Manhattan Community Award Program funding applications online now

Applications for the Manhattan Community Award Program (MCAP) for Fiscal Year 2019 are now available.

MCAP provides small funding awards—typically between $3,500 and $5,000—to nonprofit organizations and public schools to help support programming or operational expenses. Each award is contracted through one of four city agencies: Department for the Aging, Department of Corrections, Department of Education, or Department of Health & Mental Hygiene. Proposals must relate to the specific agency's overall mission and goals.

If you have a project or program that could benefit from this funding, I encourage you to apply.

A review panel made up of the budget staff will assess applications based on the factors listed on our website. You can access the application at my office's grants portal. The deadline for submission is Friday, August 10, 2018. For more information, please visit my website's MCAP page. If, after viewing the website, you still have questions or need more information, please email our budget staff at budget@manhattanbp.nyc.gov, or call Vanessa Diaz-Lopez at 212-669-4814, Nelson Andino at 212-669-8145, or James Thomas at 212-531-4264.

2018 Fresh Food for Seniors has launched

NY1 covered the launch of the 2018 Fresh Food for Seniors program from the Goddard Riverside Senior Center on the Upper West Side, but the program is active in many neighborhoods, from the West Village to Washington Heights to Roosevelt Island. Order an $8 bag of fresh fruit and vegetables a week in advance—a $15 value—and you'll support local agriculture and eat healthier. For complete details and to find participating locations, visit our Fresh Food for Seniors page.

Statement from B.P. Brewer on Supreme Court's decision to uphold travel bans

June 26, 2018

NEW YORK – Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer issued the following statement in reaction to the Supreme Court's decision upholding the Trump Administration's travel bans:

"The Supreme Court failed in its duty today. This decision will go down in history along with cases like Korematsu v. U.S. and Hirabayashi v. U.S. as a shameful legal stamp of approval for a policy rooted in discrimination and xenophobia.

"In the long run this policy is diametrically opposed to American values and cannot last. Those of us who stand for equal rights under the law and against hate, fear, and division are going to win. I will continue standing with Muslims, immigrants and everyone else targeted by this White House until we do."

B.P. Brewer says no to current Inwood rezoning plan and outlines protections for businesses, tenants needed to gain her support

April 27, 2018

NEW YORK – Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer issued her formal recommendation on the Inwood rezoning proposal working its way through the city's Uniform Land Use Review Procedure (ULURP), rejecting the plan in its current form and outlining the protections for local businesses and area tenants that would be needed for the plan to win her support.

"Inwood is a vibrant, multicultural neighborhood with a huge amount of rent-stabilized housing and locally owned and operated businesses that provide an economic anchor for the community. Displacement is a threat that's already facing Inwood, with or without a rezoning. One test a rezoning plan must withstand is how much it does to counteract displacement," said Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer. "A rezoning could add sorely-needed new housing with guaranteed, permanently affordable units, but it cannot work unless it includes stronger protections and support for existing local businesses and tenants."

More information:

B.P. Brewer invites New Yorkers to pick up free reusable grocery bags for Earth Day this weekend

NEW YORK – Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer announced that for Earth Day, which falls on Sunday, April 22, her office will be distributing reusable grocery bags for free at greenmarkets and grocery stores around Manhattan. In addition, Brewer's office will distribute reusable bags on Saturday, April 21 at the Car-Free New York Day event in Washington Heights on St. Nicholas Avenue near West 183rd Street.

New Yorkers throw away an average of 10 single-use bags per person every week, and the city as a whole throws away more than 9 million single-use plastic bags a year, generating 90,000 tons of plastic bags in our waste stream at an annual cost of more than $12 million. Moreover, petroleum-based plastic bags never biodegrade and litter New Yorkers' streets, trees, public parks, and waterways, creating a public nuisance, polluting the environment, and posing a hazard for wildlife.

"New York City has a problem with plastic bags -- a 90,000-ton, $12 million problem. But by bringing reusable bags when we go shopping, we can all be part of the solution," said Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer. "Please stop by and pick up a bag from one of our giveaway sites this weekend!"

Free bags will be available on a first-come, first-served basis at the locations listed below on Sunday. They will also be distributed on Saturday at the Washington Heights Car-Free New York Day event.

Earth Day (Sunday) Reusable Bag Giveaway Locations:

Tompkins Square Greenmarket, East 7th Street & Avenue A, 9 am - 6 pm
Morton Williams Supermarket, 311 East 23rd Street, 7 am - 1 am
Columbia Greenmarket, Broadway and West 114th Street, 8 am - 5 pm
Key Food Supermarket, 421 W 125th Street, 8 am - 9 pm
City Fresh Supermarket, 2212 Third Ave, 24 Hours
Cherry Valley Supermarket, 1968 Second Ave, 24 hours
Associated Supermarket, 592 Fort Washington Ave, Starting 8:30 am
Foodtown Supermarket, 600 W 160th St, Starting 8:30 am
Starting 8:30 am


Brewer statement on Regents' approval of new computer science teacher certification

March 28, 2018

NEW YORK – Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer issued the following statement on the Board of Regents' approval of a new K-12 computer science teaching certificate:

"Technology is changing our world, and there are barriers we need to bring down if our schools are going to change with it. We can't make make computer science education truly available to all without a pipeline to train and certify dedicated computer science teachers. With this milestone, we're finally making progress.

