Gotham Gazette

The Place for New York Policy and politics

Mark Levine

Mark Levine

  • In Response to Covid, Manhattan Borough President Seeks to Mandate Improved Indoor Air Quality Standards

    Manhattan BP Mark Levine (photo: William Alatriste/NYC Council)


    Manhattan Borough President Mark Levine is planning to introduce legislation to mandate improved indoor air quality standards to preempt future disease outbreaks and limit successive waves of COVID-19. 

    Levine, who previously served on the City Council and made a name for himself during the pandemic as chair of the Council’s health committee, is working with Council Member Keith Powers, a fellow Manhattan Democrat, and has requested the Council’s legislative

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  • The City Council Should Vote Yes on the Blood Center Project

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    Blood Center project rendering (image: Ennead)


    As current and future leaders of four of New York City’s five boroughs, we strongly urge the full City Council to vote “yes” at the upcoming meeting, Tuesday, November 23, on the New York Blood Center’s proposal to modernize and expand its antiquated Upper East Side building to secure the future of a nonprofit that is essential to hospitals across the city and position our city as a global public health capital.

    For projects of citywide importance like the Blood Center’s, we must balance the needs of

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  • WATCH: Manhattan Borough President General Election Debate

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    Mark Levine, top left, and Michael Lewyn, with moderator Ben Max


    Democratic Party nominee Mark Levine and Libertarian Party nominee Michael Lewyn met for a debate in the Manhattan Borough President general election hosted by Manhattan Neighborhood Network and moderated by Gotham Gazette editor Ben Max. Republican Party nominee Lou Puliafito had a last-minute emergency and was unable to participate. Watch:

  • City Council Goes More Than 5 Months Without Oversight Hearing on Covid Vaccination Effort

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    City Council Speaker Corey Johnson and Health Chair Mark Levine (photo: John McCarten/City Council)


    After weeks of flagging covid vaccine rates, ongoing racial disparities among the vaccinated, and the troubling spread of the Delta variant, Mayor Bill de Blasio is taking his first steps to impose more coercive vaccine policies in New York City. The mayor announced on Monday an upcoming mandate for all city workers to be vaccinated or subject to weekly covid testing, while encouraging private sector actors to institute their own

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  • Let’s Give New Yorkers Sweet Transparency — Lives are At Risk

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    Fast food drinks (photo: @brraveheart)


    A fast-food combo meal, perfect for lunch in a New York minute, right? Not so fast. A recent study of fast-food chain restaurants found that the default drink size included with combo meals at most restaurants contains more than an entire day’s worth of added sugars.

    With New Yorkers resorting to fast food out of convenience or necessity due to limited access to healthier options, it becomes an issue of public health and equity

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  • Mark Levine is the Likely Next Manhattan Borough President; Here's What He Ran On

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    Mark Levine (photo: William Alatriste/City Council)


    After prevailing in the Democratic primary that just concluded, City Council Member Mark Levine appears very likely to be Manhattan’s next Borough President, given the borough’s overwhelming Democratc enrollment advantage.

    Along with chairing the City Council’s health committee and growing into a prominent voice on COVID-19 health guidelines and accountability during the pandemic, Levine relied on a strong uptown base of support, major endorsements, and key accomplishments like legislation to

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  • Competing Visions of Public Banking in New York City

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    A Wall Street rally for public banking (photo: @PublicBankNYC)


    In recent memory public banking was an idea that belonged either to a distant utopian future or a distant populist past. But today, not only is public banking on the agenda of major New York politicians, but competing visions of public banking are on offer.

