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Brewer announces return of Fresh Food for Seniors Program for 2017

Seniors can buy fresh, locally-grown produce for just $8 per bag at senior centers, other participating sites
Today, Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer announced the relaunch of her Fresh Food for Seniors program for 2017, which will operate through November. The program makes bags of fresh, locally-grown produce available for purchase bimonthly at participating senior centers and buildings in multiple Manhattan neighborhoods.
“Access to fresh food, and especially fresh fruits and vegetables, is essential,” said Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer. “This affordable, low-commitment program makes it easy for Manhattan seniors to bring home delicious, healthy, locally-grown produce.”

"As the cost of living in New York rises, fresh fruits and vegetables can seem like a luxury," said Council Member Corey Johnson, Chair of the Committee on Health. "It’s crucial that we provide programs to assist those who built the city we love today to obtain the basic goods and services they not only need, but they deserve. I applaud Borough President Gale Brewer for creating and continuing this beloved initiative."
“The Fresh Food for Seniors program helps seniors get delicious, healthy foods in an affordable and reliable way—all while supporting local agriculture at the same time. It is a model for community programming that fits a local need and serves a broader good," said Council Member Helen Rosenthal. "I want to thank the amazing volunteers for making the program possible as well as Borough President Brewer for her continued partnership.”

The program is made possible by partnerships between the Manhattan Borough President’s Office, local City Council members, multiple senior centers and senior residences, GrowNYC, the Corbin Hill Food Project, the Doe Fund, and the UJA-Federation of New York.
Starting today, seniors can sign up to receive fresh food bags at locations in the West Village, Chelsea, Hell’s Kitchen, the Upper West Side, and Roosevelt Island. Later this summer, the program will also relaunch in multiple northern Manhattan neighborhoods, including Yorkville and East Harlem, Central Harlem, West Harlem, Washington Heights, and Inwood.
Locations and Delivery Dates
Hell’s Kitchen, Chelsea and West Village -- In partnership with Council Member Corey Johnson and GrowNYC

Delivery dates: July 5, July 19, Aug. 2, Aug. 16, Aug. 30, Sept. 13, Sept. 27, Oct. 11, Oct. 25, Nov. 8

Site open to all seniors:

Site open to senior center members only:

Upper West Side -- In partnership with Council Member Helen Rosenthal and GrowNYC

Delivery dates: July 12, July 26, Aug. 9, Aug. 23, Sept. 6, Sept. 20, Oct. 4, Oct. 18, Nov. 1, Nov. 15

Site open to all seniors:

  • Goddard Riverside: Senior Center
    Sign up: Mondays and Tuesdays, 1-3pm
    Pick up: Wednesday the week after signing up, 1-3pm

Sites open to senior center members and/or building residents only:

Roosevelt Island -- In partnership with GrowNYC and the Roosevelt Island Senior Center, a program of Carter Burden Network

Delivery dates: July 5, July 19, Aug. 2, Aug. 16, Aug. 30, Sept. 13, Sept. 27, Oct. 11, Oct. 25, Nov. 8
Site open to all seniors:

  • Roosevelt Island Senior Center
    546 Main Street
    (212) 980-1888

Northern Manhattan -- In partnership with Corbin Hill Food Project, The Doe Fund, and UJA-Federation of New York

Deliveries will begin August 2017; dates and locations to be announced.
Program will include Yorkville, East Harlem, Central Harlem, West Harlem, Washington Heights, and Inwood.

B.P. Brewer hosts Iftar Celebration for Ramadan

My office held its annual Iftar Dinner this past Tuesday, June 20, at my downtown office, where we broke fast with our Muslim neighbors, and celebrated local Community Board leaders. We were joined by Aisha Bah of the International High School at Union Square, who recited the Qur’an, and called to prayer by the imam of the Islamic Society of Mid Manhattan, Sheikh Ahmed Dewidar.

