Statement of Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer and Council Member Dan Garodnick on the Manhattan Borough Board's vote in support of the East Midtown Rezoning

NEW YORK -- Today, the Manhattan Borough Board adopted a resolution on the Dept. of City Planning’s East Midtown rezoning proposal, approving the plan on the condition of a number of changes and improvements. After the vote, Borough President Gale A. Brewer and Council Member Dan Garodnick issued the following joint statement:
"Today was a milestone in our effort to rezone East Midtown -- one that came after extensive community deliberation and review. 
"The efforts of Community Boards 5 and 6 have been instrumental and instructive over this four-year process. Last week and again today, they highlighted significant areas where the current plan needs more work, especially when it comes to public space. We are heartened that the de Blasio administration has begun responding to these concerns, and has agreed to study a requirement for public plazas for sites over 40,000 square feet. Going forward, we will forcefully advocate for the remaining priorities of Community Boards 5 and 6.

"While we have made significant progress and support today’s resolution conditionally approving the rezoning plan, our work is not yet done. We will make sure the administration addresses each and every one of the concerns we and the multiple affected community boards have raised, and we will revise and refine the proposal as it moves into the next stages of ULURP.
"East Midtown needs a revitalization. That means delivering modern class-A office space, better mass transit, and welcoming pedestrian areas. We are confident that with additional improvements, this proposal can achieve that goal and secure East Midtown’s future as an economic engine at the heart of our city."

Read the resolution.
Watch the Borough Board debate and vote.
Prior testimony from public hearings, videos, and background material.

Wall Street Journal: Post-Election Surge in Applicants to New York City Boards

The Wall Street Journal's Thomas MacMillan reported yesterday on how our office is experiencing a surge in applications to Community Boards.

"Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer said that while her office has been putting more effort into community-board recruitment, the increase in applications is also linked to the election. Her office received 1,030 applications this year for 300 open spots on Manhattan’s 12 community boards, up from 785 in 2016 and 722 in 2015."

You can read more at this paywalled link.

Faith-based Organizations and Real Estate Development Conference & Community Board Applicant Interview Panels Update

Faith-Based Organization Development Conference Rescheduled

The Faith-Based Organization Development Conference that was cancelled tomorrow (Tuesday, March 14) has been rescheduled for Wednesday, April 19, 2017. It will be at the same time (8 am – 12:30 pm) and same place 60 Wall Street, 47th Floor. If you received this email, you do not need to register again. Your seat is already reserved. We will send you another email a few days before as a reminder.

If you have any questions, please contact Hally Chu, Thank you for your interest in responsible planning and development options for faith-based organizations.

Community Board Applicant Interview Panel Make-Up Session

The Community Board Interview Panel Make-Up Session for applicants on Tuesday, March 14 has been cancelled. There will be two additional make-up sessions this Friday, March 17, one from 3 – 5 pm, and another one from 6 – 8 pm. Please RSVP to confirm your participation by emailing

B.P. Brewer statement on International Women's Day

Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer issued the following statement on the observance of International Women's Day: 

"The first February Women's Day observance was in 1909, right here in New York, in recognition of the 1908 International Ladies' Garment Workers Union strike. More than a century later, the struggle for recognition and equal rights for women in the workplace and society as a whole continues, and is entering a critical phase.

"With a White House and Congress intent on turning back the clock on everyone's rights at work and women's rights everywhere, we must utterly reject the notion that these fights are in any way behind us.

"The promise of America is that if everyone has a fair shot, we can succeed and pursue our dreams together. But women, people of color, immigrants, LGBT people, Muslim communities, and Jewish communities in this country are all facing a mix of outright threats and unfair obstacles today, both old and new.

"I will be wearing red today in solidarity with all women demanding equality, and I will continue to do whatever I can, whenever I can, to fight for fairness and equality for women and for every other person and group that needs and deserves it.

"It's been my privilege to be part of successful fights like the struggle to pass New York City's paid sick leave and caregiver discrimination laws, but these are milestones along a much longer road. Today is a reminder that there is so much more work for us to do."

B.P. Brewer and West Side elected officials raise concerns over threat to Garment Center

B.P. Brewer and West Side elected officials wrote to leaders of the City Planning Commission and Economic Development Corporation (EDC), raised concerns over planned zoning changes for Manhattan’s Garment Center and urging the agencies to delay their plans and consult more thoroughly with garment industry stakeholders. The planned zoning text amendment would scrap protections for industrial and manufacturing spaces the garment and fashion industries rely on, and pins those industries’ future to new spaces in Brooklyn that aren’t ready yet.

