2002 STRATEGIC POLICY STATEMENT
FOR THE BOROUGH OF BROOKLYN
By Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz
Brooklyn is the best place to live in the world. We have an incredible
diversity of people and cultures, charming neighborhoods, ocean
beaches and boardwalks, beautiful parks, one of the nation’s largest art
museums, an aquarium, major historical sites, and a world-renowned
orchestra. We have an infinite array of places to shop, an exciting and
expanding nightlife, and restaurants serving cuisines from around the
world. With extensive subway, bus and commuter rail connections,
travel to and within Brooklyn is very convenient.
And we have the famous Brooklyn spirit and attitude – fun-loving,
skeptical, inquiring, tough on the outside, but extremely warm and
welcoming when you spend even a few minutes with us.
This Strategic Policy Statement contains many ideas for building on
Brooklyn’s many attributes to make the borough an even better place
to live, work and visit – a place where everyone who needs a good job
can find one, where the residents can afford to rent or buy a desirable
place to live, where quality health care is available to all, and where
every child can get an education that will prepare them to succeed.
We already possess many of the necessary ingredients to reach these goals: world-class medical centers and an
extensive network of community-based health care services; developers who are ready to build tens of thousands
of units of affordable housing; an expanding higher education sector; and top-rate police commanders who have
kept crime at its lowest level in decades.
For the next several years, New York City will face enormous financial challenges. To accomplish many of the
ambitious goals in this Strategic Policy Statement, we’ll need to forge new public-private partnerships and get
more and better government performance out of each taxpayer dollar. Brooklyn will also need to obtain a fairer
share of City, State, and federal assistance. I see a great deal of my responsibility as working with our Mayor, our
City Council members, and our congressional delegation to make sure that Brooklyn residents are heard and that
our priorities receive the resources and attention they deserve.
And the city itself will have to raise more revenue. The Statement of Budget Priorities issued in March 2002 by
the Brooklyn Borough Board proposes reinstatement of the commuter tax and a temporary income tax surcharge
on those with annual incomes greater than $150,000. I fully support these fair and common sense measures to
raise urgently needed funds.
From urban to suburban, from China and Poland to Ecuador and Ghana, from seashore to riverbank, Brooklyn has it all.
The rest of the world is rediscovering Brooklyn. The long-term trends are in Brooklyn’s favor. Our best days are ahead.
2002 STRATEGIC POLICY STATEMENT
NEW YORK CITY CHARTER REQUIREMENTS FOR
STRATEGIC POLICY STATEMENTS
The New York City Charter requires Borough Presidents every four years to “prepare a
strategic policy statement for the borough.” The Strategic Policy Statement “shall include”:
• “A summary of the most significant long-term issues facing the borough,”
• “Policy goals related to such issues,” and
• “Proposed strategies for meeting such goals.”
TABLE OF CONTENTS
ARTS AND CULTURE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1
COMMUNITY BOARDS, CONSTITUENT SERVICES, AND COMMUNITY RELATIONS . . . .6
ECONOMIC AND COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .11
EDUCATION AND LIBRARIES . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .22
ENVIRONMENT AND SANITATION . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .30
HEALTH . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .36
HOUSING . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .43
HUMAN SERVICES . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .50
PARKS AND RECREATION . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .57
PUBLIC SAFETY AND CRIMINAL JUSTICE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .63
TRANSPORTATION . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .70
CREDITS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .78
(CLICK ON CHAPTER FOR DIRECT ADVANCE)
2002 STRATEGIC POLICY STATEMENT
ARTS AND CULTURE
Brooklyn offers artists and arts organizations an environment where they can thrive. Culturally diverse
communities provide fertile ground for emerging arts organizations, for native Brooklyn artists, and for artists
from all over the country and world. Major institutions such as the Brooklyn Museum of Art, the Brooklyn
Botanic Garden, the New York Aquarium, the Brooklyn Children’s Museum and the Brooklyn Academy of Music
are community anchors. We must continue to foster an environment that supports artists and that promotes
emerging as well as long-established arts and cultural organizations.
ISSUE 1. ARTS FUNDING
Government financial assistance has not kept pace with the expansion of arts and cultural activities in Brooklyn. The gap
between financial needs and available resources has therefore widened for many groups. The tragedy of September 11th ,
2001 and the weak economy have affected private giving, exacerbating financial difficulties for many organizations.
GOAL: EXPAND FUNDING FOR CULTURAL ORGANIZATIONS
THE BOROUGH PRESIDENT WILL:
Press the City for a greater proportion of City operating funds for cultural groups. Funding through the New York City
Department of Cultural Affairs has remained level in recent years even as many new arts organizations started and
others moved to Brooklyn from Manhattan. The level of City funding should reflect the enormous growth in the numbers
of arts organizations and attendance in Brooklyn. City funding should also strongly recognize the need for arts
programs to be supported in all communities of the borough. And the Department of Cultural Affairs must review its
funding formula to consider borough population.
Help obtain more State and federal grants. As part of an overall effort to increase State and federal assistance to the
borough, the Borough President’s office will work with the borough’s delegation in the State Legislature and Congress
to identify potential new sources of arts funding and to support grant applications.
Explore new ways to facilitate Brooklyn organizations’ receipt of increased foundation and private donor funds.
Above: The Brooklyn Academy of Music. BAM is undergoing extensive facade improvements and installation of an entrance for the handicapped and new front canopy. On the
left can be seen a portion of the new Mark Morris Dance Center. The Brooklyn Academy of Music area continues to develop into one of the nation’s premier arts centers.
2002 STRATEGIC POLICY STATEMENT 1
ISSUE 2. BROOKLYN’S VISIBILITY AS A BOROUGH OF THE ARTS
Brooklyn’s national and international reputation as a center for the arts has been on the rise. Brooklyn — which has more
artists than any other place in America — is increasingly known for its experimental, avant-garde cultural offerings and for
cultural events and art that reflects an amazing ethnic and cultural diversity. Yet many of Brooklyn’s cultural
organizations face the challenge of increasing attendance from within Brooklyn, from other boroughs and from beyond New
GOAL: INCREASE BROOKLYN’S HIGH PROFILE AS AN ARTS DESTINATION
THE BOROUGH PRESIDENT WILL:
Encourage the creation of new events that will attract more visitors to Brooklyn, such as a Brooklyn Jazz Festival.
Festivals unique to Brooklyn and connected to Brooklyn’s rich cultures will make Brooklyn-based organizations more
visible and draw more visitors to the borough.
Encourage implementation of a marketing program that emphasizes the rich variety of the borough’s cultural
offerings, as well as those that are unique to Brooklyn. Travel media should be targeted with promotional materials
and story ideas on Brooklyn’s vibrant cultural scene. Cultural tourism information should be packaged with information
on the many other attractions in the borough.
Help develop a comprehensive, centralized Brooklyn arts calendar for distribution throughout the City and beyond. The
vast borough of Brooklyn with its myriad cultural offerings needs a comprehensive arts and special events calendar.
GOAL: GREATER ATTENDANCE AT CULTURAL INSTITUTIONS
THE CITY AND THE NEW YORK CITY TRANSIT AUTHORITY SHOULD:
Encourage visits to cultural institutions and events by better informing the public of how to get to them by mass
transit and through capital improvements that make it easier to travel to Brooklyn’s cultural attractions.
The Brooklyn Museum is constructing an innovative glass-encased front entrance pavilion. The new entrance, together with a renovated Grand Lobby and a redesigned front
plaza, will significantly enhance the image and accessibility of the Museum.
2 BOROUGH OF BROOKLYN
Dedicated signage and kiosks throughout the transit system with travel directions would help. Targeted subway station
rehabilitations, such as the Eastern Parkway-Brooklyn Museum station renovation recently announced by the Transit
Authority, would also encourage patronage. Since only three percent of New York Aquarium visitors are tourists,
serious consideration should be given to the Aquarium’s suggestion for a pier and parking garage to help increase
attendance; the pier would be used for ferry boats from Manhattan.
Conduct a study of subway accessibility to cultural centers for the handicapped, particularly for visitors to major
institutions such as the Brooklyn Museum of Art. The Borough President has requested that a greater number of
Brooklyn subway stations be made handicapped-accessible.
THE BOROUGH PRESIDENT WILL:
Seek to expand the operating hours of the tourism information pushcart on the Brooklyn Bridge. As discussed in
Economic and Community Development, the hours of the successful new tourism information pushcart on the Brooklyn
Bridge walkway sponsored by the Borough President’s office this summer should be expanded, and additional pushcarts
or kiosks ultimately should be located at other high-volume pedestrian entry points to the borough.
Encourage development of consortia and partnerships among Brooklyn cultural organizations with the goal of
maximizing joint programming and outreach.
Support the activities of the “Heart of Brooklyn” consortium, centered on the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, Brooklyn
Museum of Art, Brooklyn Children’s Museum, Brooklyn Public Library, Prospect Park Alliance, and Prospect Park Zoo.
Support establishment of a vibrant Brooklyn Academy of Music cultural district. As the Brooklyn Academy of Music
cultural district project develops, it is essential to address the needs and the desires of adjacent communities. The
surrounding neighborhood should continue to grow as a vibrant, mixed-use multicultural arts district that provides
affordable space for visual and performing arts organizations, as well as educational programs, subsidized housing,
restaurants and retail space, and public open space that can be programmed for cultural uses. Development must be
carried out to benefit the arts, the local community, the borough, and the city as a whole.
ISSUE 3. ARTS AND CULTURE FOR ALL OF BROOKLYN
With more than 500 small and mid-size organizations, Brooklyn’s arts and cultural offerings are local and community-
based as well as centered in the larger “Heart of Brooklyn” institutions. Some community-based groups are new, emerging
organizations, such as Brooklyn FilmNetworks and the Museum of Contemporary African Diasporian Arts (MOCADA), while
others, such as the Brooklyn Music School and the Weeksville Society, have long histories. Still others have a multicultural
focus, such as the 651 Arts Center and El Puente. These organizations play a crucial role in providing rich cultural
experiences that are accessible to all.
Introducing young people to the world of art is an integral part of a quality education. Brooklyn’s schools, museums, and
community centers are collaborating with the borough’s artists to provide thousands of Brooklyn children with
opportunities to learn about and enjoy art, as well as to express themselves through the whole spectrum of creative
GOAL: SMALL AND EMERGING ORGANIZATIONS ARE NURTURED AND MORE
CULTURAL RESOURCES ARE BROUGHT TO UNDERSERVED NEIGHBORHOODS
THE CITY SHOULD:
Ensure that small and emerging groups have access to information and technical support that will enable them to
obtain public and private funds. With so many creative and innovative artists and performers living in Brooklyn, there
is an enormous potential for new and innovative cultural organizations to flourish. Small start-up groups need technical
and financial support to realize their vision of a thriving organization that will grow in the long-term.
Focus on creative ways to serve neighborhoods with few cultural resources. These could include targeting support to
emerging groups in those neighborhoods and encouraging established organizations to offer programming. For
instance, the American Museum of Natural History for the first time is bringing a large traveling van containing exhibits
to Brooklyn neighborhoods.
Encourage a “mentoring” system whereby large, established institutions help small, emerging organizations gain
expertise in operational areas such as finances, programming, and board and volunteer development.
2002 STRATEGIC POLICY STATEMENT 3
GOAL: EXPANDED ARTS EDUCATION
THE BOROUGH PRESIDENT WILL:
Urge the City Department of Education to maintain a comprehensive arts education program in the schools. Project
Arts (Arts Restoration Throughout the Schools) must have a consistent per-capita funding formula that is maintained
from year to year.
Support construction of the Brooklyn Public Library’s proposed Visual and Performing Arts Library. The planning
process for this exciting proposal should fully consider the educational needs of Brooklyn’s young people.
Seek improved programming on Brooklyn Community Access Television, including expanded arts programming, and
ensure BCAT’s long-term financial viability. With its four channels, BCAT is a valuable yet underutilized resource that
could showcase arts in Brooklyn’s communitiies in all their variety, as well as provide the public with community, local
government and local business news. BCAT’s four channels could be reoriented so that one of the channels focuses on
culture and education, a second channel focuses on community and government news, a third channel is dedicated to
the creative arts and a fourth channel provides news about and promotes Brooklyn businesses.
Upgrading BCAT will become more difficult, however, if threats to its long-term financial health are not dealt with soon.
The Federal Communications Commission’s “must carry” rule requires cable systems to include local broadcast stations
in their basic tiers. While Brooklyn’s two cable franchisees, Cablevision and AOL/Time Warner, underwrite and
accommodate community access stations including BCAT, satellite “dish” systems are under no such requirement and
have shown no interest in serving local communities. The steady increases recently experienced in satellite-television’s
market share will eventually undermine the finances of community access television. Borough President Markowitz has
written to Brooklyn’s congressional delegation and New York’s U.S. Senators to urge that satellite providers be required
to contribute funds to support community access television.
ISSUE 4. SUPPORTING ARTISTS
For decades, artists have come to Brooklyn seeking affordable residential and workspace, in many cases rehabilitating
long-vacant factory floors and building communities together. Too often, though, Brooklyn artists are subjected to the
irony of being priced out of the spaces they improved and made valuable through sweat equity. The rising cost of studio,
rehearsal and workspace is leading some Brooklyn artists to consider relocating outside of Brooklyn.
With artists and their work so important to our communities, this is a phenomenon that must be addressed.
GOAL: AMPLE AFFORDABLE LIVING AND WORKING SPACE FOR ARTISTS
AMONG STRATEGIES TO SUPPORT THIS GOAL THAT THE BOROUGH PRESIDENT
Mixed-use, incubator workspaces for artists and arts organizations at several sites throughout Brooklyn. The
workspaces would be managed by local not-for-profit entities.
New incentives to encourage private developers to incorporate space for artists in new construction and for
increasing space for artists in publicly-funded or subsidized buildings. As many developers have experienced first-
hand, including artists space within their development may create a sense of neighborhood vibrancy and improve
A Center for Real Estate Resources and Services to help artists secure workspace. Such a center could provide one-
stop shopping for artists seeking commercial workspace, information on city regulations governing live/work space,
low-income housing information and other helpful information and advice. For example, many institutions currently do
not use their space to full capacity. By reactivating underutilized space, owners could receive additional rental revenues
and artists would benefit from increased workspace.
A model project where artists can legally live and work under the same roof. Many artists aspire to live and work in
the same space, yet are hindered by City zoning laws. A model project would provide long-term, stable housing for
Zoning changes with the goal of stabilizing Brooklyn’s arts community. Zoning codes currently restrict artists from
4 BOROUGH OF BROOKLYN
living and working in most commercial buildings. Changing this restriction in selected areas would give artists greater
flexibility in where they could live and work. Zoning changes that would result in loss of manufacturing jobs should not
A pilot program under the auspices of the Department of Housing Preservation and Development, to facilitate the
use of underutilized vacant non-residential buildings, such as storefronts, as combined living and working space for
artists. This initiative would allow currently unused space to be used for artists.
An innovative design for the Brooklyn Public Library's Visual and Performing Arts Library, proposed for a Flatbush Avenue site near the Brooklyn Academy of Music, was announced
in May 2002. The library would become an important resource for arts education in the borough. At the announcement (above): Albert Wiltshire, President of the Library's Board
of Trustees; Elisabeth Martin, Director of Planning, Design and Facilities; Borough President Markowitz; Enrique Norton of the architectural firm that was chosen; Siobhan Reardon,
Acting Executive Director of the BPL; Harvey Lichtenstein, Chair, BAM Local Development Corporation; Mabel Robertson, BPL Trustee; Dr. Lucille Thomas, BPL Trustee.
2002 STRATEGIC POLICY STATEMENT 5
COMMUNITY BOARDS, CONSTITUENT
SERVICES, AND COMMUNITY RELATIONS
ISSUE 1. RESPONDING TO COMMUNITY CONCERNS
Brooklyn’s 18 community boards provide residents with a real
voice in municipal government. Community board members are
the eyes and ears of their neighborhoods, monitoring the quality
of city services in their district and providing a forum for
addressing neighborhood issues. They act as their neighbors’
liaisons with City agencies. And they fulfill a City Charter-
sanctioned local planning function. The boards partner with the
Borough President to ensure timely and effective constituent
Too few Brooklynites know about or use their community boards
as a resource for addressing neighborhood concerns. And not
enough Brooklynites become actively involved with their boards.
Several of the borough’s largest ethnic groups, including Latinos,
Asians, and Arabs, are currently underrepresented on community
boards, even in districts where they are a large percentage of the
To help them carry out their City Charter-mandated
responsibilities, Community Boards need more computer support,
improved communication links with City agencies, adequate
staffing and additional funding to hire planners, consultants and
At its Borough Hall meeting in February 2002 (above), members of the Crown Heights Coalition discussed how to continue the substantial progress that has been made in
community relations in the area. They agreed that a neighborhood youth center would be an important next step for continuing to build harmony. The Coalition includes rabbis,
pastors and other community leaders.
6 BOROUGH OF BROOKLYN
Some of the community board members appointed in 2002 (above) stood on Borough Hall steps after reception in their honor with Borough President Markowitz and Deputy Borough
President Yvonne Graham. The Borough President will intensify his efforts to reach out to communities and groups that have not always been well-represented on the boards.
GOAL: COMMUNITY BOARD MEMBERSHIP THAT REFLECTS BROOKLYN’S DIVERSITY
The Borough President will institute an outreach campaign to diversify Board membership. The Borough President’s
office will work with community-based organizations to encourage residents who are members of underrepresented
groups to consider serving on their community boards.
GOAL: MORE EFFECTIVE COMMUNITY BOARDS
TO INCREASE COMMUNITY BOARD EFFECTIVENESS, THE BOROUGH PRESIDENT WILL:
Serve as a governmental liaison to City agencies and service-providing organizations.
Help to ensure that community boards comply with City Charter mandates.
Support boards with technical assistance. Borough Hall staff currently offers trouble-shooting assistance and
operational support to community boards and their district offices. Boards can also more effectively meet community
needs with up-to-date technology that links them to the complaint-addressing and tracking functions of City agencies.
The Borough President will continue to advocate for giving the boards the technical tools they need.
