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.

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 »

Moving Forward with Pedestrian Safety Changes in Kensington and Windsor Terrace

We've been hard at work improving pedestrian safety in Kensington and Windsor Terrace. Here are some of the most significant improvements from the summer: Read more »

Op Ed: In Defense of Plazas, from Times Square to Brownsville

As posted in Gotham Gazette:

by Brad Lander, Daniel Dromm, & Laura Hansen

Police Commissioner Bratton's suggestion to remove the Times Square plazas in order to rid them of desnudas is not just about the future of one of the world's best public spaces. This regressive response could undermine a policy that has transformed New York's public realm.

Pedestrian plazas are an inexpensive, effective way to advance Mayor de Blasio's agenda for a more equitable city, addressing the essential tenets of his admirable OneNYC Plan. They improve public safety, promote health and wellness, cultivate arts and culture, create new open space (30 acres so far), and generate economic activity. Miles away from the crowds on 42nd Street, dozens of New York City neighborhoods have embraced their plazas and the civic benefits they deliver. Read more »

Statement from Council Member Brad Lander on Pavilion Theater Project

“I appreciate and support Hidrock Realty’s commitment to preserve a movie theater as part of their redevelopment of the Pavilion. 

When news broke this spring that Hidrock was planning to eliminate the movie theater – and replace it with generic ground-floor retail as part of their conversion of the building into condominiums – I voiced my concern loudly. There’s been a movie theater on the spot for over 100 years, and a neighborhood movie theater is one great part of Park Slope. My family has enjoyed countless movies there, and the idea of losing a theater altogether was painful to so many of us. Read more »

What’s next for the LICH site?

Together with so many of you, I fought hard against the closure and sell-off of Long Island College Hospital. We protested together in snow, heat, and rain, took over SUNY board meetings, engaged in civil disobedience, went to court to block a process that was rife with flaws and appeared rigged, and appealed over-and-over to Governor Cuomo.

Unfortunately, we were not able to block the sale. Governor Cuomo, the NYS Department of Health, and SUNY turned their backs on our neighborhood. They closed the hospital, and sold the site for the most money they could, without regard for our neighborhood’s needs. 

But Cobble Hill did come together as a united community – and we are going to need that unity even more in the days ahead.  Read more »

A Few Thoughts on the "Zoning for Quality and Affordability" Plan

I've heard from many of you about the NYC Department of City Planning’s “Zoning for Quality and Affordability” (ZQA) text amendment proposal. The Park Slope Civic Council and other civic and preservation organizations have also shared their opinions with me, and asked me to take a position on the proposal.

Most of the attention in the civic and preservation communities has focused on the element of this proposal that would allow height increases of 5’ to 15’ in contextual districts, with no requirement of affordable, senior, or supportive housing. Read more »

Why I support Mayor de Blasio’s 421-a reform proposal

(along with stronger rent laws, a mansion tax, and a real strategy for lifting up workers)

For more than a decade, I’ve been fighting to reform New York’s “421-a” property tax-exemption – which has long been a far-too-generous giveaway to developers, too expensive to NYC, unnecessary to encourage development, and generating far too little affordable housing. Read more »