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Statement on President Obama's executive action on immigration

On November 20, President Obama announced a plan to suspend deportations for some 3.7 million undocumented immigrants who have been in the United States for at least five years and have children who are legal citizens or permanent residents. If these individuals pass a background check and pay an administrative fee, they will be allowed to apply for work permits valid for three years, after which they must reapply for suspended deportation status.

In addition, the President is:

  • expanding a program for foreign students in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM);
  • creating more options for foreign entrepreneurs who can obtain funding to start a business here;
  • making the process easier for those who are waiting to become legal permanent residents (allowing them to travel home more easily, for example).

Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer issued the following statement in response:

The Presidents brave and much-needed plan comes as a great sigh of relief to millions of immigrants to our country and city. The incredibly hard work of these residents strengthens our economy, and their U.S.-born children deserve to be treated as the citizens they are without the constant threat of deportation breaking up their families.

Immigrants are the lifeblood of New York City. They start small businesses, create vibrant communities, and shape our citys culture, just as Jewish, Irish, and Italian immigrants did in past generations. Thats why the Presidents actions are cause for celebration.

There is much more to do, of courseand we must pressure our representatives in Washington to make the American Dream a reality for many millions of immigrants who have not become parents while living here.

Statement on proposed tower
at South Street Seaport

NEW YORK, NY – Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer issued the following statement after the South Street Seaport Working Group meeting at which the Howard Hughes Corporation presented its proposal for a tower to be developed at the South Street Seaport.

“I question whether the proposal from Howard Hughes for a huge tower on the New Market site meets the Seaport Working Group’s guidelines developed over many months of discussion with the community, urban planners and other stakeholders.

“Historical context, building heights, and maintaining the vitality of the area are all elements which must be factored in to any final project in this crucial Manhattan neighborhood—the neighborhood where, in many ways, New York City began. As I’ve said before, building a tower at the South Street Seaport is like building a tower at Colonial Williamsburg.

“Council Member Chin and I have requested that the Seaport Working Group convene a meeting right after Thanksgiving to discuss the HHC proposal presented tonight and evaluate it against the Guidelines and Principles the working group developed. I will withhold final judgment until after discussion by the working group.”

Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer and NYC & Company Foundation announce grants to support cultural institutions and tourism in New York

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: November 17, 2014

NEW YORK, NY – Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer and the NYC & Company Foundation have announced this year’s Manhattan recipients of the Borough Cultural Tourism Development Grant Program.

This program is designed to promote tourism in all parts of the borough and raise awareness of domestic and international travelers of the wide range of cultural opportunities available in Manhattan. The grants will fund the cultural organizations’ development of programming and production of marketing material to reach new audiences.

“These groups each represent a single facet of Manhattan’s vast cultural diversity,” said Borough President Brewer. “From egg creams to poetry slams, from Afro-Latin jazz to Native American drums, these events are unique to us and add to our attractiveness as a tourist destination. The groups my office has selected offer the full range of underappreciated Manhattan attractions.”

"Culture is an enormous part of New York City’s appeal to visitors," said Fred Dixon, President and CEO of NYC & Company. “Investing in culture supports New York City’s vitality as well as the visitor spending and job creation essential to the City’s economy.”

This year’s recipients are:

  • Afro Latin Jazz Alliance – Grant will support marketing and promotion of the Arturo O’Farrill & the Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra season at Symphony Space.
  • Big Apple Greeter – Grant will support an upgrade of Big Apple Greeter’s website.
  • Chinatown Partnership Local Development Corp. – Grant will help fund the printing and distribution of Map Through Chinatown’s History and Culture Campaign.
  • Harlem Week, Inc. – Grant will provide support for the marketing and promotion of Harlem Week event.
  • Lotus Music and Dance – Grant will support the marketing and promotion of Drums along the Hudson: A Native American Festival and Multicultural Celebration.
  • Museum at Eldridge Street – Grant will provide funding of marketing and promotional materials for Egg Rolls & Egg Creams Festival.
  • New York Scandia Symphony – Grant will support marketing and promotional materials for the Scandinavian Music Festival.
  • Nuyorican Poets Café, Inc. – Grant will support marketing and promotion of Nuyorican Poets Café’s Poetry Slam.
  • NY African Ensemble – Grant will support development, production and distribution of the marketing materials for the Harlem and the Heights Tourism Project.
  • Pan American Musical Art Research – Grant will support promotion and publicity expenses for the Latin American Cultural Week.

