Livable Neighborhoods

Keeping our neighborhoods and communities safe, clean and engaged takes participation from all of us. Working together with area schools, local police precincts, civic and neighborhood groups, and local merchants and businesses we can ensure that all the neighborhoods of the 39th district remain friendly, safe and great places to live.

Carroll Gardens Rallies to Save Historic Kindergarten Building from Demolition

Brooklyn, NYC – A group of local elected officials, community leaders, residents, and preservation advocates rallied today and called on the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission to designate 236 and 238 President Street in Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn as New York City landmarks. The buildings are both historic treasures from the 19th century, and 236 President (the first freestanding kindergarden in Brooklyn) is at immediate risk of being demolished and replaced with an out-of-context 7-story condo building. Read more »

Saving Kensington Stables

Like many of you, I was horrified when I learned that Kensington Stables was at risk of being sold in bankruptcy court. This could mean losing Brooklyn’s last stables, and the end of horseback riding in Prospect Park. I made clear we would not support any redevelopment proposal that would eliminate the stables, which postponed the auction. Read more »

Statement of City Council Member Brad Lander on MTA’s Emergency Rescue Plan

 Statement of City Council Member Brad Lander on MTA’s Emergency Rescue Plan

A Good Start, but Nowhere Near Enough. Real Progress Will Require Significant, Long-Term Investment from Smart, Progressive Revenue Sources.

Read more »

Organics Recycling + Avenue C Plaza + Dome Playground = Summer in K/WT

Dear Windsor Terrace & Kensington Neighbors,

Summer is upon us! Along with some hot weather, here are three great things the new season is bringing to Kensington & Windsor Terrace:

Curbside Organizing Recycling Coming to Windsor Terrace & Kensington Read more »

Here’s what your neighbors are saying about Gowanus. What about you?

“The historic landmark bridge is fantastic – one of my favorite parts of the neighborhood.”

 “A volunteer-run emerging office complex with gallery & studio space, plus woodworking, printmaking & metal shops for artists and fabricators. Cool stuff happens here.” Read more »

Still and always, grateful

Some years, gratitude is closer to the surface. Some years, it takes a little more digging.

Four years ago, as Thanksgiving came, we were recovering from a natural disaster.

Hurricane Sandy had taken the lives of loved ones, and battered our city. There were 500 nursing home evacuees living on the drill floor of the Park Slope Armory. But we found – no, together, we made – a “paradise built in hell” (the title of a brilliant book by Rebecca Solnit, about the extraordinary communities that arise in disaster). With food, music, art, volunteers, bathroom-cleaning, doctors, donations, smart organizing, love, and a deep sense of purpose, we turned that Armory into a place (as described by evacuee Miriam Eisenstein-Drachler) of “courtesy, gentleness, and goodness beyond description.” Even if it could not hold back the hurricane, she said, “it makes one feel more secure and very, very grateful.”

Today, as Thanksgiving comes, we are trying to recover from a political disaster. While the lives lost and damage done by Hurricane Sandy cannot be directly compared, the experience of loss for many of us is still real. Not just that we lost an election, though that will have profound consequences. What feels especially painful to me today is the risk that we’ll lose a vision that we’ve been so proud to hold up for our kids – of a country called to its best self, rooted in compassion, embracing difference, with a real belief (even when we don’t make it real) that everyone deserves a more equal chance across all our lines.

That very dream, and the effort to make it real, provoked a sharp back-lash (a “white-lash”, as Van Jones rightly called it). At this moment, it seems easier to mobilize the darker, more closed, more resentful, sides of humanity – rather than the hopeful, open, embracing ones. I’m afraid, honestly, about what that means for being human.  

Still and always, gratitude is a critical part of the way forward. Not as a way of “feeling better” (although gratitude turns out to be good for your health). And not only because bitterness can consume us (although John Lewis reminds us that hearts full of love will do a lot better to sustain us for a long-term struggle). But also because gratitude for what we do together, for what we can’t do alone, for the ways we need each other, is at the heart of creating an inclusive community. “Organized compassion” is not only how we fight but what we are fighting for.

So, in that spirit, here’s some of what I am so deeply grateful for, still and always: Read more »

Join our Muslim neighbors for a peace & unity rally tomorrow

As New Yorkers, we were collectively saddened and angered by the horrific killing of Imam Maulama Akonjee and Thara Uddin last Saturday afternoon in Ozone Park. Our hearts go out to their families, to the Ozone Park community, and to the broader Bangladeshi and Muslim communities.

At moments when hate and violence threaten to disrupt the diversity and tolerance that are the bedrock of NYC, it is critical that we stand together.

So I hope you’ll join a “peace and unity rally” tomorrow, organized by leaders of the Bangladeshi Muslim community in Kensington, Brooklyn.

Peace and Unity Rally  
Sunday, August 21, 2016 at 3:00 PM  
Ave C Plaza
McDonald Avenue at Avenue C
(Near Church Avenue F train stop)
Kensington, Brooklyn Read more »

The future we want for Gowanus: help us get there

A few short years ago, the future for Gowanus looked bleak. The canal was toxic, with no plan to clean it up. Businesses were on the decline. New housing on 4th Avenue displaced existing residents, was zero percent affordable, and featured ground-floor parking garage grilles blighting the streetscape.

We’re making some genuine progress. Thanks to the EPA’s Superfund process, a real cleanup is on the way. New businesses are springing up – light manufacturing, artists, materials re-use, co-working, and more. We’ve got funding in the budget for new parks and schools.  

Now, we face new challenges. Real estate pressures threaten manufacturing businesses, artists, and affordable housing. Current trends will yield more hotels, self-storage facilities, and big-box stores which do little to strengthen our neighborhood. Long-term disinvestment in infrastructure means streets that flood, dilapidated public housing, and a continued need for schools, open space, and transit.

So the next steps – in shaping the future for Gowanus we want – are up to us. Read more »

Construction Begins on Park Slope Library Reading Circle and Storytelling Garden

Council Member Brad Lander, Friends of Park Slope Library, Community Members Celebrate External Improvements, New Public Amenities Funded Through PBNYC

Brooklyn, NY—Construction is underway on the new Park Slope Library Reading Circle and Storytelling Garden, Brooklyn Public Library announced today.

The project includes a storytelling amphitheater, community gardening space, paths and planters, a water fountain and more at the historic Carnegie branch. Pending approval by the city’s Public Design Commission and Landmarks Preservation Commission, the garden will also be home to a statue of beloved children’s book character Knuffle Bunny, the creation of author Mo Willems. The statue will be funded by the Friends of Park Slope Library. Read more »