good morning It’s Wednesday. We take a look at the trip that will take Mayor Eric Adams nearly 6,700 miles from City Hall — and why he says he’s going. We also look at new ideas for an old and defunct rail line in Queens.
The question sounds like a 1980s video game: Where in the world is Mayor Eric Adams?
The answer is like a 1960s movie: If it’s Wednesday, it must be Greece.
The mayor, already well-traveled having visited Azerbaijan, China and Turkey when he was Brooklyn borough president and Ghana when he was elected mayor, left today for a four-day trip to Greece and Qatar.
In Athens, he will headline the second annual mayors’ summit of a group called the Combat Antisemitism Movement. Our politics reporter Dana Rubinstein writes that he will travel to Qatar on what City Hall describes as a fact-finding mission during the 2022 World Cup. New York will serve as one of 11 United States host cities for the 2026 Games, and Adams said he sometimes rides the subway and visits homeless shelters for the same reason.
“You have to be on the ground to see what’s going on,” he said, adding that he was too busy to talk to reporters. His spokesman, Fabian Levy, told my colleague Emma G. Fitzsimmons in a text message that Adams’ schedule is “back to back” and that the mayor “will not have time to be on the ground in person.”
Adams won’t even see her son, Jordan Coleman, during the trip. A rapper named Jayo, Coleman is competing in an “American Idol”-style competition in Albania, which shares a border with Greece.
When City Hall announced Adams’ travel plans, it said police had arrested two men in Pennsylvania Station who had tweeted about the November 18 attack on a Manhattan synagogue. The visit comes a week after the former president of the United States dined with Kanye West, a performer condemned for making anti-Semitic statements, and Nick Fuentes, an outspoken anti-Semite and Holocaust denier.
The Combat Antisemitism Movement, one of the conference hosts in Athens, said participants from 53 cities and 23 countries. Adams will headline the welcome dinner tonight and deliver remarks tomorrow. Mayors attending will “share their challenges and solutions to combat hate, bigotry and anti-Semitism in their cities, to safeguard a shared and inclusive democratic future,” the group said.
The hosts will pay for commercial tickets to Athens and Doha for Adams and Joel Eisdorfer, a senior adviser to the mayor who focuses on Jewish outreach. According to a City Hall spokesman, Eisdorfer will be accompanied by the mayor and a police detail. Hosts also pay their hotel bill in Athens.
In Qatar, Adams would pay Eisdorfer for his hotel stay, the spokesman said. He did not say how much the police detail would cost taxpayers.
Kenneth Sherrill, a political science professor at Hunter College, called going to the anti-Semitism conference “the kind of symbolic act that a New York mayor would normally do.”
And the World Cup?
“There’s no reason to go,” Sherrill said, “because he’s in the neighborhood, it’s nice and intimate and there’s a chance to have a good time.”
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It’s Gridlock Alert Day, because the Rockefeller Center tree lighting takes place tonight. Here’s what you need to know if you want to watch.
On a summer Friday evening 60 years ago, the 7:49 from Pennsylvania Station — the last Long Island Rail Road train still running on a three-and-a-half-mile circuit through Queens — hurtled into history.
A decision had to be made as to what to do with the 60-year-old right.
My colleague Winnie Hu writes that Queensway, the park equivalent of Manhattan’s High Line, looks like a re-imagining of the derelict line. Mayor Eric Adams has already committed $35 million to turning about three-quarters of a mile of the city-owned rail corridor into a five-acre park called the Met Hub, the first step toward a linear park.
But a group of transit advocates has a plan called QueensLink that would restore rail service to neighborhoods they say need transit more than they need additional green space.
The group behind the Queensway plan, along with the conservation-minded Trust for Public Land, has raised more than $3 million in grants and donations since 2011. The two groups held a design contest in 2013 for which 27 proposals were received from architecture and planning firms. the world
Still, the tracks are used for trains. Queens residents have the city’s longest commutes to Manhattan. When Queens Borough President Donovan Richards lived in Far Rockaway, it often took two hours to get to City Hall on the A train.
“I got to Florida sooner than I got to Manhattan,” he said.
The state-controlled Metropolitan Transportation Authority, which runs the LIRR, continues to study reactivating the line. A 2019 study by the agency estimated that rehabilitating the line would cost between $6.8 billion and $8.1 billion. Another study commissioned by QueensLink supporters put the cost between $3.4 billion and $3.7 billion.
Rick Horan, executive director of the QueensRail Corporation, a nonprofit that supports QueensLink, said the city should not create a park while the MTA considers whether to bring the tracks and trestles back to life.
“It’s like putting in landscaping before building a house — you have to design them together,” he said.
The influential regional planning association has thrown its support behind the park. (Travis Terry, president of Friends of the Queen’s Way, is on the association’s board.)
Noting that the transit authority has a long list of high-priority projects, Tom Wright, president of the association, said the rail line is unlikely to be reactivated anytime soon.
“Sometimes,” he says, “holding on to the perfect thing means you don’t advance projects that really benefit communities in the short and medium term.”
I was at the bus stop on my way to an appointment when I realized I had forgotten my phone and had no idea where I was going.
I asked a lady there if I could call her phone to get the address. She looked at me a bit suspiciously but dialed the number and I got the address.
With no bus in sight, we decided to share a cab. She said she was a singer and was going to Carnegie Hall for a rehearsal with the Oratorio Society of New York.
I was impressed.
“How exciting,” I said.
She asked if I would attend the show that evening. I said yes and she gave me two free tickets. Meanwhile, we found ourselves living in the same building.
After dropping her off, I tried several friends to see if they wanted to join me, but they were all busy. So, as my mother used to say, I took myself.
What a wonderful production: about 200 singers, a full orchestra and a full house for a spectacular performance of “Whitman’s America” and another piece, “A Nation of Others.”
I’m glad I forgot my phone.
– Barbara Chasen
Illustrated by Agnes Lee. Send submissions here And Read more Metropolitan Diary here.
Nice to meet you here. See you tomorrow. – JB
PS Here’s to today A mini crossword And Spelling Bee. You can find all our puzzles here.
Melissa Guerrero and Ed Shanahan contributed to New York Today. You can reach the team at [email protected]
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