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Announcing the Fall 2015 Community Board Leadership Training Series

The Fall 2015 Community Board Leadership Development Series is beginning this month with two-hour classes on topics important to Community Board members. All sessions will be held in the Northern Manhattan office at 431 W. 125th St, and will give registration priority to Community Board members who have not yet taken courses. Sessions are also open to the public, but all must RSVP. View a complete schedule of classes and register today.
Civil Rights Attorney Norman Siegel, Brooklyn B.P. Eric Adams, and Manhattan B.P. Gale A. Brewer Issue Report on Improving Police-Community Relations

For Immediate Release: September 29, 2015

Download the complete report: Improving Police-Community Relations.

Today, civil rights attorney Norman Siegel joined Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams and Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer unveiled a new report with recommendations for improving police-community relations, based on a series of community forums held by Mr. Siegel and Borough Presidents Brewer and Adams in both boroughs, involving more than a thousand total participants, as well as four online “digital dialogues” with youth conducted by Adams’ office.

“Hundreds of people from all walks of life – including NYPD officers – came together at our police-community dialogues in Washington Heights, East Harlem, and the lower East Side. We sat together and had real conversations about increasing understanding and trust between police and the neighborhoods they protect, and the ideas in this report are the result of their conversations,” said Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer. “The recommendations in this report are the fruit of those conversations – and they give us an agenda for action.”

Among the report’s recommendations are:

  • Ensuring the NYPD Patrol Guide and training materials concerning “stop and frisk” procedures clearly guide officers on compliance with the Supreme Court’s standards for “reasonable suspicion”
  • Establishing a permanent Statewide Independent Special Prosecutor to investigate allegations of misconduct
  • Strengthening the Civilian Complaint Review Board system with increased budget, staff resources, and disciplinary authority
  • Lengthening Police Academy Training from six months to a full year
  • Offering “sabbaticals” at partial salary to NYPD officers
  • Reforming “Broken Windows” policing by decriminalizing many non-threatening behaviors such as bike riding on the sidewalk, jaywalking, or taking an extra seat on a subway or bus.
  • Implementation of body cameras for patrol officers once proper protocols are in place.

Read more ...

Street Closures During the Pope's Visit

September 23, 2015

Thursday, Sept. 24 through Saturday, Sept. 26, Pope Francis' visit to our city will come with a number of street closures and traffic changes around Manhattan. The New York City Department of Transportation has made a PDF file available with traffic changes sorted by neighborhood -- you can download or view it here.

ABC7 has gone a step further, organizing a comprehensive web page with information on the Pope's visit, and a separate page with all the traffic changes sorted by chronological order. I hope this information is helpful to everyone trying to get around Manhattan during the Pope's visit to our city.

Fresh Food for Seniors Program Expands to Roosevelt Island

September 23, 2015

Borough President Gale A. Brewer is pleased to announce that her office’s Fresh Food for Seniors program is expanding to Roosevelt Island! The program currently makes pre-packed bags of fresh, locally-sourced 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 neighborhoods at a tremendous value.”

The Roosevelt Island Senior Association will partner with the Borough President’s office, collecting and distributing orders at the Roosevelt Island Senior Center, located at 546 Main Street. The Fall 2015 order and pickup dates for the new Roosevelt Island program are as follows:

Place orders Monday-Tuesday, Oct. 12-13, 1pm-3pm
Pick-up Wednesday, Oct. 21, 3pm-6pm

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 will be purchased through Greenmarket Co., the wholesale division of GrowNYC, and will be packed by volunteers at the Fulton Senior Center in Chelsea, before being transported to the Roosevelt Island Senior Center. Read more about the Fresh Food for Seniors program, or watch NY1's recent coverage.

Brewer to hold Urban Agriculture Symposium on Oct. 14

For Immediate Release: September 22, 2015

NEW YORK – Borough President Gale A. Brewer announced her office will sponsor a symposium on urban agriculture on October 14, to exchange knowledge, experience, and best practices for growing community-based urban agriculture programs.

Brewer has made urban agriculture a focus for her office, releasing How Our Gardens Grow, a report on expanding urban gardens, farms, and other agriculture projects that followed nearly six months of surveys, interviews, and site visits. Brewer has also committed $1 million in capital grants in the coming year for Manhattan public schools to invest in equipment and renovations to establish or expand urban agriculture programs.