The EDC’s original plan called for an April 3 start date for the zoning change’s public review, but the agency has told the local Community Board that the plan is being pushed back, and the new target date is unknown.

Now available: transcript, video, and testimony from public hearing on Greater East Midtown rezoning proposal

On Thursday, March 2, 2017 at 6:00 pm, the Manhattan Borough Board will held a public hearing on Greater East Midtown rezoning proposal, which was informed by the work conducted by the Midtown East Working Group (co-chaired by me and the City Council Member for the area, Daniel Garodnick). The Working Group conducted extensive discussions among all the neighborhood's stakeholders, including the two Community Boards affected. This hearing is part of the statutory Uniform Land Use Review Procedure (ULURP). The Borough Board will later vote on the proposal, and my office will also issue an opinion on the rezoning. Find out more at the City Planning Commission's website.

Video, transcript, and testimony available here.

State of the Borough 2017!

Thanks to all who attended yesterday's State of the Borough event!

For anyone who missed it, will have an edited version on its website shortly.

And for still photos, visit our Flickr stream.

Thank you to all the organizations who participated in our first State of the Borough Activist Fair:

Fight for 15 (Labor), NY Immigration Coalition (Immigration), Communities United for Police Reform (Policing), Picture the Homeless (Homelessness), NYCLU (Civil rights) Environmental Advocates (Environment), Gray Panthers NYC (Anti-Ageism Advocacy) NY Progressive Action Network (Organizing), Citizen Action of NY (Organizing), Make the Road New York (Immigration), Food Bank for New York City (Food Security), New York Urban League (Civil Rights), Planned Parenthood NY (Reproductive Justice), (Public Information) Office of Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer (Everything!) Mom's Demand Action (Anti-Gun VIolence), Thrive NYC (Mental Health).
Panelists announced for 2017 State of the Borough event, including immigrant rights, tech, labor, anti-poverty leaders and Trump Survival Guide author

Media Advisory: February 10, 2017

Brewer's activism-focused State of the Borough will include 'activist fair' to connect New Yorkers with volunteer opportunities

NEW YORK – On Sunday, Feb. 12, Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer will hold her 2017 State of the Borough event, focusing on activism and civic involvement.

As in previous years, Borough President Brewer will lead a panel of prominent individuals in a discussion on this year's theme of activism. 

The panel will include:

  • Jennifer Jones Austin, CEO of the Federation of Protestant Welfare Agencies
  • Angela Fernandez, Executive Director of the Northern Manhattan Coalition for Immigrant Rights
  • Andrew Rasiej, Founder of Civic Hall and Personal Democracy Media, and Chair of the New York Tech Alliance
  • Janella Hinds, Secretary-Treasurer of the New York Central Labor Council and Vice President for Academic High Schools of the United Federation of Teachers
  • Gene Stone, author of The Trump Survival Guide

    The event will also feature a performance by Harlem Samba, a Brazilian percussion ensemble that includes students and alumni from Harlem's Frederick Douglass Academy public high school.

    Before and after the event's speaking and performance program, Brewer will host a 'Manhattan Activist Fair' with representatives from nonprofit, volunteer, and advocacy organizations to provide New Yorkers with opportunities to get involved in a range of causes.

    • Manhattan B.P. Gale A. Brewer
    • Guest panelists Jennifer Jones Austin, Angela Fernandez, Andrew Rasiej, Janella Hinds, and Gene Stone
    • Harlem Samba
    • Activist and volunteer organizations

    State of the Borough event and activist fair

    Sunday, Feb. 12
    Event program begins 2:00 pm
    Activist fair begins 1:00 pm and continues after event program until 5:00 pm

    Grand Ballroom at Manhattan Center
    311 West 34th Street

    Members of the press wishing to attend are strongly encouraged to RSVP to Camera positions available on a first-come, first-served basis. The Manhattan Neighborhood Network will also be videorecording and broadcasting the event program.

    B.P. Brewer and Manhattan Borough Board to hold public hearing on Mayor de Blasio's proposed city budget for FY 2018

    Media Advisory: Wednesday, February 15, 2017

    NEW YORK – On Wednesday, Feb. 15, Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer and the Manhattan Borough Board will hold a public hearing on Mayor Bill de Blasio's preliminary city budget for the 2018 fiscal year.

    Section 241 of the New York City Charter tasks each Borough Board with holding at least one public hearing on the mayor's budget proposal as it develops its response and statement of priorities. These hearings are opportunities for local Community Board members, organizations, and members of the public to offer their own input, as well as an opportunity for the Borough Board to call upon officers of city agencies to appear and provide further information.

