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Brewer urges reforms to Inclusionary Housing rules to close the "poor door"

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Aug. 1, 2014

New York, N.Y. – Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer today called on the Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) and City Planning Commission to swiftly close a loophole in the City’s Inclusionary Housing rules to prevent developers from creating separate entrances for lower-income tenants in new developments – the so-called “poor door” – among other reforms.

In a letter to HPD Commissioner Vicki Been and Planning Commission Chair Carl Weisbrod, she said planned changes to the incentive-based Inclusionary Housing program should also include a mandatory provision for affordable units, adjustments to the existing bonus mechanism in order to create additional housing, and safeguards to ensure affordable units stay affordable for decades to come.

“We must all work together to make sure that the laws and rules we devise are guided by the basic values of diversity and inclusion,” she said. “We cannot allow any new program to build new units at the cost of creating second-class residents in mixed-income buildings. I know that the current City Administration shares these values.” Read more...

End the "Poor Door"

Relegating low- and moderate-income residents of new, mixed-income developments to a “poor door” is wrong and must stop immediately.

Today, July 25, 2014, I stood on City Hall steps to demand revisions to the city’s Inclusionary Housing Zoning Text and to rebut developers’ claims that separate entrances are needed to obtain financing.

New York City thrives on fairness and diversity. Creating a two-tier system in the same building is anathema to everything that makes Manhattan great. I consider any separate-but-equal rationalization an offensive relic of history.

As New York City ramps up construction of affordable housing within mixed-income developments, it is imperative that these developments uphold the values of our inclusive city. Read the full press release.

Manhattan Cultural Tourism Development Grant Application Available Now

It is my pleasure to announce the Manhattan Cultural Tourism Development Grant Application is now available. Thanks to the support of the NYC & Company Foundation, we have a small amount of funding available to support non-profits providing tourism marketing and audience development initiatives to expand audiences’ awareness of the various neighborhoods throughout Manhattan and their cultural offerings.

Full details on the grant application can be found here but please note that grant applications must be submitted by 5PM on Thursday, July 31, 2014. If you are a non-profit organization providing cultural programming for tourists in Manhattan, I encourage you to apply!

Fresh Food for Seniors at $8 a bag

In 2012, as a member of the City Council, I partnered with GrowNYC, the Department of Aging, and more than a dozen senior centers on the west side to provide fresh, local produce to seniors at an affordable price.

Packing Fresh Food for Senior bags at Goddard Riverside.

This year as Borough President, I’ve helped expand the program to include Hell’s Kitchen, Chelsea and the West Village with the help of Councilmember Corey Johnson.

Today, I was delighted to join forces with Corey and my successor, Helen Rosenthal, at the Goddard Riverside Senior Center to pack more than 100 bags of local produce for distribution to Manhattan seniors.

The Fresh Food for Seniors program offers a twice-monthly assortment of fresh, seasonal vegetables and fruit through the summer and fall.

The produce is sourced by GrowNYC from farmers in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, and Pennsylvania – and provides seniors a bag of produce for $8 that typically retails for $18-$20.

All New Yorkers need access to healthy food that is locally sourced whenever possible. I am committed to increasing access to fresh and local food for vulnerable and low-income populations and Fresh Food for Seniors is a great start.

See this week's selection of fruit and vegetables, try new recipes, and learn how to sign up: http://on.nyc.gov/1rKGzZh

NOTICE: Manhattan Borough Board meets Thursday, July 17th

The Manhattan Borough Board will meet Thursday, July 17, 2014, at 8:30 A.M. in the Manhattan Borough President's Office, 1 Centre Street, 19th Floor South, New York, N.Y.
Borough President Brewer, Councilmember Garodnick announce East Midtown Steering Committee

Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer and Council Member Daniel R. Garodnick on July 9 announced the formation of the East Midtown Steering Committee. Made up of stakeholders and chaired by the Borough President and Council Member Garodnick, this commences the second phase of the East Midtown rezoning proposal, with phase one focusing on the Vanderbilt Avenue corridor.

The East Midtown Steering Committee will conduct a ground-up process to study and identify the area’s needs and to develop a framework for the rezoning. The group will help define future policy changes and make recommendations to the City Planning Commission.

"I am pleased to be co-chairing this steering committee with Councilmember Garodnick in response to the process outlined by Mayor de Blasio," said Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer. "The steering committee’s community-based planning process will be thorough and involve all stakeholders in as open and transparent a process as possible."

"East Midtown needs an upgrade, and we now have a chance to do it right," said Council Member Daniel R. Garodnick. "This steering committee will help us make sure that decisions are made in collaboration with all relevant stakeholders."

"The East Midtown Steering Committee, under the leadership of Borough President Brewer and Council Member Dan Garodnick, will bring together key stakeholders to advance a critical conversation on the future of East Midtown, ensuring that the multiple interests of this complex community are included in the formation of recommendations for zoning and other actions, including coordinating new development with appropriate infrastructure and city services," said City Planning Chairman Carl Weisbrod. "I congratulate the Borough President and Council Member for their leadership and look forward to providing the support of the Department of City Planning."

