Gotham Gazette

The Place for New York Policy and politics

Gale Brewer

Gale Brewer

  • Who’s Responsible for the Rats in Our Tree Beds?

    An Upper West Side tree bed (photo: CM Brewer’s office)


    Rat vigilantes on the Upper West Side are placing exposed rat poison in the tree beds, endangering children and pets. 

    Two Upper West Side dogs, Waffles, a one-year-old rescue coon hound mix, and Beti, a six-year-old terrier mix, are the latest victims; upon ingestion, they were rushed to the vet for treatment and have both since made full recoveries.

    While Upper West Siders have called on local government for a more aggressive

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  • Civic Engagement Commission to Launch Citywide Participatory Budgeting After Pandemic Delay

    Dr. Sarah Sayeed (photo: Ed Reed/Mayoral Photography Office)


    The first citywide participatory budgeting program is expected to launch later this year after a two-year delay largely due to the COVID-19 state of emergency, officials said at a City Council hearing last week.

    The program was approved by voters in 2018 as one of three City Charter-mandated functions of the new Civic Engagement Commission (CEC) created in the same ballot referendum. The two-year

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  • As Mayor Adams Takes on the Issue, City Council Examines NYC Workforce Development Programs and Plans

    Mayor Adams visits a factory (photo: Michael

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  • New Investigations Commissioner Says Department Needs More Funding to Do Its Job Fighting Corruption in City Government

    Mayor Adams holds a cabinet meeting (photo: Ed Reed/Mayoral Photography Office)


    New York City Department of Investigation Commissioner Jocelyn Strauber critiqued Mayor Eric Adams' proposed cuts to her agency's budget Tuesday in testimony before the New York City Council, and called for a partial restoration of funds for what she said are "necessary" enhancements.

    Officials at the DOI, which investigates city government corruption, estimate the department would, baed on the mayor’s spending plan, see a reduction in funding of approximately $2 million in its Fiscal Year 2023 budget even after the agency makes

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  • Will the New City Council Reform Its Rules?

    City Council Speaker Adrienne Adams (photo: John McCarten/NYC Council Media Unit)


    With a new City Council class and new speaker leading the legislative body, there is another opportunity to change the Council’s internal rules, which haven't been formally revised since 2014.

    It's a relatively obscure corner of public policy because in a city of 8.8 million people the rules apply only to the 51 elected Council members and a few hundred Council staff. But Council members and advocates have for years pointed to measures that

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  • Adrienne Adams Elected Speaker of the New York City Council

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    City Council Speaker Adrienne Adams (photo: John McCarten/City Council)


    Adrienne Adams, a Democrat from Queens, was officially elected as the Speaker of the New York City Council on Wednesday in a near-unanimous internal vote of the 51-member legislative body. Adams is the first Black person to lead the New York City Council and will lead the first-ever women-majority Council, with 31 seats held by women.

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    As Eric Adams Allies Push Francisco Moya, Coalition Forms Behind Adrienne Adams for Next City Council Speaker

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    Council Member Adrienne Adams (photo: Gerardo Romo/City Council)


    In response to an effort by allies of Mayor-elect Eric Adams to install City Council Member Francisco Moya as the next Council Speaker, a coalition is forming behind Council Member Adrienne Adams to win the legislative leadership post, several sources with direct knowledge have told Gotham Gazette.

    The movement behind Adrienne Adams is being led by powerful labor unions that have been allied with the mayor-elect but were among many interested parties taken aback by the push to anoint

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  • LISTEN: The Candidates for Speaker on Their City Council Work and Pitch to Colleagues

    Top (l-r) Adrienne Adams, Diana Ayala, Justin Brannan, Gale Brewer Bottom (l-r) Francisco Moya, Keith Powers, Carlina Rivera

    (l-r) Top: Adrienne Adams, Diana Ayala, Justin Brannan, Gale Brewer; Bottom: Francisco Moya, Keith Powers, Carlina Rivera


    The seven candidates to be the next City Council Speaker, all Democrats, have in recent months joined the Max Politics podcast from Gotham Gazette, discussing their government work and Speaker campaigns with host Ben Max. The candidates — Adrienne Adams, Diana Ayala, Justin Brannan, Gale Brewer, Francisco Moya, Keith Powers, and

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  • Vision 2022: An Open Letter to New York City Council Members

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    Gale Brewer, the author (photo:  (Kevin P. Coughlin / Office of the Governor)


    As New York City faces the continuing challenges of COVID-19 and new opportunities, the next Speaker of the City Council will need to have the experience, relationships, and know-how to make government work for Council Members and their constituents.

