Bring Back the B71 Bus!

When the MTA eliminated the B71 bus route that ran along Union Street in June 2010, they cut a vital transportation link for our neighborhoods. Students lost their route to school. Seniors lost the bus that took them to the grocery store and shopping on Fifth Avenue. The link up to Prospect Park, the Library, and the Brooklyn Museum, or down to Columbia Street and Brooklyn Bridge Park was severed.  

We fought hard at the time. Now -- with a growing number of families and businesses all along the route -- it's time to renew that fight.  

If you agree that we need the B71 back, sign this petition and join the campaign. Read more »

Composting is coming to Community Board 6!

Two years ago, the Department of Sanitation began a composting pilot program in a few neighborhoods around the city. Today I’m happy to share the news that the pilot has been so effective, it’s getting expanded again, this time to all of Community Board 6.

That means composting is now available in Cobble Hill, Carroll Gardens, the Columbia Waterfront, and Red Hook.  And starting in two weeks, organics collection will start in Park Slope (now including streets north of Union) and Gowanus (now on both sides of the canal). To see if this new area includes your home, check out the map on the Department of Sanitation website.

Sanitation will collect all food scraps (including fruits and vegetables, meat, bones, grains, and prepared foods), food-soiled paper, and yard trimmings from the new curbside bin twice a week on your normal trash day. Your organic waste will be composted and become fertilizer for gardens, parks, and street trees. Organic waste accounts for a third of all garbage created in New York City, so composting will really help reduce how much we send to the landfill.  Read more »

Reflecting on compassion after the Borough Park tragedy

Earlier this week, a horrible tragedy shook 13th Avenue in Borough Park, Brooklyn, where a building collapsed following an explosion. Ligia Puello and Francisca Figueroa were killed in the blast, and we are grieving with their families. Three pedestrians and a dozen firefighters were injured. Four small businesses were destroyed. And nearly 50 of our neighbors were displaced from their homes, and lost everything they own.  Read more »

Hurricane Joaquin – what you need to know to be prepared

As you know, there’s a chance that Hurricane Joaquin is headed our way. We don’t know its exact path, and hopefully it will head out into the Atlantic, rather than make landfall, as the most likely current forecasts predict (you can stay up-to-date via the National Weather Service, and the NYC Office of Emergency Management).

But since there is a real chance that the storm could hit near NYC, we should be ready. If the storm does hit, it would likely be Monday or Tuesday, so please use the weekend to make sure you’re prepared: Read more »

Tired of lines at the 7th Ave. Station?

Good news for many Park Slope commuters!  The MTA is moving forward with plans to reduce crowding and improve flow at the 7th Avenue F/G Subway stop. That means a smoother commute for the station’s 12,000 daily riders--many of whom are tired of standing in line every morning on their way in/out of the stop. Read more »

Protecting Workers in the “Gig” Economy

More and more workers here in Brooklyn (and far beyond) are being paid “by the gig” – freelance graphic designers, writers, and film producers, Uber drivers, cleaners, day laborers, and many more.

In plenty of cases, freelancing and “gig” work makes sense. It can allow consumers to arrange for on-demand services in ways not possible before, allow workers to set flexible work hours or earn extra money, and generate new economic activity.

But there’s a very real dark side. Freelance workers too often get cheated out of the wages and fees they are owed. Day laborers get misclassified and denied their rights as employees. Uber drivers lack the right to organize and collectively bargain with their corporate employer. Working by-the-gig provides much less job security than a traditional career – and it almost never provides health insurance, paid sick days, paid family leave, workforce development, or retirement security.

We urgently need creative thinking, new models, and some new laws to provide for worker protection and security in the emerging economy. Read more »

Whose visions for Gowanus? Come take a look.

You may have seen the recent New Yorker cover on Gowanus, in which artist Adrian Tomine makes fun of “people eating their organic kale and quinoa salads while gazing across the opaque, fetid water.” It’s a funny cover, and it’s good to be able to laugh at ourselves (and our neighbors). And there are certainly many ironic contradictions around the Gowanus Canal these days.   

But the issues we face in Gowanus are serious ones: How do we confront the legacy of industrial pollution, and the challenges of climate change and resiliency? How can we create inclusive neighborhoods – with room for working- and middle-class families, for public housing, for artists, for manufacturing – amidst skyrocketing real estate values? What’s the right balance of housing and jobs? Can we preserve, (or even strengthen) the mixed-use, eclectic, creative character of the neighborhood amidst change? Read more »

Public Art is Coming to Gowanus!

In your walks around Gowanus, you might have noticed a few more art pieces popping up over the last several months – like this colorful new mural on the side of the Dykes Lumber building, or the new "lounge area" at Ennis Playground.

These pieces, and several others throughout the neighborhood, are all part of a new Gowanus Public Art program that I’m launching with community partners at Arts Gowanus, the Old Stone House & Washington Park, and Groundswell. Read more »

Your Neighborhood Needs You!

Our 5th year of Participatory Budgeting NYC (PBNYC) is about to kick off, and we need your help! 

The PBNYC process gives New Yorkers the power to decide how to spend tax dollars in our neighborhoods. If you’re not familiar with PBNYC, here’s how it works: Read more »

Welcome Back to School

It’s a big day for NYC families as 1 million kids head back to school – including mine, who are starting 7th and 11th grade today (incredible how fast the years go, since it was just yesterday they were starting pre-K).

We’re starting off the school year with a lot of good things going on in our schools:

Read more »

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