Manhattan Borough Board Votes Against Mayor's Zoning Proposals, Outlines Needed Fixes

For Immediate Release: November 30, 2015

At a special meeting Monday morning, the Manhattan Borough Board formally voted to deny its approval to Mayor Bill de Blasio’s Zoning for Quality & Affordability (ZQA) and Mandatory Inclusionary Housing (MIH) Zoning proposals unless a range of outstanding major concerns are addressed. The Borough Board, made up of Manhattan’s Community Board chairs and City Council members, recommended disapproval of both plans by votes of 12-0, with four abstentions.

“I hope the roadmap set out by our Manhattan Borough Board today will lead to major changes in the Zoning for Quality & Affordability and Mandatory Inclusionary Housing plans,” said Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer. “I’m glad the administration has finally begun taking our concerns seriously, but these plans need major changes before we can accept them.”

The Borough Board’s resolution cited a number of measures necessary to make the MIH and ZQA plans acceptable. Click the following links to see descriptions of those measures, watch the meeting, and read the complete Borough Board resolutions.

Borough President Brewer's office will issue a formal recommendation on the ZQA and MIH zoning proposals by Dec. 11. The City Planning Commission will conduct a public hearing on the proposals on Dec. 16.

NOTICE: Special Meeting of Manhattan Borough Board Monday, November 30

A Special Session of the Manhattan Borough Board will be held on Monday, November 30, 2015 at 8:30am for a vote on two proposed changes to the city zoning text, "Zoning for Quality and Affordability" and "Mandatory Inclusionary Housing." The meeting will be held 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:

The 2016 Application for Community Board Membership Is Now Open

Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer’s office is accepting applications for Community Board membership. All eligible New Yorkers living, working, or studying in the borough of Manhattan are encouraged to consider applying.

Manhattan’s 12 community boards are local organizations each composed of 50 volunteer members serving staggered two-year terms.  Community boards are tasked with being the independent and representative voices of their communities—the most grass-roots form of local government. The boards are pivotal in shaping their communities and work to enhance and preserve the character of the city’s many unique neighborhoods.

Click Here to Apply! Please note: It is advisable that you prepare your answers in advance, as this application must be completed in one sitting. You can also download a copy of the application to print and fill out by hand. Mailing instructions are included in the application.

Applications and resumes must be submitted before 5:00 PM on Friday, January 29, 2016. After submitting, you will be contacted regarding the next steps in the screening and interview process. All applicants are required to complete the entire process, from submitting an application to participating in the group interviews.

For more information about Manhattan's 12 Community Boards, visit our Community Board webpage or email Paola Liriano at [javascript protected email address] with any questions you may have.

Community Vigil and Moment of Silence for Victims of Boko Haram in Nigeria

November 20, 2015

This evening, Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer hosted a community vigil and moment of silence for the victims of recent Boko Haram attacks in Nigeria, joined by Acting Consul-General Sa'ad Muhammad Bello outside the Nigerian Consulate General in New York. On Tuesday of this week, bomb blasts in the Nigerian cities of Yola and Kano claimed the lives of at least 49 people and injured at least 130 more.The Global Terrorism Index lists Boko Haram as the world's deadliest terrorist organization, responsible for 6,644 deaths in 2014, mostly in Nigeria and other northern African nations. Daesh, also known as "ISIS" or "ISIL," is ranked second.

"We're standing together with Acting Consul-General Bello in solidarity with the people of Nigeria, to express our deepest sorrow for those viciously murdered in the cities of Yola and Kano," said Borough President Brewer. "We grieve today for the Nigerian people and for all people around the world bravely standing up to brutal extremists."

Brewer and Acting Consul-General Bello were joined by members of Manhattan's African immigrant community and the Borough President's African Immigrant Task Force, including Nigerian-American community leader Joyce Adewumi. Ms. Adewumi serves as a member of Manhattan Community Board 9 and is the founder of the New York African Chorus Ensemble.

The Global Terrorism Index lists Boko Haram as the world's deadliest terrorist organization, responsible for 6,644 deaths in 2014, mostly in Nigeria and other northern African nations. Daesh, also known as "ISIS" or "ISIL," is ranked second.

