GOTHAM GAZETTE: SEARCHLIGHT 2002: District 6

District 6 - Upper West Side



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District 6 - Gale Brewer
563 Columbus Ave, 10024
City Hall: (212) 788-6975
District: (212) 873-0282
Fax: (212) 513-7717
Email: brewer@council.nyc.ny.us

Committee Assignments:
Technology in Government, Chair of Select Committee
General Welfare, member
Higher Education, member
Housing & Buildings, member
Mental Health, Mental Retardation, Alcoholism, Drug Abuse & Disability Services, member
Parks & Recreation, member


Excitement, Challenge, Balance

By Gale Brewer

It is an exciting time to be a new member of the City Council. Every Monday night those of us who are participants in the Fresh Democracy Council meet to promote changes in the rules that will make the Council run more democratically (with a small "d"). We propose beefing up the committees, giving them more to do, and allowing the individual members to participate more. At the same time, this will make the Speaker stronger by giving him or her a membership that is involved and is working together. We have already produced tangible results, such as the first-ever public forum featuring the candidates for Speaker of the City Council, an event that brought sunshine to a process known to be carried out behind closed doors. With just a week of organizing, a crowd of 500 New Yorkers from all over the city packed the room at the headquarters of the union, SEIU 32BJ, and stayed after the forum to share their excitement that a new, diverse Council is opening its process to the public. Councilmembers-elect asked questions regarding rules changes and the positions of the seven candidates (there are eight; one was out of town); the answers were interesting and varied, and the audience reacted with enthusiasm

Such forums are part of my vision for the City Council and for the sixth district on the West Side of Manhattan. One of the aftermaths of the horrific tragedy of September 11th is that more people are participating in community, civic, political and social events that they see as relevant to their lives. Even the local holiday parties hosted by groups in neighborhoods are better attended than last year. People want to share experiences and to be part of the planning for an uncertain future. I have always welcomed and encouraged greater input from all segments of the community and I am pleased to be part of a process that will lead to more empowerment for residents and their elected officials.

Few of us envisioned the budget crisis that we now face. I thank Baruch College School of Public Affairs, the Speakers office, the City Project, the Working Families Party and many other groups that have briefed the new members and provided budget materials. Some have suggested ways in which the budget cuts could lessen the impact on people who need government services the most.

In certain cases this budget crisis has already hit that population. I recently met with the staff of the West Side Single Room Occupancy Law Project, and they report that they are stopping all intake for people who have housing problems; the director is issuing pink slips due to the budget cut to the program. This is a vulnerable population lots of low-wage individuals live in hotels and they often confront eviction and harassment. The Law Project helps them to remain in their affordable housing, and therefore reduces the potential impacts on other city services.

There are other cuts on the mayors hit list that impact all New Yorkers for example $114 million of these include services such as libraries, CUNY scholarships and many local programs funded by the Council. And these cuts are only a small part of the $1.3 billion shortfall. Restoring cuts to essential services and closing the gap without hurting those most in need must be a top priority for me and my colleagues. Education remains a critical issue for everyone. I have visited several schools on the West Side this week and can report increased challenges from even the start of the school year. For example, paraprofessionals in the kindergarten were cut in September, saving $1 million in Community School District 3. Some schools have been innovative about putting more staff into the classroom; one school made certain that some children who had previously been in special education were appropriately mainstreamed into classrooms lacking a paraprofessional, because these children are often accompanied by a para who can assist both the child and the class as a whole. However, all schools face losses of library hours, reading teachers, supplies, program coordinators, and arts programs. The after-school program needs continuing support as well. I look forward to addressing these issues with the entire school community, and to being innovative about focusing community support and seeking grants for targeted opportunities.

I envision a city that includes high quality education, affordable housing, jobs with benefits and living wage salaries, open space for all, sound public health policy, cultural, youth and senior program opportunities, and secure communities for individuals and families. I believe strongly in the protection of human rights and oppose all forms of discrimination. Following September 11th there is need for reconstruction on a grand scale but our rebuilding efforts must include the five boroughs. We must ensure that city agencies work closely with communities to improve service delivery and the private sector must strengthen its ties with the neighborhoods to improve job opportunities and enhance market share. I will work to bring down barriers that keep us from these goals, and my thirty-year experience in public policy gives me a strong background for doing just that.

The newly elected government has started off positively. Mayor-elect Mike Bloomberg invited the City Council members to his home for a reception, and said that he will meet quarterly with us to discuss substantive issues. Public Advocate-elect Betsy Gotbaum is inviting city and state women elected officials to discuss legislative priorities. In addition, out-going Councilmember Ronnie Eldridge has sponsored a forum to ensure that women's issues remain in the forefront citywide, and Councilmembers-elect have worked hard since the election to master the myriad of issues that they will confront.

Whether it is the delivery of services by some city agencies, or the implementation of economic development tools that benefit the entire city, or any other issue, the new Council should undertake a campaign to focus on a few key priorities. We come in at a time of uncertainty produced by terrorism and war and unprecedented budget deficits. Our challenge is to confront these crises with courage and innovation to maintain necessary support for our communities, and to work closely together to develop balanced public policy.

I can be reached at 212-712-9230. We will soon open a district office that has weekend and evening hours, and will be accessible by standard and digital technology.

Gale Brewer is the Councilmember from the sixth district on the Upper West Side of Manhattan.

--updated December 17, 2001


Community Boards for District 6
Community Board No. 4
330 W. 42nd St., Ste. 2618, NY, NY 10036
(212) 736-4536/7
Ms. Simone Sindin, Chair
Mr. Anthony Borelli, District Manager
Community Board No. 7
250 W. 87th St., 2nd Fl., NY, NY 10024
(212) 362-4008
Mr. Larry Horowitz, Chair
Ms. Penny Ryan, District Manager
http://www.cb7.org/


Community Plans for District 6 (PDF format)
Waterfront Revitalization and Access Plan - Hudson River Park Design Guidelines Master Plan (Hudson River Park Trust)

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



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.

  • 20th Precinct
  • 24th Precinct (Mostly covers neighborhoods within district 6. It also covers a small part of district 8 along West 96th Street)

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.