New York City Mayor Eric Adams said he was stunned by how bad Big Apple subway riders had it until he rode the subway himself last week and realized how poorly cops were being used to crack down on crime underground.
As subway crime continues to spike – rising nearly 40 percent from the first half of last year – Adams, in an exclusive interview with the New York Post, said he patrolled the transit system himself late at night for three hours and didn’t care for what he saw.
‘Let me tell you something: When I started looking into this, I was shocked at how bad this place is,’ Adams told the Post.
Days before the mayor touted his awakening on the hazards of subway travel, a video emerged of at least six NYPD officers arresting busker John Ajilo, a saxophone player with the catch phrase ‘Dancing is Happiness.’
‘I was shut down, handcuffed and taken to the police station for performing in the same spot 34th Herald Square I have been performing [in] on and off for about five years,’ he said on his GoFundMe page, which has already collected over $30,000.
Mayor Adams said he first knew he had to do something about subway crime about three weeks in office.
‘It was probably, the third — third or fourth week in January. I spent a lot of time in the office,’ he said. ‘And I started peeling back layers and what it started to unveil to me is how we just had this good shell, but underneath — it’s bad.’
The New York City subway is run by the New York City Transit Authority, which falls under the state Metropolitan Transportation Authority, controlled by the chairman, Janno Lieber, who was appointed by Gov. Kathy Hochul and confirmed by the state Senate in January.
The mayor appoints several members of the MTA board, but has little control over the operation and maintenance of the system.
Ridership on the subway is just under 60 percent of what it was pre-pandemic, with roughly 3.4 million daily commuters using the system.