Borough Cultural Tourism Development Grants are privately funded by donations to the NYC & Company Foundation, whose mission is to support tourism and economic development in all five boroughs by promoting local cultural events and institutions. The grant program is administered by the Borough President’s Office, and cultural groups are invited to apply for funding annually. Recipients are selected by the Borough President based on the merit of the program. Get the full release...

NOTICE: Manhattan Borough Board meets Thursday, November 20th

The Manhattan Borough Board will meet Thursday, November 20, 2014, at 8:30 A.M. in the Manhattan Borough President's Office, 1 Centre Street, 19th Floor South, New York, N.Y.
My Public School Town Hall with Chancellor Fariña

Over a hundred people-- Parents, CEC members, teachers, principals, and community board members--  joined me and DOE Chancellor Carmen Fariña at my Public School Town Hall November 12th at John Jay College. 

We heard her discuss new education initiatives, including the just-announced School Renewal Program,  parent engagement, capacity framework, and school quality “Snapshots.”

I raised my concerns about introducing and improving technology in schools-- now that Proposal 3, the $2 billion bond issue has passed-- and getting more & better arts partnerships into schools, and we were able to get through over a dozen questions from the audience after the Chancellor spoke.

Check out the Twitter hashtag #MBPOTownHall to follow what happened!

Manhattan Public School Town Hall with Chancellor Fariña November 12

I’m proud to host Chancellor Carmen Fariña tonight for a Public School Town Hall to discuss new education initiatives, including the just-announced School Renewal Program, technology in schools, parent engagement, capacity framework, and school quality snapshots. We’ll also have a brief presentation on getting involved with Community Education Councils, and an audience Q&A.

If you can't make it tonight, you can still follow the conversation on Twitter. My team will be live-tweeting from my account @galeabrewer using the hashtag #MBPOTownHall, starting at 6pm.

Manhattan B.P. Gale A. Brewer and activists call for reboot of City schools’ tech curricula and purchasing policies in advance of Proposal 3 bond vote


NEW YORK, NY – Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer and education and technology advocates today called for reforms to city schools’ technology curriculum and purchasing policies to better prepare them for a tech-driven world, in advance of next week’s statewide vote on Proposal 3, a $2 billion school bond authorization.

“There’s no other way to put it: our public schools are behind in almost all aspects of technology,” said Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer. “The technology gap begins with a lack of adequate internet access, extends to insufficient staff training and curricula, and ultimately the failure to offer students any certification in technology proficiency that can help them advance their education or get a job.” Read more...

We're Prepared

With the first case of Ebola diagnosed in New York City yesterday, it is easy to let fear take hold. The reality is that Ebola is less contagious than Measles or SARS, and can only be caught through direct contact with the bodily fluids of someone who is sick.

New York City has been preparing for months to keep New Yorkers safe from this outbreak, and we’re tough. We’ll get through this.

Learn more from the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene: http://on.nyc.gov/1oC8soW

Register for the Fall 2014 Community Board Leadership Training Series

The Office of Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer is pleased to announce the Fall 2014 Community Board Leadership Series.

This series is designed to cover introductory and advanced topics useful to prospective, newly-appointed and experienced community board members as well as appointees serving on numerous other boards: BID, CEC, CAB, SWAB, museums. Trainings will be conducted at both uptown and downtown locations.