    The coalition Public Bank NYC (PBNYC) is running a grassroots effort to create a public bank for New York City, while mayoral candidate Andrew Yang proposes to initiate public banking through the mayor’s executive authority. Despite

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  • ‘Open Restaurants’ Shouldn’t Close Them Down

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    Outdoor dining (photo: @NYC_DOT)


    Surviving as a restaurant in New York City was never easy. But more than a year of indoor dining restrictions and the economic ruin of a global pandemic brought many restaurants that were able to hold on to the brink of bankruptcy. That is why we cheered when the city announced the permanent extension of the Open Restaurants program back

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  • Decision NYC: Mark Levine Discusses His Run for Manhattan Borough President

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    Mark Levine (photo: Jeff Reed/City Council)


    As part of the "Decision NYC with Ben Max" series of candidate interviews from Manhattan Neighborhood Network and Gotham Gazette, Democratic candidates for Manhattan Borough President talked about their campaigns ahead of the June primary. In this episode, City Council Member Mark

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  • Manhattan Borough President Candidates Pitch West Side Democrats

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    Lower Manhattan (photo: Benjamin Kanter/Mayor's Office)


    The six Democratic candidates running for Manhattan Borough President in this year’s election appeared Thursday night at a forum hosted by the West Side Democrats. The five Democratic candidates running for City Council District 6, based on the Upper West Side, also appeared before the club, following the borough president hopefuls. Both primaries are among those happening for all of city government in June and will feature the first full citywide round of ranked-choice voting,

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  • De Blasio Excuses for Slow Vaccine Rollout Contradict Prior City Statements of Readiness

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    Mayor de Blasio vaccine promises (photo: Ed Reed/Mayoral Photography Office)


    Three weeks after New York City received its first batch of COVID-19 vaccines, and more than five weeks after officials knew when they were coming, only a third of the half-million doses had been dolled out, raising questions about why the city wasn't more prepared to step into "the light at the end of the tunnel."

    That has been a favorite phrase of Mayor Bill de Blasio since he signaled the city was on the verge of receiving the life-saving, pandemic-ending treatment over a month ago.

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  • New York Must Not Exacerbate Disparities Again: Key Considerations for Equity in Covid Vaccination

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    Covid field site (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office)


    There are many high-stakes questions to be sorted out in the design of the coming covid vaccination distribution program. But there’s one issue that’s not receiving enough attention: How can we design a plan that avoids exacerbating pre-existing racial inequities and instead meaningfully advances equity?

    It’s essential that we answer this question — now.

    Vaccine distribution will be the most complicated implementation challenge of this pandemic, even

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  • City Council Holds Hearing on Sexual and Reproductive Right

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    City Council Member Helen Rosenthal, right (photo: John McCarten/City Council)


    New York City Council Members will hold an oversight hearing Wednesday on “sexual and reproductive rights in New York City” and consider a package of legislation on those subjects, at a joint hearing of the Council’s Committee on Health and Committee on Women and Gender Equity. 

    The bills cover a wide range of

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  • Borough President Candidates Talk Future of Manhattan Economy, Small Businesses

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    (l-r) Mark Levine; Elizabeth Caputo; Brad Hoylman; Kim Watkins; Ben Kallos


    The five Democratic candidates running to be the next Manhattan Borough President via the upcoming 2021 election gathered by Zoom on Wednesday for a candidate forum hosted by the Manhattan Chamber of Commerce, with topics focused on the devastated local economy and small businesses in the borough.

    The participating candidates, seeking to replace term-limited Democrat Gale Brewer, were Elizabeth Caputo, a former community board chair on the Upper West Side;

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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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  • Have Drug Overdoses Spiked During the Coronavirus Crisis? It Depends Who You Ask

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    Mayor de Blasio makes an announcement (photo: Ed Reed/Mayor's Office)


    As the coronavirus ravaged New York, hospitals were flooded with patients and city services ground to a halt. Activists and elected officials worried that in the fray of the pandemic, with New Yorkers ordered to mostly stay inside and millions losing work, the already prevalent opioid epidemic in the state could be further exacerbated. But city and state health officials don’t have full grasp on the scope of the problem, and may not know for months, because of a lag in how drug

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  • Staving Off an Eviction Nightmare by Expanding New Yorkers' Right to Counsel

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    An eviction nightmare looms as housing court reopens (Benjamin Kanter/Mayoral Photo Office)


    A new threat is looming for the very Black and brown communities in New York City that have been hit the hardest by the dual pandemics of coronavirus and racism in policy: a massive wave of evictions. 

    That’s because phase 1 of New York “reopening” didn’t just apply to construction and curbside retail. It also applied to housing courts. This could have disastrous consequences for tenants. Housing court personnel have already started

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  • Could a Public Works Program Save New York City's Economy?