"Congratulations to Manhattan's own Hunter College for blazing the trail, and thank you to the Board of Regents for approving this new certification."

As Crain's New York Business reported Tuesday evening, the Board of Regents approved the new certificate earlier this month and the new regulations are set to become official today.

Brewer, who served as the first chair of the City Council's Technology Committee, is an outspoken advocate for New York's technology community and K-12 computer science education. In April of 2016, Brewer wrote to New York State Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia urging the creation of a state computer science teaching certification.

Brewer Appointed Chair of National League of Cities’ Large Cities Council

March 9, 2018

"Large cities are the engines that propel our country forward. Our markets, our workforces, our transit hubs, and our scientific, educational, medical, and cultural institutions serve the whole country, and the country can only move forward if we all succeed together.

That s why I was proud to be named Chair of the Large Cities Council, part of the National League of Cities (NLC), and will be attending the NLC s "Congressional Cities Conference" in Washington, D.C. next week to discuss technology and urban resiliency and urge greater federal support for large cities.

As a member council of NLC, the Large Cities Council is composed of elected officials from cities with a population larger than 200,000. By sharing best practices with peers from around the country, and generating policy ideas and creative solutions to the unique challenges facing large cities, we ll contribute to progress within the NLC and to the nation at large.

Also named to the Large Cities Council (as Vice Chairs) were Supervisor Jane Kim from San Francisco and Councilmember Brandon Scott of Baltimore. I look forward to working with Supervisor Kim and Councilman Scott to advance the NLC s urban agenda."


Brewer salutes new leaders for Black History Month at Harlem’s World Famous Apollo Theater

It's no secret that we're living through a storm. The progress we've made toward correcting injustices in our society is looking more fragile than we hoped, and we are being challenged as racism, sexism, xenophobia, homophobia, and transphobia once again rear their ugly heads. But a new wave of activists is rising to meet those challenges and fight injustice on a variety of fronts, and they are lighting a path forward for all of us.

For our Black History Month celebration this year, my office honored five inspiring young black leaders who, each in their own way, are on the vanguard of this new wave of activism, and invited them to share their stories at a reception on the soundstage at Harlem's world famous Apollo Theater.

The honorees included:

  • Hawk Newsome, president of Black Lives Matter of Greater New York and a leader in the new civil rights movement, organizing to end police violence and mass incarceration.
  • Kemah George, Community Engagement Manager with the New York Immigration Coalition, who is on the forefront of work to educate immigrants on their rights and advocate for immigrants in our city and state.
  • Nkechi Ogbodo, founder of Kechie's Project and a leader of the "Bring Our Daughters Back" campaign, who advocates and organizes for women's education, empowerment, and entrepreneurship both in the United States and in Africa, and serves on my office's African Immigrant Task Force.
  • Samuel Sinyangwe, co-founder of Campaign Zero and a planning team member with OurStates, who uses data science and cutting-edge digital tools to help communities end police violence and other forms of systemic racism.
  • Leslie LaRue, TransJustice Fellow at the Audre Lorde Project, who helps organize and advocate for Trans and Gender Non-Conforming people of color in New York City.

The event also opened with performances by the Addicts Rehabilitation Center Gospel Choir, a storied and inspirational group integral to one of New York's largest drug rehabilitation and recovery programs. Photo album.

Brewer and Rodriguez react to postponement of Health Careers High School closure vote

March 1, 2018

NEW YORK – Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer and Council Member Ydanis Rodríguez issued the following statement reacting to the Panel for Educational Policy's postponement of a planned vote on the closure of the High School for Health Careers in Washington Heights:

"The uptown community spoke out with one voice to save this high school, and buy-in from parents and the community is a priceless asset in public education. With it, you can work miracles, and without it, even small changes can be hard.

"What's more, this school closure did not make policy sense. On a number of measures, this school is actually ahead of most or all the other Renewal Schools. Meanwhile, the enrollment decrease administrators cited as a reason for closure is partially attributable to an enrollment decrease across all of District 6, and partially attributable to the fact that the Renewal Schools label has stigmatized this and other schools in the program.

"We thank the Panel for Educational Policy for doing its job, listening to the many community members who testified, and deciding to review this matter further instead of forging ahead with an ill-advised closure plan. We look forward to working with the mayor and the Department of Education in the coming weeks on strategies to strengthen this high school and others across Manhattan that need help.

"Congratulations to our elected colleagues, Community Board 12, Community Education Council 6, the parents, and especially the students, who showed up, spoke out, and made this victory possible."

