At one point, Mr. Adams appeared unable to speak for more than a minute as he retold a story of being shot at when he was speaking out against racism in the police department, just days after his son was born.
Mr. Adams said that was the reason that he tried to be private about his home life.
“I realized the life I was living, my advocacy, was going to take his dad away from him,” he said. “Throughout my entire police career, none of my colleagues knew I had a son. I wanted to shield him from the reality of what I was doing. I became very private.”
As he led reporters down to the basement level where the bedroom is, Mr. Adams warned reporters to watch out for the creaky first step. There were a pair of African masks on the ledge of the stairway looking as if they were ready to be hung and a dusty-looking smoke detector. A vacuum and broom were at the bottom of the stairs.
The bedroom smelled a bit damp, and there were some suit jackets in the closet. There were three pairs of sneakers on a ledge next to his bed and a few pairs of slippers next to his closet. The blue comforter on the bed was rumpled, and there were at least five pillows.
Even as Mr. Adams found himself on the defensive over residency questions, there were signs of his continued political strength, too: A major Hasidic faction backed Mr. Adams overnight as their first choice for mayor, The Forward reported, after the Yang campaign had previously indicated it had the support of both Satmar factions in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.
On the other side of the ideological spectrum in the race, Dianne Morales, a former nonprofit executive, was once a favorite of the left-wing grass-roots. But her campaign has struggled with significant inner turmoil in recent weeks, which may benefit Ms. Wiley as she seeks to consolidate left-wing support.
On Wednesday, more than 40 workers were terminated, according to a tweet from a union representing staff members for Ms. Morales’s campaign.
Anne Barnard and Jazmine Hughes contributed reporting.