Our Priorities

The Manhattan Borough President’s office is committed to creating a more equitable, resilient, affordable, and healthy city for all New Yorkers.

Through advocacy, community engagement, nuanced policy development, and commitments to equity, empathy and inclusion, the office strives for transformative change for good that will make New York City a better place where all New Yorkers can thrive.

Longterm Priorities

A recovery that makes NYC stronger and more equitable

As we turn away from the darkest days of the covid pandemic and work on a the recovery from the devastation that the pandemic has wrought, we have a choice to make. We can either forge a borough that is more equitable, or we can go back to business as usual, further entrenching the conditions that have long exacerbated inequality in Manhattan.

At the Borough President’s office, we are committed to Manhattan coming back stronger than before. We can’t go back to a borough of health disparities, skyrocketing rents, and streets choked with emissions-spewing traffic. No, we’re working to ensure that Manhattan is a place of opportunity where no one is left behind. We’re fighting for every block in our borough to be greener, healthier, and more resilient than ever.

Small business economic recovery

Small businesses are the backbone of our economy, but they were struggling before the pandemic and are still working to get back on their feet. Small businesses will be key to our recovery, and it’s imperative that we support local storefronts and the businesses that make Manhattan unique. 

To bolster businesses that faced financial hardship during the pandemic, we launched the $2 million Manhattan Booster Loan Program. In partnership with the Hebrew Free Loan Society, this program offered $50,000 interest-free loans to small businesses across Manhattan to help them emerge from the pandemic on more solid footing.

Affordable housing

Manhattan and New York City aren’t just facing a shortage of affordable housing. We are facing a full-blown affordability crisis—arguably worse than at any point in our history.  

Market-rate apartments in Manhattan are now renting, on average, at an astonishing $5,100 per month. It’s not only low-income families who are getting priced out of our borough, but nurses, bus drivers, and teachers as well. Young people who’ve grown up in Manhattan increasingly feel that finding an apartment of their own here one day will be an impossible dream.  

For families on the margins, the consequences of the affordability crisis are dire. Soaring rents are one of the main drivers of the tragic increase in homelessness, which has now forced over 60,000 of our fellow New Yorkers into the shelter system. 

We are simply not building enough housing. And that means that in the furious competition for the few apartments that are available, the wealthy are winning out. Everyone else is getting left behind.  

Our office released Housing Manhattanites, a survey of more than 170 sites and nine neighborhood zoning updates that could produce more than 73,000 new apartments, 30,000 of which could be affordable.

We will all have to work together to address Manhattan’s housing emergency while also balancing the unique needs and history of every neighborhood. It won’t be easy, but it is absolutely possible.

Environmental resiliency

Climate change has already begun to reach Manhattan’s shores, streets, and skies, but we still have a chance to mitigate some of the worst consequences of the climate crisis.

Manhattan is an island, making it particularly vulnerable to rising sea levels, but even a decade after Hurricane Sandy, little has been done to protect against future flooding. That’s because dozens of different government agencies manage New York’s waterfront, and the red-tape stymies progress.

The Borough President’s office is steering the effort to establish an NYC Waterfront Protection Agency, which would lead the design, construction, management, and governance of coastal resiliency projects that are floundering in the current bureaucracy. 

Manhattan might be known as the concrete jungle, but trees are a vital part of our environment. Not only do they cool neighborhoods, but they also absorb stormwater, preventing flooding. That’s why we partnered with all the Borough Presidents to introduce the Million More Trees plan. By planting, restoring, and reforesting a million trees across the five boroughs by 2030, we’ll be able to drastically reduce heat in dangerously underplanted neighborhoods and catch more storm run-off, especially as temperatures and storms become more extreme.

And we must do more to make our city more sustainable. From calling for the expansion of curbside composting citywide, to better managing the way in which we collect our trash, the Borough President’s Office is pushing the city to ensure that New York City is preparing for a future that is more sustainable and environmentally friendly. 

Improving transportation

Getting around in Manhattan can be a nightmare. Gridlock as far as the eye can see. Buses moving at a snail’s pace. Train delays that feel interminable. Bikes having to dodge cars and pedestrians. Pedestrians struggling to find enough space on the sidewalk. Traffic related injuries and deaths on the rise. We deserve better than this. 

Our office is committed to making it easier and safer for New Yorkers to move around quickly and safely. We’re championing investments in modern mass transit and protected bike lanes. We’re fighting traffic by supporting congestion pricing and rethinking the way e-commerce deliveries are monopolizing our sidewalks, curbs, and streetscape. We’re building streets that are safe for every pedestrian, biker, and driver. 

Our Initiatives

With an active presence in neighborhoods, connection to policy experts, and extensive access to all levels of city government, the MBPO is positioned to advocate for the needs of our communities by forming and advancing public policies that will enhance the quality of life of the borough. 

These MBPO Initiatives are the core focus of Borough President Levine’s agenda to improve the borough and move Manhattan into its future. Visit each page to learn how you can get involved with our work.

9A  Bike Lane

9A Bike Lane

A dedicated bike lane on the West Side Highway that would separate cyclists from pedestrians and reduce carbon emissions
Cannabis Equity

Cannabis Equity

Centering the individuals and communities most harmed by the criminalization of marijuana as New York’s legal cannabis industry grows

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