GOAL. MORE EFFECTIVE BLOCK ASSOCIATIONS
The Borough President will establish a Federation of Brooklyn Block Associations. Block associations are in an ideal
position to help counter and prevent neighborhood deterioration. They are the "building blocks" of their communities.
An unprecedented meeting of Brooklyn's block associations held at Borough Hall in 2002 set the stage for
establishment of a Federation of Brooklyn Block Associations. The association will work together with the Borough
President to identify and address emerging issues in crime, housing, the local economy and community relations. It
will also provide an opportunity for block associations to form networks and trade information and ideas.
2002 STRATEGIC POLICY STATEMENT 7
ISSUE 2. IMPROVING NEIGHBORHOOD QUALITY OF LIFE
GOAL: AMPLE SUPPORT FOR NEIGHBORHOOD-BASED EFFORTS TO IMPROVE
THE QUALITY OF LIFE IN BROOKLYN
THE BOROUGH PRESIDENT WILL:
Serve as a hub for community and government information and
data. The Borough President’s office is recognized as a reliable
source of information and data on government and community
issues. The Office receives hundreds of information calls each year
asking questions ranging from a simple, “Who is my City Council
Member?” to complex questions about the Uniform Land Use
Develop and utilize strong working relationships with community-
based organizations including churches, civic associations, social
service agencies, police precinct community councils, and
organizations representing Brooklyn residents’ many nationalities and
Create neighborhood profiles of each community. These should
document local geographic, demographic, socio-economic, and
cultural characteristics to be used to improve planning, resource
allocation, and information sharing.
Help community-based organizations and community development efforts identify and obtain government grants
and programmatic assistance to support their work.
GOAL: EFFECTIVE RESPONSES TO BROOKLYNITES’ COMPLAINTS AND
CONCERNS ABOUT CITY SERVICES
TO HELP ENSURE THAT BROOKLYNITES’ COMPLAINTS AND CONCERNS ABOUT CITY
SERVICE DELIVERY ARE RESPONDED TO EFFECTIVELY, THE BOROUGH PRESIDENT WILL:
Continue to work closely with City agencies. Regular meetings and communication with city agencies and service
delivery providers allow the Borough President to fulfill his objective of improving the quality of life of all residents of
the borough. The Borough President has set up close working relationships with the most important government
departments affecting Brooklynites’ daily lives.
When a tragedy hits one of Brooklyn's many ethnic communities, all of Brooklyn feels the pain. Borough President Markowitz met with leaders of Brooklyn's large Bangladeshi community
after the murder of Mizanur Rahman, who was a highly respected photographer in his home country. Effective detective work by the NYPD led to the quick apprehension of two suspects.
8 BOROUGH OF BROOKLYN
Operate a first-rate Action Center, telephone “hotline,” and Internet web site to expeditiously respond to constituent
concerns, facilitate resolutions of service problems, and help residents obtain services to which they are entitled.
Provide useful information to Brooklynites on housing, accessing city services, cultural events and attractions in
Brooklyn on the Borough Hall wesite, www.brooklyn-usa.org.
Host the monthly Charter-mandated Borough Service Cabinet attended by Brooklyn’s district managers and city
agency officials. Full attendance and participation is emphasized by the Borough President to ensure complete
involvement and commitment by all of the agencies responsible for service delivery in Brooklyn.
Coordinate and collaborate with residents and community boards on community district and borough-wide issues and problems.
GOAL: MORE CITY, STATE AND FEDERAL ASSISTANCE TO HELP MAINTAIN
The Borough President will continue to work closely with City, State, and federal elected officials to maximize resource
allocation to the borough. Borough President Markowitz convened unprecedented planning meetings at Borough Hall with
Brooklyn’s entire City Council delegation, its congressional delegation and its State senators and assembly members.
GOAL: MORE VOLUNTEERS SUPPLEMENT SERVICES
The Borough President will sponsor “Volunteer: Brooklyn Needs You.” With the City’s fiscal difficulties leading to cuts
in public funding, groups like the Brooklyn Public Library, Brooklyn Children’s Museum and many smaller organizations
need volunteer help more than ever. Through a public campaign, the Borough President’s office will encourage
Brooklynites who would like to volunteer to contact Borough Hall, where they will be matched with organizations that
would welcome volunteers and that are a good fit with the volunteer’s interests and skills.
ISSUE 3. IMPROVING COMMUNITY RELATIONS AND ENHANCING
Brooklyn residents increasingly take pride in living in the most diverse place in the nation and probably the world. Brooklyn
has large and growing populations of residents from the Caribbean nations, Central and South America, China, the Indian
subcontinent, the Middle East, Mexico, and Russia. Today in Brooklyn there is no longer a majority ethnic group; we are
made up of many minorities.
Because Brooklyn has such a diverse population, we have begun to develop strategies and approaches to getting along
peacefully. It is noteworthy that ethnic groups that are virtually at war with each other elsewhere in the world live together
peaceably in the same neighborhoods in Brooklyn.
But as is true in the rest of the nation, discrimination, racism, bias and bias-related crime remain serious concerns. We must
remain vigilant and rededicate ourselves and redouble our efforts to fighting these scourges. Brooklyn residents demonstrated
their belief in a truly open and multi-cultural society when they spoke out against anti-Arab targeting in the wake of the terrorist
attacks of September 11th, 2001. Many residents spontaneously volunteered to ensure the safety of their Arab neighbors.
Brooklyn is also home to New York State’s largest population of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered (LGBT) residents.
Brooklyn’s LGBT community is extremely diverse, including people of all ages, economic levels, religions and ethnic
The Borough President will further cement his office’s supportive relationship with the many individuals and organizations
in the borough working to help meet the LGBT community’s needs.
GOAL: BROOKLYN WIDELY RECOGNIZES AND CELEBRATES ITS DIVERSITY
The Borough President will continue to hold special events at Borough Hall to celebrate the heritage,
accomplishments and contributions of Brooklyn’s many ethnic and cultural groups.
In conjunction with the Arab-American Institute, the Borough President intends to hold for the first time at Borough Hall
an Arab-American Heritage special celebration. It will join the many other regularly observed heritage days observed
at Borough Hall and other Brooklyn venues, such as the Black History Month celebration, the month-long Brooklyn Jewish
Heritage Celebration, the Hispanic Heritage Month and many others. The Borough President will also continue to recognize
2002 STRATEGIC POLICY STATEMENT 9
and honor a wide array of communities through proclamations, citations, special performances, and awards ceremonies. These
functions also serve the important role of educating Brooklyn and the larger world on each group’s cultures and contributions.
GOAL: CONTINUED IMPROVEMENT IN COMMUNITY RELATIONS
THE BOROUGH PRESIDENT WILL:
Encourage the continued work of the Crown Heights Coalition and support the building of a youth center. In February
2002, Borough President Markowitz sponsored a meeting at Borough Hall of the Crown Heights Coalition to discuss
how to continue the substantial progress that has been achieved in community relations in the Crown Heights
community. The Coalition was formed in 1991 after the community
experienced several days of disturbances. Representing the
community’s diversity, the group is comprised of rabbis, pastors and
other community leaders. The Coalition agreed that a neighborhood
youth center would be an important next step for continuing to build
harmony in the community. Crown Heights includes many cultures,
but it is one community.
Offer himself and the resources of his office in any specific way they can
be of use in heading off threats to community harmony. These can
include conflict resolution, participating in and encouraging dialogue and
communication among groups, and working to ensure that City agencies
such as the Police Department are responsive and sensitive to community
GOAL: BROOKLYNITES TREAT EACH OTHER
WITH MORE RESPECT
The Borough President will launch a new campaign in Winter 2003: “Respect: It’s a Brooklyn Attitude.” Thls will be
an extensive public service campaign to encourage Brooklynites to be more respectful of each other such as by not
littering, not making excessive public noise, driving more courteously, and generally treating each other more
GOAL: EQUAL HUMAN RIGHTS FOR ALL BROOKLYNITES
All individuals are entitled to the basic rights of employment, housing and the ability to live their lives from hate-
based harassment and violence.
TO HELP SECURE THESE RIGHTS, THE BOROUGH PRESIDENT WILL:
Continue to advocate for enactment of comprehensive non-discrimination legislation at all levels of government,
including the Sexual Orientation Nondiscrimination Act (SONDA) as well as legislation outlawing workplace
harassment. Borough President Markowitz wrote to State Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno, urging his house
to follow the Assembly by passing the act. By adding "sexual orientation" to the State Human Rights Law, the Act
would make it illegal to discriminate against individuals -- such as by denying housing, employment, loans, or
services -- on the basis of their actual or perceived sexual orientation.
Continue to advocate for legal definitions of family that are not limited to blood and marital relationships in areas
including medical decision-making, control of a domestic partner's bodily remains, inheritance, unemployment
compensation, insurance underwriting, bereavement and medical leave, disaster relief and benefits to crime victims.
Borough President Markowitz has written to Mayor Michael Bloomberg urging him to sign Intro. 114-A into law,
allowing couples in registered domestic partnerships, civil unions and marriages not recognized by New York State
to automatically receive basic rights that are essential to sustaining families.
Continue to advocate for measures that encourage employers to extend benefits to domestic partners of employees,
including legislation that requires all State contractors to provide domestic partner benefits.
Continue to support measures giving LGBT victims of domestic violence access to services and protection in Family Court.
Continue to advocate for legislation and policies that promote the dignity of all public school students by preventing
harassment and discrimination based on actual or perceived sexual orientation.
10 BOROUGH OF BROOKLYN
ECONOMIC AND COMMUNITY
Brooklyn is a great place to do business. The workforce is highly-skilled, hardworking and productive. Brooklyn
is located right in the middle of the largest regional economy in the nation, with numerous subway lines, a
commuter railroad and new ferry services making it easy to get to from throughout the tri-state area. With
its world-class cultural institutions and many charming, attractive and historic neighborhoods, Brooklyn is an
appealing place to live, visit and work. These are among the qualities that have fostered a borough resurgence
in recent years. While most large northeastern cities lost population in the 1990s, the 2000 U.S. Census found
that Brooklyn’s population grew.
There remain many challenges to the economic vitality of the borough, from the high cost of housing to schools
that too often fail to prepare students for the working world. Brooklyn’s official unemployment rate in July
2002 was 8.7 percent, the second highest among New York State’s 62 counties. Despite the City’s economic
boom, median household income in Brooklyn declined during the 1990s.
Now is the time to plan strategically and to take the next steps that will help us meet these challenges and
spur economic growth, specifically including areas beyond downtown Brooklyn.
After the tragedy of September 11th, 2001, it is more important than ever to diversify New York City’s
economy, to become less reliant on the fortunes of the financial services sector, and less reliant on Manhattan
as the City’s economic engine. Much of this diversification can and should occur in Brooklyn.
ISSUE 1. GROWING BROOKLYN’S ECONOMIC SECTORS
Across the nation, cities and states are refocusing their economic development efforts on new ways to grow existing
economic sectors and to create new industries for the future. “One size fits all” business incentives are outdated, as
strategies tailor-made for each industry sector consistently prove more effective.
Brooklyn has important strengths in a number of economic sectors and a real potential for growth in new ones: The
corporate and business services sectors are experiencing solid growth. Manufacturing has transitioned from large, mass
production factories to smaller niche, high value-added production. Public and private health services represent nearly 20
percent of the borough’s jobs. The retail sector has seen growth, particularly with the arrival of many major national
retailers. High-tech industries, including biotech, hold great promise for the future. And with the borough’s fantastic
ethnic and cultural diversity, tourism has enormous potential for growth.
GOAL: A BOROUGH-WIDE GROWTH STRATEGY THAT FOCUSES ON ECONOMIC
THE BOROUGH PRESIDENT WILL:
Encourage and participate in strategic planning that includes Brooklyn’s economic development professionals,
business leaders, public officials and community-based organizations. Limited coordination among government
agencies, local development organizations, developers, community groups and other stakeholders hinders economic
growth in Brooklyn. Strategic planning that is pursued by location, use and economic sector would bring together
development organizations, identify competitive advantages for key development sites, encourage projects that
achieve employment goals, and respond up front to neighborhood concerns about proposed developments.
Among the key outcomes of a strategic planning process are: rationalized zoning that maximizes the use of limited
available sites; improved traffic flows that support economic growth while protecting neighborhoods from increased
congestion; and prioritized and maximized federal, City and State financial assistance and business incentives.
Strategic planning that carefully assesses the specific needs of each economic sector can lead to changes in City and
State incentive programs — which tend toward a “one-size-fits all” approach – into assistance that is tailored to the real
needs of individual sectors such as customized workforce training, export assistance and specific infrastructure improvements.
2002 STRATEGIC POLICY STATEMENT 11
GOAL: MORE CORPORATE AND BUSINESS SERVICES JOBS
THE BOROUGH PRESIDENT WILL:
Work with business interests, community groups, and the City to encourage expansion of commercial space in
downtown’s central business district. Downtown Brooklyn’s very convenient location at the confluence of numerous
subway lines and the Long Island Railroad, its attractive adjacent neighborhoods, its cultural offerings, and its existing
core of corporate and business services employers, make it a natural location for more commercial, corporate and
business services development. Downtown Brooklyn is an economic engine for the entire borough; expansion of these
sectors would provide more jobs for all of Brooklyn.
To accommodate downtown commercial growth, carefully selected blocks and parcels in the downtown commercial core
should be up-zoned to create development sites that could accommodate several million square feet of new commercial
space. Marketing of downtown Brooklyn to corporate and business sector employers should be redoubled. There should
be a planning effort to build a larger downtown law center based on the existing base of lawyers in the Court Street
Transportation and infrastructure improvements to expedite the flow of traffic and provide adequate parking should
accompany commercial growth. There must also be additional traffic enforcement, a reduction in illegal permit parking,
and more streetscape improvements, including adequate “wayfinding” signage. Subway stations should be renovated
in addition to those currently underway and planned. The creation of a transit loop connecting downtown nodes —
Brooklyn Bridge Park, Fulton Mall, MetroTech, the BAM Cultural District — should be a high priority.
At the same time, new efforts will be needed to ensure that downtown Brooklyn becomes not just a larger commercial-
The Atlantic Terminal project is under construction at Atlantic and Flatbush Avenues. It includes a new Long Island Railroad Station, a large shopping mall, and offices for 1,400 Bank of
New York employees who will be relocating from Manhattan. Construction activity and artist’s rendering of the completed project are shown above.
12 BOROUGH OF BROOKLYN
office center, but a thriving 24-hour retail and residential community, and that the livability and attractive scale of
adjacent residential communities is preserved. Traffic calming and mitigation measures, discussed in the
Transportation section (p. 70), will be essential in residential areas.
THE CITY SHOULD:
Offer additional business incentives for locating in Brooklyn, including an expanded Relocation Employment
Assistance Program (REAP). Among additional incentives that should be offered are reductions in the investment
threshold and lengthening of the amount of time required to be in business to be eligible for the City’s REAP tax credits.
GOAL: MORE INDUSTRIAL/MANUFACTURING JOBS
WITH BOROUGH PRESIDENT ASSISTANCE, THE CITY SHOULD:
Create more affordable manufacturing space. The key concern raised by Brooklyn’s manufacturers in recent years is
the dearth of affordable, suitable space in New York City to expand or relocate when the rent in their current premises
is raised. According to industrial real estate brokers, Brooklyn manufacturers have been moving to New Jersey after
their intensive searches for suitable, affordable space in New York City fail.
The Greenpoint Manufacturing and Design Center (GMDC) is a successful model for creating the additional affordable
manufacturing space New York City requires. GMDC’s founders gradually renovated a vacant, decrepit 400,000 square
foot manufacturing building. The building now has over 400 workers in businesses ranging from building theater sets
to manufacturing custom picture frames. Borough President Markowitz allocated $500,000 in City Fiscal Year 2003
capital funds to assist GMDC’s expansion program.
Publicly-owned properties that could provide additional manufacturing space and be used to retain or create
manufacturing jobs include: the final, un-renovated one million square feet at the Brooklyn Army Terminal; the former
FDA Building, a 1.2 million square foot warehouse in Sunset Park; and existing buildings and undeveloped land in the
Brooklyn Navy Yard. City and State capital grants to support renovations and new construction at these sites would
help ensure long-term space affordability for many manufacturers who might otherwise leave the borough.
Protect existing manufacturing centers. Real estate speculation has driven the price of industrial real estate in many
areas of Brooklyn to levels that most manufacturers find unaffordable. To quell speculative pressure, zones where
manufacturing is currently concentrated should be protected as much as possible from variances and re-zonings for
other uses. The Board of Standards and Appeals should more critically analyze applications for variances that would
allow manufacturing buildings to be converted to residential use and fully consider the possible impact on existing
manufacturing jobs and future manufacturing potential.
The City should also consider offering additional incentives to encourage owners of industrial buildings to retain
manufacturing tenants. These could include tax abatements and the transfer of development rights to mixed-use
zoning districts and adjacent residential districts.
THE CITY SHOULD:
Expand support for In-Place Industrial Parks (IPIPs). Brooklyn has three IPIPs — in Sunset Park, East Williamsburg,
and East New York — which together are home to hundreds of companies and thousands of workers. A Local
Development Corporation at each IPIP provides security, area maintenance, and direct assistance to companies
including employee screening, marketing advice, helping deal with government agencies, and assisting them in applying
for City and State business incentives. The LDCs operate on minimal budgets.
Retool tax incentives to make them useable by more manufacturers. The property tax incentives offered through the
New York City Industrial and Commercial Incentive Program should be made more accessible for smaller firms that may
occupy only a portion of a building and for firms that rent, rather than own, their premises. The City should also seek
changes in federal law to encourage the use of industrial development bonds for the construction of industrial space
that is not fully leased at the time of construction; current rules require manufacturers to tie up capital in real estate.
Provide new funding for the NYC Business Relocation Assistance Corporation (BRAC), which provided relocation
grants for moving expenses for manufacturing firms moving within the City. The fund that pays for BRAC’s relocation
assistance grants is running dry. Maximum grants have already been halved from $60,000 to $30,000 and will cease
altogether unless the fund is replenished. These grants have helped scores of small business move from Manhattan to
2002 STRATEGIC POLICY STATEMENT 13
Augment export assistance programs. A surprising array of products made in Brooklyn are exported nationally and
internationally. In 2002, for instance, Bells Bagels, which started in a storefront in the late 1940’s, received a U.S.