    As Borough President, Brewer is chair of Manhattan's Borough Board, which is comprised of the borough's City Council members and Community Board chairs.

    Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer
    The Manhattan Borough Board

    Public hearing on mayor's preliminary budget for FY 2018

    Wednesday, February 15
    4:00-7:00 pm

    InfoCommons at Guttman Community College
    50 West 40th Street

    B.P. Brewer Statement on Trump executive order restricting immigration for refugees and for persons from seven predominantly Muslim countries

    For Immediate Release: January 27, 2017

    Borough President Brewer issued the following statement reacting to President Donald J. Trump’s signature of an executive order restricting immigration for all refugees, as well as all persons coming from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen from entering the United States. While text of the order is not yet publicly available, a draft obtained by media outlets and published Wednesday contained a blanket ban on all refugees and a ban on all persons coming from the countries listed above.

    “This newest action from the White House confirms what has already been made clear: Mr. Trump and the people working for him simply have no idea what it is to be American, and Mr. Trump clearly does not know what it means to be a son of the world’s greatest immigrant city.

    “There is nothing – nothing – more un-American than a blanket ban on refugees and immigrants rooted in religious and racial distrust and fear. That is what this is. The people working for Mr. Trump can dress this up however they like, they can claim this is about security, but we know better: this is about bowing to – and stoking – fear, prejudice, hate, and scapegoating.

    “This action would be odious no matter the date. But on Holocaust Remembrance Day of all days, to ban refugees and immigrants because of who they are and where they are from is to show the most depraved indifference to history and our need to live our values. One of our nation’s greatest moral collapses was its failure to take in refugees seeking to escape the Holocaust, and to repeat that failure on this day is unspeakably shameful.

    “I am an American citizen. I believe in liberty and justice for all, and I believe that this nation, imperfect though it is, has been and must continue to be a light to the world. I refuse to accept that this man will put that light out for good. But that light flickered and darkened today.

    “New York has been and will remain a place where immigrants are welcomed and immigration is celebrated as part of our heritage. I stand with our immigrant communities, and that support will not waver.”
    B.P. Brewer Statement on the Passing of Wayne Barrett

    It's beyond irony that the world's single greatest expert on Donald J. Trump died the night before Trump's inauguration and will no longer be available to us.

    Wayne Barrett was, as a journalist, simultaneously excited about the new Trump stories about to unfold and, as a citizen, sad for the country.

    I was surprised and thrilled to see him at the opening of the Second Avenue Subway a few weeks ago. He was the most popular person there-- and there were hundreds of people attending! He always knew exactly what to tell each person; I got an earful about buildings in floodplains. I remember every conversation with him-- I don't always remember everyone else's-- because they were that serious, substantive, and memorable.

    Everyone in the world will miss him, but especially those of us who knew him. My heart goes out to his wife Fran and the rest of his family.

    It's up to the reporters, officeholders and activists who were inspired and constantly challenged by him to continue his legacy of speaking truth to power.

    Statement by B.P. Brewer on the Passing of Detective Steven McDonald

    Detective Steven McDonald was a hero both for his work and his sacrifice as an NYPD officer, and for what he did afterwards. Shot and paralyzed by a 15-year-old boy, Det. McDonald forgave his assailant. He was a passionate voice for reconciliation here and around the world, a champion for Americans who live with disabilities, and a role model for us all.

    Statement by B.P. Brewer on Judith Clark's clemency

    Judith Clark has accepted responsibility for her involvement in a terrible crime and has become, in her decades of incarceration, a model of rehabilitation. Continuing to imprison her does not serve a social purpose, and I hope the state's parole board will grant her release. I commend Gov. Cuomo for granting clemency.
    Brewer, Food Bank For New York City celebrate thousands of diapers collected in first holiday diaper drive

    For Immediate Release: December 29, 2016

    Today, Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer and Food Bank For New York City celebrated the donation of thousands of diapers in Brewer’s first holiday diaper drive. Brewer and Brady Koch, Food Bank’s Chief Programs Officer, held a media availability and thanked New Yorkers who donated as a Food Bank truck arrived to pick up more than 9,000 diapers at Brewer’s Northern Manhattan Office and transport them to food pantry locations across the borough.

    The diaper drive is an unusual addition to the city’s many holiday season donation drives, but fills a real need. Low-income and homeless working parents with small children often rely on childcare services that require them to supply disposable diapers for their children. By supplying diapers for free at emergency food providers, Food Bank For New York City can help relieve a major burden on these parents and their families.


    View photos...
    Brewer-Chin deed restriction reforms signed into law, will prevent repeat of Rivington House disaster

    For Immediate Release: December 22, 2016

    Borough President Brewer and Council Member Margaret Chin today celebrated the enactment of their tough new legislation introducing transparency and Mayoral accountability to the murky process that resulted in Rivington House’s sale to a luxury condominium developer. Chin and Brewer introduced the legislation in response to widespread outrage over the City’s removal of a deed restriction that had protected the Lower East Side property, reserving it for use as a nonprofit community healthcare facility.

    “Our city government failed when it did not protect Rivington House. When government screws up, it’s our first job to figure out why and make sure it cannot happen again,” said Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer. “Today's legislation is a strong reform package that addresses the key failures that led to the loss of Rivington House, sets new standards for transparency so for the first time, we’ll know where all these deed restrictions are and what they’re protecting, and gives its reforms the permanence of law, so they can’t be undone in future administrations.”
    Council Member Margaret S. Chin said: “Our city is not a playground for powerful real estate interests. Every transaction that involves properties set aside for the good of the people of our City, such as Rivington House, needs to be subject to the greatest amount of public input, transparency, and accountability as possible. Our legislation, which creates a public database of deed restrictions, requires notification of elected and community officials of transactions involving deed restrictions, and demands Mayoral sign-off for any deed restriction removal, achieves that goal. Today we are united with a simple message: No more Rivington Houses, not on this Mayor’s, or any other Mayor’s watch. I am proud to join Borough President Brewer and Speaker Mark-Viverito in solidarity with the Lower East Side residents who woke up one morning to find a cherished, community asset taken from them.” 

    Read the full press release for more details...

    View photos from the bill signing ceremony...

    Brewer and NYC & Company invite Manhattan cultural institutions to apply for tourism grants

    For Immediate Release: December 16, 2016

    Borough President Gale A. Brewer and the NYC & Company Foundation are encouraging Manhattan cultural institutions to apply for funds through the Manhattan Cultural Tourism Development Grant Program. Proposals are due by 5:00 pm on Monday, January 16, 2017.

    The grant program is designed to promote tourism in neighborhoods across the entire borough, and raise domestic and international travelers’ awareness of the wide range of cultural experiences and opportunities available in Manhattan. Grants fund program development and production of marketing materials to help organizations reach new audiences.

    Read more about the Cultural Tourism Grant Program...

    Apply online...

    Brewer and Food Bank For New York City launch holiday donation drive for disposable diapers to help low-income working parents

    For Immediate Release: December 15, 2016

    Borough President Brewer and Food Bank For New York City are joining to conduct an unusual holiday donation drive: diapers.

    "Without diapers, low-income working parents who use child care services can’t go to work because the services require each parent to supply a day's worth of diapers for their child," said Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer. "That’s why we're mounting our first-ever holiday 'Diaper Drive' to collect these vital items to distribute to the working and homeless parents ‑ and their children who need them."

    Donors are asked to bring new, sealed boxes of diapers in sizes 3, 4, 5 or 6 -- but especially 4 & 5 -- to either of Brewer's two offices:

    • Downtown at 1 Centre St., 19th Fl. South
    • Uptown at 431 W. 125th St.

    Amazon customers may also contribute by ordering from the Food Bank’s Amazon Wishlist for delivery straight to Food Bank’s warehouse, using this link.

    Donations will be accepted until December 30. Once collected, Food Bank For New York City will distribute the diapers at their locations in Manhattan.


    Brewer opens Community Board applications for 2017

    For Immediate Release: Thursday, December 1, 2016

    Borough President Brewer's office is accepting applications for membership on Manhattan’s 12 Community Boards and encourages all eligible New Yorkers living, working, or studying in the borough of Manhattan to consider applying.

    Applications can be completed online at Applications must be complete and submitted by 5:00 pm on Friday, February 3, 2017. (A PDF version is also available for download and can be mailed to the Borough President’s Office or dropped off in person; printed applications must be postmarked by February 3.) Read more...

    Statement on Street Festival Regulation Changes

    For Immediate Release: Tuesday, November 1, 2016

    Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer issued the following statement today on Mayor de Blasio's withdrawal of proposed changes to street festival regulations:

    "Governing requires patience and a willingness to get things right, even if it takes a little longer. That's what the mayor is displaying here.

    "The mayor's proposal contained real positives, but it also contained real flaws and suffered from a one-size-fits-all approach. I'm confident that by working with residents, Community Boards, and neighborhood business associations, the mayor can craft a plan that achieves our shared goal of higher-quality street festivals that enhance communities without overburdening them."

    In October, Brewer offered testimony on the mayor's proposal before the Office of Citywide Event Coordination and Management. That testimony is available here.


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