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Brewer distributing free reusable bags for Earth Day

NEW YORK – Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer announced that her office is distributing reusable grocery bags for free this Earth Day Weekend at greenmarkets, grocery stores, and the Washington Heights Earth Day and Car-Free New York Day street event. 

New Yorkers throw away an average of 10 single-use bags per person every week, and the city as a whole throws away more than 9 billion single-use plastic bags a year, generating 90,000 tons of plastic bags in our waste stream at a cost of more than $12 million. Moreover, petroleum-based plastic bags never biodegrade and litter New Yorkers' streets, trees, public parks, and waterways, creating a public nuisance, polluting the environment, and posing a hazard for wildlife.

"Plastic bags are a 90,000-ton, $12 million problem -- but by grabbing reusable bags and taking them with us when we go shopping, we can all be part of the solution," said Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer. "Please stop by and pick up a bag from one of our giveaway sites this weekend!"

Free bags will be available on a first-come, first-served basis at the locations listed below. Most sites will be offering the bags on Earth Day (Saturday), but three sites -- in the East Village, Upper West Side, and Morningside Heights -- will be distributing bags on Sunday.


Location Address CB Giveaway Day Giveaway Hours
Tribeca Greenmarket Chambers St & Greenwich St 1 Saturday 8 am - 3 pm
Abingdon Square Greenmarket Hudson St & W 12th St 2 Saturday 8 am - 2 pm
Tompkins Square Greenmarket E 7th St & Ave A 3 Sunday 9 am - 6 pm
Morton Williams Supermarket 278 Park Ave South 5 Saturday 24 hours
Morton Williams Supermarket 1031 First Ave 6 Saturday 7 am - midnight
Morton Williams Supermarket 908 Second Ave 6 Saturday 24 hours
Morton Williams Supermarket 311 E 23rd St 6 Saturday 7 am - 1 am
79th Street Greenmarket Columbus Ave @ 78th St 7 Sunday 9 am - 4 pm
82nd Street Greenmarket 408 E 82nd St 8 Saturday 9 am - 2:30 pm
Morton Williams Supermarket 1211 Madison Ave 8 Saturday 7 am - 11 pm
Morton Williams Supermarket 1565 First Ave 8 Saturday 7 am - midnight
Morton Williams Supermarket 1331 First Ave 8 Saturday 24 hours
Morton Williams Supermarket 1066 Third Ave 8 Saturday 7 am - midnight
Columbia Greenmarket Broadway & W 114th St 9 Sunday 8 am - 5 pm
Key Food Supermarket 421 W 125th St 9 Saturday 7 am - 11 pm
Morton Williams Supermarket 2941 Broadway 9 Saturday 24 hours
City Fresh Supermarket 2212 Third Ave 11 Saturday 24 hours
Cherry Valley Supermarket 309 E 115th St 11 Saturday 24 hours
City Fresh Supermarket 235 E 106th St 11 Saturday 7 am - 10 pm
Cherry Valley Supermarket 1968 Second Ave 11 Saturday 24 hours
Inwood Greenmarket Isham St & Cooper St 12 Saturday 8 am - 3 pm
Car Free Day Uptown Earth Day Event St. Nicholas Ave from W 181st St to W 190th St 12 Saturday 10 am - 4 pm
In Partnership with CB12: Associated Supermarket 592 Fort Washington Ave 12 Saturday Starting 8:30 am
In Partnership with CB12: Foodtown Supermarket 600 W 160th St 12 Saturday Starting 8:30 am
In Partnership with CB12: C-Town Supermarket 4918 Broadway 12 Saturday Starting 8:30 am

Forum on the future of biking in our city

The biking landscape of our city is changing, and this conversation will keep going as we find the best ways to adapt.

Scores of cyclists gathered  for my forum on future of biking in New York on April 25. Advocates, engineers, and representatives from city agencies explored the at a forum I hosted this week. It was an opportunity to think big about what's next in terms of technology and safety. 

Here’s some of what we discussed:

• Expand Citibike citywide: In order to meet our city's emissions reduction goals, Julia Kite from Transportation Alternatives says we need to get to a point when 10% of trips taken in the city use bike share. Currently we're at ~2%. So we need to get people who don't think of themselves as "bikers" to start biking. Expanding Citibike into all neighborhoods in the five boroughs is a way to increase bike usage (and encourage newcomers to take a ride!).
• More bike lanes: We need more community/biking forums to help ease tensions between bikers and their surrounding communities.
• L-train closure as an opportunity: Possibly using the L-train closing as an opportunity to test what the future of biking might look like by creating a bike/pedestrian/bus priority corridor.
• Using cargo bikes to supplant trucks: UPS has started a pilot program and others could follow suit. Maybe we can get more city agencies to start using cargo bikes too.
• Better community relations: We need more community/biking interaction to help ease tensions between bikers and their surrounding communities.

B.P. Brewer recommends approval of East Midtown rezoning plan

Streetscape enhancements for a five-block stretch of East 53 Street, improving pedestrian circulation, seating, greenery, and more

Recommendation letter available for download here.