Commerce Department award for its export prowess in successfully exporting bagels to Japan. The food manufacturing
industry has an especially large export potential. With some additional backing and support, other manufacturers could
greatly expand their markets too.
NEW YORK STATE SHOULD:
Make the Empire Zone investment tax credit useable by more manufacturers. Businesses in Brooklyn’s three New
York State Empire Zones are eligible for tax credits and other economic development incentives. One of the most
valuable incentives is an investment tax credit equal to 10 percent of the costs of building or rehabilitating industrial
properties. Only owner-operators are eligible for the credit. This credit would be of much greater use to Brooklyn
businesses if eligiblity were extended to developers of industrial properties within the zones. Unlike in much of the rest
of the state, industrial firms in New York City tend to rent, not own, their premises.
THE BOROUGH PRESIDENT WILL:
Help manufacturers obtain more federal contracts, particularly from the Department of Defense. The Department of
Defense spends billions of dollars a year in procurement contracts with small business. Many other localities actively
assist their small businesses in obtaining lucrative DOD work. Borough Hall can play a direct role by sponsoring
workshops and seminars for business owners who would like to do more business with the federal government.
GOAL: A THRIVING HIGH-TECH SECTOR WITH THOUSANDS OF EMPLOYEES
The City, with direct support by the Borough President,
should help expand Brooklyn’s nascent biotech sector by
supporting SUNY Downstate Medical Center’s Advanced
Biotechnology Park and by planning for biotech
Brooklyn has major advantages as a center for the biotech
industry including a major academic medical center at
SUNY Downstate, other prominent universities and
colleges, close proximity to sources of venture capital, and
a new biotech incubator facility on Clarkson Avenue.
Biotech incubators nurture companies that could grow
into significant local employers. Until recently, New York
City had only one incubator and it has a waiting list. The
new biotechnology incubator at SUNY Downstate could
become the focus of a vibrant urban Technology and
Health Services District. Borough President Markowitz
allocated $1 million in City Fiscal Year 2003 and another
$1 million in City Fiscal Year 2004 for the incubator.
New York City typically fails to retain biotech start-up
companies once they outgrow the lab or incubator. The
Brooklyn Biotechnology Consortium has been set up to
assist companies in staying in Brooklyn. The former U.S.
Food and Drug Administration building in Sunset Park may
be a viable location for a biotech “accelerator” facility to
which growing companies can move.
New York State should direct more high-tech spending to
Brooklyn. As a recent study by the Center for an Urban
Future documented, New York State’s high-tech spending
through the NYSTAR and other programs is heavily Borough President Markowitz took Daniel Doctoroff, Deputy Mayor for Economic
skewed toward upstate and Long Island. It is very Development and Rebuilding, on a several hour tour of Brooklyn economic development
important to develop the high-tech sector throughout the sites. They are shown above on Flatbush Avenue near the long-shuttered Loews Kings
entire state, but Brooklyn – with 13 percent of the state’s Theater (visible in the background), which could be renovated in part into a Caribbean
population – needs, deserves and could effectively utilize Cultural Center.
a larger share of the State’s substantial and growing high-
14 BOROUGH OF BROOKLYN
The City should continue to support development of Brooklyn’s high-tech, Digital NYC districts – the Brooklyn Navy
Yard Technology District, Downtown Brooklyn Connected, Silicon Harbor, and Brooklyn Information
Technology Center. Notwithstanding the “dot com meltdown,” high-tech and Internet-related businesses still have
enormous long-range potential for growth in Brooklyn. The City must renew all funds for marketing the broadband-
wired buildings in these districts for high-tech and e-commerce-based firms.
GOAL: A VIBRANT PORT FACILITY
THE BOROUGH PRESIDENT WILL:
Support the Red Hook Container Port and encourage
planning for the facility’s future.
The Red Hook Container Port is Brooklyn’s major port
facility. The City and the Port Authority should work with
the community and its elected officials on a long-term plan
to determine the role that the container port will play in
overall port development.
GOAL: INCREASED TOURISM IN BROOKLYN
Tourism should be a growth industry for Brooklyn.
After all, in Brooklyn — the most culturally diverse city on
earth — visitors can “visit” the world in a day or two. They
can also partake of world-class cultural offerings and enjoy
some of the best restaurants and nightlife in the region.
THE BOROUGH PRESIDENT WILL WORK WITH
THE CITY, BUSINESS AND CIVIC GROUPS TO:
Develop and implement a comprehensive tourism expansion
strategy and marketing campaign for Brooklyn. This effort
has begun with two recent meetings of business
development groups, business owners, and civic
organizations the Borough President convened to formulate
a strategic tourism and marketing initiative.
Promote tourism in individual neighborhoods by enhancing
coordination among Brooklyn’s borough-wide tourism-
promotion efforts and neighborhood-based economic
development organizations, including local development
corporations and business improvement districts. Among
the outcomes could be new ethnic-related festivals in
African-American, Latino, Asian-American, Polish-American,
and Caribbean-American communities, among others, with
tie-ins to the large ethnic-food manufacturing industry in
Brooklyn. With two million attendees, the West Indian Day
Parade is already the largest outdoor festival in America. The
Coney Island Mermaid Day Parade has also become a major draw
from throughout the region.
Seek a larger share of City tourism promotion dollars and The Coney Island waterfront is again becoming a prime family recreation
destination. The City has set aside $5 million to renovate the fabled Parachute
encourage a stronger focus by NYC & Company on Jump (above) which, if creatively renovated, would join the Wonder Wheel and the
Brooklyn tourism. Cyclone roller coaster as major tourism draws.
Expand Brooklyn promotional efforts by partners such as
the NYC Transit Authority. The Transit Authority should step up promotion of its $4 one-day unlimited-ride “Fun Pass.”
The authority also should work on joint promotions of Brooklyn destinations that can be readily reached with mass transit.
2002 STRATEGIC POLICY STATEMENT 15
Promote the development of arts and entertainment centers such as the cultural district in the Brooklyn Academy of
Music vicinity, renovation of the vacant Loews Kings Theater into a Caribbean Cultural Center and facilities for other
community cultural uses, and strategic promotion of jazz venues in the borough with more jazz artists than anywhere.
Expand and promote cultural events. For instance, the Central Brooklyn Jazz Fest, now in its fourth year, will be
enlarged and additionally publicized to be a full month-long celebration and to increase attendance from outside of
Brooklyn. And Brooklyn is known for some of the best gospel music in the nation, as evidenced by the four Grammy
Awards won by the Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir; new efforts to “spread the word” about Brooklyn’s gospel music
offerings could draw more visitors to the borough. (See additional discussion in Arts/Culture, p.1)
Continue to improve Coney Island recreational facilities; establish a Coney Island local development corporation. The
New York Aquarium, Astroland, the Wonder Wheel, a world-renowned Boardwalk and a new minor league stadium are
among Coney Island’s crowd-drawing assets. However, over the years Coney Island has faced stiff competition from
other recreation and entertainment centers in the region. To meet the competition, a local development corporation
should be established to prepare a comprehensive redevelopment plan for both sides of Surf Avenue. The plan, based
on consensus among all of the area’s stakeholders, should include opportunities for new restaurants, hotels, and year-
round entertainment facilities — perhaps even a National Basketball Association team.
Expand the Brooklyn tourism pushcart information program. Under a pilot program sponsored by the Borough
President, a Brooklyn tourism pushcart staffed by volunteers was located on the Brooklyn Bridge walkway on Saturdays
and Sundays for eight weeks in Summer 2002. Interest in the brochures about Brooklyn cultural institutions, parks and
shopping areas that were given away was so great that they regularly ran out of stock. Pushcarts or kiosks should be
located at additional high-volume pedestrian entry points to the borough.
One of the most important issues confronting Brooklyn is youth employment. In Summer 2002 Borough President Markowitz organized a summer jobs program,
Summer H.E.A.T. (Helping Employ Ambitious Teens). This pilot program will be expanded in 2003.
16 BOROUGH OF BROOKLYN
IN ADDITION, THE BOROUGH PRESIDENT WILL:
Continue to host the Summer Concerts series. As a State Senator, Borough President Markowitz founded two of the
biggest outdoor concert series in the nation, the Martin Luther King Jr. Concerts, which entered its 20th year in 2002,
and the Seaside Summer Concerts, which entered its 24th year. He serves as “emcee” for both series. Typically, at
least 10,000 people attend each concert.
Organize and assist in major public celebrations that attract large numbers of visitors to the borough. In June 2003, Borough
President Markowitz will host a Brooklyn Bridge to the World Festival to celebrate the 120th birthday of the Brooklyn Bridge.
He will also work with the Brooklyn Arts Council as it presents the 100th Anniversary Celebration of the Williamsburg Bridge.
ISSUE 2. MARKETING BROOKLYN
The Brooklyn Borough President is ideally suited to promote business development by “selling” Brooklyn and its products
around the City, the region, the nation and -- with Borough President Markowitz planning trips to foreign countries -- to
the world. Borough President Markowitz is Brooklyn’s Number One salesperson.
GOAL: SELL MORE PRODUCTS MADE IN BROOKLYN
THE BOROUGH PRESIDENT WILL:
Support the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce in assembling and publicizing a list of consumer products that are made
in Brooklyn. The list should be broadly disseminated to the public, including through website links. In addition, a
business-to-business guide of products and services specifically from Brooklyn-based vendors would encourage
Brooklyn companies to shop “at home” and non-Brooklyn companies to discover what the borough has to offer.
Continue to host public events where Brooklyn products and retailers are promoted. The well-publicized Brooklyn
egg cream contest held in front of Borough Hall in August 2002 is an example; chocolate syrup used in egg creams is
made in Brooklyn and the participating retailers received extensive publicity.
GOAL: MORE BROOKLYN SHOPPERS
THE BOROUGH PRESIDENT WILL:
Jointly with business improvement districts, local development corporations, and merchant associations, launch
“New York Shops Brooklyn.” This program will encourage residents of other boroughs to shop in Brooklyn and
Brooklynites to patronize retailers in their home borough. Through wide dissemination of marketing materials the
campaign would focus on shopping districts that have citywide appeal such as Borough Park, which has numerous
discount home furnishings retailers, and the concentration of Afro-centric stores on Fulton Street in Fort Greene.
Encourage additional major national retailers to join the many that have recently opened shop in Brooklyn. With 2.5
million people of incredible diversity and enormous buying power — and with Brooklynites still doing much of their
shopping outside of the borough — Brooklyn is one of the biggest under-tapped markets in the nation.
GOAL: MORE PUBLIC INVESTMENT IN BROOKLYN
THE BOROUGH PRESIDENT WILL:
Seek greater federal, State, and City investment in Brooklyn. Public investment was critical to the development of
the MetroTech Center, the renovation of the Brooklyn Army Terminal and redevelopment of the Brooklyn Navy Yard.
Public investment is currently needed to complete the remaining space at the Army Terminal, renovate the vacant FDA
building, and finance other development-related infrastructure needs throughout the borough.
GOAL: NEW JOBS IN AREAS WITH EXCELLENT ECONOMIC GROWTH POTENTIAL
Promote areas that have major untapped potential for growth. One such area is East New York. East New York is
minutes from Kennedy Airport. With close airport proximity key for many types of small-scale, high-tech, high-value
added and export-oriented manufacturing, and with available properties and some public backing, East New York is in
a good position to capture jobs in these sorts of industries. East New York also has solid neighborhoods with productive
workforces, such as the Towers at Spring Creek. And it has an exciting major retail development at Gateway Estates.
2002 STRATEGIC POLICY STATEMENT 17
ISSUE 3. REDEVELOPING BROWNFIELDS
Brooklyn has a pressing need for suitable sites to build new housing, commercial buildings and industrial structures. The
borough also has large swaths of formerly developed land that is now vacant or underused. Some of this property remains
underutilized because it consists of “brownfields” —vacant industrial property that might have been contaminated by prior
uses and cannot be redeveloped until assessed and possibly remediated.
GOAL: MORE “BROWNFIELD” SITES REDEVELOPED FOR JOBS AND HOUSING
NEW YORK STATE SHOULD:
Enact a brownfields law. New York State and City are far behind other jurisdictions in redeveloping brownfields, in large
part because New York is one of the few states without a comprehensive brownfields remediation and redevelopment
law. The State needs a law that establishes a voluntary cleanup program (VCP) with clear standards for remediation —
the current VCP works on an essentially case-by-case, ad hoc basis, which discourages participation by developers, who
must know the exact clean-up standards that will be required before they can proceed — and that provides appropriate
limitations on developer liability for clean-up costs.
Additional financial incentives for brownfields redevelopment are also needed, including changes in the rules governing
access to brownfields redevelopment funds set aside by the State’s Clean Air/Clean Water Bond Act; only a fraction of
the available funding has been tapped in part due to overly restrictive eligibility and sponsorship rules.
ISSUE 4. MOVING FREIGHT
Traffic congestion increases the cost of moving goods and stifles Brooklyn’s economic growth. Part of the solution is to
take trucks off the road by moving more freight by train. Currently, only three percent of the freight destined for locations
east of the Hudson River arrives by rail. The Cross Harbor Freight Movement Major Investment Study commissioned by
the NYC Economic Development Corporation and released in 2000 calls for a series of sensible short and long-term
improvements that focus on increasing this percentage.
GOAL: IMPROVED RAIL-FREIGHT MOVEMENT TO AND WITHIN BROOKLYN
THE CITY SHOULD:
In the short-term, continue to enhance the railcar float system and existing rail yards, as recommended by the Major
Investment Study (MIS). Since the release of the MIS, progress on this front has been achieved with new transfer
bridges and a truck ramp completed at the 65th Street Rail Yard.
In the longer-term, construct a rail-freight tunnel under New York Harbor and upgrade the Bay Ridge Line. While
improved railcar float-barge facilities would help reduce truck traffic, according to the MIS a freight tunnel would
eliminate over twice as many truck-miles per year as improved rail car float operations. It would have a substantial
positive impact on Brooklyn’s - and New York City’s — traffic congestion, air quality and costs of doing business.
The success of the cross-Hudson rail freight line in reducing bridge and tunnel truck traffic will depend on moving
freight containers inland without being transferred to trucks at the Brooklyn waterfront. The underutilized Bay Ridge
Line can help fill this role. So in conjunction with building the rail-freight tunnel, additional investments will be required
to raise clearances and make other improvements on the Bay Ridge Line to accommodate double-stacked trailers.
ISSUE 5. ENCOURAGING COMMUNITY-BASED DEVELOPMENT
In June 2002, Deputy Mayor Daniel Doctoroff told the Future of Brooklyn conference sponsored by Brooklyn College and
Borough President Markowitz: “We have to look at each neighborhood, one by one, come up with a vision for its future, and
then develop a strategy to achieve that vision. The future for Brooklyn is for its neighborhoods to take part in many of
the great transformations that will take place in New York.”
Community-based, not-for-profit economic development organizations have been instrumental in reviving many once-
distressed commercial districts. Brooklyn groups took many of the City’s 2002 Neighborhood Development Awards
including top honors in the economic development category for “Rolling Up the Gates,” sponsored by the Myrtle Avenue
Revitalization Project, and the Fulton First Initiative sponsored by the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce received a merit
award in the Community Development Category.
18 BOROUGH OF BROOKLYN
GOAL: MORE REVITALIZED NEIGHBORHOOD COMMERCIAL/RETAIL STRIPS
THE CITY SHOULD:
Expand planning assistance to merchant associations and business improvement districts. Careful advance planning
is essential for successful commercial strip revitalization efforts. Merchant associations and BIDs would benefit from
more detailed demographic information, shopping studies, analyses of building ownership and local crime statistics. For
example, the Pratt Institute Center for Community and Economic Development has worked successfully with
community-based groups on planning and commercial feasibility studies.
Initiate a strict City building code-enforcement campaign in targeted commercial districts. A few poorly maintained
buildings can reduce a commercial strip’s appeal to shoppers and new businesses. On some strips, absentee property
owners are chiefly at fault. A building-code enforcement campaign can be coordinated with beefed-up enforcement of
sanitation regulations, of signage and awning regulations, and increased police presence to crack down on quality of life
THE BOROUGH PRESIDENT WILL:
Support Brooklyn’s 14 Business Improvement Districts and help establish new ones. It can be difficult to organize a
BID in a lower-income area because of lower property values, vacant buildings, and absentee landlords. The City should
also help start mini-BIDs including on short three or four block commercial strips.
"The Future of Brooklyn" was the subject of a conference Borough President Markowitz and Brooklyn College sponsored at the college in June 2002. Deputy Mayor Daniel Doctoroff told
the conference that if the City's plans are realized, "Downtown Brooklyn will have as much office space as downtown Los Angeles."
2002 STRATEGIC POLICY STATEMENT 19
Support commercial street revitalization projects such as Fulton First, an initiative by Fleet Bank and the Brooklyn
Chamber of Commerce. Fulton First is a comprehensive three-year economic development plan for Fort Greene, Clinton
Hill and Bedford-Stuyvesant, which aims to decrease vacancy rates, attract a broader range of high-quality businesses,
and attract shoppers.
Support anchor projects such as redevelopment of the Loews Kings Theater. Feasibility studies should be completed
for the redevelopment of the long-vacant Loews Kings Theater on Flatbush Avenue into a Caribbean Cultural Center in
order to advance this project.
GOAL: MORE FOOD SHOPPING OPTIONS, PARTICULARLY ONES THAT ARE
CONVENIENT TO LOWER-INCOME COMMUNITIES
The City should permit supermarkets of up to 100,000 square feet to be built as-of-right or by City Planning
authorization in manufacturing zones. Supermarkets built in manufacturing zones should still be subjected to a traffic
control plan for the vicinity.
GOAL: COMMUNITY ENTREPRENEURS PROVIDE MANY NEW JOBS AND SERVICES
THE CITY SHOULD:
Expand micro-enterprise assistance programs. Through loans and training, these programs help small businesses and
start-ups that cannot obtain help from more conventional sources.
