Transcript: Mayor Eric Adams delivers remarks at 10 Years Later: Remembering Hurricane Sandy 2012-20

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October 29, 2022

Mayor Eric Adams: Thanks. Thanks a lot. And I thought about the words of Borough President Vito, it really resonates with me. I remember last year I ran for about 15 years with my sister, we just didn’t talk to each other. She just pissed me off. And then mom died and we were forced into the room to hold mom’s wake and her funeral. And after just hugging each other and crying, losing someone who was so important to me, I still feel a hole in my heart. When he left, we realized how silly it was to spend so much energy, all those years we wasted just being there for each other. And we’re wasting a lot of years now. And I just think there’s a lot of forces that really enjoy watching us fight all the time and spend so much energy bickering at us.

After the intramural games are over, we put on a jersey, this jersey is the jersey of NYC, USA. And sometimes the creator gives us moments like this to force us to stop and pause and ask, “Are we focusing (inaudible)?” I don’t think there’s a time when I see you, Vito, where I don’t say how your sons are, then ask how Jordan is. These are the things that are important. And you know what’s interesting, this Staten Island, I like to say New York is the city of America, but Staten Island is the heart of it. You probably have more per capita those who are teachers, firefighters, police officers, first responders, this borough is truly a symbol of what is great about this country. Owners, the issues you go through, the ones you deem important, families, education, public safety are the foundation of who we are.

And so, when a storm like Sandy hits the shores of the bedrock of the American experience, it’s a moment of reflection. But at the same time, we are struck by these moments. As I talk about 9/11 and the number of people you lost during 9/11, and we commemorate the loss of individuals as we do today, but I can’t help but remember 9/12 . We stood up, our teachers taught, builders built, retailers sold goods. We were ground zero for terrorism, ground zero for COVID. This community was truly ground zero for Superstorm Sandy.

But again and again, we pick ourselves up and rebuild. We go from there to organizing like that, and then finding a purpose. And so I say to this whole team here, Councilor Borelli, you and everyone here, this is probably one of the places (inaudible) where I know you all come together to say what’s best for Staten Island . And I believe what’s best for the city.

So we do things here in Staten Island. We have completed the major phase of the New Creek Bluebelt project. We embark on the next South Beach and Oakwood Beach Bluebelt. And often we talk about dismantling the wall, but this time we want to build a wall. We need the Army Corps of Engineers to finally build the Staten Island Seawall to ensure that we begin the process of protecting you, Staten Island.

And we’ve put in place a new citywide climate strategy that will boost resilience efforts across all five boroughs. This storm, Sandy, wasn’t just a storm, it was a wake-up call. Super Hurricane Sandy and storms like these are very real. They are real. They are not our imagination. They are created, we look at the levels of devastation. It’s traumatic and the numbers are right, 24 people we’ve lost, but imagine the 2,400 who are about to lose their lives. Hear the story of children taken away by their mothers or fathers and their sons dying holding hands. These stories resonate throughout our times here.

And so thank you. Thank you as we come together and understand that we need each other, we use this as a moment of reflection on how we are fighting against a common enemy, and that is climate change and the devastation that follows. And thank you Staten Islanders, thank you, not only what you do now, but what you do every day when you strike that alarm clock, get up, hug your loved ones and go to our city and make sure we create a place where we can raise healthy children and families. And I really want to be part of it. I’m happy to be the mayor of this city, not because of the big builders, not because of our wide streets, not because of all the excitement and attractions. I’m happy to be the mayor of the city because of the people. Borrowing from the soft drink Snapple, “We are made up of the best things on earth”, we are New Yorkers. Thanks a lot.

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