Park Slope

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 »

Elected Officials & Families of Seniors Denounce NYS Department of Health for Abandoning 90-Year-Olds, Seeking to Force Their Eviction

NYS DOH Refusing to Advance Funds Needed for Safe Building Operation to Receiver Whose Appointment They Requested

BROOKYLN, N.Y. – Monday morning, Council Member Brad Lander, Public Advocate Letitia James, families of seniors living at Prospect Park Residence, and concerned community residents gathered outside the Brooklyn Supreme Court to denounce the failure of the NYS Health Department and Governor Cuomo to protect the elderly residents remaining in the building. For the past year, NYS DOH has failed to protect residents – despite repeated court orders – from the contemptuous management of owner Haysha Deitsch, who has consistently worsened building conditions (including downgrading security, firing all cleaning staff, and serving spoiled food) while attempting to force residents out, in order to sell the building for luxury housing.

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Tell Governor Cuomo & NYS DOH that they must not abandon PPR seniors – Protest Monday AM

It’s been a long and frustrating fight for the seniors still living at Prospect Park Residence (PPR), but it’s not over yet. Unfortunately, we learned today that Governor Cuomo and the NYS Department of Health are proposing to abandon them.

Please join us Monday morning to show your support for our elderly neighbors. Read more »

Results are in…PBNYC Project Winners!

During Participatory Budgeting (“PBNYC”) voting week close to 2,700 people showed up to take part in expanding democracy and supporting our neighborhood.

Residents from across our district turned out by the hundreds to vote at schools and community spaces and at pop-up locations in parks and plazas. We held polling places at senior centers, the mosques in Kensington, the Little League Parade, and Mayor de Blasio even dropped by PS 282 in Park Slope to cast his vote. Best of all, we opened up the process to 14 year olds this year too!

Without further delay, the 2015 winning Participatory Budgeting projects are … Read more »

Statement on Development Plan for the Pavilion Theater

I am distressed by Hidrock Realty’s plan – reported this morning in the Real Deal – to close our neighborhood movie theater, the Pavilion, for luxury housing. The Pavilion is a long-time local fixture, open to neighbors of every generation. My family has enjoyed countless movies there, and our kids have been able to walk there with their friends. Even in its somewhat-faded glory, the Pavilion is a part of growing up and being a family in Park Slope. Read more »

Victory at the Carwash!

I’m very excited to share with you some good news from the carwasheros at Vegas Auto Spa. Earlier today, they announced a landmark new contract and the end of their four-month long strike. The workers will be off the picket line and back at work on Monday.

The new contract includes wage hikes, strong worker protections like paid time off, sharing of hours and overtime, protections for immigrant workers, and a $1,500 per-person signing bonus. The owner also agreed to settle a suit the workers filed for wage and hour violations. It’s an all-around win for the brave workers who so courageously put their jobs on the line, and another win for low wage workers everywhere. When workers stand up for better treatment, their actions have echo effects that stretch far beyond their shop. Read more »

Statement on Incident at Park Slope Collegiate

Statement from Council Member Brad Lander on Incident Involving Park Slope Collegiate and Student Safety:

"I'm deeply distressed by last Thursday's incident at Park Slope Collegiate on the John Jay Educational Campus. I reached out immediately to the Police Commissioner’s office, and was assured that the incident is being investigated by the NYPD's Internal Affairs Bureau and the Investigative Unit of the School Safety Division. I’ve also been assured that it has also been referred to the civilian complaint review board. I will be following up to make sure that there is a thorough investigation and real accountability.

I have long been opposed to the placement of metal detectors on the John Jay campus, and this incident shows once more why it is time for them to go. Our schools must be a place where our kids are safe, but we can't achieve that by treating students like criminals, especially when there is already a deep disparity between which schools have scanners and which don't. Read more »

Participatory Budgeting – Our Biggest Year Yet

If your neighbors gave you $1.5 million dollars, what would you change about your neighborhood? Safer streets and sidewalks? Subway station upgrades? Improvements to one of our much-loved parks or public libraries?It’s almost your time to decide.Over the last several months, your neighbors have been considering these questions. Our volunteer “budget delegates” have reviewed hundreds of ideas that you suggested and put together a slate of a dozen potential projects. Now, we’re turning it over to you to decide which ones will be funded and implemented in our neighborhoods.This year I’m increasing my commitment to “participatory budgeting” from $1 million to $1.5 million – more funds than ever before. But the process only works if you take part.So make sure you pledge to vote in this year’s election, between April 14th and April 19th. Read more »

Why I was arrested today

Over the past few months, our community has supported the struggle of the carwasheros at Vegas Car Wash on 19th Street in Park Slope. We have stood with them as they have demanded repayment of $1 million in wages stolen from them, organized to form a union, and demanded a simple, fair contract (to read about the unfair practices these workers are protesting, read my previous post or this  WNYC article).

They aren’t demanding anything extravagant. Even with a contract, these will still be low-wage jobs. They just want – no, they just insist – on being treated like human beings, with some basic dignity.

After seeing the carwasheros newly-formed union denied, their conditions worsen, and their presence day-in-and-day-out at the picket lines throughout a freezing cold winter, I can no longer remain on the sidelines. Read more »

Holding Reckless Drivers Accountable

Across our neighborhoods, we’ve witnessed too many tragedies where reckless drivers have killed or seriously injured neighbors and loved ones. The three young teens who were students at MS 51 (Sammy Cohen-Eckstein, Joie Sellers, and Mohammed Naiem Uddin) are not the only pedestrians killed in our district over the past few years. Others have been seniors, workers at local businesses, and young people just starting their careers.

We’ve made a lot of progress since Mayor de Blasio launched “Vision Zero” last year. Pedestrian deaths in 2014 were the lowest in a century. But there’s still a long way to go, toward our goal of a city without senseless traffic deaths. Read more »