I was pleased to honor the following Muslim leaders on Manhattan community boards pictured above: Ahsia Badi of Community Board 6, Mahfuzur Rahman of Community Board 11, (not pictured) Shah Ally of Community Board 12, Natasha Kazmi of Community Board 7, and Aissata Camara of Community Board 6. This evening was a great celebration of faith and fellowship.

BP Brewer requests explanation & clarification of lifting of Stop Work Order for Rivington House

I have written to the Department of Buildings asking why a Stop Work Order was lifted at 45 Rivington Street, also known as Rivington House. I am also calling for the original Stop Work Order to be reinstated, given the uncertainty around the original transaction, as well as the hope that the site be returned to community use.

6-15-17 Letter to DOB Re Rivington House Stop Work Order

Brewer promotes free summer meals for kids with Friday Day of Action

Manhattan B.P. to greet commuters and deploy staff, volunteers to 82 schools with detailed flyers on how, when, and where to get free summer meals for kids

On Friday, June 16, Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer will lead a borough-wide Day of Action to provide parents and children with detailed information about free meals available this summer through New York City’s Summer Meals Program.

Brewer will personally greet commuters and hand out flyers promoting the program at the Broadway and West 96th Street subway station, starting at approximately 7:45 am.

“The Free Summer Meals available across Manhattan this summer are a crucial element in the fight against childhood hunger, but the program only helps if families know about it,” said Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer. “Every year my office creates and distributes detailed flyers in multiple languages, with neighborhood-specific Summer Meals sites listed, so Manhattan students and parents know where to go for healthy, free meals over the summer.”

The Summer Meals program is federally funded and serves free, nutritious meals for kids during the summer at hundreds of public schools, public pools and recreation centers, and other sites. For years, Brewer has enthusiastically boosted the program with flyering and outreach efforts. Brewer has also urged city officials to publish detailed information on the Summer Meals program earlier in the school year, before the start of exams and graduations, to make it easier to get detailed information to parents and families.

Friday morning, dozens of volunteers and staff will fan out to Manhattan’s 82 Title One elementary schools with flyers detailing when and where free meals will be available this summer.

Brewer's office produced and printed the flyers based on information recently obtained from the Dept. of Education and other city agencies.

The flyers, which are customized with Summer Meals locations and times in each of Manhattan's neighborhoods, will be available online in multiple languages, including English, Spanish, Chinese, and Arabic.

Independent Budget Office: old signals strand subways, but replacement is behind schedule more than half the time

NEW YORK – Responding to a request from Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer, the New York City Independent Budget Office (IBO) today released an analysis of MTA capital repair and improvement work on the New York City subway’s signal systems, finding more than half of signal projects are late and that signal work on the 7 (Flushing) line is more than 50 percent over budget.

All of the MTA’s subway lines except the recently upgraded L (Canarsie) line use antiquated signal systems that are unreliable and difficult to repair, and limit rail capacity even when they are working properly.

The IBO’s analysis found 19 out of 33 signal upgrade and repair projects in the MTA’s previous two capital plans were completed behind schedule or are still pending and behind schedule. In the current MTA capital plan, 14 signal projects were scheduled to begin by the end of 2017, but eight of these are delayed.

The IBO also found that the next line slated for completion of signal upgrades, the 7 line, is more than 50 percent over budget. The new signal system on the 7 line has an expected cost at completion of $405.7 million, up from an original budgeted amount of $265.6 million.

The number of subway delays has increased by 250 percent in the last five years, from 28,000 to 70,000 delays per month. Only two thirds of subway trains make it to their destination on time or less than five minutes late, whereas in 2012 more than 80 percent of trains hit that benchmark.

Despite the dramatic increase in subway delays and the consistent delays and budget overruns in signal upgrade work, capital funding has not kept pace with the system’s needs. Experts widely regard the signal system as a principal obstacle to improving both subway reliability and capacity, but the percentage share of New York City Transit capital funding devoted to repair and modernization of this system has declined in the past three MTA capital plans:

Percentage share of NYCT capital funds for subway signal repair and modernization:

  • 2005-2009 Capital Plan 20%
  • 2009-2014 Capital Plan 17%
  • 2015-2019 Capital Plan 14%

Moreover, more than half of this money is spent on repairs for the increasingly unreliable legacy signal system, rather than upgrading and replacing it.

