Swipe to see connections

Ydanis Rodriguez

A ride-or-die Eric Adams campaign surrogate scored a powerful post overseeing NYC’s streets, but so far that has meant taking a back seat to the mayor’s bureaucrats.


  • Three-term City Councilmember from the 10th District, representing Washington Heights, Inwood, and Marble Hill
  • Chair of the City Council’s Transportation Committee
  • Unsuccessful candidate for New York City Public Advocate and Congress


  •  New York City Department of Transportation Commissioner

Eric Adams did not have a more loyal supporter on the 2021 campaign trail than Ydanis Rodriguez. The three-term, Dominican American City councilmember from Washington Heights was seemingly at every press conference Adams held, touting Adams’s ability to dance merengue, attacking his rivals’ records on public safety, and, according to political reporter Jeff Coltin, having a hand in the catchiest song of summer 2021 (seriously).

Sometimes, Rodriguez got a little too carried away in his public role as one of the Adams campaign’s most pugnacious allies. “Kathryn Garcia no es una Latina,” Rodriguez said at one rally, as the Democratic primary race began to tighten. After Rodriguez made that pronouncement, Adams had to smooth it over with a New York Times reporter: “I want to be clear that it is not my quote that Kathryn is not Latino.” (Garcia’s ex-husband is Puerto Rican, and she has said her children are half Puerto Rican.)

When Adams secured victory, he made Rodriguez his Department of Transportation commissioner. Unlike some of the most effective DOT Commissioners in the previous two administrations, Rodriguez isn’t a formal policy expert but the former chair of the City Council’s Transportation Committee. For a guy who once claimed that he needed his annual municipal pay bumped up to $175,000, being DOT commissioner is a sweet gig. Not only does it come with a $243,171 salary, which is around $15,000 shy of the mayor’s, but it’s a position that is vested with real power. 

Unlike so many other aspects of New York City life that are entrusted to state lawmakers in Albany, our municipal government has vast authority over City streets. In his eight years as City Council Transportation Committee chair, Rodriguez helped pass substantive street safety legislation, and often pushed the de Blasio administration to be bolder, including advocating for the implementation of the Streets Master Plan in 2021, which set specific, ambitious, legally mandated benchmarks for safety infrastructure over a five-year period. During Rodriguez’s tenure in the council, traffic deaths and injuries fell significantly and reached a historic low in 2018.

What did Commissioner Rodriguez do with his newfound power? So far, not a whole lot. 

As many outlets—notably Streetsblog, the CITY,and Hell Gate—have chronicled, Rodriguez’s DOT is constantly undermined by the Mayor’s Office. Specifically, the mayor’s chief adviser, Ingrid Lewis-Martin, has watered down or canceled numerous street safety projects at the behest of business interests, essentially taking years of work put in by DOT civil servants and throwing it all in the garbage. When Lewis-Martin herself isn’t keeping the DOT in check, other Mayor’s Office employees apparently are, including Tiffany Raspberry and a civil servant named Richard Bearak, a former director of land use under Borough President Adams. Despite having no formal transportation policy experience, Bearak is tasked with reviewing the agency’s plans before they’re implemented. (City Hall told Streetsblog that Bearak gives “valuable, informal advice.”)

“If Ingrid’s the king, he’s the right hand of the king. He is there to do her bidding,” one City official told Streetsblog of Bearak. “He only was going to raise the concerns that you’re going to hear from car drivers. He’s never been on the pro-pedestrianization, pro-bike lane side.”

But if the commissioner is upset by any of this, he’s not showing it—perhaps out of that same loyalty that helped get him his job. He has been sensitive and responsive to criticism from potentially powerful allies to the mayor. When film studio honcho Tony Argento called a “town hall” meeting to voice opposition to a road diet on McGuinness Boulevard, one that the DOT had spent more than a year mapping out and getting feedback on, Rodriguez himself dutifully showed up, giving the gathering his imprimatur.

At a City Council oversight hearing in September, councilmembers asked Rodriguez for updates on those five-year Streets Master Plan benchmarks—the City must create an average of 30 miles of protected bus lanes, 50 miles of protected bike lanes, 500 pedestrian signal upgrades, and other improvements, every year from 2022 through 2026. Rodriguez declined to provide any, perhaps because the Adams administration continues to lag far behind on meeting those goals, especially on the creation of bus lanes

Most importantly, traffic deaths have crept up over the past several years, and Rodriguez’s boss “doesn’t give a shit,” one City Hall source told Hell Gate this fall. 

A month after an NYPD tow truck driver struck and killed seven-year-old Kamari Hughes in Fort Greene at an intersection with poor visibility this past October, the Adams administration announced it would “daylight” improvements at 1,000 intersections across the city, making it easier for drivers and pedestrians to see each other. But if Adams’s DOT under Rodriguez can’t be trusted to keep its bus and bike lane promises, why should New Yorkers believe them now?

DOT officials declined to comment on the record, but said they would continue issuing annual updates to the Streets Master Plan in January, and that the administration’s previous success with improving intersections overall showed that it could meet its daylighting goals.

Still hungry?

Last updated: 12/18/2023


Attended town hall to hear complaints against McGuinness Boulevard redesign hosted by

Tony Argento

New York City's homegrown film studio mogul is a Gotham power broker out of central casting.