Expand entrepreneurial training and assistance, such as the assistance offered through the three Business Outreach
Centers (BOC) in Brooklyn, the monthly small business workshops run by the Church Avenue Merchants Block
Association (CAMBA), and the entrepreneur classroom training offered by the Brooklyn Economic Development
Corporation. Additional services could include targeted efforts to connect entrepreneurs with franchise opportunities,
and funding and real estate assistance. The City should also provide more funding for Brooklyn’s
Entrepreneurship Assistance Program Centers (EAP).
GOAL: ENHANCED OPPORTUNITIES FOR MINORITY AND WOMEN-OWNED
THE CITY SHOULD:
Encourage the formation of networks within the construction industry. The Downtown Brooklyn Advisory and
Oversight Committee invites local construction projects to participate in a voluntary compliance initiative. The
Committee provides networks for general contractors to reach out to Minority/Women-Owned subcontracting firms. It
serves as a model for additional networks that could be created throughout Brooklyn.
Make minority and women-owned enterprises (M/WBE) certification less cumbersome. Many M/WBE small
businesses have a difficult time obtaining certification from the State, City, and Port Authority. Certification
applications are cumbersome and time-consuming to complete. A uniform certification process could streamline these
procedures and enable more M/WBE firms to access procurement opportunities.
Encourage the growth of the borough’s African-American hair-care industry and related products. One of the
borough’s unsung economic success stories has been the growth of this sub-sector.
ISSUE 6. DEVELOPING BROOKLYN’S WORKFORCE
For Brooklyn’s economy to grow, employers need a trained and educated workforce. Brooklyn must have a training system
capable of upgrading the skills of current workers as well as providing new entrants into the labor market, particularly
public assistance recipients and youth, with the skills and education they need to obtain jobs that pay a living wage and
offer opportunities for advancement.
An effective workforce development system focuses on the actual needs of industry sectors, responding quickly to changes
in the economy, as opposed to the City’s workforce development system in recent years, which has focused almost entirely
on placing welfare recipients in low-skilled jobs.
20 BOROUGH OF BROOKLYN
GOAL: AN EMPLOYER-DRIVEN WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT SYSTEM
THE CITY SHOULD:
Develop workforce-training programs that target the needs of employers and sectors of the economy where good jobs
exist and where growth potential is greatest. A seemingly obvious recommendation, yet New York City’s training
programs often ignore the real needs of employers. This effort would rely in part on workforce information generated
by the comprehensive strategic planning and information-gathering process and the industry development partnerships
Convene a series of Brooklyn sector-based workforce summit meetings. Business owners, training providers,
representatives of local education institutions, and labor would be convened on an industry-cluster basis to discuss
workforce development needs and to facilitate partnerships. These meetings would allow workforce skills gaps to be
more clearly identified and new training strategies and programs to be developed in response. Other cities that have
done this have found it to be very productive.
Healthcare is one of the sectors with the greatest job creation potential in Brooklyn. Already Brooklyn’s second-largest
employer (after retailing/restaurants), health care providers have reported shortages in key skilled occupations, from
aides and nurses to community health educators.
GOAL: A WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT SYSTEM THAT SERVES ALL WHO NEED IT
THE CITY SHOULD:
Open several One-Stop Career Centers in Brooklyn. The U.S. Workforce Investment Act (WIA) of 1998 requires
localities to establish a system that serves all those who need job training and job-search assistance, from long-term
welfare recipients to laid-off accountants. The cornerstone of this system is the network of One-Stop Career Centers
that WIA requires localities to establish. One-Stop Career Centers are intended to offer customer-friendly, on-site
employment, training and referral services for everyone from public assistance recipients to accountants.
As discussed in Human Services, New York City has so far opened only three One-Stop Career Centers, none of them in
Brooklyn. Other major cities have made much more progress. Los Angeles County has 18 full One Stop Career Centers
and 41 partial center, and Dallas, with one-quarter New York City’s population, has twelve full Centers. New York City
must move ahead on establishing the required One-Stop network, with several Centers located in Brooklyn. To help pay
for a full network, the City must fully tap federal funding that is available through the Workforce Investment Act.
Offer public assistance recipients appropriate training based on their skills, after a thorough evaluation, in place of
the “one size fits all” approach that has predominated. As discussed in Human Services, basic skills education linked
to career training, industry-driven skills training, linked work experience (on-the-job training, internships and other
career-related work experience), and placement with participating employers, are among the strategies that need to be
Ensure that September 11th, 2001-related displaced worker outreach training funds reach eligible workers who live
in Brooklyn. Some $32 million in federal disaster funds were earmarked for training and retraining workers who lost
their jobs or suffered substantial income cuts as a result of the World Trade Center disaster. According to officials of
the Consortium for Worker Education, which is the official conduit for these funds, it is likely that thousands of workers
who might be eligible for assistance are not being helped because they cannot be identified and many of these workers
live in Brooklyn.
2002 STRATEGIC POLICY STATEMENT 21
EDUCATION AND LIBRARIES
A key strategy for helping build stronger Brooklyn families is to fully support comprehensive efforts such as the Bedford-Stuyvesant Early Childhood Development Center. In addition to
offering early childhood education (above), the Center provides adult education including GED classes and family literacy programs, and programs in computers, nutrition, health and
safety, skills training and work experience and parenting and home visitations.
The recent restructuring of New York City’s schools governance system has given many New Yorkers a hope
and reasonable expectation that administrative improvements will lead to improved educational achievement.
Yet much more than mayoral control of the schools will be needed to make sure that every child is offered a
high-quality education. First and foremost is money. New York City’s annual $12 billion schools budget comes
to only $9,623 per student, approximately $700 less than the New York State average and $3,000 less than
surrounding suburban counties. The reversal of Judge DeGrasse’s decision in the Campaign for Fiscal Equity
lawsuit threatens a continuation of the State’s historical under-funding of New York City schools.
In the current difficult fiscal climate, the Department of Education will have to do even more while absorbing
budget cuts. It has to keep class sizes down, build enough schools to ease overcrowding, expand teacher
development and support programs, and introduce new technology into the classroom. Additional challenges
are raised by the new State requirement for high school students to pass Regents examinations to graduate.
The challenges are especially acute in Brooklyn, which has 112 of 331 schools in New York City that in
September 2002 the New York State Education Department included on its list of schools that are in need of
With so much public attention focused on schools that are not performing well, the successes of many New
York City public schools and their students are often overlooked. There are schools — including quite a few in
Brooklyn – that do a superb job preparing students to succeed, including students from low-income households.
These schools can serve as models for the rest of the system to emulate.
The Brooklyn Public Library is an important part of the daily lives of hundreds of thousands of Brooklynites —
the pre-schooler attending a book reading, the 8th-grader researching a homework assignment, the recent
22 BOROUGH OF BROOKLYN
immigrant seeking to learn English, the film buff who takes out new movies every week. Because it plays such
an important role in so many lives, every branch should remain open at least six days a week and the Central
Library should be open daily, notwithstanding the City’s fiscal difficulties.
In the digital age, the role of libraries continues to expand beyond mere books, records and videos. Large
storehouses of information are on CDs that can be viewed at the library. The public library provides the only
access to a computer and the Internet for many people. The library is indeed a very important tool for breaking
down the “digital divide.”
In recent years, Brooklyn’s colleges, universities and professional schools have grown in enrollment and
stature. They are playing an increasingly important role in the borough’s economy and cultural life. More than
ever, Brooklyn is a college town.
ISSUE 1. PUBLIC SCHOOL FACILITIES AND EQUIPMENT
Truly effective teaching requires suitable classroom, laboratory and library space. Brooklyn has its share of the City’s
overcrowded schools, yet the Eduucation Department’s most recent amended five-year capital plan provides for virtually
no new school construction in Brooklyn.
Massive cost overruns by the School Construction Authority are one of the reasons for insufficient new schools
construction citywide. The City must make it a priority to reduce the excessive cost of building schools in New York City.
Realization of this goal should advanced by the merger of the School Construction Authority with the NYC Department of
Design and Construction and can be additionally furthered by building more schools using a common, standardized design
“template” and taking the steps necessary to obtain construction bids from a much wider pool of builders.
In today’s increasingly digital society it has become more important than ever to expand student access to technology.
The “digital divide” is widening between students from more affluent households who have access to computers and
students from lower-income households who do not. Breaking down this divide will require more computers, better Internet
access, and more training for teachers.
The Leon M. Goldstein High School for the Sciences on the campus of Kingsborough Community College. The City should no longer delay construction of two urgently needed high school
facilities: a new high school for Sunset Park and an addition to the severely-overcrowded Midwood High School.
2002 STRATEGIC POLICY STATEMENT 23
GOAL: NO MORE OVERCROWDED SCHOOLS
The Borough President will press the New York City Department of Education and the Panel for Educational Policy
to restore Brooklyn school construction projects to the Department’s list of projects in the 2002-04 capital plan.
Brooklyn has a significant share of the City’s overcrowded schools. Yet the only school construction project included
in the Board of Education capital budget through 2004 is a leasehold improvement to create a permanent home for the
Cypress Hills Community School. Two crucial high school projects that were deferred should proceed as soon as
possible: an annex for the extremely overcrowded Midwood High School and a new high school in Sunset Park.
GOAL: SUFFICIENT LIBRARY BOOKS AND COMPUTERS
THE NEW YORK CITY DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION SHOULD SEEK TO:
Provide more library books. According to the Campaign for Fiscal Equity, New York City schools have only 8.3 library
books per student while the average New York State district with low student-needs (districts in middle-class and
affluent communities) has 21.9. Books are basic. Every school must have a well-stocked library and plenty of books in
Provide more computers and improve Internet connectivity. New York City schools have only 7.4 computers per 100
students, compared to 21.7 in districts statewide with low student needs. As a long-term strategy, all students in middle
The front plaza of the Brooklyn Public Library central branch is to be rebuilt with an exciting new outdoor cafe and performance space.
An auditorium will be constructed underneath the plaza.
24 BOROUGH OF BROOKLYN
school and above should be given a laptop computer. In addition, the Department of Education should seek to connect
all classrooms in the 4th grade and above to the Internet and ultimately to a broadband connection.
Work with private-sector and non-for-profit partners to develop a schools Internet portal. Students would be able
to use the portal to communicate via e-mail with teachers, obtain assignment, curricula and research project materials,
follow tutorials, and obtain homework assignments and help. Parents could track what their children are expected to
be learning in school. The portal would also be used for training faculty and staff. The community could use the portal
to obtain information on schools and to register their children.
To help pay for books, computers, and Internet access, the Department should continue to make it a priority to develop
additional private-public partnerships. New York City and Brooklyn also must be prepared to aggressively pursue a full,
fair share of the $187 million in additional federal aid to New York State that is expected this year under the Leave No
Child Behind initiative.
GOAL: ALL SCHOOLS ARE IN GOOD CONDITION AND WELL-MAINTAINED
THE CITY DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION SHOULD:
Expand funding for Brooklyn school building renovations. Most of Brooklyn’s public school buildings need substantial
repairs and improvements to be considered in overall good condition. Most schools have at least one building feature
needing attention such as the roof, plumbing, electrical system, or windows. Many schools have problems with
ventilation, acoustics, heating or lighting.
Develop a system to ensure that small repairs are made expeditiously. It should take a day or two at most to replace
a broken window, not weeks as it sometimes does. Broken windows, toilets and other neglected repairs impart a
message of neglect and not caring about students and staff.
ISSUE 2. A RESPONSIVE PANEL FOR EDUCATIONAL POLICY
The Board of Education has been replaced by a Panel for Educational Policy comprised of 13 members, eight appointed by
the Mayor and the other five, who must be public-school parents, appointed by each of the borough presidents. The panel
advises the Chancellor, whom the Mayor appoints. The panel votes on policy matters directly related to student
While the new governance arrangement gives the mayor effective control of the public schools, the Legislature did not
intend the Panel for Educational Policy merely to sign off on the policies and proposals handed down by the Education
Department. The borough appointees, at least, should feel free to speak up publicly as needed when issues of importance
to quality education are at stake. And with mayoral control comes a responsibility for the system’s top administrators to
listen be responsive to concerns voiced by parents of public school children, as well as those of teachers and principals.
GOAL: BROOKLYN’S APPOINTEE TO THE PANEL FOR EDUCATIONAL POLICY
HAS THE ADMINISTRATIVE SUPPORT NEEDED TO BE AN EFFECTIVE
The Borough President will provide the Brooklyn appointee with sufficient resources to effectively represent the
interests of Brooklyn parents and to successfully advocate for Brooklyn’s full and fair share of schools funding. The
Borough President’s appointee has been provided an office and facilities to meet with parent leaders, and
administrative help with mailings and correspondence.
GOAL: THE BOROUGH PRESIDENT APPOINTEE STAYS IN CLOSE TOUCH WITH
The Borough President’s appointee will convene monthly meetings of the President’s Councils of the 12 Brooklyn
community school districts. A representative of each school’s parent association makes up the district’s President’s
The Borough President will hold an annual Borough Hall Education Summit. Parents, educators and community
leaders will meet every year to discuss issues facing Brooklyn’s public schools and to map strategies for improving
public education in the borough.
2002 STRATEGIC POLICY STATEMENT 25
ISSUE 3. IMPROVING LOCAL SCHOOLS GOVERNANCE
Studies have shown that schools where parents are involved tend to be more academically successful than those with little
parent participation. Parents are more likely to become involved if they believe that their contributions will be welcomed
and that they can have a real impact. The views of educators, including those who teach in the local schools, also need to
be carefully considered by local school administrators. And local community leaders and business owners who are
concerned about the quality of the schools should be invited and encouraged to participate. Borough President Markowitz
will work with parents, educators and local community leaders to propose a replacement for the City's community school
boards, which are to be eliminated.
GOAL: MORE INVOLVEMENT BY PARENTS, EDUCATORS, AND COMMUNITY AND
BUSINESS LEADERS IN COMMUNITY SCHOOLS OVERSIGHT AND GOVERNANCE
THE BOROUGH PRESIDENT WILL:
Encourage every school to have an active school leadership team. School leadership teams, comprised of parents and
teachers, were established by a law enacted in 1996 to help democratize decision-making. One-half of the members of
the teams are parents. In many schools, leadership teams are promoting effective, student-centered decision-making
at the school level, engagement by parents and teachers, and educational leadership by principals. Currently, only
about one-half of schools citywide have leadership teams.
Recognize private companiest that support Brooklyn’s public schools. The Borough President will publicly recognize
companies doing business in Brooklyn that meet criteria such as donating a threshold level of funds, labor or services,
establishing mentor programs, and providing supplies such as computers and playground equipment.
Polytechnic University President David Chang and Borough President Marty Markowitz gaze at Polytechnic's campus from the roof of the university's new downtown dormitory tower. Brooklyn's
higher education sector has expanded considerably over the last decade and current and planned capital programs promise to continue to help raise the academic stature of many institutions.
26 BOROUGH OF BROOKLYN
GOAL: SCHOOLS HAVE A HIGH DEGREE OF GOVERNANCE AUTONOMY, WITH
A MINIMUM OF RED-TAPE AND ADMINISTRATIVE STRICTURES
The Borough President will encourage implementation of Performance-Based School Budgeting in more schools. A
New York University study in March 2002 found that schools with Performance-Based Budgeting – where the school
has control over how it spends its budget allocation — have better academic outcomes. New York City began to shift
budgeting control to schools in 1997.
GOAL: STRONG CONNECTIONS BETWEEN SCHOOLS AND FAMILIES
THE BOROUGH PRESIDENT WILL:
Work toward using Brooklyn Cable Access Television (BCAT) to communicate directly with parents. As a supplement
to other sources, BCAT could broadcast practical information on how parents can get involved with their child’s
education, information about school events and educational resources throughout the borough, and how parents can
serve as effective members of a parents association or school leadership team. New BCAT programming could also be
designed to support after-school or pre-Kindergarten programs, and to link schools and institutions involved in
interactive projects and curricula.
Survey schools to identify ones that are particularly “parent and community friendly.” Borough Hall would publicly
recognize schools that meet criteria such as responsiveness to parents’ phone calls, publishing a regular newsletter, and
exerting special efforts to ensure that parents attend parent-teacher conferences.
ISSUE 4. RECRUITING AND RETAINING EDUCATORS
GOAL: MORE EFFECTIVE, EXPANDED TEACHER DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMS
The Department of Education should expand proven teacher development and support/mentor programs. These
include on-site teacher trainers to provide continued assistance in grade curricula, classroom management skills, lesson
planning, effective grouping and individualization strategies, and communication arts skills.
ISSUE 5. TEACHING CIVIC AND PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY
The public schools have important functions in addition to teaching academics. Among these are teaching civic
responsibility, including how our government works and how students can become civically involved. And schools should
reemphasize the teaching of personal responsibility. Personal responsibility means respecting others such as by giving
your seat on the bus to an elderly person and not littering. And it means learning how to function in the working world —
dressing for success, being on time, and the other essential “soft” workplace skills that are critical to finding and holding
a job. The Department of Education should include lessons in civic and personal responsibility in the school curricula.
ISSUE 6. PUBLIC LIBRARY ACCESSIBILITY
GOAL: LIBRARIES THAT ARE ACCESSIBLE TO ALL
THE CITY SHOULD:
Retain current service hours and, as funds permit, expand them. Six-day-a-week service hours should become
permanent at all BPL branches and the Central Library should continue to be open daily. Expansion of library service
hours should become a priority when the City’s fiscal situation eases. Longer service hours at the Central Library are
especially important; it is the system’s major reference repository and the location of a multilingual center, an education
and job information center, and a multi-media center.
Enlarge the most overcrowded branch libraries and build new ones where needed. With recent substantial capital
improvements at the Central Library now completed or underway, renewed attention should be paid to enlarging branch
libraries, several of which are operating well beyond designed capacity. As the budget permits, new libraries should be
established in communities without one, particularly communities that have experienced significant development
2002 STRATEGIC POLICY STATEMENT 27
In June 2002, Borough President Markowitz convened a first-ever meeting of the presidents and highest-ranking officers of Brooklyn's institutions of higher education.
The group, the Brooklyn Council on Higher Education, is analyzing common needs and issues and developing joint strategies for advancing higher education in the borough.