Statement from Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer: “If the subway is New York City’s heart, then the mounting delays and catastrophic service failures we’re seeing are congestive heart failure, threatening the very life of our city. The subway’s antiquated signal system is a big reason why.

“In 1997 the deadline for all signal upgrades was set for this year. Today, only one line is finished, the 2017 deadline has been pushed back by 28 years to 2045, and The New York Times has reported that even the 2045 date ‘seems unrealistic.’

“This is intolerable. The city is doing its part. The mayor has increased the city’s contribution to the MTA capital budget. City taxpayers already pay a disproportionate share of the system’s costs. We’re now even using zoning policy to finance subway improvements.

“Our state government – which actually controls the MTA – must do its part by finding and appropriating the $20 billion needed to overhaul the signal system. “

I thank the professionals at the IBO for quickly preparing this analysis.”

The IBO’s full letter to Borough President Brewer can be downloaded here.

B.P. Brewer releases results of survey of empty storefronts on Broadway

188 street-level vacancies identified from The Battery to Inwood

NEW YORK—Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer today released results of a survey of vacant storefronts along the entire length of Broadway, conducted Sunday, May 21, 2017 by several dozen volunteers and interns organized by her office.  Along the 244 blocks of Broadway, from The Battery to Inwood, the survey identified 188 empty street-level storefronts.

“Empty storefronts can sap the vitality from a neighborhood if they are not reoccupied quickly,” said Brewer. “The normal ‘invisible hand’ of capitalism--old businesses closing and new ones quickly replacing them--too often doesn’t seem to work in Manhattan. Almost every neighborhood seems to have a storefront that’s been vacant for years. It can be a mystery, but I’m interested in solving the mystery and rejuvenating our streetscapes. This data will be the starting point in finding policy solutions to this problem.”

It was often hard for surveyors to discern the storefront’s status. Many were papered over, suggesting renovations or new tenants. Others had what appeared to be pop-up temporary stores in place. But too many were empty and fallow, with no signs of life.

Broadway was chosen subjectively, as a street that encompassed a cross-section of Manhattan neighborhoods, spanning the downtown Financial District to college-driven neighborhoods in the Village and Morningside Heights to ordinary ‘bedroom blocks’ of apartment houses with ground-level stores.

Methodology. Surveyors were each assigned a section of Broadway and asked to scrutinize every ground floor commercial storefront space to gauge whether or not it was vacant and to describe the details of its vacancy and, if possible, to identify what once stood in that space. Some storefronts still contained equipment or signage from the previous tenant. The list of addresses identified as vacant is downloadable here in PDF, XLSX, and CSV formats.

Following 31 percent spike in applications, Brewer announces 2017 Community Board appointments

Today, Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer announced this year's slate of appointments to Manhattan’s 12 Community Boards. The 328 appointments include 87 new members, more than a quarter of the appointments.

“Community Board members sit across the table from the most powerful real estate interests and city and state officials, negotiating for the public and shaping the future of their neighborhoods,” said Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer. “We had more than a thousand applications this year, the most we’ve ever had. While that made the job of selecting members tougher than it’s ever been, I’m excited that so many Manhattanites want to be civically involved.”

Today’s announcement marks the conclusion of the 2017 appointment process, which saw 1,030 applicants for Manhattan Community Board seats. Applications for Community Board membership increased by 31 percent in 2017.

The complete list of Community Board appointees for the 2017-2019 term will be made available on the Borough President’s web site today, at this page: http://bit.ly/ManhattanCB


Community Board members are appointed to staggered two-year terms, with half selected by the Borough President and half nominated by the City Council members representing each community board district. There are 12 Community Boards in Manhattan and 59 citywide.

