Protesters Disrupt Mayor Adams’s Speech to Business Leaders

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A handful of protesters disrupted a speech by Mayor Eric Adams on Tuesday, storming a stage and accusing the mayor of caring more about the needs of the real estate lobby than the working-class New Yorkers he often talks about.

The demonstrators moved to within an arm’s length of Mr. Adams and chanted “How much money do you take from the rich?” before they were forcibly removed by police officers.

The surreal encounter, which took place at 583 Park Avenue, a historic landmark building now used as an event space, stunned the business leaders who had gathered there for a “power breakfast” held by the Association for a Better New York. Placed in the seat of every attendee was a one-page flier with a picture of the mayor titled “New York City’s Accomplishments.”

Mr. Adams announced progress on a massive office tower financed by Vornado Realty Trust and the Citadel founder Ken Griffin. The mayor said that, like the Empire State Building generations ago, the new building demonstrated faith in the city’s future.

“This building is an investment,” the mayor said, advancing the notion that the new skyscraper was further indication that New York had fully recovered from the coronavirus pandemic. “It states we believe in our city.”

Mr. Adams dismissed the protesters, from a group called Planet Over Profit, as a handful of dissenters simply making noise and trying to stop the city’s progress. Still, the episode illustrated the tension the mayor was dealing with in attempting to hold together his coalition of working-class New Yorkers and business leaders as he heads into what is sure to be a hotly contested Democratic primary next year.

Even as Mr. Adams tries to reverse unfavorable budget cuts to libraries and school, and faces a federal investigation into his 2021 campaign and a decades-old allegation of sexual assault, the primary is sure to also focus on the mayor’s management of the city as it emerged from the pandemic.

Scott Stringer, the former comptroller who is exploring another run for mayor, has been sending fund-raising emails questioning Mr. Adams’s management.

“We have to get our city back on track,” read one of the emails from last week. “Eric Adams has taken a wrecking ball to vital city services.”

Fabien Levy, the deputy mayor for communications, dismissed the protesters after the mayor’s speech.

“He’s the mayor of New York City,” Mr. Levy said with a shrug, “8.3 million people, 35 million opinions.”

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