Shown above: center front, from left to right: Dr. David Chang. Polytechnic University; Dr. Byron McClenney, Kingborough Community College; Borough President Markowitz; Dr. Edison
Jackson, Medgar Evers College; Dr. Fred Beaufait, NYC College of Technology. Middle row, left to right: Dr. Frank Machiarola, St. Francis College; Provost Gayle Haynes, Long Island
University, Brooklyn Campus; Sister Elizabeth Hill, St. Joseph's College; Dr. Christopher Kimmich, Brooklyn College. Back row, left to right: Dr. David Steinberg, Long Island University; Dr.
Thomas Schutte, Pratt Institute; and Dr. Joseph Gora, Brooklyn Law School.
GOAL: MORE OUTSIDE FUNDING, MORE DIVERSIFIED FUNDING SOURCES
The Brooklyn Public Library and the City should continue to press for increased State and federal assistance. The
BPL should continue its commendable efforts to seek outside funding sources, including by redoubling lobbying efforts
in Albany and seeking additional federal grants such as the $250,000 recently obtained toward the cost of the Central
Library’s civic plaza and auditorium projects.
ISSUE 7. ADVANCING HIGHER EDUCATION
Brooklyn is becoming even more of a college town as its colleges, universities, and professional schools expand physically and
add enrollment. Nearly all of the borough’s institutions of higher education are or recently have engaged in substantial capital
improvement projects, from the opening of a new library complex at Brooklyn College to Polytechnic University’s first dormitory.
28 BOROUGH OF BROOKLYN
GOAL: BROOKLYN’S COLLEGES AND UNIVERSITIES WORK CLOSELY TOGETHER
FOR THEIR COMMON ADVANCEMENT
The Borough President will promote higher education in Brooklyn through the Brooklyn Council on Higher Education.
Under the leadership of Borough President Markowitz, the Council, consisting of the leaders of the borough’s private
and public colleges, universities and professional schools, held its first meeting at Borough Hall in July 2002. The
Council aims to improve the standing of each member by working collaboratively. Among the Council’s initiatives may
be coordinating applications for federal and State grants and undertaking joint lobbying in Albany and Washington.
Brooklyn is the only borough to have established such a Council.
Borough Hall staff is currently working with college officials on a survey and analysis of common needs and issues.
Followup meetings of the Higher Education Council will be held regularly.
GOAL: CONTINUED HIGH-QUALITY, AFFORDABLE CITY UNIVERSITY OF
NEW YORK EDUCATIONS
THE BOROUGH PRESIDENT WILL:
Press New York State and New York City to provide the funds necessary to ensure high quality. Measured in constant
dollars, over the last ten years State aid to the City University of New York has declined by almost 33 percent. Sharply
increased tuition fees have taken up much of the slack. In fall 2001, CUNY experienced a six-percent increase in
freshman enrollment system-wide, with even greater increases at the senior colleges, yet City and State funding
remained level. At the least, government support must keep pace with enrollment.
Under the State’s maintenance of effort law, New York City’s contribution is not allowed to fall below a specified level;
the City has been sued to enforce this law. Lawsuits should not be necessary to force the City to pay its required share.
Hiring more full-time faculty should be one of the top funding priorities. The number of full-time faculty has declined by
half since 1975 and the majority of classes are now taught by temporary part-timers. Their office hours and availability
to students is extremely limited and they typically do not participate in college life.
THE CITY, STATE, AND CUNY SHOULD:
Build new physical facilities to meet growing demand; on a long-term basis, New York State should assume full
responsibility for construction costs at Brooklyn’s CUNY campuses. Medgar Evers College, in particular, has long
outgrown its facilities and has been holding some classes in modular trailers; a $108 million academic building is in the
works. The New York City College of Technology’s master building plan must also be realized.
THE STATE SHOULD:
Keep CUNY affordable by permanently retaining the Tuition Assistance Program as a full grant program. With rising
tuition fees accounting for a steadily rising share of the CUNY budget, TAP assistance must be fully maintained if low
and moderate-income students are to be able to attend CUNY.
2002 STRATEGIC POLICY STATEMENT 29
ENVIRONMENT AND SANITATION
The future livability of Brooklyn will largely be determined by our success in addressing environmental
challenges. We must develop and implement viable long-range plans to dispose of residential and commercial
waste, improve the quality of air and water, and produce through environmentally sound and socially equitable
means the electricity residents and businesses will require in the coming decades.
ISSUE 1. MANAGING SOLID WASTE
Currently, Brooklyn’s residential garbage, plus most of the
entire city’s commercial waste, is placed on large open trucks
at 30 land-based transfer stations, a majority of which are
located in Greenpoint, Williamsburg, Sunset Park, and East
New York, for transport to out-of-state landfills or to
incinerators on Long Island or in New Jersey. Thus, Brooklyn
communities already burdened with waste transfer stations
and power plants endure an extra burden of noisy, diesel-
fueled trucks spewing air pollutants and foul garbage odors.
This burden has been exacerbated by inadequate
enforcement of City regulations intended to minimize a
community’s exposure to garbage, the absence of a
comprehensive plan for siting garbage transfer stations, and
the virtual rubber-stamping of transfer station license
renewals by State regulators.
The City has announced the outlines of a new long-range
solid waste management plan that should result in a more geographically equitable distribution of solid waste handling
throughout the City. The plan calls for converting existing marine waste transfer stations in each borough into compacting
and containerizing plants for solid waste, which can then be sent out of state by barge and rail, and, it is hoped, no longer
by truck. With each borough essentially handling only its own garbage, the amount of solid waste processed in Brooklyn
would be greatly reduced. Much of the plan remains to be worked out, including identification of rail links and locations
where garbage will be sent.
GOAL: LESS SOLID WASTE FOR BROOKLYN TO MANAGE
THE CITY SHOULD:
Direct the Department of Sanitation, the Economic Development Corporation, and the Division of Citywide
Administrative Services to work together to create new markets for plastic, glass and other recyclable materials.
An important part of the City’s solid waste management plan should be restoration of glass and plastics recycling.
Recycling will become more cost-effective when new markets for recyclable materials are created and prices rise.
Consider using dual-bin trucks to collect regular trash and recyclables at the same time. Dual-use trucks would allow
the City to reduce the number of trucks on City streets and to save on personnel costs by eliminating the need for
separate recycling runs, making recycling more cost-effective for the City.
Step-up waste prevention education. Waste stream reduction should be central to the Department’s operations, rather
than perceived as an add-on program.
THE BOROUGH PRESIDENT WILL:
Urge New York State to revise the bottle deposit law to give the City up to $50 million per year that is now kept by
the beverage industry. These funds should be used to increase recycling and waste prevention efforts. Additional
funding could be obtained and the recycling rate increased — once glass recycling is resumed — by requiring deposits
on more types of beverages.
30 BOROUGH OF BROOKLYN
GOAL: GENUINE COMMUNITY PARTICIPATION IN FINALIZING THE CITY’S SOLID
WASTE MANAGEMENT PLAN
The City should involve the Solid Waste Advisory Board for each borough and invite the public to participate as it
fleshes out the new solid waste disposal plan. The City should not repeat the mistake of the 1990s when a long-term
solid waste management plan was crafted with little or no public input.
ISSUE 2. CLEANING UP NEIGHBORHOODS
Brooklyn has consistently lagged behind the rest of the city on official street cleanliness ratings, with less than 60 percent
of streets deemed clean in half of the borough’s community districts. Meanwhile, graffiti remains a persistent problem in
both commercial and residential areas.
GOAL: CLEANER STREETS
The Borough President will work with the Department of Sanitation (DOS) and communities with the worst street
cleanliness ratings. Stepped-up DOS enforcement and increased pickups, community education, and sponsored
volunteer street-cleaning initiatives will be sought.
GOAL: LESS GRAFFITI
The Borough President will continue to directly support graffiti-removal efforts. The Borough President has funded
two specially-equipped graffiti-removal trucks to respond directly to Brooklynites’ graffiti complaints. The trucks will
be operated by the New York Economic Development Corporation under contract with Graffiti Answers Inc. Complaints
will be tracked statistically so that recurring “problem” areas will be addressed on a systematic basis.
Thanks to a reactivated tunnel that brings in cleaner harbor water, the once heavily-polluted Gowanus Canal (above) is again hosting a variety of aquatic life. Someday like Venice?
2002 STRATEGIC POLICY STATEMENT 31
ISSUE 3. CLEANER AIR
Air pollution sources in Brooklyn include power-generating stations, stationary diesel generators, and mobile sources.
Traffic, particularly large diesel-burning trucks and buses, contribute the most pollutants. The Brooklyn-Queens
Expressway and the Gowanus Expressway alone bring up to 4,000 vehicles per hour, many of them trucks, through
Local truck traffic is a major source of air pollution in many neighborhoods, and truck traffic in residential neighborhoods
is one of the most common complaints received by the Borough President. The City Department of Transportation is about
to undertake a citywide study of truck routes which, when completed, should provide a blueprint for minimizing regular
truck traffic through Brooklyn’s residential neighborhoods.
To ensure electric power system reliability, New York City needs additional in-city electric generation capacity, presenting
issues of fairness in power plant siting and a challenge to continuing the overall reduction in air pollution.
GOAL: LESS AIR-POLLUTION FROM POWER PLANTS AND VEHICLES
The following strategies are additional to those proposed in the Transportation section (p.70) to reduce traffic
congestion and improve mass transit.
NEW YORK STATE SHOULD:
Draft a comprehensive power plant-siting plan to fairly determine how much power will be needed in coming years,
when it should come on line, and where the new capacity should be installed. The plan must site this capacity in a
geographically and demographically fair and equitable manner, with no community being asked to bear more than its
fair share of hazardous emissions. The plan should be developed with extensive public participation and input from
communities being considered for new or expanded power generation facilities. The plan should consider alternative
energy sources such as solar, wind, and fuel cells.
Emissions-free fuel cells are one of the new electric power generation technologies that should increasingly be used to power homes and businesses. Shown above: Borough President
Markowitz speaking at the May 2002 announcement of installation of a fuel cell at the New York Aquarium. The fuel cell will supply one-fifth of the Aquarium's power needs. It was
funded primarily by the New York Power Authority, with additional financial help from the U.S. Department of Energy and the Borough President's Office. Also attending: Council Member
Dominic Recchia (seated all the way left) and Power Authority and Aquarium officials.
32 BOROUGH OF BROOKLYN
End the use of the Power Authority’s diesel power generators located in Brooklyn. The additional electric energy
generation capacity New York City requires need not be provided by diesel power generators such as the mini-
generators that were installed by the Power Authority -- supposedly on a temporary basis -- at several Brooklyn
waterfront sites adjacent to residential neighborhoods.
Consider a tunnel alternative to Gowanus Expressway reconstruction. As a result of community advocacy, additional
alternatives are now being considered as the State Department of Transportation and the Federal Highway
Administration prepare a draft environmental impact statement (EIS) for rebuilding the Gowanus. These include
keeping the highway as it is or with a relief viaduct. A tunnel alternative should be included among the alternatives
discussed in the EIS now being compiled.
THE CITY AND STATE SHOULD:
Maximize the use of existing incentive programs that promote use of cleaner vehicles, alternative energy sources,
and industrial processes. The Borough President’s office is planning a sustainable development seminar to explore
alternative energy options that could be implemented in Brooklyn, and ways to promote their use.
STATE LAW SHOULD BE AMENDED TO:
Provide early distribution of intervener funds in Article X power plant application reviews. Community organizations
need these funds to hire attorneys and technical experts early enough in the power plant-siting process to have an
effective voice in scoping activities, the development of the public participation plan, and in stipulation negotiations.
Provide that the environmental impact of power plants is judged cumulatively. The law should also require the review
process to include a health risk assessment of sensitive populations.
Reduce air pollution from power plants and other industrial sources by lessening allowable emission of small
particulate matter – particles that measure 2.5 microns or less — which are reported to cause the major air quality-
related health problems seen in urban areas such as ours. Additionally, as a primarily greenhouse gas, carbon dioxide
must be included as a regulated emission.
THE CITY SHOULD:
Increase enforcement of truck routes by the Department of Transportation and the Police Department.
THE BOROUGH PRESIDENT WILL:
Advocate construction of the proposed cross-harbor rail-freight tunnel. If built in conjunction with an upgrade of the
Bay Ridge line and associated rail freight improvements, the cross-harbor rail freight tunnel now being considered could
greatly reduce the number of trucks crossing bridges and tunnels into Brooklyn.
GOAL: FEDERAL ASSISTANCE FOR POST-SEPTEMBER 11TH CLEANUP AND
MEDICAL SERVICES EXTENDED TO BROOKLYN
The Borough President will support requests made by members of Brooklyn’s congressional and City Council
delegations to the U.S. Environmental Protection Administration and the Federal Emergency Management Agency
to extend to Brooklyn September 11th, 2001-related pollution testing, cleanup assistance and medical outreach
offered in lower Manhattan. According to recently released satellite images, on September 11th the toxic plume from
ground zero blew in the direction of Brooklyn and covered much of the borough. Brooklyn hospitals have reported
increased respiratory problems in children and adults since September 11th.
ISSUE 4. IMPROVING WATER QUALITY
Much progress has been made – yet much more remains to be done – in cleaning up polluted waterways and eliminating
major pollution sources such as combined sewer overflow (CSOs) and outmoded sewege treatment plants.
Two bodies of water internal to Brooklyn – the Gowanus Canal and Newtown Creek – continue to need special attention.
Through a State-funded contract with the Borough President’s office, the Gowanus Canal Community Development
Corporation is now preparing a comprehensive strategy for the revitalization of the canal, coordinating the work of the
2002 STRATEGIC POLICY STATEMENT 33
Army Corps of Engineers with enhanced public access and a pilot project for habitat improvement. Newtown Creek has
been subject to similar Combined Sewer Overflow damage as the Gowanus, but raises even greater technological
challenges, as it is much longer than the Gowanus, subject to multiple CSOs from both Brooklyn and Queens, and is very
polluted as a result.
GOAL: A CLEANER GOWANUS CANAL
THE CITY SHOULD:
Develop a protocol to prevent frequent breakdowns of the century-old flushing tunnel machinery. The need for a
protocol was demonstrated when the flushing tunnel mechanism broke down in June 2002.
Press Congress to provide funds for the Army Corps of Engineers to carry out its environmental remediation study
on an expedited basis, so that the work of dredging the canal can begin as soon as possible.
Augment water quality monitoring in the canal to include toxins and other contaminants that may be present. The
Department of Environmental Protection must also complete the yearlong study of water quality it is slated to carry
out as part of the CSO remediation process which has been delayed due to the mechanical failures and other problems.
THE CITY AND STATE SHOULD:
Work with the Army Corps of Engineers to design and implement a program that will address the failing bulkheads
along the canal to prevent further pollution from uncontrolled runoff.
GOAL: A CLEANER NEWTOWN CREEK
THE CITY SHOULD:
Expedite implementation of the Department of Environmental Protection’s aeration program. Once the City
determined that a single holding tank for sewer overflow would not be an effective means to clean up the creek, DEP
carried out an initial study to determine whether aeration of the water would effectively improve dissolved oxygen
levels, one of the criteria that must be met to comply with the Clean Water Act. The initial study showed promise, and
a full-scale aeration project will now be built.
Support the Army Corps of Engineers’ study of the waterway for environmental restoration. Congress should be
asked to provide adequate funding for dredging of the entire creek.
Study the possibility of building flushing tunnels for the head ends of both English Kills and the East Branch in order
to bring harbor water into Newtown Creek. A flushing tunnel would bring cleaner harbor water to the two branches of
Newtown Creek. Construction of the tunnel could be combined with the upcoming reconstruction of Flushing Avenue.
Such a project would save money by taking advantage of construction already planned; introduce relatively clean water
to the head of the creek much sooner than is possible under the present project schedule of DEP; and could obviate the
need to build a CSO holding tank in order to meet water quality standards, thus saving substantial public funds and
avoiding the enormous community disruption that building such a tank would entail.
GOAL: LESS RAW SEWAGE IN WATERWAYS AFTER HEAVY STORMS
The City should expedite completion of the combined sewer overflow (CSO) control program. Sewer overflows
specifically should be addressed in a timelier manner at the Gowanus Canal, Paerdegat Basin, and Newtown Creek
including its termini at English Kills and East Branch. The Paerdergat Basin CSO project has been subject to extensive
delays, which have contributed to the degradation of Jamaica Bay.
GOAL: WATER TREATMENT PLANTS EMIT FEWER OBJECTIONABLE ODORS
The City should develop improved strategies for controlling objectionable odors that emanate from Brooklyn’s four
water treatment plants. As the City continues to upgrade these plants to meet federal standards, it must also develop
better strategies for controlling objectionable odors.
GOAL: THE PORT AUTHORITY DOES NOT USE OFF-SHORE PITS NEAR
BROOKLYN FOR DISPOSAL OF DREDGING BYPRODUCTS
34 BOROUGH OF BROOKLYN
The Borough President will oppose proposals by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey to use off-shore pits
in Jamaica Bay, Coney Island, New York Harbor or any other point off Brooklyn’s shoreline for the disposal of
dredging byproducts, including proposals to dump sludge in the pits and cover it over with clean materials. Dredging
to free up shipping lanes and for other purposes may stir up polluted debris that does not meet federal criteria for
disposal in ocean or coastal waters.
ISSUE 5. IMPLEMENTING THE CAPITAL PROGRAM
GOAL: SIGNIFICANTLY FEWER COMPLAINTS OF SEWER-LINE BREAKS AND
BACKUPS, WATER-MAIN BREAKS, AND LOW WATER-PRESSURE
THE BOROUGH PRESIDENT WILL:
Press the City to accelerate replacement of water mains and
sewers as much as feasible, concentrating on areas with high
complaint rates and, for water main replacement, areas with
chronically low pressure. Locations that are identified by
community boards as priorities should be addressed.
Urge the City to complete the survey of water mains and use the
results to guide replacement priorities. The DEP has started a
project to classify and categorize very old water mains by age and
materials. Instead of waiting for major water mains to break
before replacement, the survey findings would enable a more pro-
active approach of replacement of the pipes most likely to fail.
GOAL: LONG-STANDING DRAINAGE
PROBLEMS ARE SOLVED
The City should accelerate the Coney Island sewer system
upgrade, currently in the facility planning stage. The City also
should expedite planning to address drainage deficiencies in other
low-lying areas including East New York and Mill Basin.