B.P. Brewer statement on September 11 Memorial and Museum's announcement of a "permanent dedication" to honor 9/11 survivors, responders

For Release: Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer issued the following statement in response to the September 11 Memorial and Museum's announcement of a "permanent dedication" to honor 9/11 survivors and responders:

"It's good news that the 9/11 Memorial has agreed to honor 9/11 responders and survivors on the public site of the Memorial's grounds.  

"Just this past weekend, Firefighter Ray Pfeifer died from his 9/11-related cancer. 

"A monument to him and his co-workers on the pile, and the thousands of other injured and ill 9/11 responders and survivors whose lives have been impacted by the toxins at ground zero is a modest and long-overdue signal we can send to honor their sacrifices-- as I have been urging since becoming Borough President in 2014."

B.P. Brewer to FCC Chair: Undermining net neutrality could push American jobs overseas

Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer wrote to Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit V. Pai, arguing that undermining net neutrality would threaten jobs and undermine American tech-sector leadership.

"Businesses and innovators depend on equal access to the internet, where they are charged for the amount of data they can upload and download regardless of the type of data or that data’s point of origin or destination. And contrary to the assertions of some large internet service providers, there is no evidence that preserving net neutrality has reduced their incentive to invest in infrastructure," wrote Borough President Brewer. "Allowing internet service providers to price-discriminate based on ‘what kind of data goes through the pipe’ rather than simply ‘the size of the pipe’ will make our country a dramatically less attractive environment for investment and job creation in the tech sector."

The full letter is available here.

Net neutrality is the principle that all data on the internet should be treated the same by service providers, and that users cannot be charged different rates or given different levels of access based on the content of the data they are uploading or downloading, or the equipment or platform they are using.

Under Mr. Pai's leadership, the FCC is moving to unravel rules designed to protect net neutrality in the United States, including those classifying internet service as a basic telecommunications service and subjecting providers to Title II of the Federal Communications Code. This would produce a system that offers unfair advantages to incumbent businesses, stifles innovation, and fleeces consumers.

Brewer served as the founding chair of the New York City Council's Committee on Technology and authored New York City's 2012 Open Data Law. She is a noted leader on municipal engagement with and support for the tech industry.

B.P. Brewer's Remarks at Re-Lamping Ceremony for the Eternal Light Monument

Good morning. It is an honor to be here today, on the cusp of Memorial Day weekend, to celebrate relighting The Eternal Light Flagstaff- and the upcoming renovations around the monument.

I want to thank Madison Square Park Conservancy Executive Director Keats Myer, Board Chair Sheila It Davidson, Board Chair Emeritus David Berliner, our borough's Parks Commissioner William Castro, and Dan McSweeney, President of the United War Veterans Council for all their work to bring the Eternal Light back to life.

And Jonathan Kuhn, Director of Arts and Antiquities for the Department of Parks and Recreation, for his commitment to keeping all our city's monuments and memorials in prime condition.

I'm proud today that the office of the Manhattan Borough President will be putting $200,000 toward the landscape renovations for the Flagstaff, to help open up the settingg of the monument, and give it more of the prominence it deserves.

The Eternal Light Flagstaff was meant to be a vital marker of the sacrifices of New Yorkers in the Great War.

Dedicated in 1923, it takes us back to a moment when the remembrance of that war was steeped the glow of victory and shadowed by the sacrifices that had been made. And it was meant to reflect the decisive role of the nation in ending the war, and immense pride Americans felt about it.

Today's wars are fought far away and seemingly anonymously, but the Great War touched the lives of hundreds of thousands of New York families.

Local boys filled the city's own Division, the 77th or Liberty Division, and the battles inscribed here suggest the scale of our commitment: 1 in 6 of all Americans who fought on the Western Front came from New York.

Among the most honored of all New York regiments, their deeds unacknowledged here in stone, but certainly in spirit, were the soldiers of the 369th Infantry- the Harlem Hellfighters- who just a few years ago were finally honored with their own monument by the people of France, under whose flag they had fought for America when denied the right to carry the American flag.

When the boys came home to New York harbor, the city pulled out all the stops, with the first Armistice Day parade passing right here, our tens of thousands marching up 5th Avenue curb to curb, and New Yorkers packed ten deep to welcome them home.

