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.

Locals and Officials to Brainstorm Improvements for Gritty Fourth Avenue

DNAinfo
01/14/2014

Fourth Avenue is an "unwelcoming" thoroughfare with a lifeless streetscape, and new luxury highrises aren't doing much to improve it.

Those are a few of the gripes local residents shared in a recent survey about Fourth Avenue, the gritty, industrial stretch on the western edge of tree-lined Park Slope where several residential towers have sprung up in recent years.

The Park Slope Civic Council will present the survey results at a Tuesday meeting where locals and elected officials will brainstorm an action plan for improving Fourth Avenue.

City Council members Brad Lander and Stephen Levin are scheduled to present their visions for the avenue's future, and residents, business owners and community groups will share their top priorities for the busy street. Read more »

A safer Albemarle Road

You asked. They listened.

The stretch of Albemarle Road in Kensington (between Ocean Parkway & McDonald Avenue) is a big safety concern for our community. Speeding is prevalent, putting pedestrians, cyclists, and drivers at risk. This year alone, there have been ten crashes on this corridor, including a two-car collision at East 2nd Street just last week.

After a year of community advocacy, I am happy to announce that New York City Department of Transportation has put forward a plan to improve safety along the street. Read more »

A Flood of Compassion … But Not Much Justice

By Lisa Cowan (Red Hook Initiative) and Brad Lander (New York City Council)

One year ago, Hurricane Sandy darkened the skyline and changed the lives of so many of our neighbors.  This week’s anniversary calls to mind the crowds who waited for food and supplies in Red Hook, the cars full of baked ziti and batteries dispatched to Coney Island, Staten Island, and the Rockaways, the gas station lines, and the rows upon rows of cots for hundreds of evacuees at the Park Slope Armory (and so many other places). Read more »

Remembering Sammy Cohen-Eckstein

I'll be honest. I wasn’t sure I could attend the Park Slope Participatory Budgeting Neighborhood Assembly on Thursday night. Like so many friends and neighbors, I was still shaken in the hours after the funeral for Sammy Cohen-Eckstein, who was hit by a van on Prospect Park West on Tuesday. It feels like our whole community was punched in the gut.

No words are going to help us comprehend this tragedy. But I wanted to share a little of what I’ve been thinking. Read more »

Eagle Clothes Sign Could Be Restored, U-Haul Says

DNAinfo
08/05/2013

The eagle could soar again.

The vintage Eagle Clothes sign removed last week from a Gowanus rooftop could once again grace the Brooklyn skyline, if the building owner can win permission from the Department of Buildings.

"We know that sign is important to the community, and we want it to continue to be part of the community in one way or another," said Stuart Shoen, executive vice president of U-Haul International, which owns the building on which the Eagle Clothes sign was placed in 1951.

He added, "U-Haul loves that sign and it's something we've been proud of since we’ve owned the building. If we didn't like it, we would have put up a U-Haul sign."

News of the Eagle Clothes sign's demise struck a nerve in Brooklyn, where many saw its disappearance as yet another symbol of the borough's march toward gentrification.

City Councilman Brad Lander wrote to U-Haul asking that the company restore the marquee to Third Avenue and Sixth Street. Lander offered to help U-Haul acquire the proper city permits to do so.

Lander said he was "saddened" by the sign's disappearance, calling it "a significant contributor to the unique character of the Gowanus neighborhood and one of the defining features of the Brooklyn skyline." Read more »

Lander sends letter to U-Haul urging preservation of Eagle Clothes sign

On July 30th, Councilmember Lander sent a letter to U-Haul imploring the company to restore the iconic Eagle Clothes sign. The sign is located on top of the U-Haul building at the intersection of 3rd Avenue and 6th Street and has been partially removed. Residents have petitioned to have U-Haul restore this cherished symbol from our past.

See the letter below.

  Read more »

Eyes on the Street: Bike Contraflow Over the Gowanus

StreetsBlog
07/26/2013

Reader Keith Williams, who blogs at The Weekly Nabe, recently got a few shots of the brand new contraflow bike lane in progress on Union Street. This project will add a sorely needed westbound bike connection across the Gowanus Canal — part of a route that jogs from Degraw, down to Union, then back up to Sackett.

The contraflow lane on Union is notable for a few reasons.

One, it came out of Council Member Brad Lander’s 2012 participatory budgeting process. In the end it wasn’t paid for with Lander’s discretionary funds (other projects got more votes), but because Lander put out the call for ideas, it got NYC DOT’s attention. So, chalk one up for community-based planning. Read more »

From the White House to the jail house – a busy week!

Lander and activists block traffic at the Brooklyn Bridge

This summer has been one of the busiest periods in my time on the City Council. While working to pass landmark legislation in the Council and protect our community institutions in the district

I had a number of exceptional experiences this week that I wanted to share with you. Read more »

Civil Disobedience to Defend our Hospital

Today, I was arrested while standing up to the illegal closure of Long Island College Hospital.

With LICH nurses and other workers from SEIU 1199 and the New York State Nurses Association, the National Action Network, and other community members, we blocked traffic to draw attention to the increasingly dire situation at the hospital.

Civil disobedience was central to many important struggles in our nation’s history, including in the civil rights movement. But the decision to risk arrest for what is right is not something I take lightly. Read more »

The real champions of change

I’m honored to be in Washington DC today to receive a “Champions of Change” award from the White House for work (along with Alderman Joe Moore from Chicago, and Councilmember Melissa Mark-Viverito from East Harlem) on participatory budgeting.

I’m excited to meet and learn from other elected officials, not-for-profit leaders, and community organizers who are pioneering new forms of civic engagement and open government (like Jessica Klein, co-founder of Rockaway Help, which created new technology tools to enable people to collaborate for disaster relief). 

But there is something not-quite-right about getting an award for something as inclusive as participatory budgeting (which The New York Times called “revolutionary civics in action”). The whole idea of participatory budgeting is to see elected office not as a vehicle for one person’s leadership, but as a way to bring people together to take shared responsibility.  The best part of participatory budgeting is how people step up together to act as stewards of the shared public realm – our schools, parks, public transportation, streets, libraries – that makes our life together possible, and sometimes even ennobling. Read more »