With the help of a facilitator hired for the purpose, the steering committee will begin meeting in September and hold meetings twice a month with the goal of delivering a final set of recommendations to the Department of City Planning by Spring 2015.

The committee will review a wide range of topics, including the need for updated commercial building stock in East Midtown, the appropriate density for the area, historic preservation, transit and other infrastructure priorities, and environmental concerns.

The steering committee membership will include one representative from each of the following:

  • Community Board 5
  • Community Board 6
  • The East Midtown Multi-Board Task Force
  • Municipal Art Society
  • Landmarks Conservancy and Historic District Council
  • Regional Plan Association
  • Real Estate Board of New York
  • Grand Central Partnership
  • East Midtown Partnership

The steering committee will also meet with other stakeholders who will be impacted by the rezoning including religious institutions and individual property owners.

The committee will have technical support as needed provided by relevant city and state agencies.

The conversation about rezoning East Midtown began in 2013, when Mayor Bloomberg’s administration offered its own plan for the area. That plan was thwarted by lack of support from the City Council, in hopes of restarting a more deliberative process under the new Mayor’s term. Mayor de Blasio, Council Member Garodnick, and Borough President Brewer announced the new two-part redevelopment approach for the area in March 2014.

Brewer statement on Mayor's expansion of arts education

"The arts are essential, and I applaud the Mayor and Council for adding $23 million for arts education to ensure more in-school programs for underserved schools. Key steps must include improving the Department of Education’s Annual Arts Survey to fix inaccuracies – so that we know what is really going on in our schools and can guarantee that schools have equal access to the resources they need. My report ‘Arts Forward’ looks at ways to close the gaps at the City’s public schools and improve funding formulas. In particular, we need to do more to raise the prominence of arts in middle schools as we have done with the sciences, and integrate arts education with English Language Learner (ELL) programming."

Background:

BP Brewer on Tuesday called for more and better arts education in City schools in a new report – while also announcing $20,000 in grants to help fund in-school arts partnerships and a series of arts mixers to connect the borough’s public schools with the City’s top museums, cultural institutions and programs.

Click here to see the full report.

Brewer statement on deaths of three Israeli boys

"For these past 18 heart-wrenching days, we have all held out in hope that Gilad, Naftali and Eyal would be brought back to their families speedily and without harm. Now that our worse fears have been confirmed, I wish comfort for all those who mourn – from all of us who share in this incredible loss."
Brewer points way to better arts education with new report, announces $20,000 in grants and series of arts mixers

Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer called for more and better arts education in City schools in a new report released June 30 – while also announcing $20,000 in grants to help fund in-school arts partnerships and a series of arts mixers to connect the borough’s public schools with the City’s top museums and cultural institutions.

The new report, "Arts Forward," calls into question the reliability of the Department of Education’s Annual Arts Survey, which is used to monitor compliance with mandated arts requirements. The report recommends ways to fix the survey’s inaccuracies and ensure that schools have equal access to the resources needed to enhance arts education.

The report further recommends putting added focus on middle school arts education, fixing arts education funding, implementing collaborative arts programming, providing new opportunities for teacher certification in the arts, and expanding arts education outreach.

"The degree to which the City’s immense cultural capital is reflected in schools varies considerably, and it’s essential for us to strengthen the tools for evaluation to formulate an accurate idea of what schools need – and then help our students receive integrated, sustainable arts education in their classrooms," Brewer said.

Click here to download the full report.

Brewer also announced $20,000 in grants to fund arts partnerships at two middle schools: MS 328 Manhattan Middle School for Scientific Inquiry in Washington Heights and MS 332 University Neighborhood Middle School on the Lower East Side. The grants of $10,000 each are for in-school arts education targeted for English Language Learner (ELL) and special education students – two underserved groups.

Brewer further announced a series of mixers, or meet-and-greets, for school administrators to connect with the City’s cultural institutions – one in the fall and one in the spring, one uptown and one downtown.

"I look forward to working in partnership with the Mayor and Chancellor to ensure that all the arts are for all our students, and I hope this report helps move that effort forward," she said.

Brewer statement on free airport wi-fi

Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer stated the following June 25 on the Port Authority’s vote approving an agreement for 30 minutes of free wireless internet at Kennedy, LaGuardia, and Newark airports:

"Today the Port Authority has taken a great first step in bringing our New York-area airports into the 21st Century. I passed a resolution in the NYC Council in 2013 calling for this action, and recently sent a letter with my fellow elected officials reiterating the need for free Wi-Fi in the three major airports. This vote is a recognition of the integral role of free Wi-Fi for traveler safety, convenience, and comfort, and will help New York remain a global hub for technological innovation and accessibility."


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