Urban farming projects run the gamut from hydroponic and aquaculture labs to greenhouses, community gardens, rooftop gardens, and more. Schools, senior centers, community groups, and NYCHA developments across the borough host a range of these programs.

Brewer’s Urban Agriculture Symposium will be held at the American Museum of Natural History on October 14, 2015. The program will start at 2 p.m. and conclude at 6 p.m. Read more...

Public Hearing on Manhattan Congestion

September 17, 2015

While the City is currently conducting an extensive study on the effects of for-hire vehicles on city traffic, we all know that traffic congestion occurs for many reasons – and there are many possible solutions. On September 17, 2015 at 10:00 am, I held a public hearing do discuss the complexities of Manhattan's congestion problem.

Watch the entire hearing below via livestream, or tune into Manhattan Neighborhood Network’s cable channels in the coming days. You can also follow the online conversation on Twitter by searching #NYCongestion.

A full range of experts and interested parties were invited to the hearing -- as well as the public at large. Below, you'll find time stamps for each panel, so you can watch and hear the panelists' testimonies for yourself. I invite you to share your comments in the section provided.

If you would like to submit written testimony, you may do so by emailing [javascript protected email address] with the subject line "Congestion Comment."

Panel 1: Transportation Agencies and Regulators – 00:19:30
Panel 2: Mass Transit Advocates – 00:42:16
Panel 3: For-Hire Vehicles – 00:57:41
Panel 4: Vehicle-Based Businesses – 01:13:13
Panel 5: Alternative Transportation Advocates – 01:27:41
Panel 6: Professional Drivers – 01:39:14
Panel 7: Congestion Solutions – 01:46:49
Councilmember Rodriguez' Testimony – 02:03:26
Public Testimony – 02:08:50


Comment Section

Borough President Brewer Announces Appointment of Matthew Washington as New Deputy Borough President

For Immediate Release: September 16, 2015

Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer today announced the appointment of Matthew Washington as one of her two Deputy Borough Presidents.

Washington, 32, is a Manhattan native -- he grew up in East Harlem -- a product of the city’s public schools, and a 10-year veteran of volunteer service on Community Board 11, where he was first elected chair at the age of 26. In his professional life, Washington has served as Deputy Director at Friends of Hudson River Park, as Executive Director of Friends of the High School for Environmental Studies, and most recently as Deputy Director of External Affairs at The Durst Organization. He is a graduate of Alfred University.

“I’m thrilled to add Matthew’s background and experience to my team,” said Brewer. “His professional range -- from non-profits, parks, and education to land use and development -- is exceeded only by his deep roots in the East Harlem community.”

“I’m honored to join B.P. Brewer in tackling the problems facing Manhattan,” Washington said. ”I’m proud to join her -- and Aldrin Bonilla -- as a Deputy Borough President. Gale is one of the finest public servants I know, and has built a staff that is solutions-oriented -- and government has never needed solutions more. I look forward to rolling up my sleeves and getting to work.” Read more...

NOTICE: Manhattan Borough Board meets Thursday, September 17

The Manhattan Borough Board will meet Thursday, September 17, 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: http://bit.ly/MBPOLivestream

Statement on City Council Landmarks Legislation

For Immediate Release: September 10, 2015

Yesterday, Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer offered testimony at a hearing of the New York City Council Land Use Committee, raising her deep concerns about the current version of Int. 775. In its current form, the legislation sets up hard deadlines for the Landmarks Preservation Commission’s consideration of items on its calendar, and would ban any and all items not designated within the set time frame from reconsideration for at least five years, regardless of whether a decision was made on the item’s merits.

Borough President Brewer issued the following statement after the hearing:

“As I testified yesterday, I think Land Use Chairman Greenfield, Landmarks Chairman Koo, and I share a common goal – property owners, residents, and preservationists alike all deserve a more transparent and predictable landmarking process, with real timelines. That said, the current draft of this bill does more harm than good.

