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As "Fresh Foodbox" Program Resumes Outdoors, B.P. Brewer Honors Volunteers and Invites Lower Manhattan Workers and Residents to Take Advantage

$12 buys $20 worth of fresh, local produce

For Immediate Release: May 5, 2016
Photos Available

Borough President Gale A. Brewer and GrowNYC Executive Director Marcel van Ooyen marked the return of the 1 Centre Street "Fresh Foodbox" program to the archway outside the Municipal Building by honoring the volunteers who pack the program's fresh food bags. The program operates year-round, but is housed within the Municipal Building during the winter.

Shortly after noon, Brewer joined more than a dozen volunteers to help pack produce bags and present them with certificates of appreciation in an informal ceremony. The volunteers included eight local Chinatown seniors active with ArchCare's TimeBank program.

"As the Foodbox program moves back outside for the spring and summer, everyone living or working in Lower Manhattan should stop by and take advantage," said Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer. "This successful program serves hundreds now thanks to the support of GrowNYC, DCAS, and most of all, the volunteers who make this program possible."

The 1 Centre Street Foodbox program, popular with city employees working near the Municipal Building and City Hall, is fully open to the public, offering bags of locally-sourced fresh produce for just $12. Local eggs, honey, and bread are available for order as well. Orders are taken a week in advance on a pay-as-you-go basis, with no ongoing commitment or subscription required. Cash, credit, and SNAP benefits are all accepted as payment.

The 1 Centre Street program is the product of collaboration between Borough President Brewer, GrowNYC, and the Department of Citywide Administrative Services.

To Clear Manhattan Congestion, Brewer Boosts Night Deliveries, Expanded "City Ticket", Tourist Bus Cap, Higher Gas Tax, and Move NY Plan

For Immediate Release: May 5, 2016
Report Available

Citing statistics showing average surface travel speeds in Manhattan decreased by 9 percent between 2010 and 2015, Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer called for a mix of new policies to reduce peak street traffic and improve public transit. Aside from long-sought infrastructure investments like new cross-harbor rail tunnels, Brewer’s plan includes lower-cost, outside-the-box ideas like expanding “off-hours” truck deliveries, taking advantage of MTA’s commuter rail routes for intracity commuters, and capping the number of “hop-on, hop-off” sightseeing buses allowed to clog city streets.

“Manhattan is the heart of our city and the entire region, and that heart is clogged,” said Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer. “Manhattan street travel speeds have plummeted in recent years. No more excuses: we need to seriously think through any and all outside-the-box ideas that can ease the burden on our streets and get more value out of our existing transit infrastructure.”

Brewer’s announcement coincided with the release of "Unlocking the Grid," (PDF) her office’s report on Manhattan’s street congestion and transit needs. This followed Brewer’s public hearing last summer on these topics, at the height of public debate around street congestion and the increase in for-hire vehicles driven by e-hail services including Uber and Lyft. Read More...

More Than 100 Business Owners Attend Minority- and Women-Owned Business Enterprise Open House

For Immediate Release: May 4, 2016
Photos Available

Today, Borough President Gale A. Brewer hosted an open house for community-based business owners to learn about government contracting and New York City's programs for Minority- and Women-owned Business Enterprises (MWBEs). Brewer sponsored the event in conjunction with the Mayor's Office and the NYC Dept. of Small Business Services.

"New York City has one of the largest municipal budgets in the world, and we have the most minority-owned businesses of any city in America -- so we have a tremendous opportunity to leverage our city's business to empower communities of color and women," said Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer. "My colleagues in the administration are hard at work creating new opportunities for MWBEs, but we need to get the word out for them to succeed. That's why events like this one are so important -- connecting business owners to the information and contacts they need to get started."

The event featured keynote remarks from Borough President Brewer, Counsel to the Mayor Maya Wiley, and Small Business Services Commissioner Gregg Bishop, followed by a brief information session led by staff from the Department of Small Business Services and other agencies.

Before and after the speaking program, procurement officers and representatives from more than a dozen city and state government agencies answered local businesses' questions about city and state contract opportunities, and experts shared information on MWBE purchasing programs, official certifications, and the bidding process. Read more...

Borough President Brewer Announces 312 Community Board Appointments, Including 81 New Members

For Immediate Release: April 27, 2016

Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer today announced this year's slate of appointments to Manhattan’s 12 Community Boards. The appointments took effect earlier this month and include 81 new members, more than a quarter of the 312 appointments.

“Manhattan's community boards are at the center of negotiations and decisions on the size and character of new real estate development, how our parks and public spaces are used and cared for, and what government can do for our neighborhoods,” said Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer. “As our applicant pool continues to grow, we will keep striving to build Community Boards that are fully reflective of our neighborhoods.”

The complete list of Community Board appointees for the 2016-2018 term is available here.

Today’s announcement marks the conclusion of the 2016 appointment process, which saw 785 applicants for Manhattan Community Board seats. Applications for Community Board membership from those not currently serving increased by 12 percent in 2016, while total applications increased by 9 percent.

Following this newest round of appointments, more than 20 percent of Community Board members identify as African-American or black, 16 percent identify as Latino or hispanic, and nearly 4 percent identify as Asian or Pacific Islander.

Community Board members reflect a diverse set of career paths as well. 28 percent of Community Board members report they are self-employed and nearly 10 percent are business owners, while private sector workers (19 percent), nonprofit employees (16 percent), city government workers (12 percent), and retirees (14 percent) each make up a significant chunk of the boards' membership. Read more...

Brewer, Manhattan Borough Board Call on City to Erect Zero Net-Energy Building in Manhattan, Endorse 'Passive House' Green Building Standards for Incorporation in Building Code

For Immediate Release: April 21, 2016

Video of the Borough Board meeting is available here, and the Borough Board resolution can be viewed here.