Gets lobbied on behalf of LIUNA by

Vito Pitta

The grandson of a hotel union boss whose family law firm is heading Adams's legal defense fund.

Tony Argento

New York City's homegrown film studio mogul is a Gotham power broker out of central casting.

Vito Pitta

The grandson of a hotel union boss whose family law firm is heading Adams's legal defense fund.

Rana Abbasova

Abbasova's job is to keep City Hall friendly with foreign governments. And maybe...they all became a little too friendly.

Rodneyse Bichotte Hermelyn

Bichotte Hermelyn is helping to stifle progressives at every turn, just how Eric Adams likes it. 

Brendan McGuire

When it comes to fending off a public corruption case, it doesn’t hurt to have a lawyer who has friends in the Southern District.

Evan Thies

A political consultant and one of the main architects of Adams's mayoral election, whom Adams described as "the man that captured my voice" and "my brother."

Max Young

Adams's comms director left the administration to work for Pfizer, but will he come back to help his old boss win reelection in 2025?

Brianna Suggs

Eric Adams hired her when she was 19. Six and a half years and millions of dollars in mayoral campaign fundraising later, the FBI raided her apartment.

Peter Koo

Senior advisor to the Deputy Mayor of Public Safety. What does that even mean, man?

Rachel Atcheson

A nice vegan caught up in a nasty campaign finance scandal.

Timothy Pearson

Timothy Pearson is Mayor Adams’s right-hand man—a hand that, at least once, curled into a fist.

Sheena Wright

The nonprofit professional (with a somewhat checkered past) is quickly rising through the ranks at City Hall.

David Banks

One of the Banks brothers, now finds himself at the top of a teetering schools system. 

Denise Felipe-Adams

An enthusiastic Adams loyalist dipping her toes into crypto.

Louis Molina

As Correction commissioner, he stymied jail oversight and presided over dozens of deaths of people in custody.

Tiffany Raspberry

A lobbyist and long-time friend now has a lot of power in City Hall—and she's not afraid to use it.

Eric Ulrich

Gambling, tow trucks, pizza: the Manhattan DA's indictment against Adams's former building commissioner has it all.

Ingrid Lewis-Martin

Already a legendary and uniquely powerful force within the Adams administration, the mayor's most fiercely loyal deputy stares down a federal investigation into her boss' campaign.

Fabien Levy

Levy has risen in influence as his colleagues in the City Hall press shop have departed, and the deputy mayor runs interference for the mayor in his dealings with the press.

Bernard Adams

Younger brother Bernard Adams couldn't make it past the City's ethics board—but his wife, Sharon, sure did.

Philip Banks III

From unindicted co-conspirator in a federal corruption case to Mayor Adams's deputy mayor for public safety in less than a decade.

Frank Carone

New York City's short king is the most connected man in town.

Winnie Greco

Winnie Greco connected the Chinese business community to the future mayor. In return, he promised to build an arch.

Jacqui Williams

"Real estate is not to be toyed with here."

Marc Holliday

When you want to build a casino in Times Square, you hire the mayor's former chief of staff and host parties with Cara Delevingne.

John Chell

Shot a man to death in 2008, now in charge of the largest bureau in the NYPD.

Dwayne Montgomery

An old friend the mayor doesn't care to claim, indicted in a straw donor scheme.

Kaz Daughtry

Jeffrey Maddrey's hands-on protégé, now NYPD drone champion.

Edward Caban

The Adams administration's second police commissioner is a team player and a Masonic brother.

Lisa White

Eric Adams's former roommate (or is it landlord?) in charge of NYPD officer morale—too bad she tanks it.

Jeffrey Maddrey

The top uniformed cop in the NYPD, despite a wild history of disciplinary charges.

Sylvia Cowan

Former girlfriend with whom he still owns an apartment.

Tracey Collins

Adams's longtime girlfriend, who lives in Fort Lee, New Jersey, is rarely seen in his presence, and got a cushy promotion and a big raise after he became mayor.

Jenifer Rajkumar

Adams has called her a "beast." She thinks he's “the GOAT." 

Bishop Lamor Whitehead

The "Bling Bishop" and Eric Adams apparently don't speak anymore, but both say that God is on their side.


Jay-Z is a billionaire who wants things billionaires want—like a license to build a casino.

Eleonora Srugo

This high-powered real estate agent can be found at Casa Cipriani or Gracie Mansion.

Jordan Coleman

Eric Adams's literal son.

Robert and Zhan Petrosyants

Fun-loving twins who play host to the mayor at their trendy Italian eatery.

Billy Bildstein

The owner of Avant Gardner and Brooklyn Mirage fought the SLA and won (with help from powerful friends).

Scott Sartiano

How did the owner of Zero Bond score a seat on the Met's board? Probably not based on his resume, which we got our hands on.

Steve Cohen

Steve Cohen wants two things—a Mets championship and a casino. Eric Adams can only really help him with one of those.

Michael Mazzio

Michael Mazzio found himself getting shut out of the lucrative tow truck industry—until he found a friendly ear in City Hall.

Rich Maroko

The head of the Hotel and Gaming Trades Council bet big on Eric Adams becoming mayor. Will it pay off?

Brock Pierce

Crypto-enthusiast who says he's advising Adams on "all things crypto."

Victoria Schneps-Yunis

Queens newspaper magnate whose own rise mirrors that of Adams.

Douglas Durst

Real estate titan who wants to weaken New York City's climate laws.