Topics include:

  • Community Portal: Data and Mapping Tools
  • NYC Budget Process and the Role of the Community Board
  • Teens Serving on Community Boards
  • Equal Employment Opportunity and Diversity Training
  • Land Use and Zoning 101
  • Advanced Land Use and Zoning
  • CPR- Response to Emergencies
  • Diverse, Inclusive and Transparent Leadership
  • Conflict of Interest & Freedom of Information Law

Register here: http://bit.ly/1vxKVpr

.NYC is now available to all New York City residents and businesses

When I first introduced a resolution in support of the .nyc domain name as a City Council Member in 2008, I had high hopes for what the domain could become. After all, Paris, Berlin, and othe global cities already had their own top-level domains. Today, after years of hard work and determination from the City, and the approval of ICANN, the web-governing body, anyone in New York City can establish a unique, local web presence with a ".nyc" web url.

As the early success of the .nyc roll-out has shown, this is a tremendous opportunity for local businesses, organizations, institutions, and entrepreneurs to show that their work is "Made in NYC." 

To think, it all started when I was shopping for furniture and trying to "buy local"!

NOTICE: Manhattan Borough Board meets Thursday, October 16th

The Manhattan Borough Board will meet Thursday, October 16, 2014, at 8:30 A.M. in the Manhattan Borough President's Office, 1 Centre Street, 19th Floor South, New York, N.Y.

Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer, Council Member Daniel R. Garodnick Begin East Midtown Steering Committee Process

Team of facilitators selected, labor representative from Build Up NYC added to making recommendations for area

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 30, 2014

NEW YORK, NY – The East Midtown Steering Committee, a planning group co-chaired by Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer and City Councilmember Daniel R. Garodnick to set the framework for a new greater East Midtown area, has finalized the group's membership and will proceed with its first formal session today, aided by a team of facilitators.

A facilitation team has been hired to help the committee conduct its discussions. The team will be led by John Shapiro, Chair of the Graduate Center for Planning and the Environment at Pratt Institute. The team will also include Geoffrey Wiener, formerly the Assistant Vice President of Facilities Planning at Columbia University; David Burney, former Commissioner of the NYC Department of Design and Construction (DDC) from 2004 to 2014; and Jonathan Martin, who was the facilitator for the South Street Seaport Working Group, the first pre-ULURP planning group created by Borough President Brewer.

“These highly experienced planners, facilitators, and land use experts will assist the Steering Committee throughout this process,” Borough President Gale A. Brewer said. “I believe robust community participation is necessary with any significant rezoning and this experienced facilitation team will help us get the plan right for East Midtown.” Read more...

Raising awareness about the
NYC Organics Collection Program

My office, in coordination with the NYC Departments of Sanitation (DSNY) and Education (DOE) sponsored “Day of Action” today to help raise awareness about the NYC Organics Collection Program, an effort to cut the solid waste produced by city public school cafeterias and produce nutrient-rich compost in the bargain.

During today’s morning school drop-off period, my staff and I fanned out to distribute flyers explaining the program at targeted schools across Manhattan.

The Organics Collection Program grew out of a pilot program that I helped launch with a group of parents in eight West Side schools two and half years ago. The program now has over 100 participating schools in Manhattan, and by October, all 114 DOE schools in Manhattan (and hundreds more in the other boroughs) will be part of the Organics Collection Program.

In addition, as part of a pilot project to expand the program beyond schools, the DSNY is already collecting compostable waste from over two dozen residential buildings along the school pickup routes—adding about 17,000 households to the composting flow. If you’d like to see if your building qualifies, apply here.

Since food waste comprises 40% of a typical school’s waste output, this program has a potential to significantly reduce the city’s solid waste expenses, and produce a beneficial product too. What’s more, by cutting down on the amount of food scraps in trash bags that sit on sidewalks, we can help reduce rodent population and have cleaner sidewalks.

But the biggest challenge to the effectiveness of the program is keeping “contamination” to a minimum—making sure that food and food-soiled paper goes into one bin, and recyclable materials into another, and NON-recyclable materials into a third. High contamination in the food-related bins can render that bin unusable for compost.

To help ensure this program’s success in Manhattan schools, in August I called together representatives from DC 37, 32 BJ, Local 891, and the Council of School Supervisors and Administrators CSA) to sit down with DSNY and DOE to explore how best to support union members working in school cafeterias and kitchens.

