Eric Adams takes over as New York City’s 110th mayor in a dangerous moment.

Eric Leroy Adams was sworn in as the 110th Mayor of New York City early Saturday in a festive but toned-down Times Square ceremony, a signal of the formidable task ahead of him as he begins his term as coronavirus- cases rise again.

Mr. Adams, 61, son of a cleaning assistant who was a New York Police Captain before entering politics, he has called himself “the future of the Democratic Party” and promised to address long-standing inequalities as the city’s “first blue-collar mayor,” while embracing business.

But not since 2002, when Michael R. Bloomberg took office shortly after the Sept. 11 attacks, has a future mayor faced such daunting challenges in New York City. Even before the recent Omicron-driven rise, the city’s economy was still struggling to recover, with the city’s 9.4 percent unemployment more than double the national average. Murders, shootings and some other categories of violent crime increased early in the pandemic and have remained higher than before the virus began to spread.

Mr. Adams ran for mayor on the basis of a public safety announcement, using his working-class and police background to convey empathy to those parts of New York that are still struggling with the effects of crime.

But Mr. Adams’ first job as mayor will be to help New Yorkers navigate the Omicron variant and a disturbing rise in cases. The city has busy over 40,000 cases a day in recent days, and the number of admissions is growing. The city’s test system, once envied by the nation, has struggled to meet demand, and long lines are forming outside test sites.

Concerns about the virus caused Mr. Adams to cancel an inauguration ceremony indoors at the Kings Theater in Brooklyn – a tribute to the voters outside of Manhattan who elected him. Instead, Mr. Adam’s background for the ball-drop audience, which in itself had been limited to only a quarter of the usual size for the sake of distancing.

Still, his graduation ceremony in Times Square, shortly after the ceremonial countdown, was jubilant, and Mr. Adams said he was hopeful about the city’s future.

“Believe me, we’re ready for a big comeback because this is New York,” said Mr. Adams, while standing among the festive earlier in the night.

Mr. Adams, the second black mayor in the city’s history, was sworn in using a family Bible, kept by his son, Jordan Coleman, and enclosed a framed photograph of his mother, Dorothy, who died last spring.

Mr. de Blasio also attended the Times Square celebration and danced with his wife on stage after leading the midnight countdown – his last official act as mayor after eight years in office.

Mr. Adams, who grew up poor in Queens, represents one center-left mark of democratic politics. He could offer a mix of the last two mayors – Bill de Blasio, who was known for quoting the socialist Karl Marx, and Michael R. Bloomberg, a billionaire and former Republican as Mr. Adams.

Mr. Adams narrow won a competitive Democratic primary last summer, when coronavirus cases were low and millions of New Yorkers were vaccinated. The city had begun to rise slowly after the virus devastated the economy, leaving more than 35,000 New Yorkers dead. Now that cases are rising again, businesses in Manhattan have given up on returning to office plans, and many Broadway shows and restaurants are closed.

With schools set to reopen on Monday, Mr Adams must determine how students and teachers can be kept safe while ensuring that schools remain open to personal learning. Mr. Adams has insisted the city cannot shut down again and must learn to live with the virus, and he has supported Mr de Blasio’s vaccine mandates.

On Thursday, Mr. Adams that he would keep New York vaccine requirements for private employers. The mandate, which was implemented by Mayor de Blasio and is the first of its kind in the country, came into force on Monday.

Still, Mr. Adams makes it clear that his focus is on compliance, not aggressive enforcement; it is still unclear whether he will demand that teachers, police officers and other city workers receive a booster shot.

Sir. Adams has also said he wants to continue Mr de Blasio’s focus on reducing inequality, even though he has tried to promote a better relationship with the city’s elites.

“I really do not think he will be in the box with being a conservative or a progressive,” said Christina Greer, associate professor of political science at Fordham University. “Adams is excited to keep people on their toes.”

Nate Schweber contributed with reporting.

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