NEW YORK – Late yesterday, Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer issued her formal recommendation on the Greater East Midtown rezoning proposal working its way through the city’s Uniform Land Use Review Procedure (ULURP), approving the plan with a number of conditions and recommended changes.

“For decades East Midtown has been the economic heart of our city and this plan will make it stronger than ever in the decades to come,” said Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer. “The linchpin of this plan is the notion that public benefits like transit improvements, support for landmarks, and open space, should go hand-in-hand with new development. That’s smart planning, and I hope it will be a model for major rezoning plans to come.”

Brewer highlighted progress made on several key issues since the Manhattan Borough Board’s vote, including a number of public realm improvements such as:

  • Formal designation of Pershing Square East as a pedestrian plaza, with investments in street furniture, signage, resurfacing, and planters
  • A ‘Shared Street’ pilot program
  • Traffic and pedestrian safety improvements on Park Avenue
  • Streetscape enhancements for a five-block stretch of East 53 Street, improving pedestrian circulation, seating, greenery, and more

The Greater East Midtown business district accounts for more than 10 percent of New York City’s property tax revenue, 60 million square feet of office space, and more than 250,000 jobs. It is home to one of Manhattan’s two commuter rail hubs, Grand Central Terminal, and two of New York City’s ten busiest subway stations.

The Greater East Midtown rezoning proposal would create a new East Midtown Subdistrict within the Special Midtown District, allowing floor area ratios in the subdistrict to increase from maximums between 12 and 15 (depending on location) to maximums between 18 and 27, depending on location. To take advantage of these new maximums, developers would need to complete transit infrastructure improvement projects identified in advance and purchase transferable development rights from landmarked properties within the district. Owners of existing overbuilt properties will also be permitted to rebuild their overbuilt floor area if they contribute to a public realm improvement fund. In this way, the plan provides predictability for developers seeking an as-of-right avenue to increased density, but also provides guaranteed up-front benefits for the public and support for the area’s landmarks.

The Greater East Midtown rezoning proposal began its public review process on January 3. The rezoning application will be considered next by the City Planning Commission, which must act within 60 days. From there, the plan will proceed to the City Council, which will have 50 days to review and act on the proposal.

Brewer to de Blasio administration on Garment Center: "Start over"

NEW YORK -- Despite a public outcry from garment industry stakeholders, the city's Economic Development Corporation forged ahead with an announcement this morning of millions of dollars in funding dedicated to moving garment manufacturing businesses from Manhattan to Sunset Park, Brooklyn while the Dept. of City Planning considers the repeal of zoning protections for manufacturing in Manhattan's Garment District.

Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer issued the following statement in response:
“While the Economic Development Corporation and Department of City Planning have been talking, I’ve been listening – to experts, academics, and stakeholders in the Garment Center.

“What I’ve heard is this: most of the manufacturers who are still in the Manhattan Garment Center are there because they need to be. The administration seems to have trouble understanding that.

“The entire fashion industry – from merchandizing to media to public relations to marketing – needs the designers. The designers need the manufacturers and suppliers. Without the manufacturers and suppliers as a foundation, the industry has no reason to be here.

“Many of the factories that can move further away already have. Today’s Garment Center is an ecosystem of collaborative businesses with highly skilled, hard-to-replace workers. A designer could visit a factory or workshop once, twice, or even ten times a day to make sure production is going correctly. Garments often pass through multiple workshops with different specialties before they are finished.

“So a plan that eliminates the Garment District’s zoning protections for manufacturing and moves some manufacturers to a remote neighborhood, adding hours or days to the production process and disrupting the ecosystem, sounds like a plan to push the industry out of New York City entirely.

“I don't object to city support for space in Brooklyn for garment manufacturers who may be better off there. But the city needs to ensure there continues to be space in Manhattan for the businesses that depend on proximity to the Garment Center.

“I urge the administration to start over.”

Letter to NYC Economic Development Corporation & NYC Planning Commission re: Garment Center Proposal

 Response from NYC Economic Development Corporation & NYC Department of City Planning re: Garment District

B.P. Brewer Statement on the Killing of Timothy Caughman

Timothy Caughman’s murder – the murder of a black New Yorker, targeted because he was black – is an outrage. We must not remain a country where people are assaulted and murdered simply for being who they are. Hate is a plague afflicting our country, and we are all responsible for fighting it.
B.P. Brewer Statement on the death of Jimmy Breslin

Jimmy Breslin made our city a better place because he made life worse for those who exploited, those who took advantage, those who were all talk. He would argue with me if I called him ‘classy’ but that’s a very good definition of class in my book.

His words were driven by his heart-- and it showed in thousands of newspaper columns and a handful of very good novels. He was born in Queens but his adopted West Side loved him nonetheless. That's because his anger and outrage were rooted in empathy.

My heart goes out to his wife Ronnie, his children and stepchildren and grandchildren.

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, hchu@manhattanbp.nyc.gov. 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 info@manhattanbp.nyc.gov.

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, MNN.org 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), NYXT.nyc (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 agoldston@manhattanbp.nyc.gov. 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.”

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