GOAL: D I S R U P T I O N S T O N E A R B Y
BUSINESSES AND RESIDENTS
DURING WATER AND SEWER
CAPITAL PROJECTS ARE MINIMIZED
THE CITY SHOULD:
The Atlantic Avenue Homeowners Association won the Greenest Block in
Improve community outreach, particularly for projects built by Brooklyn contest for 2002 for Fulton Street between Carlton and
in-house forces. A great deal of progress has been made in recent Cumberland Avenues (shown above). The annual Greenest Block contest
years in reaching out to affected communities during the design sponsored by the Borough President and the Brooklyn Botanic Garden
phase of large infrastructure projects. More community outreach brings entire neighborhoods together and instills community pride.
coordinators are being added to major construction projects
involving outside contractors. However, projects done on an in-house basis still need additional outreach staff. The
Department of Design and Construction also should increase its community involvement activities through the use of
consultant contracts during the pre-design stage. Neighborhood residents, workers, business owners and elected
officials could provide invaluable insight at this stage that could avoid construction problems later.
ISSUE 6. REMEDIATING BROWNFIELDS
Brooklyn has several hundred acres of vacant industrial land and numerous vacant industrial buildings, which are commonly
called “brownfields” because they may harbor toxic materials. As explained in the section on Economic and Community
Development (p. 11), to encourage brownfields cleanup and redevelopment, it is essential that a State law is enacted that
establishes a voluntary cleanup program (VCP) with clear standards for remediation and that provides for appropriate
limitations on developer liability for clean-up costs and additional financial incentives for brownfields redevelopment.
2002 STRATEGIC POLICY STATEMENT 35
Brooklyn faces daunting health care challenges. Brooklynites suffer from diabetes, cardiac disease, and AIDS
at a significantly higher rate than residents of New York City and State as a whole. Environment-related
diseases such as asthma and lead poisoning are more common in the borough.
Since poverty and lack of health insurance are at the root of many health problems, residents of Brooklyn’s
lower-income communities tend to experience these and other health issues at a substantially greater rate
than residents of more affluent areas. Health disparities are seen perhaps most starkly in infant mortality
rates; the city’s highest rates occur in low-income communities in Fort Greene, Brownsville, and Bedford-
Fortunately, Brooklyn has an extensive infrastructure of highly-rated acute care hospitals, clinics and research
centers, with tens of thousands of skilled and dedicated healthcare workers who provide high-quality care
every day. Much of Brooklyn’s healthcare system is of world-class quality. With these resources as a base,
and with expanded partnerships between government, the private sector, and community-based organizations,
significant progress towards a healthier Brooklyn is certainly achievable.
ISSUE 1. INSURING THE UNINSURED
Twenty-nine percent of Brooklyn residents lack health insurance compared to 16 percent nationally. Persons without
health insurance are less likely to get check-ups or to have medical problems requiring professional intervention diagnosed
early. Consequently, their morbidity rates for cancer, cardiac disease, diabetes and other conditions are higher.
New York State’s Child Health Plus and Family Health Plus health insurance programs have reduced the percentage of
Brooklynites who are uninsured. Unfortunately, large numbers of eligible families and children – particularly immigrants —
are still not enrolled in these programs. And many Brooklynites who are eligible for Medicaid do not enroll. A study by the
United Hospital Fund concluded that the overly-complicated eight-page Medicaid application form has deterred many
A new state-of-the art bed tower (above) has replaced the antiquated main building of Kings County Hospital. The Health and Hospitals Corporation must complete the full Kings County Hospital capital plan.
36 BOROUGH OF BROOKLYN
uninsured people from applying; the Fund contrasted it with the simple one-page form used to apply for Disaster Relief
Medicaid after the World Trade Center disaster. The City should simplify its regular Medicaid application.
GOAL: A SUBSTANTIAL INCREASE IN THE PROPORTION OF BROOKLYNITES
COVERED BY HEALTH INSURANCE
THE CITY SHOULD:
Provide the additional assistance required for Brooklyn’s community-based service providers and outreach
organizations to expand their efforts to enroll the uninsured in health benefits programs. One explanation for the
especially high rate of uninsurance among Brooklyn’s large and growing immigrant population is a fear that applying for
benefits will jeopardize immigration status and make it harder to sponsor family members to join them in the United
States. Brooklyn’s community-based service providers have had impressive success in overcoming these barriers by
acting as culturally competent advocates, educators and facilitators. They need additional financial support to expand
Support enactment of enabling legislation for Brooklyn HealthWorks and, ultimately, expand HealthWorks to the
entire borough. HealthWorks will be a new low-premium health insurance program that will serve thousands of
uninsured Brooklyn residents in seven community districts in Northern Brooklyn. The program is targeted to working,
lower-income individuals with family incomes (family of four) of between $30,000 and $40,000, which is too high to
qualify for Medicaid.
But before it can get started as planned, Albany must enact legislation to exempt the program from the surcharges and
covered lives tax normally applicable under State law and to make it eligible for reimbursement from the Healthy New
York Stop Loss Pools. The necessary legislation has been introduced by two Brooklyn legislators, Assembly Member
Joseph Lentol (A9189) and Senator Martin Connor (S5690), who represent many of the people who would be covered.
HealthWorks was initiated by the Office of the Brooklyn Borough President and the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce
with funding from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration.
Ultimately, HealthWorks should be expanded to the entire borough.
ISSUE 2. BUILDING HEALTHCARE CAPACITY
With twelve acute care hospitals including a major academic medical center and numerous diagnostic and treatment
centers, community clinics, and a network of community-based healthcare providers, there is enormous capacity in
Brooklyn to provide top-quality healthcare services to everyone. There remains a pressing need to augment and
considerably strengthen the capacity of Brooklyn’s small community-based health providers, who are in the best position
to act as a bridge between major healthcare institutions and communities. These organizations have demonstrated a
unique ability to break down cultural health care service barriers in a cost-effective manner.
As the healthcare provider for a large share of the uninsured, particularly Brooklyn’s surging immigrant populations, the
Health and Hospitals Corporation (HHC) is playing an increasingly important role in the borough’s health care. Its ability
to continue to adequately treat everyone, regardless of ability to pay, is being challenged by many of the same severe
financial pressures experienced by voluntary hospitals including inadequate Medicaid and Medicare reimbursements.
The Corporation appears to be on the right track as it tries to improve its bottom line by attracting more paying patients;
there is little choice but to become more competitive with voluntary hospitals. At the same time, the core mission of
treating the uninsured must be maintained. It is essential that the HHC receive enough government financial support to
continue to carry out its mission of fully serving everyone who needs medical help and to continue to address problem
areas such as long waiting times at outpatient clinics and emergency rooms.
All of the borough’s healthcare institutions are being challenged to maintain quality of care in the face of shortages of
trained healthcare workers, including nurses, pharmacists and allied healthcare workers such as community health
educators. The aging of the baby-boomer generation, longer life expectancies, and the growth in home health care services
are expected to exacerbate these shortages. As part of a nationwide effort to address this problem, in May 2002 a
Brooklyn Health Careers Summit was convened by the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce, Kingsborough Community College
and Borough President Markowitz to discuss possible solutions. Additional education and training subsidies and incentives
to encourage people to enter the field, and new training partnerships among educational institutions were among the
suggested approaches to resolving health care worker shortages.
2002 STRATEGIC POLICY STATEMENT 37
GOAL: FINANCIALLY STRONGER COMMUNITY-BASED HEALTHCARE ORGANIZATIONS
THE BOROUGH PRESIDENT WILL:
Co-sponsor a conference and organize workshops for small community-based healthcare organizations to assist
them in applying for government grants. Many organizations are not aware of all of the funding opportunities, or they
lack the necessary grant-writing expertise to apply and compete effectively for grants. In October 2002, the Greater
Southern Brooklyn Health Coalition in partnership with the Jewish Community Relations Council, the New York Center
for Community Coalition Building, and the Brooklyn Borough President, will host “Direct from DC: Accessing Health and
Human Services (HHS) Resources for Your Community.” Officials of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
will speak about the special health concerns of low-income and immigrant communities and funding possibilities for
community-based organizations that work on these issues.
Together with the borough’s elected officials and community-based organizations, advocate for additional federal
funding. Borough President Markowitz is currently developing a federal funding priorities list that will include
strengthening community-based health care organizations. The list is being prepared as a result of a Borough Hall
meeting Borough President Markowitz held with members of the borough’s congressional delegation and a followup
meeting held on the staff level.
Press the City and State to streamline the funding process for community-based organizations and to reduce the
inordinate delays in receiving payment under their City contracts. Since community-based organizations rely almost
entirely on government and foundation funding, the delays of many months in receiving payment under government
contracts experienced by most community-based organizations in recent years have disrupted operations. The delays
have forced some organizations to take out costly bridge loans or to defer paying salaries and bills. Some are even
threatened with closure. The Mayor, the City and State comptrollers, and the City Health Commissioner must address
this urgent problem.
GOAL: MUNICIPAL HOSPITALS HAVE THE STATE-OF-THE-ART FACILITIES
THEY REQUIRE TO OFFER THE HIGHEST-QUALITY CARE TO ALL AND
TO COMPETE EFFECTIVELY FOR PAYING PATIENTS
The Borough President will closely monitor progress on implementing the Health and Hospitals Corporation capital
improvement program in Brooklyn. Major capital programs already are or soon will dramatically improve the physical
plant at Coney Island Hospital and Kings County Hospital Center. Notwithstanding the City’s serious fiscal crisis, these
essential physical improvements must be completed as planned.
GOAL: VOLUNTARY-SECTOR HOSPITALS MAINTAIN AND ENHANCE THE
QUALITY OF THEIR SERVICES
THE BOROUGH PRESIDENT WILL:
Continue to support HealthLink. Brooklynites should know that world-class, advanced medical care is available in their
home borough. To better inform them of this, Borough President Markowitz convened a meeting of Brooklyn’s acute
care hospitals and presented the idea of a campaign sponsored by the hospitals to promote the advanced treatment
they offer. The resulting effort, called HealthLink, is now sponsoring billboards, bus shelter ads, and a new web site
(Brooklyn HealthLink.org) that direct Brooklynites to the advanced services available at the borough’s hospitals.
Brooklyn hospitals’ utilization rates and bottom lines will benefit when insured patients seek treatment in Brooklyn,
rather than elsewhere.
Support the creation of comprehensive cancer care centers in Brooklyn. Comprehensive cancer care centers provide
a full complement of diagnostic and therapeutic services that can treat a wide variety of cancers with state-of-the-art
equipment and techniques. Comprehensive services begin with cancer prevention and early detection efforts followed
by diagnosis; multi-disciplinary planning and treatment including surgery, radiation and chemotherapy;
rehabilitation/home care; support/guidance services; and facilities for waiting families. Although all of Brooklyn’s
hospitals offer oncology services, many Brooklynites seek cancer treatment at comprehensive cancer care centers
elsewhere. For the convenience of Brooklynites, the borough should have its own comprehensive cancer care centers.
As a first step, the comprehensive cance care center planned for Maimonides Hospital should be completed. Borough
President Markowitz has allocated $250,000 in City capital funds for this project.
38 BOROUGH OF BROOKLYN
GOAL: SHORTAGES OF QUALIFIED, APPROPRIATELY-TRAINED HEALTH CARE
PERSONNEL ARE ALLEVIATED
THE CITY SHOULD:
Encourage the formation of new health care training programs and partnerships and support more private-sector
funding for these efforts.
Establish a new certificate program for Community Outreach and Health Educators. The effectiveness of high-quality
community outreach and education efforts has been proved repeatedly. A certificate program for individuals who
provide these services would ensure quality and professionalism. In Brooklyn, such a program could be offered by
ISSUE 3. REDUCING HEALTH DISPARITIES
Health disparities among Brooklyn’s communities extend across the full range of diseases and chronic conditions, from
asthma and diabetes to cancer and heart failure. These disparities must be attacked in new and innovative ways. And now
a U.S. Department of Health and Human Services mandate requires localities to eliminate health disparities by 2010;
sanctions for not meeting this goal are still unclear, but there may be federal funding consequences for localities that do
not make enough progress.
GOAL: REDUCED INCIDENCES OF ASTHMA HOSPITALIZATION AND LEAD POISONING
Smoking is one of the biggest preventable health problems facing Brooklyn. Borough President Markowitz initiated the Butt Out Brooklyn campaign to reach young people with an
effective anti-smoking message. Above: Butt Out Brooklyn participants at the Borough Hall launch. The kids are from P.S. 230, P.S. 124, P.S. 828, Project Reach Youth and Youth Link of
2002 STRATEGIC POLICY STATEMENT 39
THE BOROUGH PRESIDENT WILL:
Support enactment of the Lead Poisoning
Prevention Act, Intro. 101. A study released in
2002 by the New York Public Interest Research
Group found that between 1995 and 2000,
26,521 Brooklyn children were newly identified
as lead- poisoned (as defined by the federal
Centers for Disease Control), twice as many as
in any other borough and accounting for 42
percent of the City’s lead-poisoning cases.
Intro. 101, currently before the City Council,
would amend Local Law 38 to include lead
paint dust as a lead-poisoning hazard, require
its abatement by landlords, and permit
affected tenants to sue landlords. Paint and
pipes in older residential buildings are the source of most of the lead that causes poisoning in children. Intro. 101 would
also provide financial assistance to encourage landlords to inspect and correct lead paint hazards; mandate worker
training, safety, and certification; and shorten the period of time allowed to fix lead paint hazards. New research that
shows that children are harmed from lead at lower exposure levels than previously believed and the CDC’s expected
halving of the threshold for acceptable lead blood levels makes enacting Intro 101 even more urgent.
Encourage expansion of the Brooklyn Asthma Partnership. The Brooklyn Asthma Partnership sends experts into the
schools to meet with teachers and parents to educate them about asthma symptoms and what to do when a child is
having an attack. The program should be expanded to additional schools and communities.
GOAL: CULTURALLY-SENSITIVE HEALTHCARE SERVICES
The City should expand programs that reduce cultural and linguistic barriers to obtaining quality healthcare. Much
progress has been made by Brooklyn’s healthcare providers in breaking down barriers by providing translators, translating
signs in hospitals and clinics into Chinese, Russian, Spanish and other languages spoken by Brooklyn’s recent immigrants,
and by retraining healthcare workers in how to provide culturally sensitive healthcare. But more can and should be done to
identify new immigrant populations and to ensure that cultural and linguistic barriers do not hinder their treatment.
The Borough President will seek the creation of a new Brooklyn Institute on Health. As the nation’s fourth-largest
city (if independent), with one of the most ethnically and culturally diverse populations in the world, and with a large
Stepped-up detection and prevention programs can save lives. St. Vincent Catholic Medical Center and the Daily News sponsored a free prostate cancer screening for men
over age forty at Borough Hall.
40 BOROUGH OF BROOKLYN
aging population, Brooklyn is an ideal location for a major new institute to focus on expanding culturally-competent
health care, research, education, service delivery and disease-prevention projects. Studies are needed and new
treatment protocols are required to address the wide health disparities among populations. The Institute will give
Brooklyn an opportunity to improve its health care while contributing to a body of knowledge that will improve the
health of an increasingly diverse America.
GOAL: A SUBSTANTIAL REDUCTION IN THE INFANT MORTALITY RATE
THE CITY SHOULD:
Expand prenatal care programs. Women who
receive adequate prenatal care and nutrition
give birth to heavier, healthier babies.
Unfortunately, many women do not receive it.
There are reportedly over 30,000 births each
year in New York City without the recommended
first trimester prenatal care.
Expand community education and outreach
campaigns. Community education and outreach
campaigns need to be expanded to spread the
word about the risks of not receiving prenatal
care. Additional educational materials are
needed including fact sheets, flyers, and posters.
Help connect families with the services they
require and encourage further development of linkages and referral mechanisms between existing health care
delivery systems, community/immigrant and faith-based organizations.
GOAL: REDUCED INCIDENCE OF NEW HIV INFECTIONS AND IMPROVED
TREATMENT OF AND SERVICES FOR PEOPLE WITH HIV/AIDS
The Borough President will press federal and State funders for a fairer share of monies for HIV/AIDS education,
prevention and treatment, including a larger share of Ryan-White CARE Act funds. Brooklyn has 29 percent of New
York City’s HIV/AIDS cases. While Brooklyn’s need has become more acute, a disproportionate share of government
HIV/AIDS funding continues to pay for programs based in Manhattan.
A study by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) released in 2002 found that most young HIV-infected gay men
were unaware of their infection and did not even feel at risk; most of these men were African-American. In releasing
the study, a CDC official said that the results have “alarming implications for a potential resurgence of the disease.”
Funding for education, prevention and treatment programs that meet these new challenges is urgently required,
particularly in African-American communities in Brooklyn. Special attention needs to be paid to Central Brooklyn,
where transmission is most likely to be through heterosexual relations.
ISSUE 4. PROMOTING HEALTHY LIFESTYLES
Some of the health care problems faced by Brooklynites are attributable to two preventable causes: smoking and obesity.
Recent studies implicate smoking in many more kinds of cancer than previously thought. Overweight and obesity, which
directly correlate with cardiac disease, diabetes, and other health problems, is worsening.
GOAL: LESS SMOKING AND OVERWEIGHT
THE BOROUGH PRESIDENT WILL:
Continue and expand the Butt Out Brooklyn campaign, the anti-smoking project targeted at teenagers and preteens
launched by Borough President Markowitz in April 2002. Borough Hall has produced a short video on the dangers of
smoking, which will be shown in the borough’s middle schools.
