Eric Adams will be sworn in as the next mayor of New York City in Times Square just after the ball drops on New Year's Eve, a fitting location as the city fights to propel its pandemic recovery forward in the face of the most infectious COVID variant yet.
The former NYPD captain and Brooklyn borough president said earlier this month that his inauguration would be postponed indefinitely because of spiking COVID cases throughout the city. Now, the location -- one of the world's most iconic New Year's Eve spots -- and the backdrop -- 15,000 fully vaccinated New Yorkers -- are historically emblematic.
During the pandemic, Times Square became a worldwide symbol for the city's economic downturn, with businesses and the city's Theater District falling on hard times. As tourism and businesses recover, it has become a symbol of the city's resiliency — which appears to not have been lost on the incoming mayor.
“Times Square has long been synonymous with the New Year — a place of excitement, renewal, and hope for the future. These are the same themes that animated my campaign and will inform my mayoralty, as I prepare to lead the city out of this challenging period," Mayor-elect Adams said in a statement. "I am deeply humbled to officially take the oath of office at this iconic occasion, and to participate in the transfer of leadership that is a cornerstone of our democracy,”
Adams will use his family's bible to take the oath of office as he is sworn in as the 110th mayor of New York City. Members of his family will be on hand to help celebrate. Outgoing Mayor Bill de Blasio is also expected at the ball drop earlier.
De Blasio, whose plans beyond that point remain a point of much speculation, initially had announced a "full strength" return of fully vaccinated crowds in Times Square to ring in 2022. The omicron variant changed that.
The mayor's office announced scaled-back plans for the big event just before Christmas. The 15,000-person limit is a quarter of what the Crossroads of the World typically sees on a New Year's Eve, though a welcome vision compared with the empty confetti-laced streets that marked the end of 2020.
Additional COVID protocol will include mask-wearing for all attendees and a delayed earliest entry time of 3 p.m., which is hours later than previous years. Social distancing will also be enforced. See all the latest details here.
The choice of Times Square might be an unusual one, but not unprecedented.
Michael Bloomberg also took his oath of office in Times Square in the early minutes of 2002, a very public setting following the terrorist attacks at the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001. The symbolic event was a first for Times Square.