“I’m encouraged that Chairmen Greenfield and Koo indicated their willingness today to listen and consider changes to the bill. I think we can accomplish our common goal of a better landmarking process without undermining the work of the Landmarks Preservation Commission or dramatically weakening the Landmarks Law. With the input and help of all stakeholders, including real estate, community boards, and our city’s passionate and sophisticated preservation advocates, I think we can come up with effective reforms that make sense.

“I offer my thanks and congratulations to the many preservation groups who mobilized to raise concerns about this legislation and made their presence felt at yesterday's hearing, including the New York Landmarks Conservancy, the Historic Districts Council, Landmarks West!, the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation, and Friends of the Upper East Side Historic Districts. In addition, I thank my fellow elected colleagues who submitted testimony, including Assemblymembers Richard Gottfried, Deborah Glick, and Jo Anne Simon.”

Brewer identified three key problems in Int. 775 that a good compromise would need to address. Read more...

Health Department to Spray Pesticide to Reduce the Number of Mosquitoes and the Risk of West Nile Virus

September 7, 2015

To reduce mosquito activity and the risk of West Nile virus, the Health Department will spray pesticide from trucks in parts of Brooklyn, Manhattan and Staten Island on Wednesday, September 9, 2015 between the hours of 8:30 p.m. and 6 a.m. the following morning, weather permitting. The neighborhoods listed below are being treated due to rising West Nile virus activity and have high mosquito populations.

Parts of Central Park, East Harlem, Harlem, Lincoln Square, Manhattan Valley, Morningside Heights, Upper West Side

Zip Codes
Parts of 10023, 10024, 10025, 10026, 10027, 10035

E.128th St, W.128th St, Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Blvd, and Cathedral Pkwy to the North;
Hudson River to the West;
W.66th St to the South;
West Dr, East Dr, 102nd St, 5th Ave, E.117th St, and Lexington Ave to the East.

For these sprayings, the Health Department will use a very low concentration of Anvil® 10+10, a synthetic pesticide. When properly used, this product poses no significant risks to human health. The Health Department recommends that people take the following precautions to minimize direct exposure:

  • Whenever possible, stay indoors during spraying. People with asthma or other respiratory conditions are encouraged to stay inside during spraying since direct exposure could worsen these conditions.
  • Air conditioners may remain on, however, if you wish to reduce the possibility of indoor exposure to pesticides, set the air conditioner vent to the closed position, or choose the re-circulate function.
  • Remove children’s toys, outdoor equipment, and clothes from outdoor areas during spraying. If outdoor equipment and toys are exposed to pesticides, wash them with soap and water before using again.
  • Wash skin and clothing exposed to pesticides with soap and water. Always wash your produce thoroughly with water before cooking or eating.

Reducing Exposure to Mosquitoes

  • Consider limiting time outdoors between dusk and dawn in areas with significant mosquito infestations.
  • Wear protective clothing when outdoors, and use an approved insect repellent containing picaridin, DEET, oil of lemon eucalyptus (not for children under three), or products that contain the active ingredient IR3535.
  • Make sure windows have screens and repair or replace screens that have tears or holes.
  • Eliminate any standing water from your property and dispose of containers that can collect water. Standing water is a violation of the New York City Health Code.
  • Make sure roof gutters are clean and draining properly.
  • Clean and chlorinate swimming pools, outdoor saunas and hot tubs. Keep them empty or covered if not in use; drain water that collects in pool covers.
  • Report standing water by calling 311 or visiting nyc.gov.
Public Hearing on Manhattan Traffic Congestion, September 17, 2015

September 1, 2015

While the City is currently conducting an extensive study of the effects of for-hire vehicles (such as Uber) on city traffic, we all know that traffic congestion occurs for many reasons-- and so there are many possible solutions.

Under the NY City Charter, Borough Presidents are empowered to conduct public hearings on matters of public interest. BP Gale A. Brewer's first hearing will be conducted on the topic of traffic congestion in Manhattan.

The hearing will begin at 10:00 am, September 17 at Borough of Manhattan Community College,
199 Chambers Street, Theater 2. Doors open and sign-in begins at 9:30 am.

A full range of experts and interested parties are invited -- as well as the public at large. The event will also be webstreamed live, and broadcast soon after on Manhattan Neighborhood Network’s cable channels.