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    Could the reinvigoration of the New York economy come from public works? (photo: Ed Reed/Mayor's Office)


    Somewhere around a million New Yorkers are out of jobs and billions in tax revenue has evaporated as New York City bears the brunt of possibly the worst disaster in its history. The coronavirus has been devastating the city’s people, their way of life, and their livelihoods. As elected officials and experts look to the future, when the pandemic eventually subsides, they must plot a path out of the crises that will remain.

    New Yorkers will need jobs, and

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  • Max & Murphy Podcast: The City's Developing Public Health Response to Coronavirus

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    Council Member Levine gets a flu shot (photo: Jeff Reed/City Council)


    March 25, 2020 - Max & Murphy Podcast: The City's Developing Public Health Response to Coronavirus

    mark levinewbai150City Council Member Mark Levine, chair of the Council's health committee, joined the show to discuss the city's developing response to the coronavirus outbreak.

    Listen to the

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  • Max & Murphy Podcast: Coronavirus in New York - Assessing the Threat & Response

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    Health officials must manage the coronavirus in New York (photo: Jeff Reed/City Council)


    March 4, 2020 - Max & Murphy Podcast: Coronavirus in New York - Threat, Preparation, & Response

    levin gershonDr. Robyn Gershon of NYU School of Global Public Health and City Council Member Mark Levine, chair of the Council's health committee, joined the show to discuss the new coronavirus

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  • City Officials Debate What To Do About Taxi Medallion Debt Crisis

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    Council Members Levine & Rivera & drivers rally at City Hall (photo: Jeff Reed)


    City Council Speaker Corey Johnson asked what sounded like a simple question: should the Taxi & Limousine Commission apologize for its role in the taxi medallion debt crisis, in which thousands of taxi owner-drivers have been trapped in predatory loans unchecked by city and state watchdogs?

    Jeffrey Roth, nominated by Mayor Bill de Blasio to lead the TLC, failed to give a direct “yes” or “no.” Johnson asked

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  • Paying New York City’s Debt to Taxi Drivers

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    (photo: @NYTWA)


    When financial bubbles burst, it’s almost always regular people whose lives are ruined. The fraudsters and scammers often avoid serious consequences. So it was with America’s mortgage crisis in 2008. And so it has been with New York City’s own home-grown mortgage meltdown: the collapse of yellow taxi medallion values since 2014, which has had a devastating impact on the lives of thousands of yellow taxi drivers.

    New York City only allows a fixed number of the iconic yellow taxis on its streets--creating over the decades a consistent,

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  • NAACP, Anti-Smoking Groups Press City Council Speaker on Bills Banning Flavored Cigarettes

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    Council Members Levine, center, & Cabrera, behind him (photo: John McCarten/City Council)


    The New York chapter of the NAACP and four of the nation’s largest anti-smoking groups are urging City Council Speaker Corey Johnson to support two bills that would effectively ban the sale of flavored tobacco products in New York City. The groups recently sent a letter urging Speaker Johnson to bring the two proposals up for a vote in the City Council.

    The first bill, ...

  • Proposed Changes to ‘Public Charge’ and Access to City Benefits: What To Know

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    (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayor's Office)


    New Yorkers know that it is the city government’s job to make sure that they’re taken care of. We fill potholes, pick up the trash, clean the streets, clear the drains, prune the trees - you name it.

    But that’s not all we do. And while we faced many challenges as a city and as a nation in 2018, New Yorkers continue to step up and help their neighbors in need.

    Through our public health facilities, tens of thousands of dedicated professionals help their fellow New Yorkers put food on the table, help

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  • Johnson Makes Series of City Council Changes, But Sidelines Formal Rules Reforms

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    Speaker Johnson, middle, and Council members (photo: John McCarten/City Council)


    In December, several City Council members jostling to become the powerful next speaker of the 51-member legislative body signed on to a broad platform of reforms to the Council’s rules and procedures, which can have a significant impact on city law-making and funding for communities. Both returning and newly-elected Council members, 33 of them in total,

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