New York

The Tangled Tale of Eric Adams’s Apartment in Brooklyn

Good morning. It’s Thursday. We’ll look at the status of Mayor Eric Adams’s ownership of an apartment in Brooklyn. And, if you’ve ever wanted to own your very own subway car, one is about to be auctioned off.

The question is, does Mayor Eric Adams have an ownership stake in a one-bedroom in the Crown Heights neighborhood of Brooklyn?

It’s a mystery that has swirled since he ran for mayor last year.

According to public records, Adams has owned the apartment with his former partner, Sylvia Cowan, for 30 years. For years, including during his time as Brooklyn borough president before he was elected to City Hall, he did not mention the apartment on his state and city disclosure forms.

When he ran for mayor last year, he said the forms were correct. He said he had transferred full ownership of the apartment to Cowan in 2007.

Adams has now acknowledged, quietly, that he still owns a half-share of the apartment. The admission came in his annual filing to the New York City Conflicts of Interest Board.

This time, he blamed his former accountant, who, Adams has said, continued to work for him after becoming homeless.

“As was said during his campaign last year, Mayor Adams believed he had transferred his interest in the property to the other owner of the property in 2007,” Fabien Levy, a spokesman for the mayor, said in a statement. “However, once he got a new accountant, the mayor realized all the proper paperwork had not been filled out in the past.”

Levy said the “process is now underway” to finally transfer ownership.

Three of my colleagues — Dana Rubinstein, William K. Rashbaum and Michael Rothfeld — write that the disclosure underscored the opacity surrounding Adams’s life story and lifestyle. He said he was a vegan, but he eats fish, too. Testifying before the State Legislature in February, he said he had once been convicted of a crime, but he had not. During the campaign last year, even his residency became a persistent question — at one point, he led reporters on a tour of another Brooklyn apartment where he said he lived most of the time.

And this year, he declined to release his tax returns, breaking a precedent followed by his recent predecessors, only to say that he had filed for an extension and would release them in October.


Expect a chance of showers in the afternoon with temperatures near the mid-70s. At night, temperatures will drop to the low 60s.


In effect until July 4 (Independence Day).

Three people who had been held recently at the Rikers Island complex have died in the week since a federal judge gave New York City more time to reform its troubled jail system.

The fatalities brought the number of people who have died after being held by the city this year to nine, three more than at this time last year.

One of the three was Anibal Carrasquillo, 39, who the city’s Department of Correction said died on Monday. The cause was thought to be a drug overdose, according to two people with knowledge of the matter.

Albert Drye, 52, died on Tuesday at the Bellevue Prison Hospital Ward, according to the Legal Aid Society, which was representing him. The cause of death was unknown.

The third incarcerated person, Antonio Bradley, 28, died on June 18, three days after being granted compassionate release to Lincoln Hospital in the Bronx, according to the Department of Correction.

Mayor Adams hailed the judge’s order last week, saying that his administration had “a strategy to aggressively untangle the dysfunction that has plagued the jails and set them on a path of real enduring reform.”

But members of the Board of Correction, an oversight agency, said Judge Laura Swain should reconsider and appoint an independent leader to run the correction system. Last year, 16 people died after being held in New York City’s jails, the most since 2013.

“The tragedies of the past days on Rikers Island should be of concern to every New Yorker,” said Dr. Robert Cohen, a member of the board. He added that the city, despite its “best efforts,” was “not capable of maintaining a minimally safe environment for people in custody.”

It is longer than, say, the dinosaur that Sotheby’s plans to auction next month. But it is a dinosaur of its kind, a relic of the days when straphangers had actual straps to hang onto, and it, too, is going on the auction block.

It is an obsolete subway car known as a “redbird” for its dull-red color. Redbirds are remembered by subway buffs as rattling, rusting stalwarts from the early 1960s to the early 2000s.

The starting bid will be $6,500 in an online auction for the Department of Citywide Administrative Services, the agency that sells surplus city property — less than 1 percent of what Sotheby’s expects to get for the dinosaur, which roamed the earth 66 to 83 million years ago. The subway car in the city auction roamed the numbered subway lines from the early 1960s to 2003, including the 7 line from Midtown Manhattan to Main Street in Flushing, Queens.

“Nothing symbolizes Queens, subway-wise, better than a redbird,” said Jodi Shapiro, the curator of the New York Transit Museum. Redbirds hauled battalions of Mets fans to and from Shea Stadium in good years like 2000, when the Mets made it to the World Series (only to lose to the Yankees), and in not-so-good years like 1993, the first season since 1967 in which the Mets racked up more than 100 losses.

Unlike many other redbirds, the subway car being sold, No. 9075, was spared a watery grave. A spokeswoman for the administrative services agency said its savior was Helen Marshall, the Queens borough president from 2002 to 2013.

Marshall heard that retired subway cars were being dropped in the Atlantic Ocean to create artificial barrier reefs — “luxury condominiums for fish,” as the program manager for Delaware’s artificial reef program once described them. Marshall asked that a decommissioned subway car be dropped on a grassy corner by Queens Borough Hall to create a tourist information center, and the M.T.A., a state agency, sold No. 9075 to the city for $1.

It is being sold now because the current Queens borough president, Donovan Richards, is reimagining the surroundings at borough hall. Richards has an appreciation for the city’s history, “and the Redbird is certainly a notable part of that history as it relates to our public transit system,” a spokesman said. But his office is exploring “how to utilize the space in a way that best engages building visitors and the surrounding community.”


Dear Diary:

I was on the 6 train. Across from me was an older man who was dressed in full corporate uniform: suit, tie, shoes shined to a mirror reflection.

In his hand was a paper gift bag, covered in drugstore glitter and bold colors. He was holding a muted yellow envelope with “Herb” written on it in cursive.

He took the card out of the envelope, looked at it for a moment and smiled.

My stop came. I got off the train and began walking home, wondering as I went: retirement? birthday?

Either way, Herb, I’m glad something made you smile.

— Abigail Blackburn

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, Ashley Shannon Wu and Ed Shanahan contributed to New York Today. You can reach the team at [email protected]

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