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New York City Mayor: We Need to Stop Apologizing for Being Capitalists and Support Business

Yasin Ozturk | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images
  • New York City mayor Eric Adams told CNBC told CNBC on Monday he wants to encourage businesses in the city while keeping them safe.
  • "Why are we apologizing for being capitalists?" the Democratic Adams said. "We should encourage new businesses to be here, but be compassionate in our actions."
  • As steps are taken to assuage people's fears about safety, Adams said he wants to see more employees feel safe enough to come back into the office.

New York City Mayor Eric Adams told CNBC on Monday he wants to encourage new business formation in the Big Apple, including in nascent industries like cryptocurrency.

In an interview on "Squawk on the Street," the Democratic Adams lamented that "the layers of bureaucracy" that he believes stand in the way of entrepreneurship in the nation's financial center.

'Compassionate capitalist'

"I'm a compassionate capitalist. I don't know what the heck happened to our country where the foundation of our existence has been on capitalism," Adams said on "Squawk on the Street." 

"Why are we apologizing for being capitalists? We're working hard. We're opening small businesses, and hopefully one day opening corporations," he added. "We should encourage new businesses to be here, but be compassionate in our actions."

Mandates ending a 'symbol'

Adams' comments come after he recently announced the country's most populous city would lift its indoor vaccine requirement on March 7, as long as Covid cases continue to decrease. The city's mask mandate in its public school system, the nation's largest, is tentatively set to be lifted that same day.

Adams said he thinks the removal of face-covering requirements sends a signal that stretches beyond health metrics. "When we take off the masks, we're going to start to show we're open. We're ready to do business," he said. "It's just symbol that we are back," he added.

'Stop the normality' of disfunction

The mayor and New York Gov. Kathy Hochul also recently announced an effort to remove from the subway homeless people who appear to be using the trains as shelter. The move comes as city-goers have reported more violent incidents on the subway and around the city in the past year, including the death of Michelle Alyssa Go, whom a homeless man shoved into the path of an incoming train earlier this month.

Some businesses also have become more concerned about theft. Adams said that like with the problem of subway safety, the "normalcy" of being fearful needs to be put to an end.

"We're eroded our expectation to be safe, to be able to have a business, that erosion must stop, and we were there before, during the mid-'80s," said Adams, a former New York City police captain . "We have to stop the normality of the city, of being dysfunctional."

Another priority Adams said he's focused on is getting New Yorkers back to in-person work. He expressed concerns about the economic future of the city's central business districts like Midtown if the Covid-era surge in remote work remains a long-term fixture.

"We have to see the financial ecosystem and we are in this together. New York City runs on being in the office," Adams said.

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