Brush up on the complexities of Manhattan's congestion problem before the hearing by reading this useful recap on Storify. Then join us on September 17 at BMCC, or watch the hearing right here at 10:00am.  You can share your thoughts and ideas on Twitter using #NYCongestion.

After the hearing, all written testimony will be uploaded to our website, where the public will be able to comment on given testimony. Individuals who cannot attend but wish to submit written testimony may do so by emailing [javascript protected email address] with the subject line "Congestion Comment."

We hope to identify the many causes and possible solutions to traffic congestion and foster the widest public dialogue to this near-constant city problem. For the most recent updates on the hearing and this issue, visit our Manhattan Congestion webpage.

School Crossing Guard Positions Open Across Manhattan

B.P. Brewer: apply to be a crossing guard and keep our kids safe

For Immediate Release: August 31, 2015

With the New York City school year starting Wednesday, September 9, Manhattan Borough President announced today that the Police Department is accepting applications for school crossing guard positions across Manhattan and the city as a whole. Earlier this year, the City allocated $1.14 million in additional funds from the City budget to hire 80 new crossing guards following a public campaign for more crossing guards led by Brewer as well as Councilmembers Brad Lander (Brooklyn) and Vanessa Gibson (Bronx).

“We’ve won the funding to hire more crossing guards and better protect our kids, but now we need community members to apply for these vital part-time positions,” said Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer. “These positions offer regular hours, increased pay, and the opportunity to help keep our city’s kids safe, every school day. Please call your local precinct to apply!”

The NYPD is currently seeking applicants for 41 vacant positions in police precincts across the borough, from Lower Manhattan to Inwood. The chart available below lists crossing guard vacancies in each police precinct and includes each precinct’s phone number and street address for individuals seeking more information or interested in applying. Potential applicants should inquire about openings and request application forms at local police precincts.

Pay for crossing guards starts at $11.50 per hour and increases to $13.49 per hour after 3 years with health benefits. Now that crossing guard head count has been increased, B.P. Brewer will continue pushing for other improvements in working conditions, recruitment, and assignment for these vital public servants, including: increased pay, an end to summer furloughs, standardized central recruitment rather than recruitment through individual precincts, and an assignment process that accounts for both traffic data and community input.

Click to view a for a listing of Manhattan crossing guard vacancies.
Click to view a map of Manhattan's police precincts.

Statement on Women's Equality Day

For Immediate Release: August 26, 2015

Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer issued the following statement in recognition of Women's Equality Day, the anniversary of the passage of the 19th Amendment to the United States Constitution:

"Women’s Equality Day celebrates the passage of the 19th Amendment while calling attention to women’s continuing struggle for equal pay and equal opportunity and the improved quality of life that comes from justice and fair treatment for all Americans.

"And the struggle is far from over. White women are paid 77 percent of what men earn—a discrepancy that hasn’t changed since 2002. But the more startling numbers are for Hispanic women, who earn 55 cents on the white male dollar, and African American women, who earn 64 cents on that dollar.

"Women constitute 47 percent of the paid U.S. workforce, and 41 percent of mothers are breadwinners for their families. But they also make up over 64 percent of America’s minimum-wage workers.

"The best way to change this lopsided playing field is to register women of all ages, income levels, races, and ethnicities to vote. Last year the Manhattan Borough President’s Office reached out to New York women to take the pledge to register five women voters for the November elections—and now we’re doing the same to get more women casting their ballots on November 3.

"As I’ve said many times, what are essentially 'unwritten laws' have stood between women and equality from time immemorial. It’s not easy to change these laws, but it’s also not impossible. Voting makes things possible." Read more...

Statement on Times Square Plaza and Future Uses

For Immediate Release: August 23, 2015

“I was proud to help fund the new TKTS booth and grandstand in Duffy Square and to stand with Mayor Bloomberg and his Transportation Commissioner Jeanette Sadik-Khan at the opening of the plaza. Since then, like many New Yorkers who contributed in ways large and small to the revival of Times Square, I have crossed the plaza en route to meetings or performances, sat in the chairs to take in the scene, listened to languages from around the world, and reflected on whether the square’s renewal was a good thing for New York.

