As a major winter storm brought frigid temperatures and flooding to parts of the city, delaying mass transit and sending holiday travel plans into a tizzy, Mayor Eric Adams was in the U.S. Virgin Islands.
The mayor revealed his weekend whereabouts at an unrelated press conference Tuesday evening after his office hid them from the public for days. Adams stood by his decision to leave town and said he was mourning his mother during his second Christmas without her.
“After 365 days of commitment to this city, I decided to take two days to reflect on mommy. And to watch how you responded to my two days out of this city was really alarming,” the mayor told reporters after someone asked where he had been over the holiday weekend. “I deserve a good work-life balance like you do.”
Adams asked for sympathy from the city press corps as he noted that, in the past year, he has dealt with killings, fires and police officers dying — all without his parents. His mother died in 2021 while he was campaigning for mayor.
“If I take time off to get my mental capacity together, so I can take the city through the crisis, I deserve those two days,” the mayor said.
Adams added that he had followed City Charter rules, which place the first deputy mayor in charge in the mayor’s absence.
“Nowhere in the New York City Charter does it say I have to report to the New York City press where my whereabouts are,” he said. “I’m not going to do that. And I’m not going to apologize for having the mental and physical capacity that’s needed to do the second-most difficult job in politics in America.”
While Adams was out of town, outgoing First Deputy Mayor Lorraine Grillo led the city through a massive temperature drop, which covered city streets with black ice, and extreme flooding that left parts of Queens, Coney Island and Lower Manhattan underwater. Fabien Levy, a spokesperson for the mayor, said at the time that he was “still in touch with everyone on the ground.”
The mayor noted that other mayors before him have left town and said that it would be impossible to avoid any major event in a city with so much going on. Former Mayor Michael Bloomberg, for instance, was vacationing in Bermuda as a blizzard hit the city in 2010.
“There are going to be days in the future that I’m going to leave without letting you know beforehand, but we will have the right people in place to run a complicated city,” Adams said. “But I’m not going to always tell this press where I am, to have you sitting outside the location and saying my every move. I’ve learned enough of that.”
Adams has been questioned in the past about his home address and his nightlife habits. His spokespeople did not immediately respond to questions about which island he was on over the Christmas weekend.