Madison Square was not the first choice for a memorial, but a natural fit. Farrragut's monument had stood at the north end of the park for more than 40 years, and General Worth is across the way, interred beneath his obelisk in 1857. At the Worth dedication, Mayor Fernando Wood spoke for all of us today, and for all those we honor, when he said "We have a duty to remind the world that he belonged to us." So it is with the valorous dead honored here. And let us note that since 1923, that duty and our responsibility to remember has grown much larger.

For that reason such memorials are crafted of the most enduring materials, worked to the highest standards of their time. In a sense, they too aspire to history, and were meant to remain in the thoughts and hearts of New Yorkers forever.

But they also age more slowly than we do but just as fatally, and the way to keep their presence alive is, as we might say about the Eternal Light Memorial, through enlightened preservation.

I look forward to seeing this superb-work and embodiment of our history enhanced and preserved for years to come.

I join you in offering thanks to everyone who made this day possible, to those who are remembered here, and all New Yorkers who will take time to pause and acknowledge the true meaning of this and all other such tributes: "let us have peace."

Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer issued the following statement on the occasion of Haitian Flag Day:

“I extend my warm wishes for a happy Haitian Flag Day to New York’s Haitian and Haitian-American community. New York City is home to one of the largest and oldest Haitian communities in this country, and I am proud that our city is host to approximately 20,000 of the 50,000 Haitian nationals living in the United States with Temporary Protected Status (TPS).

“Today I sent a letter to U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly, urging the extension of TPS for Haitian nationals, which is due to expire July 2017. With Haiti’s UN military mission winding down and its infrastructure, agricultural sector, and food delivery systems still deeply compromised both by Hurricane Matthew and by the lingering effects of the 2010 earthquake, the United States must not cruelly and haphazardly force tens of thousands of Haitian citizens to repatriate immediately.

“I join Haitian-American community leaders and the Haitian government in urging that TPS be extended for at least 18 months.”

TPS is a designation applied to countries by the Secretary of Homeland Security when those countries are afflicted by conditions that prevent the safe return of their nationals from the United States. More information on TPS, including eligibility requirements, is available at the United States Customs and Immigration Service web site: https://www.uscis.gov/humanitarian/temporary-protected-status#Eligibility%20Requirements.
Brewer and Citizens Committee for NYC announce $22,740 in grants for community composting and highlight program’s success with visit to Lydia’s Magic Garden in East Harlem

Site tour shows off new program building bicycle-carried buckets for coffee composting and planned three-bin garden composting system

NEW YORK – Today, Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer joined the Citizens’ Committee for New York City and the Manhattan Solid Waste Advisory Board (SWAB) to announce 36 Community-Scale Composting Grant awards for community garden programs across the city in 2017. In a site tour following the announcement, members of Lydia’s Magic Garden / El Jardín Magico de Lydia and East Harlem business owners demonstrated the potential of the community-based composting programs funded by the grants.

“Composting is an important part of reducing waste and making our city more sustainable, and these grants have helped community gardeners lead the way,” said Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer. “Neighborhood-level composting brings communities together around sustainable practices, and spur innovations that can be replicated across the city.”

“Now in its seventh year, our community-scale composting grants are more successful than ever, increasing the number of volunteer-run compost drop-off sites in some of the most underserved neighborhoods of the city,” said Citizens Committee for New York City CEO Peter H. Kostmayer. “As always, we are grateful to Borough President Brewer and the Manhattan Solid Waste Advisory Board for their relentless dedication to the cause of zero waste. The grant program is just one piece of the puzzle. Still it clearly demonstrates that New Yorkers can take control of the nutrient cycle locally and sustain it over time.”