Sponsor Lighten Up Brooklyn II. Borough President Markowitz sponsored the Lighten Up Brooklyn campaign, held
from mid-April to mid-June 2002, to encourage Brooklynites who wished to lose weight to do so. It worked. More than
2002 STRATEGIC POLICY STATEMENT 41
7,500 Brooklynites lost a total of 41 tons. The program will resume in 2003, with improvements including additional
structured exercise programs and more extensive public outreach. Lighten Up Brooklyn responded to concerns voiced
by Brooklyn hospital officials and physicians that obesity is a worsening problem in the borough and that it is leading
to an increase in cardiac disease and diabetes. According to a report by the United States Surgeon General, morbidity
from obesity may be as great as from poverty, smoking or problem drinking. In New York City there is a 32 percent
higher rate of death due to cardiovascular disease than in the nation as a whole — 376 per 100,000 compared to 257
GOAL: MORE CANCERS DETECTED EARLY
The Borough President will continue to promote cancer screenings. Early mammography, prostate cancer tests, and
colonoscopies after age 50 can save lives and reduce Brooklyn’s healthcare bills. More free programs are needed, such
as the free prostate tests that were offered during 2002 at Borough Hall, and existing programs should be even more
ISSUE 5. SERVICES FOR THE MENTALLY ILL
A continued urgent need for expanded high-quality services for the mentally ill is conflicting with government budget
realities. At a time when demand for services for the mentally ill is likely to increase, the City’s Fiscal Year 2003 budget
reduced mental hygiene spending slightly and cut $1.2 million from substance abuse and domestic violence programs.
On the State level, the reauthorization of the Community Mental Health Investment Act, or CMHI II, should provide some
of the funds needed to ensure adequate community treatment. As with CMHI I, the intent is to capture savings from the
closure and consolidation of psychiatric hospitals for continuing communit based treatment. Unfortunately, much of the
money that was to have been realized through CMHI I went instead into the State’s general fund and only 800 community-
treatment slots are planned for 2003, down from 2,700 in 2002.
Mental-health service providers in Brooklyn report that hospital emergency rooms have experienced an increase in the
number of children seeking psychiatric care, even before September 11, 2001. There is a need for more health clinic slots
and day treatment for children.
GOAL: EFFECTIVE COMMUNITY-BASED MENTAL HEALTH SERVICES ARE
NEW YORK STATE SHOULD:
Through the Office of Mental Health, develop a comprehensive plan to meet the needs of the mentally ill. Beds are
being eliminated without an overall strategy for how to care for the mentally ill. Far too many mentally ill individuals
on the streets are not connected with the services they require. Fortunately, the reauthorized Community
Reinvestment Act mandates greater oversight of the Office of Mental Health’s planning process.
Ensure that CMHI funds are returned to the communities. CMHI I promised that the savings to be realized by
downsizing and closing State psychiatric hospitals would be reinvested in community-based monitoring, treatment and
other services to the mentally ill. Under CMHI II, monies that result from any future bed eliminations must go directly
to services provided by community mental health providers.
GOAL: MENTAL HEALTH SERVICES TO TREAT THOSE WHO NEED HELP IN NON-
TRADITIONAL SETTINGS AND IN A CULTURALLY COMPETENT MANNER
NEW YORK STATE AND CITY SHOULD:
Provide more mental-health services in nontraditional settings such as senior citizen centers. Many individuals who
need help are physically unable to travel far to obtain it, especially older adults. As much as possible, mental health
services should be brought to them. In addition, new, culturally appropriate and sensitive mental health services are
required for Brooklyn’s large and fast growing population of recent immigrants, many of whom come from cultures
where there is great reluctance to admit to mental health problems or to seek treatment.
42 BOROUGH OF BROOKLYN
From the late 1960s through the 1970s, Brooklyn’s major housing issues were arson, abandonment,
deterioration, and unaffordability. Today, while housing deterioration remains a major concern, arson and
abandonment have receded as issues and the problem of unaffordability has come front and center.
Increasingly, Brooklynites cannot afford to live in their own borough. The 2000 U.S. Census tellingly found
that 13 percent of Brooklyn households spent more than 60 percent of their incomes on housing, the highest
proportion of any borough.
ISSUE 1. AFFORDABLE HOUSING PRODUCTION
The several hundred attendees at the Housing Summit sponsored by Borough President Markowitz, Citibank and the Local
Initiatives Support Corporation at Borough Hall in June 2002 heard disturbing new statistics on the borough’s tightening
housing market. With only 12,000 housing units built during the 1990s – the lowest housing production rate in the City —
housing production considerably lagged behind population expansion. Housing overcrowding continued to worsen and
prices to rise at a rapid clip. To narrow the imbalance between housing supply and demand, Brooklyn needs a massive
housing development program. Brooklyn possesses the commercial, retail, and transportation nodes that can support the
major new mixed-income residential development the borough so urgently needs.
Considering the City’s fiscal difficulties, prospects for an affordable housing production program on the scale of the City’s
massive $6 billion program of the 1980s and early 1990s that rebuilt entire neighborhoods are slim. Still, there are many
smaller actions that can be taken to spur affordable housing production. And now there is an experienced and capable
community-based affordable housing infrastructure of developers, builders, funders, finance experts, and operators with a
history of implementing successful and innovative housing and community development strategies. With zoning changes,
Brooklyn has ample amounts of developable land on which they can build.
GOAL: MORE PUBLIC AND PRIVATE INVESTMENT IN AFFORDABLE HOUSING
Washington must once again provide substantial
funding for low-income housing construction. A good
first step would be for Congress to enact pending
legislation to establish a National Low Income Housing
Trust Fund. The Trust Fund would tap into a $5 billion
Federal Housing Administration surplus, from which
New York City would likely receive more than $300
million for construction of low-income housing. Borough
President Markowitz has written to the Governor and
the Mayor to request them to reach out to Republican
members of Congress to support this legislation.
New York State also should do more to encourage
affordable housing production, including making more
extensive use of the historic preservation tax credit in
areas being rezoned from manufacturing that contain
buildings of historic merit. Greater use of public
employee pension fund assets for affordable housing
construction should also be pursued. The State should also provide additional support for construction of assisted
living residences for seniors, a lower cost alternative to nursing homes.
One way to stimulate private investment in housing is through legislation introduced in Albany by the chair of the
Assembly insurance committee to require insurance companies to put some of their assets in socially responsible
investments in New York, including affordable housing.
TO SUPPORT THE CONSTRUCTION OF MORE AFFORDABLE HOUSING THE CITY SHOULD:
Expand the housing capital construction program. As the City’s finances recover, the City should redirect some of the
repayments from housing loans now going into the City’s General Fund to a revolving loan fund to finance housing
development and preservation.
2002 STRATEGIC POLICY STATEMENT 43
Reinvest proceeds from sales of city owned land to construction on the same site whenever feasible. This would
produce an internal subsidy for affordable housing. On certain prime development sites, the City could require that at
least 20 percent of new housing units be made affordable for moderate-income families.
Seek increased construction investment and mortgage backing, possibly through their public employee pension
funds, in housing targeted to police officers, firefighters, and teachers.
THE CITY COUNCIL SHOULD:
Amend Section 421(a), the new construction tax abatement program, to increase the length of the tax abatements
for subsidized housing from 25 to 35 years.
THE BOROUGH PRESIDENT WILL:
Support borough-based affordable housing efforts. Borough President Markowitz has created a Brooklyn Housing
Development Fund to which he allocated $2.5 million of City Fiscal Year 2003 capital funds. The Fund’s subsidy reduces
the cost of construction of proposed projects, making them more affordable and better able to leverage other funding
sources. The 2003 allocation will assist the development of more than 500 affordable housing units in Red Hook,
Bedford Stuyvesant and Ocean Hill-Brownsville. In the future the Fund could also cover predevelopment costs such as
for environmental remediation.
Help identify alternative sources for financing affordable housing developments and to assist in putting together
affordable housing construction deals. The Borough President intends to assist these sources in partnering with the
Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD), local development corporations, and others. He will seek
to have an expert at Borough Hall who will help to match funding sources with potential developments.
GOAL: MORE LAND MADE AVAILABLE FOR NEW HOUSING
WITH SUPPORT FROM AND PARTICIPATION BY THE BOROUGH PRESIDENT, THE CITY SHOULD:
Rezone carefully selected manufacturing areas for other uses, including to districts that allow for both jobs and homes.
Brooklyn has 200 million square feet of land that was zoned for manufacturing decades ago, when the borough had hundreds
of thousands of manufacturing jobs. With fewer than 45,000 manufacturing jobs now, many areas zoned for manufacturing
Brooklyn needs many more affordable housing groundbreakings such as the one for the 218-unit Vernon Cherry Partnership Homes in Ocean Hill-Brownsville in July 2002.
Firefighter Cherry, who perished on September 11th, 2001, sang the national anthem at FDNY functions.
44 BOROUGH OF BROOKLYN
are vacant or underutilized. The City should proactively re-zone carefully-chosen manufacturing areas to allow for housing,
rather than relying on cumbersome and expensive variances granted on an ad hoc, project-by-project basis.
Up-zone residential areas where appropriate. Notwithstanding Brooklyn’s overall population rise during the 1990s,
there are communities where the mass transit and commercial infrastructure is capable of supporting more residential
density. A careful review of the City’s residential zoning districts is needed to help identify where zoning may be
increased to encourage more housing production. While doing this, the City should provide density incentives based on
producing affordable housing in these underdeveloped areas.
IN ADDITION, THE CITY SHOULD:
Make more land available through brownfields remediation. In large part because of the lack of a State brownfields
law and administrative support, the City has made far less progress than other localities in remediation and
redevelopment of brownfields. The main obstacles appear to be lack of clear and predictable clean-up standards under
the current project-by-project Voluntary Cleanup Program. Financial institutions require predictable costs before they
can provide project financing.
The City should also pursue State and federal brownfield redevelopment funding more aggressively; New York has
missed out on a range of grants and loans that other cities have obtained.
Make better use of City owned land for affordable housing. A map of City owned property in Brooklyn reveals hundreds
of scattered, small parcels. Many of these parcels could be combined with adjacent privately owned parcels to create
larger, easier-to-develop assemblages. A moratorium should be placed on open auctions of vacant properties until a
comprehensive plan is devised to use these parcels for affordable housing.
The City also should pursue innovative means to produce assemblages, such as by purchasing parcels through the use
of intermediaries. For instance, the City could select entities to purchase an assemblage based on the City’s acquisition
cost of the land and a nominal sum for the City property. By proceeding in this manner, the City would be able to
accelerate its schedule of implementing its urban renewal plans and produce more sites for housing development.
Finally, Housing Authority campuses, which typically are built on spacious tower-in-the-park parcels, should be
examined to determine if there are appropriate settings to build new housing.
Advance plans for the creation or expansion of urban renewal areas in Bedford Stuyvesant and East New York.
Designation as an urban renewal area makes it easier for the City to put together assemblages that include both public
and private property.
Revitalize distressed properties. The City’s Third Party Transfer Program, which reassigns tax delinquent and
distressed residential properties to responsible not-for-profit and private landlords, should be expanded as an
alternative to tax lien sales.
Encourage greater utilization of existing residential zoning for affordable housing wherever appropriate. Subsidized
two-family homes have been built in some areas where three, four, and even multifamily housing would be permitted. A
principal reason for this is that the projects depend on an owner occupying one unit and obtaining rent from the other.
Whenever feasible, subsidy programs should be structured differently to encourage building additional units on the
Finally, when the city sells residentially zoned property at auction, it should require that the property be developed for
residential or community facility uses within a maximum period of time. If the property is not developed within a
reasonable time, the contract of sale should be voided and the City should reacquire title. Such an approach would
discourage illegal uses of these properties, such as parking lots and automobile repair facilities.
GOAL: LOWER HOUSING CONSTRUCTION COSTS
THE CITY SHOULD:
Amend the housing construction code. Recent studies have identified New York City’s archaic construction codes as
needlessly increasing the cost of building housing. The Code needs to be rewritten based on accepted national
standards, as in other major cities, and the use of innovative and cost saving materials and construction techniques
should be encouraged.
2002 STRATEGIC POLICY STATEMENT 45
Reform the Department of Buildings. The Buildings
Department’s sclerotic bureaucracy is a significant factor in
slowing construction and making it more expensive to build
housing. Under its new leadership, the Department appears
to be on its way to streamlining many of its procedures, and
has just announced that customers will be able to
electronically file applications. The Department must
continue to evaluate its procedures and staff assignments to
determine how else it can reduce costs to housing
Waive mortgage recording taxes and City departmental
fees for affordable housing projects. Mortgage recording
taxes should be waived or discounted for affordable-housing
development projects. The Buildings Department should
reduce its fees for these projects, as well.
ISSUE 2. ENABLING AND PRESERVING HOME OWNERSHIP
Homeownership builds equity and wealth. Studies have shown that homeowners tend to take better care of their homes
than renters and to become more involved in their communities. Yet only 31.1 percent of New York City households reside
in homes they own. Nationally, the figures are reversed, with nearly 70 percent owning their residence. In Brooklyn only
28 percent of housing is owner occupied. Meanwhile, some lower-income homeowners are being threatened with loss of
their homes. Predatory lending that results in foreclosure is a significant threat to continued homeownership for some,
particularly in African American communities in central Brooklyn that have been targeted by predatory lenders.
GOAL: MORE BROOKLYNITES PURCHASING AND REMAINING IN THEIR OWN HOMES
THE CITY SHOULD:
Incorporate limited equity and standard equity coops and condominiums into the new homes development portfolio.
Some of these units should be subject to restrictions on resident income and resale prices for 30 years or more.
Prevent unintended outcomes of the tax lien sales program. Elderly, lower-income homeowners are particularly
vulnerable to the much tougher collection tactics now being used to collect back taxes, according to a study by South
Brooklyn Legal Services, and some of them are losing their homes even after paying off the initial lien. Many owners
of one to four family buildings, which comprise nearly one-quarter of tax liens sold, are going deeper into debt,
jeopardizing their homes by using the equity to pay off the liens. Predatory lenders have been quick to offer bailouts.
The City has removed some of the most vulnerable homeowners from the tax lien sales program, but additional
safeguards are needed.
GOAL: LESS PREDATORY HOME MORTGAGE LENDING
The City should enact legislation to discourage predatory lending. Pending City Council legislation would hit predatory
lenders in their pocketbooks by denying them City grants, loans or tax incentives, barring them from City purchasing
contracts and from accepting City deposits. It would also cover financial services that purchase predatory loans and,
in effect, finance predatory lending. The City, including its pension funds, would be prohibited from investing in
predatory lenders or their affiliates.
ISSUE 3. RETAINING AFFORDABLE RENTAL HOUSING
Rising property values have put intense upward pressure on rents at the same time as the weakened State rent laws
enacted in 1997 threaten to end protection for thousands of tenants of rent-regulated apartments. The excessive annual
increases regularly approved by the Rent Guidelines Board threaten continued affordability right now. It was therefore not
unexpected when the 2000 U.S. Census found a disturbing 145,000 renter households in Brooklyn spending half or more
of their income on housing and another 130,000 households spending 30 to 50 percent. Meanwhile, New York City Housing
Authority projects remain one of Brooklyn’s most valuable affordable housing resources; Housing Authority apartments
must be kept affordable.
46 BOROUGH OF BROOKLYN
GOAL: RENT REGULATION THAT PRESERVES AFFORDABILITY
THE NEW YORK CITY RENT GUIDELINES BOARD SHOULD:
When determining maximum adjustments in rent-stabilized rents, consider actual owner expenditures, not just the
prices they pay for goods and services purchased to operate their buildings. According to the New York City Finance
Department, in 2000 only 56 cents on every dollar of owners’ income was spent on operations and maintenance, leaving
44 cents on each dollar for debt service and profit, up from 35 cents in 1989. Consideration by the RGB of actual
expenditures would lead to fairer annual rent adjustments.
THE BOROUGH PRESIDENT WILL:
Work with tenant advocates to press the State Legislature to repeal the “luxury” decontrol law. Data from the New
York City Housing and Vacancy Survey suggests that at least 64,000 units have been decontrolled through the “luxury”
decontrol law. As rents increase over coming years and as owners use MCI (major capital improvement) increases and
other means to increase rents, the erosion in the regulated housing stock will accelerate.
The Pratt Area Community Council (PACC) renovated the Gibb Mansion on Gates Avenue in Fort Greene. The building will house 50 people living with HIV and AIDS as well as 21 other low-
income residents. PACC is an example of one of Brooklyn's many successful locally-based community and housing development organizations. PACC is also active in economic
development and community organizing. Above: Former PACC Executive Director Vivian Becker with Borough President Markowitz. Inset: The Gibb Mansion before work began.
2002 STRATEGIC POLICY STATEMENT 47
GOAL: SENIOR CITIZENS REMAIN IN THEIR HOMES DESPITE RENT INCREASES
THE BOROUGH PRESIDENT WILL:
Support State legislation to increase the allowable maximum income for the Senior Citizen Rent Increase Exemption
(SCRIE) program to $30,000, indexed to annual increases in the cost of living. The Senior Citizen Rent Increase
Exemption is available to senior citizens who live in rent-stabilized, rent-controlled or Mitchell-Lama housing, whose
income is no more than $20,000 per year and who spen at least a third of their income on rent. The maximum income
for eligibility has not been increased in seven years.
Help to promote awareness of the SCRIE program. According to the New York City Independent Budget Office, only
approximately one-third of eligible households are currently enrolled.
GOAL: PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES ARE PROTECTED FROM RENT INCREASES
THE STATE LEGISLATURE SHOULD:
Extend SCRIE to cover people with disabilities. The Supportive Housing Network, the Coalition for the Homeless, the
Center for Independence of the Disabled, and the New York State Tenants and Neighbors Coalition are among those who
urge the State Senate to pass bill S.3956-B, which would allow localities to expand the SCRIE program to low-income
people with disabilities.
GOAL: EFFECTIVE HOUSING CODE ENFORCEMENT AND COMPLIANCE
THE CITY SHOULD:
In the long-term, increase the number of housing inspectors and rebuild the Housing Litigation Division. The
inspectorial force is a fraction of its size fifteen years ago. The litigation force has also been severely depleted. To make
them more productive, housing inspectors should be given hand held computers.
Expand the use of the Article 7A program as a preservation and enforcement tool.
GOAL: UNNECESSARY TENANT EVICTIONS PREVENTED
THE BOROUGH PRESIDENT WILL SUPPORT EFFORTS TO:
Provide more legal aid help for tenants in Housing Court. It has been reported that counsel represents more than 90
percent of owners when they appear in Housing Court while 90 percent of tenants represent themselves. This puts
tenants at an obvious disadvantage in arguing their cases and avoiding eviction.
Provide more tenant assistance at housing court. For many tenants, visiting Housing Court is a very confusing
experience. In recognition that few tenants have legal representation or even someone who can explain to them where
to go and what the procedures are, information tables should be maintained in the lobby of Housing Court, staffed by
qualified individuals whenever court is in session.
