It’s Thursday. We’ll touch on highlights of the first debate between the two candidates for mayor, and we’ll look at an artist who does Japanese-style ink washes to raise money for jazz musicians.
Credit…Pool photo by Craig Ruttle
The first debate between the two candidates for mayor was an hour of contrasts — contrasts on policies like vaccine mandates for municipal workers, safety and policing, and the crisis on Rikers Island.
It was also an hour of contrasts in style. Eric Adams, the Democratic nominee, tried to remain cool and calm as Curtis Sliwa, his Republican opponent, launched repeated attacks, often talking past his allotted time. Sliwa — a local celebrity for decades who founded the Guardian Angels crime-fighting group — accused Adams of spending too much time with “elites,” losing touch with working-class New Yorkers and following the lead of Mayor Bill de Blasio.
Adams, a former police captain who is considered the front-runner in the race, called Sliwa’s debate tactics “buffoonery.” Noting that Sliwa had repeatedly interrupted him, he implored the moderators at WNBC-TV, “Can he please adhere to the rules?”
Neither candidate explicitly mentioned Day 1 of his administration, a reference that often comes up in political debates. But they had different ideas about how to spend Day 2. Adams said he would head to Florida to appeal to businesses with the message “you will be bored in Florida — you will never be bored in New York.” Sliwa said he would move into the warden’s residence on Rikers Island and provide additional correction officers for the city jail complex there, which has descended into chaos.
Adams repeated his support for de Blasio’s plan to close the jails on Rikers and replace them with smaller units in the boroughs. Sliwa flatly opposed shutting down Rikers. He also said he would hire 2,000 more officers and send emotionally disturbed inmates to state facilities.
Adams found moments to go on the offensive, criticizing Sliwa for admitting that he had made up crimes to get attention for his Guardian Angels patrol group. Sliwa said he had apologized. “I made mistakes,” he said. “I was immature at the age of 25 and did things I should not have done. I know my opponent, Eric Adams, similarly has done things that he’s apologized for.”
Adams, the Brooklyn borough president, said he supported the vaccine mandate for city workers that de Blasio had announced hours earlier. But he said he would have “handled it differently” and conferred with union leaders. He called them “credible messengers” who could help convince wavering members that vaccines were safe.
Adams also said he wanted a vaccine mandate for students in the public schools, a departure from the policy set by the de Blasio administration. But Adams said he was “open to a remote option” for families who wanted children to learn at home — something de Blasio ruled out for the current academic year, although it was offered last year.
Sliwa opposed the mandate for city workers and any similar requirement for students.
As for policing, Adams called for “a new ecosystem” for public safety. “Bad guys are watching us squabble with each other,” he said. “That’s not going to happen, and we’re not going to see disorder in my city.”
At the end of a sunny day in the low 70s and a partly cloudy evening in the 60s, there’s a chance of showers late at night.
In effect until Nov. 1 (All Saints Day).
A vaccine mandate for city workers
New York City will require the entire municipal work force — more than 300,000 people — to be vaccinated against the coronavirus by the end of the month.
Mayor Bill de Blasio’s directive removes an option for unvaccinated city employees to take regular coronavirus tests. Workers who remain unvaccinated after Oct. 29 will be placed on unpaid leave.
The new requirement, the most aggressive move yet to boost vaccination rates in the city, comes with an incentive: Workers who get their first doses of a vaccine at city-run sites by the Oct. 29 deadline will see an extra $500 in their paychecks.
Municipal labor unions were divided over the new mandate, with the union representing rank-and-file police officers pledging to fight it. But Gregory Floyd, president of a Teamsters local that represents more than 18,000 municipal workers, had a different reaction.
“I understand why he’s doing it,” he said of de Blasio. “I can’t say it’s wrong, because we have a pandemic.”
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Painting to the music
Jim Watt will start with No. 670.
Watt, an architect and painter from Asbury Park, N.J., is slightly more than two-thirds of the way through a multimedia project in which he does ink-wash images while jazz musicians play. Each wash is projected on a screen as his brush moves across the parchment during performances like one scheduled for tonight at Jim Kempner Fine Art at 501 West 23rd Street. Watt plans to paint 1,000 washes in all. The gallery will sell them, with a goal of raising $100,000. The money will go to jazz musicians who have been struggling for lack of gigs during the pandemic.
“I was hearing so many stories about financial hardships,” said Watt, who with the trumpeter Antoine Drye had started an outdoor jazz series in Asbury Park in May 2020. And Watt, who had done watercolors to brighten the cheerless days of the pandemic, turned to monochromatic Japanese brush painting that uses black sumi ink.
Playing off his name, Watt decided to do the thousand ink-washes and call the project 1000W. He called the photographer Danny Clinch, who brought a film crew to Watt’s studio. Drye brought in musicians, and they had the beginnings of a film.
“I was improvising to what they were playing, and they were improvising to what I was painting,” said Watt, who has already arranged through a nonprofit to distribute money to nine musicians. As pandemic restrictions were relaxed, they began booking appearances. “Every time a new musician would come in, I’d say, ‘Just think of this as if I’m in the band,” he said, “only I’m playing an instrument that makes a visual thing happen.”
What we’re reading
Meet the new owners of a one-of-a-kind Wu Tang Clan album. They put it away for safekeeping after paying $4 million.
Curbed reported on members of the Ramapough Lenape Nation, based in the Ramapo Mountains in New York and New Jersey, and their fight to protect a sacred site.
There’s a new bronze statue in front of the Charging Bull in the Financial District, and it’s accompanied by 10,000 bananas, Artnet reports.
Shirts on hangers
For years, Mr. Kim and I have been racing to beat the clock: I try to get home from work before his dry-cleaning shop closes, and he tries to keep his delivery man around to help me bring my clothes home.
Sometimes we win, sometimes we lose, and sometimes we just wait until Saturday.
Recently, I called him from the subway to say that I would be making a pickup. We had a few confused exchanges, I entered a tunnel, we were disconnected and the race to beat the clock began.
I missed the delivery man, but Mr. Kim and I were happy to see each other. We chatted while he twist-tied four bundles of shirts. Seeing that I was already carrying two bags, he came out front to his sewing machine in a panic and started to dig through a heap of pants and jackets.
From the middle of the pile, like a sorcerer, he pulled out two matching, navy-blue cuffs that had been cut off the pants legs they once belonged to.
He looped them into a figure eight, and then hung two bundles from each loop, 25 shirts on hangers that he then draped over my shoulder, front and back.
It was the easiest giant load of laundry, dirty or clean, that I have ever hauled happily down Broadway and the long hill to Riverside Drive.
— Paul Klenk
Illustrated by Agnes Lee. Send submissions here and read more Metropolitan Diary here.
Glad we could get together here. See you tomorrow. — J.B.
P.S. Here’s today’s Mini Crossword and Spelling Bee. You can find all our puzzles here.
Melissa Guerrero, Meghan Louttit, Rick Martinez and Olivia Parker contributed to New York Today. You can reach the team at firstname.lastname@example.org.