‘Anything is better than de Blasio’: Manhattanites ready to pass the torch to next mayor

Tuesday’s election was the first time New Yorkers have had the chance to pick a new mayor in eight years when present Mayor Bill de Blasio won with over 70% of the vote.

Voters of every ilk turned out to have their voices heard on the city’s future including who will fill the mayor’s office, the Manhattan Borough President’s seat, and City Council. It was all on the ballot and some believed they have already predicted the winner.

Thousands of New Yorkers took advantage of early voting between Oct. 23 and Oct. 31 with a total of 47,928 Manhattanites getting a jump on casting their ballots at their local polling site. In Chelsea, voters reported smooth sailing at the polling sites amNewYork Metro visited with the only hick-ups being a few instances where a resident mixed up their assigned polling location. 

Voters slowly trickled into P.S. 33 Chelsea Prep in the morning with the pace picking up around noon. As more voters stopped by the elementary school, the line outside of the neighboring soup kitchen and food pantry ran out of the Church of the Holy Apostles. At 2:12 p.m. amNewYork Metro counted 64 people waiting in line to grab to-go meals and non-perishable food items from the church. 

All of the voters who spoke with amNewYork Metro expressed support for Adams with many reporting that although he was not their top choice for mayor they say “no point” in voting Sliwa. 

“Given the choice, it’s a no-contest vote,” said an FDNY employee, who did not wish to share her name, and who voted for Adams over Sliwa at P.S. 33. “It’s a little opaque, it’s a little unclear what he is going to do… but anything is better than de Blasio.” 

Some voters cited concerns over crime and what they argued was de Blasio’s failure to properly help homeless New Yorkers as their main reason for supporting an Adams’ mayorship.

“New York has gotten a little scary and a little dangerous and I’m counting on my candidate to clean it up,” said Chelsea resident Jim Morgan, who said he recently became hypersensitive to the issue of the city’s rising crime level after a person was stabbed a few blocks away from his home. 

Others said they voted for Adams purely because he was the Democratic nominee while hoping he would address the increasing number of residents suffering from lost income caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“He’s flawed just like anyone else but I’m hopeful,” said Steve Skulnik. 

Elaine Wallace of the Upper West Side says she knew before the primary that a candidate focused on law, order, and quality of life would win the democratic candidacy. 

Elaine Wallace is a proud voter. Photo by Dean Moses

“The winner is already predetermined. Everybody knows the winner is going to be Eric Adams. The down ballot votes are important,” Wallace said, “Whether I vote for Eric Adams or not, he’s still going to win. I think that when you vote for someone other than the presumed winner, what you allow is a statement vote. So, if somebody hypothetically were to vote for a different candidate, and that candidate would get 25% of the vote, or 30% of the vote, hopefully, that sends a message about what’s important to voters about something that the actual winner could take into consideration going forward. Perhaps the actual winner might give the other candidate a role in their administration. So, I’m being realistic here, that at this point, I don’t think it makes a difference on the level of the mayor’s race.”

A voter casts his ballot at the Frank McCourt High School on West 84th Street polling site. Photo by Dean Moses

For others, though, the act of voting is a constitutional right, one that Matthew Kuhlke hoped to teach his 6-year-old son, Isaac, the importance of.

“I thought it would be fun for him to see. He’s never seen voting before,” Kuhlke said. 

While this is a significant mayoral race, Kuhlke also shared their other important candidates and issues to vote for as well. 

Matthew Kuhlke and his son, Isaac. Photo by Dean Moses

“It’s a big mayoral election and you know, there are several other things to vote for,” Kuhlke said, sharing that some of the critical issues he is most concerned with are public safety, crime, and the quality of mass transit. 

Everyone made sure their voices were heard by casting their votes. Photo by Dean Moses

While many exercised this duty routinely, for Angela Morrison it was a new experience. The right to vote is not something Morrison will ever take for granted, especially since today was the first ballot she has ever cast. A new American citizen, she moved to the United States from Brazil and has lived in New York City for 22 years before finally taking the leap and applying for citizenship–a feat that costs a whopping $735 as well as a test, several forms and documents to provide. 

It’s Angela’s first time voting since she became a citizen this year.Photo by Dean Moses

“I feel like it’s my duty. I also vote for my country too because I have dual citizenship. I feel amazing,” Morrison said, adding, “I also think that every issue is important. It’s not just one more than the other. If everybody, if all the politicians, work on every single issue, they can tackle every single one of them at the same time, or over time. But I don’t think one issue is more important than others.” 

Voters don their stickers. Photo by Dean Moses