Vanity Fair’s Charlotte Klein: “The Eric Adams Era Has the Makings of a Tabloid Gold Mine”

From a story on by Charlotte Klein headlined “‘He’s Hanging Out With the Stars of the Gossip Column’: The Eric Adams Era Has the Makings of a Tabloid Gold Mine”:

Democrat Eric Adams’s victory last week in New York garnered the type of post-election headlines one would expect—second Black mayor in the city’s history, a former police captain who addressed public safety and inequality. But the Brooklyn borough president’s win also gave way to copy unlike any mayor-elect in recent memory, with write-ups of his exclusive NoHo after-party in New York and Bloomberg and Choire Sicha proclaiming on Curbed, “Welcome to the Boom Boom Room of Chaos, New York City!”

Inside high-end member’s-only club Zero Bond, CEOs mingled with celebrities, including comedian Chris Rock, Oscar-winner Forest Whitaker, and rapper Ja Rule,who was featured in Instagram dispatches from Adams’s son. “We’re trying to get our nightlife up and operating,” Adams told NY1 the next morning when asked about the appropriateness of partying with the city’s boldface names, a firmly unapologetic stance to expectations of how a mayor should behave that has reporters excited for what’s to come.

“Covering New York City Hall might be the most fun job in American journalism,” said Washington Post reporter Josh Dawsey, who did so for The Wall Street Journal before switching to national politics in 2016. “I think it’s going to be a particularly rollicking ride under this mayor.”…

The incoming mayor has been spotted breaking bread with everyone from Republican billionaire John Catsimatidis at Rao’s to Nets star James Hardenand famous TikTok sisters at Zero Bond—an eclectic mix that’s fitting for the enigmatic politician, a Monaco-vacationing, vegan night owl who has referred to himself as a “pragmatic moderate” and “the original progressive.” There’s been confusion about where Adams actually lives and what an Adams administration will actually entail.

Tao Group CEO Noah Tepperberg, for one, welcomes Adams keeping later hours than his predecessor. “This is exciting. You have a mayor that realizes what makes the city tick,” said Tepperberg, a Zero Bond member who has met Adams multiple times through P.R. executive Ronn Torossian, his friend since their days at Stuyvesant High School. Torossian, an unofficial adviser and confidant to Adams—and the person who brings him to the private club as a guest—organized the victory party at Zero Bond.

In addition to Tepperberg, Torossian has introduced Adams to other nightlife power players such as Kamal Hotchandani, the CEO of Haute Living. “It’s been very refreshing” to have a mayor “who has the back of hospitality” and is committed to “really restoring the city back to one that never sleeps,” said Hotchandani….

“Almost all of these trendy places have given him the ability to have quiet meetings with people,” said one real estate executive and Adams donor, emphasizing that “the privacy that exists in a place like Zero Bond”—where the policy is “you can’t approach anyone unless they invite you to approach, and you can’t take pictures of anyone in the club unless the owner allows you to do that, which is almost never”—is nearly “impossible” to find elsewhere in the city. “Which is also one of the reasons why you have very high-profile people that go there on a regular basis…and as you can imagine, many of them want to interact with the next mayor of New York.” Adams has reportedly schmoozed into the early morning at the club alongside Paris Hilton, Equinox CEO Harvey Spevak, and Paolo Zampolli, the tabloid fixture and onetime modeling agent who reportedly introduced Melania Trump to Donald Trump.

Adams rubbing elbows with the bottle-service crowd should be a gold mine for New York tabloids. “There is no past mayor who was youthful, who enjoyed the nightlife,” says political consultant George Arzt. Most mayors went out at night in the context of events—though Arzt notes Rudy Giuliani was known to frequent cigar bars—but generally “eleven o’clock came and they used to pick up The Times,” says Arzt, a former adviser to Mayor Ed Koch and, before that, a longtime City Hall reporter. Adams, Arzt tells me, is “a fresh breeze into City Hall” whom Arzt expects to be “a great deal of fun” and “accessible, which is what every reporter in room 9 will want.”…

The city’s biggest tabloid, however, doesn’t appear to be taking advantage of Adams’s penchant for the club scene—perhaps because, as Palmeri has reported, Post owner Rupert Murdoch is in Adams’s corner (while the mogul’s ex-wife, Wendi Deng, was among the partygoers on election night). “I used to work at the New York Post; I know they would have covered these stories,” Politico’s Tara Palmeri told me, observing that the tabloid praising Adams for his “nightlife stamina” is “just not the typical tone of the Post”—a paper, she noted, that “happens to relish in covering people’s personal lives” and whose “bread and butter” is mayoral politics. Arzt remarks that while Adams’s relationship to nightlife may be “a gold mine” for the Post, he’s also a centrist—and was briefly a Republican—with whom Murdoch shares some views. So the tabloid is giving him a honeymoon. Does he think it will last? “The honeymoon always, always ends,” Arzt says. “The more relevant question is how long will the honeymoon be. Koch’s lasted four years—into his second term.”

Charlotte Klein is a staff writer at Vanity Fair’s Hive.


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