District 2
Lower East Side, Alphabet City, Gramercy Park, Murray Hill

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District 2 - Margarita Lopez
237 First Ave (Suite 405), 10003
City Hall: (212) 788-7366
District: (212) 614-8751
Fax: (212) 614-8813

Committee Assignments:
Mental Health, Mental Retardation, Alcoholism, Drug Abuse and Disability Services, Chair Contracts, member
Environmental Protection, member
Finance, member
Higher Education, member

Bringing New Voices To City Hall

By Margarita Lopez

When I was first elected to represent the Lower East Side four years ago, I wanted to provide a voice for people with disabilities, a group whose human rights and needs have gone largely ignored in the city.

In 1999, I drafted a bill to create a new city agency to take up the cause of people with disabilities. This agency, which would have its own budget and would be run by a commissioner appointed by the mayor, would make sure that the city complies with all federal, state, and local laws. It would also address critical issues like housing and offer referrals to doctors, social workers, and transportation assistance so that people can get the services they need.

This new agency is sorely needed because the mayor's office for people with disabilities, which was created in 1973 and is not a full city agency, is inadequately funded and experiences frequent budget cuts.

These issues are critical in my district, which includes of neighborhoods of Murray Hill, Gramercy Park, and the Lower East Side. The only housing facility for disabled people is in my district and it is vastly under-funded. We also need to secure more space to build affordable housing for the disabled. There is a great amount of warehouse space in my district that can be renovated and made handicap accessible.

Unfortunately, the former Speaker of the City Council never allowed the bill to create a new city agency to be voted in the City Council. I will soon re-introduce the bill and call for its immediate consideration.

This year, the City Council has also broadened our vision and is reaching out to those afflicted with substance addiction. I was recently named the chair of a new committee on for Mental Health, Mental Retardation, Alcoholism, Drug Abuse and Disabilities. I believe that this committee will help people with disabilities and addictions to finally have a voice at City Hall.

Another one of my main concerns is the environment, particularly for the children who live in my district.

The air in my district is being polluted by what is allegedly a public service. Residents have pleaded with the Con Edison power plant on the East Side to clean up the harmful emissions from the plant's generators, but the cries and coughs of the community have been ignored. Con Edison is attempting to double the number of electrical generators at the 14th Street plant without improving the two old ones.

The number of severe asthma cases and asthma-related hospital admissions in my area are higher than in any other neighborhood in Manhattan except Harlem.

When we searched for the roots of the problem we needed to look no further than the appalling air environment in and around the public schools. Diesel exhaust from the school buses fills the air with carcinogens. There are still schools in my district with boiler rooms heated by coal. There are also unsafe chemicals used to clean the schools that cause reactions for some children.

I will undertake a project to go into the classrooms and better control the school environment to bring about a reduction of the asthma problems in the children. We also need to engage parents, teachers, and children to create a consciousness of what asthma is about and how to control it. The children need a school environment that is absolutely pollutant-free.

I am also dedicated to working to protect the human rights of New York's gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender citizens.

Last year, I helped pass a law to protect citizens from gender discrimination. This law made it clear that all gender discrimination, including prejudice based on an individual's sex, gender identity, appearance, behavior, or self expression violates the city's law. We will not tolerate New Yorkers who fire people from their jobs, refuse apartments, or deny services at city restaurants and stores because of someone's sexual orientation or gender identity.

This law is just the beginning of a battle we must continue to fight. We must continue to send the message that discrimination, prejudice, intolerance and bigotry threaten the rights and freedom of all New Yorkers.

Community Boards for District 2
Community Board No. 2
3 Washington Sq. Village,
Rm. 1-A, NY, NY 10012
(212) 979-2272
Ms. Aubrey Lees, Chair
Mr. Arthur Strickler, District Manager
Community Board No. 3
59 E. 4th St., NY, NY 10003
Ms. Lisa Kaplan, Chair
Ms. Martha Danziger, District Manager
Community Board No. 5
450 7th Ave.,
Rm. 2109, NY, NY 10123
(212) 465-0907
Ms. Kyle Merker, Chair
Ms. Kathy Kinsella, District Manager
Community Board No. 6
866 UN Plaza Ste. 308, NY, NY 10010
(212) 319-3750
Mr. Mark Adams Taylor, Chair
Ms. Toni Carlina, District Manager

Community Plans for District 2 (PDF format)
Waterfront Revitalization and Access Plan - East River Repowering Project (Community Board 6 and East Midtown Coalition for Sensible Development (EMCSD))

Waterfront Revitalization and Access Plan - Comprehensive Manhattan Waterfront Plan(Manhattan Borough President's Office)

Housing Revitalization Plan - Cooper Square Urban Renewal Area: Planning Study and Recommendations (Cooper Square Community Development Committee)

Ethnic Makeup and Political Registration

Ethnic Makeup

Political Registration

Public Schools

Elementary Schools

Middle Schools

High Schools

To find out what school district you live in, call the Board of Education at 718-935-2000 or link to Public School Reports

Police Precincts

Although many precincts cover areas solely within one City Council district, there are many which overlap with other districts. In most cases the overlap of precincts among districts is no more than a few blocks. Wherever there is overlap, we have made sure to alert you.

City Parks
Click thumbnail for larger image of parks in this district

Learn more about the condition of the city parks in your district at the New Yorkers for Parks (PDF file).

Community Gardens

Click for larger image
Find out more about community gardens from
the Council on the Environment of New York City

Historic Districts and Landmarks
Learn more about the historic districts and landmarks in this area.

The Waterfront

map listing suggestions for use and improvement of the waterfront in this district from the Metropolitan Waterfront
Alliance. (pdf format only)