Author Archives

Greg Lewis

B.P. Brewer calls for halting construction on 200 Amsterdam Ave. tower

Woman speaks on street in front of crowd holding signs about zoning NEW YORK – Tuesday morning, April 9, 2019, I joined advocates and elected officials to push to stop construction on the residential tower by SJP Properties and Mitsui Fudosan America at 200 Amsterdam Avenue. Last month, the New York State Supreme Court ordered the Board of Standards and Appeals (BSA) to once again review the Department of Buildings (DOB) approval of the building to ensure that it is “in accordance… Read more

Charter Revision Commission begins drafting proposals in four areas

room full of people at Charter 2019 Manhattan Hearing The 2019 Charter Revision Commission—which will recommend proposals to be placed on the November ballot—has completed a series of “expert forums” on four topic areas it will focus on. Having narrowed focus after hearing from experts and the public (at hearings last fall), the commission will now draw up specific proposals in these four areas, and hold hearings on them in each of the five boroughs on those drafts later this spring.

Single-use plastic bags banned as part of budget deal

a hand holding plastic bag walking in the street As part of the new budget, state leaders passed a ban on single-use plastic shopping bags at most retail and grocery stores (restaurants are exempted). A provision was created for localities to impose a 5¢ fee on paper shopping bags, with revenue to be split 60-40% with the state environmental fund and the locality. (Council Members Brad Lander and Margaret Chin are sponsoring the paper bag fee for New York… Read more

State budget passes with measures to raise funds for the MTA

room full of people for a public hearing about congestion pricing plan The state budget just passed in Albany includes two measures which will provide desperately needed funding to the MTA… Congestion pricing.  A congestion pricing plan—the first in the nation—will impose a fee on most vehicles when they enter Manhattan south of 61st Street, with revenues to be directed mostly to the MTA. I’ve supported congestion pricing as a way to reduce the clog of traffic in the business district and… Read more

Helping retailers transition to new electronic system for WIC payments

WIc program card with vegetables on the front The federal WIC program (“Women Infants Children”) for low-income parents is moving into the digital age. A new system called eWIC will make it easier for participants to redeem benefits and for retailers to get paid by the government. Retailers must obtain new  EBT (eWIC) machines and complete training for the new system by April 30. Staff in my office, in partnership with the New York State Department of Health,… Read more

Faith-based institutions face real estate challenges

Reverend Harper seated at the back of his church The pressures facing the Harlem faith-based institutions highlighted in this article are not unique. This is a borough-wide problem that must be addressed, which is why my office has conducted outreach and hosted events, like the Faith-Based Development and Preservation Conference we held early last year in conjunction with Community Board 10.

There oughta be a law: we need a database to track vacant storefronts

Gale speaks into mic at NYC council committee I testified today at the NYC Council Committee on Small Business in support of Intro No 1472-A, a bill that would require owners to report the vacancy status of their storefront properties and establish an open database for vacancies. The crisis facing small businesses has only grown worse. National chains steadily spread throughout the city, storefronts sit vacant for years, and online shopping is reducing foot traffic to our local… Read more

Letter to NYCHA:
Don’t lock nonprofits out of development plans

NYCHA facility on a beautiful day I’m upset that the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) has a PACT/RAD request for proposals (RFP) on Section 8 conversions at 16 sites in Manhattan that purposely blocks established and experienced nonprofit community development corporations from participating the bidding process by requiring proposals to convert all 16 at once.  I’ve written a letter calling on NYCHA to revise their PACT/RAD policy (and testified in February about it at the… Read more