| 2021 Primary Election Poll Site Accessibility Survey
My office and the Center for Independence of the Disabled, NY surveyed polling places during the June 2021 Primary Election to measure compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act requirements for accessibility. It’s clear that the Board of Elections has to do better: We found that more than 50% of the 45 surveyed sites were inaccessible. We've made suggestions that would ameliorate accessibility issues and ensure that all voters can cast their ballot, regardless of ability.
| Land Use & Zoning Action Guide for Religious Facilities
This action guide provides zoning and development guidance to the religious bodies in Manhattan, many of which are situated in high-demand neighborhoods yet face declining enrollments and increasing costs of their aging infrastructures. In 2019 I convened the Religious Facilities Task Force with representatives from houses of worship, community groups, and the real estate sector to think through how to help protect and preserve houses of worship, congregations, and neighborhoods. From that task force came this guide, which gives congregations the tools to be able to not only stay in place, but also preserve their building, including adaptive reuse of their structures.
| The Future of Open Streets
“The Future of Open Streets” visualizes six ways to redesign Open Streets, the program that closes streets to traffic to allow more space for pedestrians, cyclists, and restaurant goers, born of New Yorkers’ desire to safely spend time outdoors during the COVID-19 pandemic. Now that the City has made Open Streets permanent, the program must be improved to offer communities streets that cater to what they need today. The report uses cases studies of current Open Streets on University Place, Avenue B, Restaurant Row, Broadway, Pearl Street, and Pleasant Avenue.
| Report from the Sustainable Affordable
Housing Development Task Force
My 2020 Task Force on Sustainable Affordable Housing Development recommended thoughtful, workable strategies for developing affordable housing during the COVID-19 pandemic and economic downturn. The report explores using zoning and land use tools, distressed property acquisition, and financing strategies as methods for producing housing that truly meets the needs of New Yorkers.
| Saving Manhattan Small Business:
A Roadmap for Recovery
In 2019, I convened a Small Business Task Force that made recommendations for how local government can play a key role in supporting and strengthening our small business sector, especially storefronts. As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to exacerbate chronic struggles small businesses face, the task force’s recommendations are especially relevant.
| Steps to a more Age-friendly Manhattan
“Steps to a more Age-friendly Manhattan,” based on over 1,000 responses from senior New Yorkers, proposes dynamic solutions for addressing the needs of our older adults, researched and written in partnership with The New York Academy of Medicine. The report is part of my office’s Age-Friendly Manhattan initiative, covering everything from transportation to housing to community support and health services. With Manhattan’s 65+ population on track to increase 19% by 2030, these improvements are increasingly necessary.
| Police Reform Toolkit
This "Police Reform Toolkit" can aid the NYPD and local groups in formulating the reform proposals called for by Gov. Cuomo's Executive Order on Police Reform and Reinvention Collaborative, which came on the heels of the George Floyd and racial injustice protests during the summer of 2020.
| Broadway Storefront Vacancy Survey
My survey conducted in August 2020 showed a 78% increase in storefront vacancies along Broadway since my 2017 survey. This survey reflects both relentlessly rising rents and the pandemic’s devastating toll on businesses.
| Pedestrian Ramp Report
Our survey conducted in January 2020 showed a majority of pedestrian ramps leading to accessible subway stations in Manhattan are not ADA compliant, effectively rendering those stations inaccessible. This report makes recommendations for improving the ramps' conditions.
| Age-friendly guide to Manhattan supermarkets
My office surveyed more than 200 supermarkets across the borough to identify each store's senior-friendly policies and infrastructure. With this tool, you can find out which stores in your neighborhood offer amenities like wheelchair accessibility, delivery, public restrooms, escalators or elevators (for stores not at ground-level), senior discounts, and acceptance of SNAP/EBT.
| Residential parking permit plans in 7 cities worldwide: a survey
As congestion pricing in Manhattan approaches implementation in 2021, Manhattan residents are understandably concerned about the effects on parking in their own neighborhoods—especially just north of the 61st Street congestion zone boundary. Many believe a residential permit parking system would eliminate congestion pricing’s negative effects on dearly-held street parking.
|East Side Coastal Resiliency Independent Consultant Report
The East Side Coastal Resiliency (ESCR) Project is a coastal protection initiative aimed at reducing flood risk due to coastal storms and sea level rise on Manhattan's East Side from East 25th Street to Montgomery Street. This report, led by Dr. Hans Gehrels of Dutch consulting firm Deltares, reviews of the concerns surrounding the project.