In Letter, B.P. Brewer and 28 Manhattan Electeds Voice Major Concerns With De Blasio Administration Zoning Plans

For Immediate Release: November 19, 2105

Last night, Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer and a group of 28 elected officials representing Manhattan sent a letter to City Planning Commission Chair Carl Weisbrod, outlining major concerns with the de Blasio administration's Zoning for Quality & Affordability and Mandatory Inclusionary Housing zoning plans.

"If approved, these text amendments have the ability to drastically reshape housing, particularly affordable housing, is constructed in New York City," the elected officials write in the letter. "While these text amendments mark an impressive amount of address Mayor de Blasio's goal of creating or preserving 200,000 units of affordable housing in NYC, we need to ensure that they also make sense for our communities."

View the letter to Chair Weisbrod. In the letter, the group of elected officials points to a number of major issues in the current proposals. For a breakdown of their concerns, Read more...

Hundreds Attend Public Hearing on Mayor's Zoning Proposals

For Immediate Release: November 17, 2015

At a public hearing her office held Monday evening, Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer heard testimony from 55 speakers on two proposed amendments to the city's zoning code advanced by the de Blasio administration: a new Mandatory Inclusionary Housing (MIH) program and a slate of changes known as Zoning for Quality and Affordability (ZQA). An audience of more than 250 people filled all available seats as the hearing began in the basement gymnasium of the Clinton School, on East 15th Street near Union Square.

In her opening remarks, Brewer stated her support for the proposals' goal of spurring quality affordable housing development across the five boroughs, but raised concerns with specific provisions of both proposals.

With respect to the ZQA proposal, Brewer flagged the prospect of significant height increases of 25 or even 50 feet being made possible when ZQA's changes are combined with certain existing opt-in affordable housing programs, such as the city's voluntary inclusionary housing program. This program has long been criticized as wasteful and flawed, and Brewer has repeatedly urged Mayor de Blasio's administration to reform the program as part of its affordable housing plan.

"I think the voluntary inclusionary housing program should be fixed so that we know it is providing us with the maximum and best opportunities for affordable housing in return for this added height," said Brewer. "That means prohibiting 'poor doors,' requiring more affordable housing in our hottest neighborhoods, and preventing double dipping with the 421-a program."

Borough President Brewer coordinated a response to the ZQA proposal by virtually all Manhattan elected officials last spring in a letter, and the Administration responded with modifications; both letters are viewable here:

With respect to the MIH proposal, Brewer voiced strong support for the concept, saying, "if it were up to me, all new significant residential developments would require some affordable housing." Brewer raised specific concerns about how the program's requirements would be triggered, the need for strong anti-harassment protections for rent-stabilized tenants, and how the city will spend dedicated affordable housing funds raised under the plan.

As part of the city's land-use review process, Borough President Brewer will issue a formal recommendation on the ZQA and MIH zoning amendments at a later date. Read more...

NOTICE: Manhattan Borough Board meets Thursday, November 19

The Manhattan Borough Board will meet Thursday, November 19, 2015, 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:

A Special Session of the Manhattan Borough Board will be held on Monday, November 30, 2015 for a vote on two proposed changes to the city zoning text, "Zoning for Quality and Affordability" and "Mandatory Inclusionary Housing." The meeting will be held at the same time and place as above, and will also be available on livestream.

Public Planning Workshop on Inwood Housing, November 10

November 6, 2015

Change is coming to Inwood! The Inwood NYC Planning Initiative is an effort, led by the city’s Economic Development Corporation, to plan for future housing, zoning and economic opportunities in Upper Manhattan—as part of Mayor de Blasio’s proposed “upzoning” of the area.

A community meeting focused on the housing component, in partnership with the city Department of Housing Preservation and Development, will be held Tuesday, November 10 at PS 314, 4862 Broadway (at 204th St.), from 6:30 to 8:00 pm.

This is an important opportunity for the community to express their opinions about what’s worth keeping, and what’s worth changing in that neighborhood. Decisions are made by the people who show up!

Future workshops will be held about Inwood parks and streets, community services, and new development. To be notified of these future sessions, sign up online at Have specific questions? Email or call 212-669-8151.