    Traditionally, the New York City Council has functioned in a top-down decision-making process. As Speaker, I'll lead a more member-driven body that empowers Council Members to vote their conscience.

    I know

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  • Apocalypse Now: Can Eric Adams End the Helicopter Onslaught?

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    Central Park, from doors-off helicopter flight (photo: Julia Vitullo-Martin, the author)


    Thanksgiving! “One of NYC’s most beloved days of the year,” announces notorious doors-off helicopter company, FLYNYON, advertising its $489 seats over Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer immediately responded by contacting the Federal Aviation

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  • How The Sackler Opioid Settlement Can Help Address Rising Substance Use in New York

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    Clean needles (photo: Edwin J. Torres/Mayoral Photo Office)


    This past summer, local headlines blared about disorder and debauchery in Washington Square Park, raising alarms about drug use, homelessness, and rowdy youth. The city imposed a curfew, conflict and unrest took center stage, and the heart of the highly-visible social and human challenges were largely overlooked and overshadowed. 

    But from that discord emerged a striking model that has shown promising results at Washington Square Park, and that should be funded and replicated at similar

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  • Max Politics Podcast: Gale Brewer on Her Tenure as Borough President, Running for City Council Speaker, & More

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    Borough President/Council Member-Elect Gale Brewer (photo: Gale A Brewer/flickr)


    November 17, 2021 - Max Politics Podcast: Gale Brewer on Her Tenure as Borough President, Running for City Council Speaker, & More

    Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, recently reelected to the City Council and seeking to become its next Speaker, joined the show to discuss her tenure as BP, a variety of issues facing Manhattan and New York City, her campaign for Speaker, her relationship with Mayor-Elect Eric Adams, and more.

    Listen to

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  • WATCH: City Council District 6 General Election Debate

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    Gale Brewer, top left, & Nancy Sliwa, with moderator Ben Max


    City Council District 6 candidates Gale Brewer, the Democratic Party nominee, and Nancy Sliwa, the Republican Party nominee, met for a debate hosted by Manhattan Neighborhood Network and moderated by Gotham Gazette editor Ben Max. Watch:

  • WATCH: City Council District 6 Democratic Primary Debate

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    City Council District 6 Democratic primary debate


    Six candidates running in the Democratic primary for City Council District 6, which includes most of the Upper West Side of Manhattan, met for a zoom debate hosted by Manhattan Neighborhood Network and moderated by Gotham Gazette editor Ben Max. Participating candidates included: Gale Brewer, Sara Lind, Maria Danzilo, David Gold, Jeffrey Omura, and Zack Weiner. Watch:

  • How to Get the City’s 136,000 Homebound Seniors Vaccinated More Quickly

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    Mayor de Blasio at a senior center (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office)


    Vaccines are the lifeline that will get us out of this crisis. But since vaccine distribution haltingly began two months ago, New York City’s estimated 136,000 homebound seniors had been left isolated with the knowledge that while they are the most at-risk of dying from COVID-19

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  • Save Our Waterfronts from Our Open Skies: New York & New Jersey

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    Manhattan from a helicopter (photo: Julia Vitullo-Martin, the author)


    “I care passionately about our waterfront,” says Hoboken City Council Member Phil Cohen. “It’s the jewel of Hoboken, directly across from the Empire State Building. We fought so long and hard to get our world-class waterfront, endured epic battles, and now we have helicopters constantly buzzing us in our own park. Somehow the helicopters are always there.” 

    That’s because the most ...

  • Brewer Joins Candidate Forum as City Council District 6 Race Heats Up

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    Gale Brewer (photo: Gale Brewer on flickr)


    The five Democratic candidates running for City Council District 6, a seat based on Manhattan’s Upper West Side, appeared Thursday night at a forum hosted by the West Side Democrats. The six Democratic candidates running for Manhattan Borough President in this year’s election also appeared before the club. The primaries will be in June and will feature ranked-choice voting.

    Forum participants answered questions focused on a range of issues, including public and private housing, homelesssness, transit, land use and

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  • Can the Manhattan Borough President Stop the Chop?

