Columbia Waterfront

What We're Thankful For

It’s easy to be cynical about Thanksgiving – to get lost in excesses of turkey and pumpkin pie and “black Friday” consumerism.  The holiday’s history is complicated (as my daughter, who is studying Westward Expansion, keeps reminding me), rooted in a moment when our young country was disenfranchising Native Americans who were already here. Read more »

We want your ideas

Two years ago, we tried something new. New Yorkers were given the power to decide how to spend tax dollars on projects in their neighborhood.

That idea, Participatory Budgeting, has been a huge success. Thousands of neighbors have given ideas, joined committees to develop proposals, and come out to vote. Based on your votes, we’ve funded 15 projects. And, even more importantly, we’ve seen a new excitement for local democracy. The New York Times called it “revolutionary civics in action.” And now participatory budgeting has spread to nine City Council districts across the city. 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 »

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 »

Our City's budget, and our values

Last week was a busy one at City Hall. We passed two important police reform bills (more on those here), overrode the mayor’s veto of legislation that will guarantee paid sick days for a million more New York workers, and we passed the City’s FY2014 budget, for the fiscal year that begins today (for good measure, we also passed a bill to “save brunch,” which had apparently become threatened due to an outdated law).

In budget negotiations, we were able restore the essential public services proposed for cuts by Mayor Bloomberg. Libraries will keep their full hours. Low-income families will keep their childcare. Our neighborhood firehouses, parks, and pools will remain open. You can access all the details of the City’s FY2014 budget here, and on those areas where the Council focused on restorations and additions here. Read more »

The power of our students’ imagination

With the end of each school year, I am moved by what extraordinary places our public schools are.  To me, there is no better celebration of democracy than a fifth grade graduation: rooted in the idea that every single student has the potential to achieve their goals and has the right to get a real opportunity to try, that equality and diversity matter, and that we get there by organizing ourselves together, in shared, common, public schools. Read more »

More Steps Toward a Greener NYC

A cleaner environment starts at home – by reducing waste and saving electricity – but it also requires taking action together.

Environmental sustainability has been a priority for me at the City Council and in our neighborhoods. I’ve fought for a cleaner Gowanus Canal, reduced cruise ship pollution on our waterfront, greener building and zoning codes, and expanded recycling.

But Hurricane Sandy was a wake-up call that the realities of climate change are here, and we have to do more. Please join me this summer as we take steps for a greener New York City. Read more »

Great news: SUNY withdraws plan to close LICH!

Statement of NYC Council Speaker Christine Quinn, Members Brad Lander & Stephen Levin

“We are relieved and happy to learn that SUNY Downstate Medical Center withdrew its proposal to close Long Island College Hospital. This is an incredible victory for Downtown Brooklyn and its residents. Read more »

DOE to replace PS 146 lights to prevent PCB exposure

Thanks to the activism of parents, New York Communities for Change, and elected officials, DOE has agreed to replace the light fixtures at the Brooklyn New School (PS 146) and MS 448. 

After leaks were discovered in the school's light fixtures last year, parents rallied to have the fixtures replaced. Light fixtures installed decades ago can leak toxic PCBs, a health risk for students. Read more »

And the winning projects are...

What a weekend!

Yesterday, we wrapped up our second Participatory Budgeting vote - the culmination of a process that empowers New Yorkers to decide how tax dollars are spent on projects in their neighborhoods. Read more »