|Unconnected: Results and recommendations from a survey of wifi internet in Manhattan public schools
Internet access is omnipresent in our world except, all too often, in Manhattan public schools-- as shown in this survey of wifi internet access in over 70 Manhattan schools.
|Who’s Caring: The State of School-Based Mental Health Care in NYC Schools
A report opening a window for parents and concerned New Yorkers into the city’s school mental health system. The result of this patchwork system, constructed to take advantage of a variety of funding streams, is a school system with only one social per worker per 800 Manhattan public school students, where dozens of schools go without a single full-time social worker or mental health professional on staff.
|Manhattan Supermarkets: How to Keep them Alive
A survey of Manhattan’s supermarkets and grocers with policy recommendations to stem the tide of supermarket closures. The report also includes the Age-Friendly Supermarket Guide, a census of senior-friendly features at 229 Manhattan supermarkets (including wheelchair accessibility, restroom availability, delivery costs, and any available senior discounts).
|New York City's Civic Innovation Fellowship: A program to empower Borough Presidents and Community Boards in the rapidly changing digital environment
The Civic Innovation Fellowship is a new program launched in 2014 by the Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, fusing her interests in technological advancement, Community Board improvement, and youth development in New York City. Program partners include the Manhattan Borough President’s Office, BetaNYC, the City University of New York (CUNY), and Data and Society Research Institute, with support from the Fund for the City of New York.
|ArtsForward: Closing the gaps in arts education in Manhattan public schools
New York State’s requirement that arts instruction be mandatory for every public school student is a powerful endorsement of the arts as an essential component of K-12 education. ArtsForward is the result of a Manhattan Borough President’s Office analysis of DOE Survey data applying to Manhattan schools. Data indicate that arts education across New York City is beset by significant compliance issues—the MBPO probed into Survey results to identify which Manhattan schools need help in delivering arts education to meet state requirements.
|Small Business, Big Impact: Expanding opportunity for Manhattan's storefronters
Launching a small business in New York City has never been easy. Over the past few years, however, the future of the city’s small businesses has begun to look murky. High rents, corporate competition, and real estate development deals are creating challenges over and above the ones small businesses typically face. This report is intended help more small businesses thrive and grow, because small businesses have historically provided the majority of jobs for New Yorkers and a gateway to the middle class.
|How Our Gardens Grow: Strategies for expanding urban agriculture
Thriving in the back lots, on the rooftops, and in the community centers and the schoolrooms of Manhattan's dense urban environment are more than 170 community gardens plus a vast array of food-producing hydroponics labs, greenhouses, and urban farms. The benefits of urban farming are many and well documented: residents gain a local source of fresh produce, healthier eating habits, and educational opportunities in STEM fields. This report offers recommendations for sustaining and boosting urban agriculture.
|Accessible Manhattan: Making sidewalks safe & navigable
Since its inception, Manhattan’s street grid spurred unprecedented economic development and personal mobility. However, crumbling concrete and potholes can make navigating the streets problematic even for abled-bodied New Yorkers. For the roughly 600,000 New Yorkers who rely on wheelchairs or walkers or have vision impairments, the dilapidated conditions of Manhattan’s curb cuts—sidewalk cutouts that, when in proper form, allow for a smooth descent into the street—are a serious concern. This report makes recommendations for correcting existing problems and ensuring that all future New York City curb cuts are fully ADA-compliant. (PDF)
|Improving Police-Community Relations
In Black and Latino neighborhoods of New York, being treated differently and often unfairly because of one’s racial identity is both a historical fact and contemporary reality. In recent years, various forms of racial discrimination in policing became systemic in the NYPD, and it took the Federal Courts to put a stop to some of it. This report reflects the testimony of over a thousand New Yorkers from town halls across Manhattan and Brooklyn, revealing the deep divide between NYPD officers and the communities they serve, and the desire for a renewed trust and respect on both sides.
|Unlocking the Grid: Strategies to Reduce Vehicle Congestion in Manhattan
Manhattan’s gridlocked traffic is as iconic as Central Park, the Chrysler Building, or the Museum of Modern Art—but a lot less pleasant to be stuck in. The volume of people, cars, trucks, and buses traveling our streets each day is massive, contributing to a host of problems for our borough. In September 2015, I called a public hearing and heard from constituents, advocates and experts. Their ideas, along with proposals for solutions, are an important part of this report.