With assistance from the grant program, community gardeners at Lydia’s Magic Garden are building a three-bin composting system and spearheading a coffee composting program in the community, partnering with local cafés to pick up used coffee grounds and transport them to the garden for composting. To transport the coffee grounds, the group is building bucket carriers that can be attached to bicycle cargo racks. This innovative model can be replicated in other gardens for general compost pick-up. The project also addresses rat concerns in the neighborhood, because composting coffee grounds minimizes noxious odors that would otherwise attract rats. The Community-Scale Composting Grants program, now in its seventh year, began as an effort to challenge New Yorkers from all walks of life to embark or expand on community composting projects in neighborhoods across the city. Community garden groups, student groups, tenant and block associations, and other environmental groups are eligible to apply for micro-grants of up to $750 for investments in community-based composting programs. The all-volunteer, borough president-appointed Manhattan Solid Waste Advisory Board raises money for the grants. Citizens Committee supports the program by matching those funds and managing the program. All money raised goes entirely toward grants.

For 2017, 36 composting groups received a total of $22,740 in micro-grants ranging from $200 to $750. Since the grant program's inception in 2011, 216 grassroots groups (including Title I school groups) have received more than $137,000 to create or enhance composting bin systems and community composting programs.

A list of this year's grantees can be downloaded here.

B.P. Brewer, Deputy Mayor Alicia Glen, and Council Member Corey Johnson Announce Formation of Garment Industry Steering Committee

BP Brewer with panelists at Urban Manufacturing Conference held in the Garment Center's High School of Fashion Industries

Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer, New York City Deputy Mayor for Housing and Economic Development Alicia Glen, and Council Member Corey Johnson today announced the formation of the Garment Industry Steering Committee.

Following the pattern of the successful East Midtown Steering Committee, this new group will be chaired by Borough President Brewer and will meet for three months with the following objectives:

  • Engage stakeholders in the Garment District and New York’s fashion and garment industries;
  • Devise a plan to ensure sufficient long-term space in mid-Manhattan remains available for garment manufacturers in the years to come; and
  • Expand upon the City’s existing plans for boosting the garment manufacturing industry.

The Department of City Planning will begin the formal review process for zoning changes affecting the Garment Center at the August 21 City Planning Review Session, after the steering committee makes its recommendations.

Statement of Borough President Gale A. Brewer:

“I’m thrilled to work with the administration to support the Garment Center. I expect by late August we’ll have a plan we can all be proud of.

“We all want the same thing: a thriving garment manufacturing center as the foundation for New York City’s continued success as a global fashion industry capital. We all also agree that the manufacturing preservation requirement in the Garment District’s zoning has been a flawed mechanism for actually protecting garment manufacturing in Manhattan.

“The one thing experts and business owners keep telling me is this: the Garment Center is a complex web of businesses that fit together. Some may be better off in Brooklyn, but some need to stay in Manhattan – and we must maintain a core of manufacturing space in Manhattan for them to do so. We need to determine how much space is necessary and the best way to acquire or preserve that space.

“Our steering committee will gather experts and representatives from all major stakeholders – manufacturers, labor, designers, and more – to examine the data, hear from everyone, and achieve consensus.

“The bottom line is that we already agree on a lot, and there’s a little more homework we need to do.”

B.P. Brewer asks: Is city enforcing law against selling illegal e-bikes, or just ticketing New Yorkers and businesses after they buy them?

Last week, Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer sent a letter to Consumer Affairs Commissioner Lorelei Salas, Police Commissioner James O'Neill, and Transportation Commissioner Polly Trottenberg, asking what the city is doing to enforce its law against selling 'motorized scooters' like electric bicycles.

Brewer was prompted to look into this issue by complaints from Manhattan residents like Rigoberto Fernandez Estevez. Mr. Fernandez was sold multiple electric bicycles by a brick-and-mortar business within the city limits, and then later was shocked to learn that not only was these vehicles' use on city streets illegal, but in fact selling these vehicles in the city is illegal as well. Mr. Fernandez did not find this out until after NYPD enforcement action resulted in confiscation of the vehicles and multiple $500 fines.

"We have a law against driving these vehicles on city streets, but we also have a law against selling them," said Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer. "New York residents and businesses who were illegally sold these e-bikes at New York City retailers are right to be frustrated when the city then turns around and fines them for driving them. We need robust enforcement on retailers illegally selling these vehicles, so more New Yorkers don't fall into this trap."

