap of a wild couple of news cycles. Eric Adams, according to a somewhat hard-to-follow but irresistible Politico report, owns or co-owns three properties. One is the house on Lafayette Avenue in Bedford-Stuyvesant that he lists as his principal residence. The second is part of another townhouse in Prospect Heights, although his campaign says he has signed that one over to his co-owner. (He has been sleeping at Borough Hall intermittently but frequently for the past year, crashing in his office during the pandemic. Lately, he says, he’s staying there two or three nights a week.) But the curious item among his real-estate holdings is the third one: a condo in Fort Lee, New Jersey, which he co-owns with his longtime partner, Tracey Collins.
Politico stops well short of saying “that’s where he lives,” but the even the manufactured prospect of a New York City mayor who is secretly commuting from Jersey is too hilarious not to inspire comment. And comment people did.
(Wiley herself was the subject of a stakeout a couple of days ago, appearing in photos outside her house that inspired no noteworthy comment beyond “hey, that’s a pretty nice porch.”) At least one reporter noted in May that Adams hadn’t been picking up his mail at the house in Brooklyn for days at a time.
Adams’s response was to clear the air with a tour of the Bed-Stuy house, accompanied by about a dozen reporters and TV cameras. He walked them past “a small modest bedroom” and “a small modest bathroom,” plus a couch where his son Jordan crashes and plays video games. He even opened the fridge. It’s a one-bedroom duplex, including the ground floor of the building; the upper floors are rented out, giving Adams some rental income. It is certainly no Master of the Universe apartment: That sort-of-sleigh-bed headboard paired with uncarpeted granite flooring is not a room that’s really tied together.
The tour was revealing, but (as you could probably predict) it brought up more rather than fewer questions. What’s that Buddha head doing on the kitchen counter? (Souvenir from a trip to Thailand, he explained.) Given Adams’s veganism, what’s that salmon doing in the refrigerator? (It’s Jordan’s.) Refrigerated croutons?! (Well, every New Yorker knows the answer to that one: It keeps the bugs from getting them.) Why isn’t that the larger fridge Adams claimed to have in Bed-Stuy a few years ago? (Unknown; we await paparazzi photos of the Jersey condo’s kitchen.) One Twitter user even did a little forensic work and came up with a theory that the sneakers lined up in the bedroom belong to Jordan.
Does any of this matter? Only if the wildest reading of it all turns out to be true, which seems unlikely. Apply Occam’s razor, and you will probably come to the conclusion that this is a basement crash pad belonging to a single guy on the go, and that he spends regular nights crashing at the office and at his girlfriend’s house. Apply your most skeptical Pepe Silvia filter, though, and you can pretty easily persuade yourself that it belongs to his son. And if you’re running against him, well, your position is clear: