It Shouldn’t Be So Hard

Manhattanites love our borough. We wouldn’t leave if you paid us – but lately, some things are harder than they need to be.

This past Sunday, I delivered my second State of the Borough address to a packed house of nearly 700 neighbors at Hunter College, and I want to share some of what I discussed with you. 

We all know that Manhattan is an amazing place. The energy, the culture, the history, that feeling that anything and everything can happen… it’s like nowhere else on Earth. And despite some misguided reporting from the Post – Manhattan isn’t dead. Far from it! We bounced back from COVID, tourism’s thriving, and the buzz is back. 

New Yorkers love this city’s grit, and we don’t need things to be easy. But let’s be real: some things shouldn’t be as hard as they are. 

It shouldn’t be this hard to get to work, find a decent apartment, or even find a public bathroom when needed! Alongside our tremendous resiliency, we can still do plenty together to address the everyday hassles that chip away at our quality of life. 

And my office is committed to leading the charge.

We’re pushing for subways that are safe to ride, accessible, and that you can actually count on. We’re working with the MTA to install subway platform barriers and to get the funding needed to make service more reliable and stations more accessible.

We’re fighting back against the alarming rise in hate crimes across the city, targeting so many of our communities – Asian American, Jewish, Muslim, LGBTQ+, Black New Yorkers, and more – by working to update the hate crimes statute so that those who commit acts of hate are held accountable.

We’re taking our cities’ lack of public bathrooms seriously. It’s ridiculous that we have fewer public bathrooms per person than almost any other major American city. We’ve passed legislation requiring the City to find new locations, and we’re pushing to open up way more bathrooms across the city.

We’re also tackling the blight of scaffolding that’s been plaguing our sidewalks for far too long. 

Our ‘Shed the Sheds’ plan includes stricter rules on how long sheds can stay up, better designs to make them less of an eyesore, and new laws to ensure landlords do façade repairs quickly. It’s ridiculous that so many buildings are half-hidden for years on end. We deserve sidewalks that are safe and actually usable.

The biggest crisis, though, is housing. 

Skyrocketing rents are forcing out the very people who make Manhattan run – the teachers, nurses, artists, and even our kids. We’re losing the next generation of Manhattanites because they can’t afford to live here when they grow up. This can’t continue. 

That’s why we’ve taken action. We scoured every block of this borough and identified dozens of sites where as many as 70,000 new housing units could be built. We used that data to release our “Housing Manhattanites” plan to get the thousands of affordable units our city needs online, but we can’t do this alone. 

We’ve also released a comprehensive housing agenda for Albany, calling for programs to convert vacant Midtown office buildings into housing, a new tax incentive plan to build more rental apartments, lifting outdated caps on building size, and ensuring landlords can only evict tenants for good cause. You can watch my video explaining this agenda HERE.

But truly shaping Manhattan’s future needs YOU.  

You can sign up for our Volunteer Corps, apply to your Community Board (the deadline’s extended to this Friday, 3/8, by the way!), and share your thoughts on the changes you want to see.

Watch my State of the Borough address HERE, learn how to get involved, and let’s work to build that future together, Manhattan! 



2024 State of the Borough Address

Watch BP Levine’s full 2024 State of the Borough Address, delivered at Hunter College.

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