New York City elects a new mayor today

This is WSN’s guide to the 2021 New York City election. Read about the candidates, the stakes and NYU students’ voting takes.


Manasa Gudavalli

2021 New York City election begins at 6 a.m., Nov. 1. The two candidates are Democrat Eric Adams and Republican Curtis Sliwa. (Images via Wikimedia Commons, Staff Photo and Illustration by Manasa Gudavalli)

Katie Brown, Contributing Writer

Starting at 6 a.m. today, Nov. 2, New Yorkers will head to the polls to cast their ballots and decide between Democrat Eric Adams and Republican Curtis Sliwa as the city’s next mayor. Based on the most recent polls, Adams is expected to win the race with 70% of the vote.

The new mayor will be tasked with tackling police reform, addressing New York City’s housing crisis, and leading the city out of two years of economic stagnation caused by the pandemic

Izzy Vieira, a CAS senior and president of NYU’s Politics Society, said that Adams’ near-certain victory should not diminish the importance of the election to the city’s future.

“This election is important since we haven’t had a new mayor in a while,” Vieira said. “Obviously, a lot of people have different opinions on the current administration and about a new mayor coming in.”

Eric Adams, self-assured ex-cop

Eric Adams is Brooklyn’s borough president. (Image via Wikimedia Commons)

Adams, the Brooklyn borough president, centered his campaign around his 22 years of experience as an officer and captain at the New York City Police Department. He also served as state senator for Senate District 20 — which covers parts of Crown Heights, Brownsville and Park Slope — for four terms, beginning in 2006.

Adams campaigned on a promise to stem violent crime while repairing relations between police and communities of color. He also plans to reduce traffic, implement year-round schooling and make healthcare more accessible to underserved groups. He supports COVID-19 vaccine requirements for employees and endorses the Key to NYC mandate, which requires vaccination for indoor activities.

“I like Eric Adams’ personality — I think he exemplifies qualities that a mayor should have,” CAS first-year Saha Guerrero said. “I’m not a huge fan of his policies, but I’m optimistic and I have hope for him. At the end of the day, I’m going to vote for him.”

Enzo Repetto, CAS sophomore and member of NYU’s College Democrats, said he has reservations about Adams’ platform, but believes he would be more willing than Sliwa to work with a progressive city council.

“I would encourage everyone to go out and vote,” Repetto said. “It says a lot if we can at least push for showing the progressive aspects of New York City overall. This was an important point to emphasize when it came to the primary season, and it’s still important right now.”

Curtis Sliwa, beret-wearing vigilante

Curtis Sliwa is the founder of the Guardian Angels. (Image via Wikimedia Commons)

Sliwa founded the volunteer group Guardian Angels in 1979. The Guardian Angels tasked themselves with thwarting crime in the New York City subway system. He previously admitted to faking crimes to boost the organization’s publicity. Sliwa, now a conservative radio host, is currently recovering from a broken arm after being struck by a taxi while on the campaign trail in midtown Manhattan on Oct. 26, according to his campaign.

“Everybody wants to be able to walk around in New York City and not have to constantly be worried about their safety,” said Gianna Guzzo, a Steinhardt senior and vice president of NYU’s College Republicans. “His work with the Guardian Angels is something that is remembered by a lot of people in New York City. People are waking up to the fact that crime is on the rise.” 

Sliwa has publicly opposed COVID-19 vaccine mandates, and recently attended an anti-mandate municipal workforce protest — though he is vaccinated and encourages others to receive the shot. He has not publicized a healthcare platform so far, but said he believes in lowering healthcare costs for all.

Repetto said he is wary of Sliwa because of the disconnect between his personality and his policies.

“He’s been using this type of no-nonsense politics that I don’t feel is representative of what he actually stands for,” Repetto said.

Voting in the city

(Photo by Justin Park)

New York City residents can vote in person from 6 a.m. until 9 p.m. NYU will host polling sites at locations across campus, including the residence halls Brittany Hall, Palladium Hall and Alumni Hall. Mail-in ballots can be dropped off at polling sites until Election Day. If mailed, they must be received by the city’s Board of Elections by Nov. 9.

NYU Votes, a university program to encourage electoral participation, sent an email on Nov. 1 urging students to participate in the election. NYU spokesperson Shonna Keogan said the university is committed to supporting the electoral process, including by informing its student body and hosting official polling sites.

Vieira said it is difficult to gauge how many NYU students are voting in the election, but believes that students will find candidates’ positions on policing, marijuana regulations and housing and homelessness particularly important. 

“There are a good amount of students who are voting and are interested in New York politics,” Vieira said. “But it depends a lot on if students are more established in New York, lived here for a while or plan to live here after school.”

Contact Katie Brown at [email protected]