At a meeting led by Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer, the Manhattan Borough Board adopted a resolution endorsing ‘passive house’ building standards for ultra-energy efficient buildings and called for the city to undertake construction of a public project in Manhattan that complies with passive house standards.

“Manhattan is the center of the universe and our real estate is priced like it – but that means there’s nowhere that investments in smarter, greener construction are more prudent,” said Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer. “We should promote the newest and best construction methods to lower our energy usage, greenhouse gas emissions, and counteract the urban heat island effect in our city. We can start by building a public ‘passive house’ project right here in Manhattan as an example to the real estate industry and the public that a greener, more energy-efficient tomorrow is possible today.”

Passive house standards are a rigorous set of design standards for buildings that require little to no energy for heating or cooling. The standards can apply to both new construction and renovations of existing structures, and can be adapted to residential, commercial, and other uses. Read more...

NOTICE: Manhattan Borough Board meets Thursday, April 21

The Manhattan Borough Board will meet Thursday, April 21, 2016, at 8:30am in the Manhattan Borough President's Office, 1 Centre Street, 19th Floor South, New York, N.Y. Watch the meeting, livestreamed at 8:30am, here: http://bit.ly/MBPOLivestream
Primary Day Voter Information

April 18, 2016

This Tuesday, April 19, 2016 is the Presidential Primary – the first of four election days in New York this year.

Many polling locations have changed – please double check where you should vote by visiting the NYC Poll Site Locator and entering your address or by calling 1-866-VOTE-NYC. (If you find your polling location has changed, please share this new location with your neighbors!)

For more information on the New York Presidential Primary or the other election days happening this year, visit the MBPO Voter Information webpage.

Once you do vote, please take a few minutes to complete this short survey about accessibility conditions at polling places, created in partnership with the Center for the Independence of the Disabled-NY. The Americans with Disability Act requires that people with disabilities are provided a full and equal opportunity to vote in all elections. The results of this survey will be used to draft recommendations for the Board of Elections to implement in future elections.

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Brewer and Chin Demand Compensation for Loss of Rivington House and Propose Deed Restriction Reform Plan

For Immediate Release: April 6, 2016

This morning, Borough President Gale A. Brewer, Councilmember Margaret Chin, and Community Board 3 Chair Gigi Li called on the de Blasio administration to compensate the Lower East Side community for the loss of Rivington House, a building housing an AIDS patient hospice that has sold for $116 million to a private developer and is likely to be converted to luxury condominiums because of the actions of city agencies tasked with managing and protecting community assets.

Brewer, Chin, and Li were joined by State Senator Daniel Squadron, who fought to keep healthcare beds in the Lower East Side Community, Councilmember Rosie Mendez, and affected community members.

At the press conference, Brewer and Chin also proposed a reform plan to prevent similar losses of community assets by creating transparency requirements for city-imposed restrictions in real property deeds.

"Mayor de Blasio has said he'd have blocked the city actions that led to the loss of Rivington House if he'd known about them, and I take him at his word -- but admitting to a mistake is only the first half of owning up to it," said Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer. "The mayor must make this community whole by investing millions to create a new community facility and replace the beds lost in the sale of Rivington House, and we must all work together to reform how the city handles deed restrictions, so this never happens again." Read more...

Statement on U.S. Women's National Soccer Team Athletes' Equal Employment Opportunity Complaint

For Immediate Release: March 31, 2016

The following statement can be attributed to Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer:

"Last year the U.S. Women's National Team set an emphatic example on the field, proving they're the best in the world. Now, by standing up and demanding fair pay, these five players are setting a critical example off the field as well.

"Gender-based pay gaps exist at every rung of the economic ladder. Whether it's at a leading national newspaper, a big-box retailer, or the most dominant team of athletes our nation has ever fielded, too many women are facing discrimination at work. I fully support the U.S. Women's National Team players in their fight for fair pay, and thank them for their leadership. Our young women need to know it's never wrong to demand fairness.

“The U.S. Women’s National Team is in many ways the driving force of soccer in the U.S. The fact that even these athletes, at the pinnacle of the game, cannot receive fair pay and equal treatment shows there is something wrong with how women are treated in sports. I applaud these players for speaking out.” Read more...

Brewer to Con Ed, AG, City and State Agencies: "Manhattan's Residents Must Have Cooking Gas"

For Immediate Release: March 30, 2016

In a letter to Con Edison, Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, and city and state regulators, Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer decried an increase in gas service shutoffs in Manhattan, which has left tenants without the ability to cook for months in many cases.

"I'm hearing from all sides that there's been a spike in long-term gas service shutoffs. What I want to know from Con Ed and our regulators is exactly where, why, and how to fix it," said Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer. "One building my office is assisting in West Harlem has been without gas for more than eight months. That's unacceptable, and I want to find out why this is happening."

According to Straus Media's reporting, NYC Department of Buildings records indicated that there were only 67 gas shutoffs in 2014, which skyrocketed to 343 total in 2015, and 157 just in the first two months of 2016. In her letter, Brewer cited Straus' and DNAinfo's reporting in addition to the experiences of her office's constituent service staff, who have noted an uptick in gas shutoff complaints and are working with multiple buildings that have been without gas service for months.

"Manhattan's residents -- especially those with low or fixed incomes -- must have cooking gas to feed themselves affordably," wrote Brewer in the letter. "Hot plates are not an acceptable long-term substitute. There must be clear standards and a robust process to ensure...customers' service is restored without undue delay."

Brewer's letter requests a full report of all buildings currently without gas service, the steps that are being undertaken by Con Ed and the relevant government agencies to restore service, and recommendations on additional legislation, regulation, or enforcement actions that could cut down on the number and length of gas service outages. Read more...

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