Mayor Eric Adams had no idea how rotten the Big Apple was at its core before taking office — telling The Post he was “shocked” to learn just “how bad this place is.”
During an exclusive interview conducted as Adams rode the subways overnight for more than three hours last week, the former NYPD transit cop said he was astounded by the botched “deployment of resources” that has New Yorkers on edge amid a nearly 40 percent surge in major crimes this year.
“Let me tell you something: When I started looking into this, I was shocked at how bad this place is,” he said of the city.
Adams — who campaigned on a promise to restore order to an increasingly lawless Gotham — said the scales fell from his eyes when he began reviewing internal city operations following his swearing in moments after midnight on New Year’s Day.
“It was probably, the third — third or fourth week in January. I spent a lot of time in the office,” he said.
“And I started peeling back layers and what it started to unveil to me is how we just had this good shell, but underneath — it’s bad.”
Using the NYPD “as one example,” he said, “We have not utilized this amazing agency and all our skills.”
Adams also blasted former mayors for focusing on a single “pet project” to try to build a “legacy,” ticking off a list that included “pre-K” in an obvious shot at his immediate predecessor, Bill de Blasio.
“You know, they hold onto this one thing,” he says.
“That’s why when people try to say, ‘OK, Eric, you know, what is your one or two things?’ I’m saying: To fix this mess!”
In 2021, the final year of de Blasio’s tenure, the city saw nearly every category of major crime increase to levels that hadn’t been seen in years, with felony assaults exceeding 22,000 for the first time since 2001.
The number of murders also reached 486, the most since the 515 committed in 2011.
Last year’s headline-grabbing incidents included a shocking, unprovoked hatchet attack inside an ATM lobby in Manhattan’s Financial District, a series of shootings in Times Square and the trampling of a 10-year-old girl and her five-year-old brother when a masked gunman opened fire on a Bronx sidewalk.
This year, shooting incidents have declined nearly 12% compared to the same period last year and murders are down 13%.
But grand larcenies and auto thefts have skyrocketed 50% and 48%, respectively, while robberies are up nearly 40%.
And as the city struggles to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, crimes in the transit system are up a staggering 54%.
Adams acknowledged his frustration in implementing his first major initiative: to crack down on rule-breaking in the subways and stop homeless people from living in stations and on trains.
That move followed the shocking slaying of Upper West Side resident Michelle Go, 40, who was pushed onto the tracks in the Times Square subway station and run over by an oncoming R train around 9:30 a.m. on Jan. 15.
A homeless man with a history of mental illness, Martial Simon, 61, was charged with murder but later deemed unfit to stand trial.
Hizzoner told The Post that City Hall created a shareable Google document and put a “system in place” so cops patrolling the subways who saw an encampment of homeless people could “put it on the document” for follow-up by the Department of Homeless Services and others within seven days.
But Adams said when he spotted an encampment, “I go on my phone, look at the document — this encampment is not on here.”
Days later, Adams said, he went back to the station and asked the cops there, “Did y’all log this encampment in?” to which they responded, “We weren’t told we were supposed to log it in.”
“What it showed was that we were not inspecting the system,” he said.
After talking to the local precinct commander, Adams — who didn’t name the NYPD official — said the document was now being used as intended.
“It was three or four weeks after… that we really started to see how to operate as a team to really accomplish a mission,” he…