Borough President Brewer and Public Advocate Tish James call for charter revision

It's been nearly 30 years since the last real overhaul of the City Charter, the governing document that functions as New York City's constitution. With some minor changes made along the way, the 1989 charter has served us pretty well.

But this city confronts new challenges — including widening income inequality, a new breed of complex development projects, and a hostile federal government threatening crucial funding streams — and it's time to take another look at the ground rules of how our city government works and make improvements.

That's why this week we introduced a City Council bill to convene a charter revision commission to consider and propose changes to the charter, to be put before voters for approval.

Read more in the Daily News here.

Borough President Gale A. Brewer delivers remarks at Senator Brian Kavanagh's Swearing-in Ceremony


Photo by Susan Soo

Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer delivered remarks at the Swearing-in Ceremony of State Senator Brian Kavanagh on February 11 at St. Francis College in Brooklyn.

A Town Hall for the Downtown Community: The WTC Health Program and the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund

For those who were unable to attend this week's information session in the Manhattan Borough President's office, here is a video of the complete 90 minute webcast. Cosponsored with 9/11 Environmental Action, the audience viewed presentations from Rupa Bhattacharyya, Special Master of the Victim Compensation Fund, and Dr. Joan Reibman, Medical Director of the World Trade Center Health Program's Survivor Program, and both answered audience questions. The evening was moderated by the director of 9/11 Environmental Action, Kimberly Flynn.


B.P. Brewer, Council Member Corey Johnson, and National Supermarket Association rally to end supermarket rent tax, save Manhattan supermarkets

For Immediate Release - November 13, 2017

VIDEO LINK

NEW YORK – Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer, Council Member Corey Johnson, and members of the National Supermarket Association rallied today to end the unfair, regressive Commercial Rent Tax (CRT) burdening supermarkets in much of Manhattan. Brewer and Johnson sponsor Intro 1472, City Council legislation that would offer supermarkets a full exemption from the CRT.

"I've been to too many rallies and heard too many alarmed pleas from neighborhoods to keep local supermarkets open," said Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer. "Every neighborhood needs a supermarket and access to affordable food, but even the most successful supermarkets operate with slim profit margins. Ending this tax can and will make a big difference for these essential businesses."

"Affordable supermarkets are lifelines for our communities," said Council Member Corey Johnson. "As the cost of living continues to rise, these stores help ensure that our city can continue to accommodate the seniors and working class families that built our city into what it is today. The proposal that Borough President Gale Brewer and I have put forward would give our neighborhood supermarkets a fighting chance for survival. It's good for business, it's good for our communities, and I'm proud to have joined with Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer to tackle this issue head-on."

"We want to thank Borough President Gale Brewer and Council Member Corey Johnson for taking a meaningful look at the business climate for grocery stores in Manhattan. It's no secret that the industry is in crisis, with neighborhood grocery stores closing their doors regularly and leaving communities devoid of healthy food options. The elimination of the Commercial Rent Tax is a commonsense solution that would save local grocery stores tens of thousands of dollars -- savings that will be reinvested in store upgrades, jobs and the community -- and free store owners from what is essentially a double tax on sky-high rent in Manhattan," said Rudy Fuertes, President of the National Supermarket Association.

"The Food Industry Alliance supports this important legislation. The bill will provide much needed relief to Manhattan's grocery stores, who are struggling to keep up with soaring rents," said Jay Peltz, General Counsel and Senior Vice President of the Food Industry Alliance of New York State. "If this bill is not enacted, Manhattan grocery stores will continue to close."

The Commercial Rent Tax applies to most commercial tenants in Manhattan south of 96th Street and north of Murray Street paying $250,000 or more in rent per year. A survey conducted by the Borough President's office in 2016 found 132 supermarkets in the Commercial Rent Tax zone.

Businesses in this zone that pay $300,000 or more in rent annually are charged an effective marginal rate of 3.9 percent of their rent in extra taxes, while businesses that pay between $250,000 and $300,000 receive an increased exemption and pay a lower effective rate.

Because the tax only applies in Manhattan between 96th Street and Murray Street, it puts an unfair, regressive burden on businesses in some of the city's most expensive neighborhoods, where there is immense upward pressure on commercial storefront rents. Because even a small supermarket requires a large footprint relative to other retail and commercial storefront tenants, and because even successful supermarkets operate with slim profit margins, this tax hits supermarkets especially hard.

Independent supermarket owner Paul Fernandez's Met Foods-branded store in NoLita was one such market. Its roughly $90,000 per month in rent ($1.08 million per year) resulted in more than $30,000 of Commercial Rent Tax liability. Negotiations for the market's lease renewal broke down in part because the market could not afford to make upgrades and changes requested by the landlord to appear more 'high-end' while remaining affordable. Mr. Fernandez, who operates multiple supermarkets in other neighborhoods, argued in testimony before the City Council that a full Commercial Rent Tax exemption could have kept this market open.

Exempting supermarkets from the Commercial Rent Tax was one of a number of initiatives to save supermarkets that Borough President Brewer proposed in a report published earlier this year.


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