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    Helicoptering over the city (photo: Julia Vitullo-Martin)


    Thanks to an onslaught of out-of-town tourist helicopters and small planes flying over New York landmarks, a quiet weekend day in Central Park or Governors Island or the Brooklyn waterfront has become a thing of the past. Any revered site from the Noguchi Museum in Queens to Liberty Island south of the Battery is now subject to inundation by 85 to 95 flights starting at dawn on Saturdays and finishing at unpredictable hours, with some flying as late as midnight Sunday. And while helicopters in the old days tried to

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  • Max & Murphy Podcast: Borough President Gale Brewer on Manhattan's Future

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    Manhattan BP Gale Brewer (photo: William Alatriste/City Council)


    September 30, 2020 - Max & Murphy Podcast: Borough President Gale Brewer on Manhattan's Future & More

    Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer joined the show to discuss her borough's future, housing and homelessness, and more.

    Listen to the conversation and let us know what you think -- we're on Twitter @TweetBenMaxand @JarrettMurphy. You can listen to the show through the

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  • With 5 Candidates Declared, 2021 Manhattan Borough President Race Has Begun

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    (L-R) Mark Levine, Elizabeth Caputo, Brad Hoylman, Kimberly Watkins, Ben Kallos


    As 2021 creeps closer, so does the most consequential municipal election in possibly decades, one that will decide the entire political roster that represents the city with few incumbents eligible to run for their current seats due to term limits. In overwhelmingly Democratic New York, the Democratic Party primary in June is all but certain to determine the winner of almost every seat. In Manhattan, nearly half of the borough’s 1.6 million registered voters are Democrats, more than seven times the

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  • Board of Elections Misses Deadline for Planning Ranked-Choice Voting Implementation

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    Ranked-choice voting is coming soon (photo: Edwin J. Torres/Mayor's Office)


    The New York City Board of Elections missed a City Charter-mandated June 1 deadline to issue a report on how it will implement the new voter-approved ranked-choice voting system in 2021, advocates and elected officials said Friday.

    At a press conference hosted by good government group Common Cause New York, Comptroller Scott Stringer and Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer said the report is essential to adequately prepare for the new voting format next

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  • City Fiscal Crisis is an Opportunity to Reimagine Failing Programs, Like Organics Recycling

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    Questions about recycling abound (photo: Michael Anton/Sanitation)


    The May 13 op-ed by Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer and City Council Member Antonio Reynoso, New York City Must Keep and Expand Organics Collection, It’s an Essential Service, suffers from two major fallacies.

    The authors begin their piece:

     “While is it is no secret that the city’s curbside organics collection program doesn’t pay

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  • New York City Must Keep and Expand Organics Collection, It’s an Essential Service

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    Organics collection (photo: NYC Department of Sanitation)


    Among the businesses listed as essential in Governor Cuomo’s PAUSE order are "trash and recycling collection, processing, and disposal" industries. Yet on April 7, Mayor de Blasio followed a different interpretation by announcing that the Department of Sanitation’s organics recycling program would be eliminated on May 4. To do away with this critical environmental program just to save a miniscule percentage of the city’s budget doesn’t make sense, and here’s why:

    While it is no secret that the city’s curbside

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  • New York’s Wrongly Open Skies

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    helicopters in Manhattan (photo: Julia Vitullo-Martin)


    Helicopter crashes in the skies of New York City — two in 2019 —temporarily bring renewed attention to the odd situation by which hundreds of vehicles weighing up to 12,000 pounds each fly low every day over the country’s densest city, a city that was attacked from the air in 2001.

    Precisely how many flights there are, by whom, and for what purpose are secrets kept by New York City’s Economic Development Corporation, which oversees three heliports on behalf of their owner, New York City.

    Manhattan Borough

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  • Getting in the Holiday Spirit of Improved Public Space

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    (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayor's Office)


    ‘Tis the season for improving public spaces.

    The 14th Street busway has been live for just over three weeks and the accolades are already enough to deem its opening as historic. New Yorkers are now seeking more innovative ideas to improve the pedestrian and commuter experience throughout the city. 

    With the holiday season approaching, we are hopeful that this embrace of open space can be adopted in Midtown. 

    Rockefeller Center is one of the centerpieces of Manhattan. Every year, the area

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