With the help of everyone—parents, students, cafeteria staff and school administrators—we can help our kids achieve something great from the results of thousands of simple individual actions: separating food trash and recyclables from non-recyclables. That’s a lesson worth learning (and it all grew from a handful of parent/activists on the West Side!).

CUNY Service Corps students to help communities navigate NYC data

Government transparency and open data have remained an important concern during my years of public service. As a City Council member, I was proud to sponsor NYC’s Open Data Law, which unlocked a treasure trove of data about our streets, crime, restaurant inspections, and other information gathered by city agencies.

But that law was only the first step, as “open” data doesn’t automatically mean “useful” data. More work needs to be done to make data usable and actionable for the average New Yorker.

That’s why I’m welcoming 15 technology interns from The City University of New York (CUNY) to help my office and Manhattan’s Community Boards navigate city data in ways that help neighborhoods make informed decisions and ensure that our government is truly transparent.

Funded with a CUNY Service Corps grant, the interns will help us create effective ways to visualize vital city information—through spreadsheets, graphs, neighborhood mapping, and other means. They will also help us deliver this user-friendly data to Community Board chairs, district managers, and committee chairs to aid their decisions about planning, development, and land-use. Read the press release...

9/11 survivors and responders
deserve a monument

As New York City and the nation remember the lives tragically lost and the incredible heroism displayed thirteen years ago today, we must not forget the New Yorkers from all walks of life who responded to the attacks.

I’m talking about those who rushed to Ground Zero to dig for survivors through smoky, dust-filled rubble; those who worked round-the-clock on cleanup; and those who returned to the surrounding neighborhoods when officials declared the air safe to breathe when it was not.

Almost 55,000 New Yorkers and nearly 5,000 New Jerseyans are participating in the World Trade Center Health Program. Some 30,000 responders, workers, and residents have at least one illness or injury caused by the attacks or their aftermath and are receiving treatment. As a result of exposure to the toxins released by the attacks, at least 2,900 have been certified with a cancer by a medical panel created under the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act (a five-year program that must be renewed in 2016). Included in those who are ill are over 800 FDNY and 550 NYPD personnel who have had to leave their jobs. Over 70 firefighters and 60 police officers have died from their illnesses since 9/11; in fact, more NYPD officers have died from their injuries after 9/11 than died that day. 

These men and women deserve their own monument—a permanent recognition of their courage, service, and personal sacrifice in and around Ground Zero in the weeks and months after the attacks. Such a monument is a valuable and utterly necessary addition to the experience provided by the National September 11 Memorial & Museum.

NOTICE: Manhattan Borough Board meets Thursday, September 18th

The Manhattan Borough Board will meet Thursday, September 18, 2014, at 8:30 A.M. in the Manhattan Borough President's Office, 1 Centre Street, 19th Floor South, New York, N.Y.
Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer, former B.P. Virginia Fields, Rep. Carolyn Maloney, Liz Abzug, and women leaders "Take the Pledge" to register women voters

-- In honor of Women's Equality Day, August 26, anniversary of passage of 19th Amendment --


NEW YORK – Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer, former Borough President C. Virginia Fields, Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney, attorney and daughter of former Manhattan Congresswoman Bella Abzug Liz Abzug, Executive Director of the NYC Campaign Finance Board Amy Loprest, President of the National Organization for Women NYS Zenaida Mendez, Hunter High School student Sarina Gupta, joined other women leaders today to urge New Yorkers to “Take the Pledge” to register five women as voters by the October 10, 2014, registration deadline in honor of Women’s Equality Day, marking August 26 as the anniversary of passage of the 19th Amendment to the Constitution granting women the right to vote in 1920.

“Today is formally recognized as Women’s Equality Day thanks to Bella Abzug,” said Brewer. “And thanks to her and thousands of our foremothers, women have made giant strides in the fight for equal treatment and opportunity. But much remains to be done, and if women don’t register and don’t vote, it will take even longer. That’s why New York women should work to register other women—and make sure they turn out!” Read more...

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