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.

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 »

Call Governor Cuomo - don't close our community hospital!

Brooklyn needs LICH and Governor Cuomo’s support is essential. He oversees the Department of Health and SUNY, the two agencies that are putting LICH’s future in question.

We need you to call on Governor Cuomo to urge the Department of Health to reject SUNY’s closure plan, immediately stop the closure of all departments, and require SUNY to continue operating the hospital until a new provider is identified.

Call Governor Cuomo at (518) 474-8390. Read more »

Brooklyn officials storm LICH, protest SUNY’s closure plan

Brooklyn Daily Eagle
07/19/2013

Long Island College Hospital (LICH) doctors say they've been told by SUNY Downstate administrators to transfer all their patients out by Friday so that LICH could be shut down by Sunday.

Dr. Alice Garner, head of the neonatal unit at LICH, said “I received verbal orders that we are to transfer all patients by tomorrow so they can shut us down by Sunday. We did not receive one written word to substantiate this. We were told the surgical areas and the G.I. suite will be closed tomorrow in direct violation of the restraining order, putting the community at risk.” Read more »

Hicks Street turns a corner

Thanks to sustained community leadership, Hicks Street is finally a bit safer. What has been a dangerous and disruptive speedway is now a few steps closer to being a safe and neighborhood-friendly street for Cobble Hill and Carroll Gardens. Read more »