Statement on First Landmarks Preservation Commission Backlog Hearing

For Immediate Release: November 5, 2015

Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer issued the following statement in advance of her appearance at today's first Landmarks Preservation Commission public hearing on backlogged items for landmarking consideration in Manhattan:

“I'll be pleased to offer my testimony this morning in support of a number of properties I believe should be landmarked, but what really thrills me about today's hearing is the achievement it represents. Working together, we devised a transparent and orderly process for clearing the Landmarks Preservation Commission's backlog without any need to weaken the landmarks law or throw out the backlogged items without a hearing.

"As one of our country's oldest and most diverse cities, New York has a wealth of historic, cultural, and artistic treasures in its streetscape that are worth preserving for future generations. I look forward to working with the Landmarks Preservation Commission and my colleagues in the City Council to improve our Landmarks Law, which celebrated its 50th anniversary earlier this year. But those improvements should be crafted in collaboration with the Commission itself and preservation advocates and carefully tailored, because as we can see today, the system is working."

Borough President Brewer offered testimony during the second segment of today's hearing at 1 Centre Street (9th Floor). Read her verbal testimony here.

Statement on Building Collapse Incident and Manhattan Construction Safety

For Immediate Release: October 30, 2015

Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer issued the following statement on the building collapse incident at 25 West 38th Street earlier today:

“The FDNY and NYPD personnel who responded to today’s incident have my thanks and congratulations for their dedicated work rescuing an injured worker who was trapped in the building, and my heart goes out to the family of the worker who was killed in today’s collapse.

“We’ve seen an alarming increase in the rate of construction site incidents, injuries, and fatalities. According to federal OSHA statistics cited in the Daily News, 18 workers died on construction New York City work sites from October 2014 through September 2015, compared to just 12 in the previous year, and seven the year before that.

“As Commissioners Nigro and Chandler indicated, we don’t yet know what caused this latest incident. But what’s become clear is these incidents are on the rise – and we need to act to reverse the trend. That’s why I’m convening a Manhattan Construction Safety Working Group, bringing together elected officials, construction professionals, policy experts, and our city agencies to study these issues and come up with solutions. The Working Group’s first meeting will take place Tuesday, November 10, at my office.

"I look forward to working with my colleagues in government and the construction industry to ensure these incidents are much fewer and further between.”

East Midtown Steering Committee Issues Proposed Rezoning Plan for Area Around Grand Central

Borough President Gale A. Brewer, Council Member Dan Garodnick led year-long community planning effort to define new building standards, community improvements

For Immediate Release: October 29, 2015

After a year-long community planning process, the East Midtown Steering Committee, co-chaired by Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer and City Council Member Daniel R. Garodnick, has issued recommendations for the rezoning of the area around Grand Central Terminal, known as East Midtown.

The steering committee -- established by Mayor de Blasio and Carl Weisbrod, Chair of the New York City Planning Commission -- convened a wide variety of stakeholders in regular meetings since September 2014, facilitated by a team of Pratt Institute urban planning faculty led by GWW Planning & Development. The committee included representatives of Community Boards Five and Six, business improvement districts, REBNY, organized labor, the Municipal Art Society, and landmark advocates.

The steering committee’s framework sets standards for new development, funding for needed transit improvements, enhancements for congested public spaces and asks the City’s Landmarks Preservation Commission to complete the work of designating significant buildings. This will allow new and upgraded office space while furthering the need to preserve historic buildings, improve mass transit and enhance the public realm -- all critical to creating a vibrant, world-class commercial core. To enact these recommendations, changes to the city’s zoning resolution and zoning map will have to be approved through the City’s Uniform Land Use Review Procedure.

An executive summary is available here:
A full copy of the report is available for download here:

Developers would be permitted to earn additional square footage at designated sites only by meeting specific criteria identified in the report. For example, a developer could “earn” the right to construct additional density by first constructing transit improvements at specific subway stations. Or a developer could purchase unused air rights from eligible landmark owners in a new, expanded zoning district; as part of the transaction, the city would obtain revenue to fund public-realm improvements.

"The work of the East Midtown Steering Committee is the kind of community-based planning we need in New York City: involving everyone -- from community board members to city planners, from developers to organized labor -- who has a stake in how our city grows," said Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer. "These recommendations will help enhance the East Midtown area as a world class commercial district in the 21st century. They will ensure that development doesn't happen haphazardly and that landmarks, open space, and transit upgrades are at the forefront of the development process, rather than an afterthought. I'm delighted to have worked with Dan Garodnick so closely on this proposal, and I'm grateful to Mayor de Blasio and Chair Weisbrod for their foresight in establishing our group. The next step is working with them, and the Council, to put our zoning plans into practice." Read more...