In the letter, Brewer requested a summary of public education and enforcement activities relating to both laws, and asked whether the city is targeting restaurants and small businesses, rather than retailers, as the 'most visible violators of the law'. Prompted by e-bikes' and scooters' prevalence with smaller, immigrant-owned businesses for use as delivery vehicles, Brewer also asked if the agencies had made public education materials available in multiple languages.

Watch the NY1 Noticias story on e-bikes.

B.P. Brewer announces $620,000 to fully fund air conditioning for High School of Fashion Industries auditorium

NEW YORK – The High School of Fashion Industries will finally be able to reclaim its beautiful, Works Progress Administration-era auditorium from 'brutal' summer temperatures, thanks to a $620,000 capital allocation from Borough President Gale A. Brewer fully funding installation of an air conditioning system.

Brewer announced today that the funding will be included in the Fiscal Year 2017-2018 city budget. The news coincides with her visit to the school with Mayor Bill de Blasio this afternoon to greet students and parents and celebrate the mayor's commitment to fund air conditioners for every public school classroom by 2022.

"This school was built before air conditioning existed, but in the 21st century there's just no reason our school spaces should be stiflingly hot for months out of the year," said Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer. "A school's auditorium is an essential space both for students and for the neighborhood, so it needs to be usable year-round. Just like I keep saying the arts aren't optional, spaces for the arts, performances, assemblies, town halls, and community events aren't optional either."

"I'm thrilled that Borough President Brewer is committing funding to put air conditioning in the auditorium at the High School of Fashion Industries," said Mayor Bill de Blasio. "This funding, coupled with the city's promise to put air conditioners in every classroom, will help ensure students can learn in a safe, comfortable environment."

“We applaud the Borough President's commitment to funding for air conditioning in the auditorium at this school," said Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña. "Along with the City's commitment to install air conditioning in every classroom, this funding will ensure that students at Fashion High School are able to learn in a safe and comfortable environment and take full advantage of all the exciting programming their building has to offer, even during the summer months."  

"We have the largest school auditorium in Manhattan, but for months at a time it's intolerably hot," said High School of Fashion Industries Principal Daryl Blank. "I'm thrilled that our students and the broader community will all finally be able to enjoy and use this beautiful space year-round."

The High School of Fashion Industries' auditorium is Manhattan's largest high school auditorium, seating approximately 1,200. The space is lined with original murals depicting the American immigrant experience, dating back to the school's construction during the New Deal.

In addition to serving the traditional functions of any school's auditorium, the space is a venue for showcases of Fashion Industries students' design and production work. The auditorium also functions as a graduation venue for multiple Manhattan public schools and as a public meeting space.

Keeping Manufacturing in NYC, and a functional garment center ecosystem

Our office hosted a symposium on the “Future of Manufacturing in NYC—the Garment Center and Beyond” at the High School of Fashion Industries on April 24. Local residents and industry stakeholders—labor, business owners, and building owners came together to listen to two panels:

What urban manufacturers are making today, and how zoning can help or hurt them. Moderated by the Pratt Institute's Adam Friedman, featuring Sara Romanoski of Townsquared, Armando Moritz-Chapelliquen of the Association for Neighborhood Housing and Development, and Jessica Spaulding of the Harlem Chocolate Factory.

The New York City garment ecosystem, how it works, and how to protect and strengthen it. Moderated by the Design Trust's Susan Chin, featuring garment industry and Garment Center neighborhood stakeholders including fashion designer Yeohlee Teng, garment manufacturer Joseph Ferrara, garment workers union leader Edgar Romney, garment manufacturer George Kalajian, Theatrical Wardrobe Union member Steve Epstein, and Garment District Alliance executive director Barbara Blair.

Following lively panel discussions, audience members joined break out groups to brainstorm manufacturing preservation efforts. I’m dedicated to keeping a hub of manufacturing at the Garment Center – as a way of keeping skilled jobs in our borough and our city.

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