“It is clear that the renewal of Times Square as an area for pedestrians, and as a major shopping destination because of its pedestrian-friendly design, has been a huge success. In doubt? Ask about the rents. The plaza has made Times Square the very heart of New York once again, and the notion of destroying this in exchange for another cauldron of honking, snarled traffic is preposterous. I am often in a cab going through the area and traffic moves better now than before—the real congestion is on the cross streets, and this is due to the Broadway boom.

“As Borough President, I have been working with colleagues and the Times Square Alliance on a solution to the proliferation of costume characters and the ‘desnudas’. Those who are trumpeting a ‘task force’ should at least get briefed on the scores of meetings and proposals that have already been considered—including negotiating restricted areas, enforcement for harassing tactics, and some other ideas that seemed promising but might make matters worse. For example, to register ‘performers’ might only spread the problem to other locations. Until the mayor spoke out, no one who funded, designed, built, maintained, or enjoyed car-free Times Square thought the plazas should be destroyed.

“I join those who want a sensible solution—and there are several workable ones already on the table thanks to those who have been grappling with this issue for some time. It took real leadership and vision, and plenty of money, to create a different kind of New York not just for motorists. Putting back the honking, angry, fumy Broadway parking lot at the so-called center of the world would be no accomplishment. Surely we cannot go back to destroying the city in order to make it safe for more cars.” Read the full release...

Statement on the Gas Explosion at JFK High School

For Immediate Release: August 21, 2015

Little-known fact: Marble Hill-- while technically across the Harlem River and connected to the Bronx-- is legally considered part of Manhattan.

As Manhattan's Borough President, I hope for the speedy recovery of the workers who were injured in last night's gas explosion at JFK High School in Marble Hill. Inspections will decide whether the building is safe to resume classes. We will keep all informed as to any possible re-locations.

NOTICE: Manhattan Borough Board meets Thursday, August 20th

The Manhattan Borough Board will meet Thursday, August 20, 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: http://bit.ly/MBPOLivestream
Applications Open for Manhattan Community Award Program Grants Through Sept. 10

Applications accepted online for first time at http://bit.ly/MBPOgrants

Today, Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer opened the application period for her office’s Manhattan Community Award Program (MCAP) grants to nonprofit organizations and public schools. The deadline for submission is Thursday, September 10, 2015.

“Grants like these can make a big difference for local neighborhoods and the schools and organizations serving them,” said Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer. “Whether it’s supporting a shelter for homeless and runaway youth, or a writing and mentoring program for girls in our schools, Manhattan Community Award grants support programs that can transform neighborhoods and change lives.”

MCAP grant applications will be accepted online for the first time, in keeping with B.P. Brewer’s advocacy for the adoption of digital tools to increase access to government.

Applicants may request between $3,500 to $5,000, and grants are awarded by the Manhattan Borough President’s Office through a competitive review process. An independent panel of professionals from nonprofits and foundations serving Manhattan conducts the final evaluation of applications.

For more information on the Manhattan Community Award Program, visit our MCAP webpage.

Representatives of nonprofits or public schools interested in applying for MCAP grants are asked to direct questions to Sam Levine, Budget Director for the Borough President’s Office, at slevine@manhattanbp.nyc.gov or (212) 669-4814.

Media inquiries should be directed to Andrew Goldston, Press Secretary for the Borough President’s Office, at agoldston@manhattanbp.nyc.gov or (917) 960-1187.

Statement on Amalgamated Bank's Adoption of $15 Minimum Wage

For Immediate Release: August 6, 2015

Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer issued the following statement on Amalgamated Bank's decision to institute a company-wide $15 minimum wage:

“I congratulate Amalgamated Bank for instituting a company-wide $15 minimum wage. This is what leadership looks like, and every bank operating in New York should follow Amalgamated’s example.

“Large employers with workforces so underpaid they rely on public assistance is a story we hear all too often in connection with big-box stores and fast food chains. But the shocking truth is that 40 percent of workers in New York’s banks rely on public assistance, and nearly three quarters of New York’s bank tellers earn less than $15 per hour.

“While Amalgamated’s new policy is a major step forward, positive actions by individual employers are still no substitute for progress on statewide and nationwide minimum wage increases. We must keep fighting for Albany and Washington to raise the minimum wage.” Read more...

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