NYC ‘Fair Chance’ Hiring Law Takes Effect Today; Supporters Launch Public Awareness Push

New law ensures formerly incarcerated New Yorkers have fair chance to work; Employers: consider qualifications first; don’t ask about criminal record until job offer

For Immediate Release: October 27, 2015

New Yorkers with conviction histories and their advocates rallied in Brooklyn this morning to celebrate the Fair Chance Act, a new law that takes effect today that will help ensure that people with records have a fair chance at employment and are not unlawfully shut out of the job market.

The new law requires employers in New York City to look at job applicants’ qualifications first, and to hold off on background checks and criminal history questions until they’ve found the person they want to hire.

Under the Fair Chance Act, it is illegal to ask about criminal history on job applications and during initial job interviews. Only after a job offer is made may employers ask about criminal convictions and—with the applicant’s permission—run a background check. After reviewing the applicant’s conviction history, employers may withdraw the job offer only if the candidate’s criminal record is directly related to the job or if hiring the individual would pose an unreasonable risk.

“We call this law the Fair Chance Act because that’s what it will give everyone. We will no longer let the mere fact that a person was arrested become a black mark that closes every door," said Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer. "We’re all better off when every New Yorker is free to build a better future. I’m proud to have sponsored this bill in partnership with Council Member Williams, and am thrilled to see it finally enacted.” Read more...

Statement on Pier 40 Development Proposal

October 22, 2015

“This is a first-of-its-kind project -- the first Mandatory Inclusionary Housing development in Manhattan, the first to use air rights from the Hudson River Park -- and it’s subject to a full land-use review, as I and others insisted upon last year.

“Unfortunately, outreach to the community from both the administration and the developers has been sorely lacking. As part of the uniform land use review procedure, I look forward to reviewing the project in detail and issuing my official opinion as part of that process.”

Roosevelt Island Seniors Receive First Delivery From Borough President Brewer's Fresh Food for Seniors Program

For Immediate Release: October 21, 2015

NEW YORK – Today, Borough President Gale A. Brewer's Fresh Food for Seniors program made its first delivery to Roosevelt Island, dropping off more than 60 bags of fresh, locally-sourced produce for Roosevelt Island seniors. The program, newly expanded to Roosevelt Island, makes pre-packed bags of produce available to seniors every two weeks in the West Village, Chelsea, Clinton, the Upper West Side, Upper Yorkville, East Harlem, and northern Manhattan for just $8 per bag on a pay-as-you-go basis.

“It’s amazing what we’ve been able to do with this program in just three short years,” said Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer, who started the Fresh Food for Seniors program on the Upper West Side in 2012, when she served as that neighborhood’s councilmember. “For just $8 a bag, this program pays for itself while delivering healthy, fresh produce to seniors right in their own neighborhoods at a tremendous value.”

The Roosevelt Island Senior Association has partnered with the Borough President’s office to collect and distribute food bag orders at the Roosevelt Island Senior Center, located at 546 Main Street. The Roosevelt Island program has two more pairs of order and pickup dates in Fall 2015:

Place orders Monday-Tuesday, Oct. 26-27, 1pm-3pm
Pick-up Wednesday, Nov. 4, 3pm-6pm

Place orders Monday-Tuesday, Nov. 9-10, 1pm-3pm
Pick-up Wednesday, Nov. 18, 3pm-6pm

The produce for the Roosevelt Island program is purchased through Greenmarket Co., the wholesale division of GrowNYC, and is packed by volunteers at the Fulton Senior Center in Chelsea, before being transported to the Roosevelt Island Senior Center.

Learn more about our Fresh Food for Seniors program, and watch a recent story on NY1.

Statement on the Death of NYPD Officer Randolph Holder

October 21, 2015

"My heart goes out to Officer Randolph Holder's family and fellow officers, and on behalf of all Manhattan residents I offer our continued thanks to the NYPD for their commitment to the difficult and dangerous work of making our neighborhoods safer."

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