THE BOROUGH PRESIDENT WILL:
Launch a tenant education effort. Tenants who know their rights and responsibilities are better able to avoid eviction,
to avoid being overcharged, and to obtain the services to which they are entitled.
THE CITY SHOULD:
Continue to fund Housing Preservation Department community consultant and neighborhood preservation
contracts. The locally based not-for-profits serving as neighborhood preservation consultants provide early
intervention and preservation services and help HPD identify and assess at-risk buildings. Community Consultant
contracts fund tenant advocacy and organizing activities that address anti-abandonment by underwriting tenant
organizing. In these austere fiscal times, costly new construction and renovation cannot be relied on to solve the
affordable housing crisis; the existing stock must be preserved, and these programs have proven their effectiveness in
48 BOROUGH OF BROOKLYN
GOAL: BETTER PUBLIC HOUSING
THE CITY AND THE HOUSING AUTHORITY SHOULD:
Press the federal government to increase funding for housing project capital rehabilitation. Billions of dollars would
be required to bring all New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) projects to a state of good repair. The Authority has
had only a fraction of the amount of funding that’s really needed. Despite an ambitious capital program, too many
buildings still need major work on heating plants, plumbing, bathrooms, kitchens, elevators, brickwork, and roofs.
Ensure adequate police patrolling. Tenant leaders report that building patrols were reduced after the Housing Police
and Transit Police were consolidated into the Police Department. The patrols should be restored.
Improve tenant communications mechanisms and complaint resolution processes; recognize the important role the
Authority’s tenant organizations play in helping make the authority’s complexes safe and pleasant places to live. At
a special reception he hosted for tenant leaders at Borough Hall, Borough President Markowitz told tenant association
and tenant patrol leaders that he would continue to work closely with them on pressing issues facing each of their
housing complexes, from security to repairs.
GOAL: MITCHEL LAMA AND OTHER GOVERNMENT ASSISTED HOUSING
THE STATE LEGISLATURE SHOULD:
Enact Mitchel Lama buyout legislation to preserve affordability. Brooklyn has 4,200 Mitchell Lama rental units and
9,200 coop units. The affordability of these units must be maintained. In January 2002, a 42-unit rental on Henry
Street became the borough’s first Mitchell Lama rental project eligible for buyout. Additional apartment complexes are
approaching the date when they would not be subject to prepayment penalties. Without State legislation, more
conversions are likely.
GOAL: LOFT TENANTS ARE PROTECTED
THE STATE LEGISLATURE SHOULD:
Enact legislation to provide basic tenant protections and require basic services to loft tenants. Brooklyn is home to
thousands of tenants who reside in illegal live/work or residential lofts in manufacturing districts. Many of these lofts
were not being utilized by industry prior to conversion. Because their tenancies are illegal, these tenants do not enjoy
protections of rent regulation or even the most basic provisions of the Housing Maintenance Code and Multiple Dwelling
Law. As a first step toward rectifying this situation, the State Legislature should enact the long-delayed Loft Law.
THE CITY SHOULD:
Advance zoning text amendments needed to facilitate the legalization of lofts. Subsequent rezoning actions should
be based on a careful analysis that balances the space needs of manufacturers and the opportunity to provide stability
and adequate code based improvements to the converted lofts. (See additional discussion in Arts/Culture, p. 1.)
2002 STRATEGIC POLICY STATEMENT 49
New York City and State face monumental budget deficits for the next several years, yet with a weak national
and local economy, Brooklyn’s human services needs remain acute. In fact, food pantries and soup kitchens
report that they have to turn away more hungry people than ever while the City’s homeless shelters report
record numbers needing assistance. Unlike during the 1980s, more families and children are entering the
homeless system – now comprising about 70 percent of the total served – as opposed to single adults.
In keeping with national trends, Brooklyn’s population of older adults is increasing at a faster rate than the
borough’s population as a whole. The fastest rate of growth is among those over 85, who typically are frailer
and in greater need of services.
Fortunately, Brooklyn has an extensive and experienced infrastructure of community based organizations that
effectively delivers many essential social services. These social service providers will require additional
support to meet the challenges ahead.
ISSUE 1. ENSURING THAT ALL BROOKLYNITES HAVE
The dramatic reduction in New York City’s public assistance rolls from more than 1.1 million recipients in 1996 to 418,000
in summer 2002 unfortunately did not signal an overall improvement in the welfare of the borough’s residents. According
to the 2000 U.S. Census, median household income in Brooklyn declined during the 1990s. The surge in requests for
emergency food suggests that many of those who are not receiving public assistance are still not working or earn too little
to get by.
The transformation of welfare that began with the enactment of welfare reform in 1996 has heightened the challenge of
ensuring that Brooklynites are adequately fed, clothed, and housed. Thousands of Brooklyn recipients of Temporary
Assistance for Needy Families have “timed out” of TANF assistance, having exhausted the maximum 60 months of lifetime
benefits provided under the 1996 law. And although Congress is expected to enact tougher work requirements for the
remaining TANF recipients when it reauthorizes TANF in 2003, no increase is anticipated in State TANF block grants that
could be used to pay for the additional job training and childcare that will be needed.
GOAL: BROOKLYNITES HAVE INCOMES SUFFICIENT TO PAY FOR BASIC SHELTER
AND CLOTHING; NO BROOKLYNITE GOES HUNGRY
THE BOROUGH PRESIDENT WILL:
Support an increase in the basic public assistance grant. In 1970, a family of three in New York City received a basic
welfare grant of $279 a month. If the grant had kept pace with inflation, today they would receive $1,289 a month. In
fact, this family now receives only $577, far less than even the most frugal family needs to survive. Notwithstanding
the current State and City fiscal crisis, an increase in the basic grant cannot continually be deferred.
Press City and State agencies to ensure that the thousands of Brookynites who have timed out of federal TANF
assistance receive other assistance to which they may be entitled, including State “Safety Net” aid. Many families
who will no longer be eligible for TANF will continue to need a variety of income supports to assist them in their
transition to permanent employment. Such transitional supports may include income assistance, food stamps,
Medicaid, child-care vouchers, and job training and employment assistance. Everyone who leaves TANF must be
advised that they may be eligible for food stamps and other transitional benefits; additional efforts are needed to
connect families with these services. The State has agreed to extend food stamps to families for three months after
leaving welfare; a longer extension should be provided.
Encourage the City to improve public access to benefits such as food stamps, Medicaid, Child Health Plus, and public
assistance. It is estimated that low-income New York City residents forgo up to $600 million in federal funds each year
because food stamp eligible individuals and families are not receiving them. Offices where Brooklynites apply for
benefits such as food stamps and Medicaid should be open some evenings to accommodate the working poor.
Continue to “spread the word” about Child Tax Credit refundability; expand free assistance for completing the credit
50 BOROUGH OF BROOKLYN
claim form. The Borough President will also help to publicize the availability of the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC).
During the 2001 tax year, low and moderate-income families became eligible for a refund of the federal $600 per-child
tax credit. Many families who had lacked sufficient income to benefit from the credit now can receive a check for the
full amount. If all eligible filers in Brooklyn claimed the credit for 2001, total credits for borough residents would come
to well over $150 million. Unfortunately, the credit has not been well publicized and filers are discouraged by the
daunting IRS form for claiming the credit, which requires a series of complex calculations to be performed. Thousands
more Brooklyn families could file than actually did. In additiion, many more families - as well as individuals - could claim
To help publicize the credit, Borough President Markowitz held a press conference in March at which he was joined by
IRS officials, the executive director of Social Action, the national organization that spearheaded the Congressional
enactment of child tax credit refundability, and other Brooklyn elected officials. The Borough President also called on
the IRS to simplify the claims form and to expand its network of free taxpayer assistance offices.
ISSUE 2. ENSURING LONG TERM EMPLOYABILITY
During the late 1990s, the City assigned public assistance recipients to the Work Experience Program with no regard for
education or work experience. This “one size fits all” strategy was widely criticized because of its single minded focus on
reducing welfare rolls, without considering whether persons leaving welfare had job skills that would give them a chance at
long term employability.
The labor market is rapidly changing. Globalization is leading to outsourcing of many low wage jobs, and higher level skills
are needed for the jobs that are still available. The New York State Labor Department projects that over the next five years
15,000 new jobs will be created for low skilled workers and 125,000 jobs for workers who have received some degree of
post-secondary or vocational training. “One size fits all” should be replaced with an approach that assesses individuals’
skills and that considers the workforce needs of the various economic sectors that make up the New York region’s economy.
The Bloomberg Administration sent a clear signal that it recognizes the necessity of this new approach when it transferred
workforce development programs from the Human Resources Administration to a reinvigorated Department of
Employment. Now the City must follow up. And the Administration should drop its opposition to full-time job training or
other educational and training programs counting as work related activities that meet the City’s 35 hour per week work
requirement. Full time education and training is the surest way to move individuals toward higher-paying jobs and self-
GOAL: THOUSANDS OF WELFARE RECIPIENTS, DISPLACED WORKERS AND LOW-
WAGE EARNERS SUCCESSFULLY TRANSITION TO PRIVATE SECTOR
EMPLOYMENT THAT PAYS SUSTAINABLE WAGES
THE BOROUGH PRESIDENT WILL:
Support the creation of a substantial transitional jobs program. In 2000, the City Council voted — and then overrode
a mayoral veto — to require the City to establish a transitional jobs program to serve at least 7,500 individuals.
Transitional jobs programs place participants in worksites for up to nine months and provide a wide array of supportive
services including soft and hard skills training and counseling, as well as a wage subsidy. The City still hasn’t created
the required program and now, with tougher work requirements for TANF recipients about to be enacted, it’s needed
more than ever. Based on the record of such programs in other major cities, it is well known that they can be effective
in moving hard-to-employ individuals into the workforce. The City should abide by the law and establish a transitional
Press the City to open several One-Stop Career Centers in Brooklyn. As explained in the Economic and Community
Development, the U.S. Workforce Investment Act (WIA) required localities to create a workforce training system that
serves all who may need it, from long term welfare recipients to laid off professionals. The cornerstone of this approach
is the One-Stop Career Centers that the Act requires localities to establish. One-Stop Career Centers are intended to
offer customer friendly, on site employment, training and referral services for everyone from public assistance
recipients to accountants. As explained in the Economic and Community Development section, New York City is lagging
far behind other major cities in creating the required network of One-Stops.
ISSUE 3. SERVING BROOKLYN’S CHILDREN
The tragic death of young Elisa Izquierdo in 1995 prompted a long overdue overhaul of the City’s child welfare bureaucracy,
2002 STRATEGIC POLICY STATEMENT 51
the Agency for Children’s Services (ACS). Fundamental changes have included upgraded training and revamped
procedures. In an effort to provide a comprehensive array of neighborhood based services to at-risk children and their
families, ACS has instituted a system of neighborhood networks that include contract foster care agencies, schools,
community based nonprofits and churches.
Attention is also being focused on strengthening the capacity of contract providers and increasing the quality and
availability of preventive services. Among the remaining challenges faced by ACS’s child protective services are high staff
vacancies and turnover in the foster care system, and a continuing need for the agency’s services to become more family
The Administration for Children’s Services is also responsible for managing the City’s child care agency, the Agency for
Child Development (ACD). A continuing weakness at ACD is its inability to meet the growing demand for child care
services. According to the Citizens Committee for Children, New York City currently has more than 36,000 families on
child care waiting lists and thousands more are eligible but have given up because of the long wait. Sixty percent of these
families are from Brooklyn. Increasing the supply of child-care vouchers should be a high priority.
GOAL: AN EFFICIENT, HUMANE FOSTER CARE SYSTEM THAT KEEPS CHILDREN
IN THEIR COMMUNITIES WHENEVER POSSIBLE
TO CONTINUE THE AGENCY’S PROGRESS, THE CITY SHOULD:
Continue to professionalize the ACS investigations force. Spending cutbacks forced by the City’s budget deficits
threaten to reverse some of the progress that has been achieved through upgraded staff training and quality review.
Enhance prevention services for families. Since most child abuse and neglect is a function of poverty, lack of housing,
substance abuse, domestic violence and illness, dealing with these root causes will help avoid child removals and long
“term foster care. Family supports such as housing assistance, substance abuse treatment, domestic violence
services, and basic skills education can reduce the incidence of abuse and neglect. Unfortunately — and
notwithstanding a significant reduction in the numbers of children in foster care in recent years — funding still goes
overwhelmingly to foster care placement. The City should seek Federal and State authorization to reinvest foster care
Thousands of low-income Brooklyn families could benefit from the $600 per child federal Child Tax Credit, which was recently made refundable. Above: Borough President
Markowitz urged parents at the Bedford Stuyvesant Early Childhood Development Center to file for the credit. To the left of the Borough President: City Council Member
James Davis and Theresa Funiciello, founder of Social Agenda, a national advocacy group that was largely responsible for getting Congress to make the credit refundable.
52 BOROUGH OF BROOKLYN
system savings into individualized support programs for parents and children in need.
THE BOROUGH PRESIDENT WILL:
Urge the City to continue — and expand — efforts to keep foster children in their communities, preferably with
relatives and close family friends. ACS should seek to expand utilization of community-based service providers (foster
care agencies, counseling services, medical services) and to avoid sending children to foster placements outside of their
GOAL: CHILDREN WHO TURN 18 AND “AGE OUT” OF THE FOSTER CARE SYSTEM
OBTAIN AFFORDABLE, PERMANENT HOUSING, AND OTHER NECESSARY
THE BOROUGH PRESIDENT WILL:
Press the City to provide more services for youth who “age out” of the system. Too many of the more than one
thousand young adults who “age out” of the foster care system in New York City every year end up among the homeless
or in the criminal justice system. These individuals urgently need group homes and affordable housing. The City should
engage in comprehensive multi-year discharge planning for aging out youths that encompasses additional schooling,
vocational training, and transitional health benefits.
ISSUE 4. HELPING OLDER ADULTS
Brooklyn has more residents over the age of 60 than any other New York City borough. While the city’s population
generally is getting older, the most dramatic increase has been among those 85 and over; the 2000 U.S. Census reports
that the 85 and older population increased 18.7% citywide and 26.5% in Brooklyn. These oldest adults are more likely to
be socially isolated, economically vulnerable and physically frail. Since they are also less likely to participate in senior
center activities, there will be an increasing need for adult day service activities tailored to their special needs.
Still, the vast majority of older Brooklynites are in good health and want to be engaged in meaningful activities. Volunteer
programs — from museums to hospitals, from schools to parks — could certainly benefit from their life experience,
dedication and energy. We need to make it easier for them to participate. With its vast cultural and recreational resources,
Brooklyn is a great place to retire.
GOAL: OLDER ADULTS HAVE READY ACCESS TO SENIOR CENTERS AND
THE BOROUGH PRESIDENT WILL:
Press the City to maintain current service levels at all senior centers and add important new services. There will
continue to be a gap between available City funds and the ability to give Brooklyn’s older adults the services they truly
need and deserve. The Department for the Aging must advocate for funds to maintain existing programs and for critical
new projects such as mental health services and housing programs.
Advocate opening new senior centers in Brooklyn in the long term, particularly ones serving underserved minority
populations. Three new senior centers were slated to open in Fiscal Year 2003 in Brooklyn to serve under-served
minority low-income populations, particularly the rapidly expanding Haitian and Chinese communities.
GOAL: MORE OLDER ADULTS REMAIN INVOLVED IN THEIR COMMUNITIES
The City should expand volunteering and service opportunities. The Department for the Aging should continue to
develop partnerships and expand programs that offer opportunities for volunteer service by the many older
Brooklynites who have skills and interests they would like to continue to use and share. Senior centers and cultural
organizations need to expand their efforts – and create new partnerships — to provide volunteering efforts to meet the
needs of the younger, more active senior.
Borough President Markowitz has asked Brooklynites of any age who wish to volunteer to contact his office; based on
the caller’s interest and areas of expertise, the Borough President’s office will match callers with appropriate organizations.
2002 STRATEGIC POLICY STATEMENT 53
The New York City Transit Authority should improve Access-a-Ride. Many older adults require transportation
assistance if they are to be actively involved in their communities as well as simply to get to medical appointments, go
shopping and visit friends and relatives.
The City’s Access-a-Ride program provide much of this mobility. But as explained in Transportation ( the Access-a-Ride
program continues to be plagued with problems, from vans that pick up passengers an hour late to last-minute trip
cancellations. Access-a-Ride functions better for subscription users such as those who use it to get to work than for
people such as seniors who may have varied schedules and destinations. It should work well for everyone.
The Borough President will continue to encourage expanded use of school buses to transport older adults. Senior
centers should be encouraged to make greater use of school buses, which may be available when school is not in
session. For example, Borough President Markowitz partnered with the Department for the Aging and school bus
operator Varsity Transit to use their buses during the summer at no charge, to take seniors on excursions to attractions
throughout the five boroughs.
GOAL: MORE SENIORS LIVE IN COMFORTABLE, WELL MAINTAINED HOUSING
THAT THEY CAN CONTINUE TO AFFORD
THE BOROUGH PRESIDENT WILL:
Support State legislation to increase the allowable maximum income for the SCRIE program to $30,000, indexed to
annual increases in the cost of living. (See Housing for an explanation.)
Join in seeking additional funds for new senior housing. According to a study released in August 2002 by Rep.
Anthony Weiner, a total of 119,000 Brooklynites are on waiting lists for Section 202 senior citizen housing, nearly four
times as many as any other borough. City officials and Brooklyn’s elected officials need to redouble their efforts to
obtain a larger share of federal Section 202 housing funds, the sole federal program that subsidies senior housing
ISSUE 5. HOUSING THE HOMELESS
According to the Coalition for the Homeless, New York City shelters now house more than 35,000 people each night, the
most ever and 42 percent more than in 1998. The Coalition reports that the average stay for homeless families in the
shelter system has more than doubled over the past decade, from five months in 1990 to the current eleven months.
The City has made major strides in improving its shelter system in recent years. Largely gone are the enormous,
dangerous shelters housing hundreds. Most shelters are now operated by not-for-profits and offer special programming.
The Bloomberg Administration publicly parted from the policies of the previous administration when it announced its goal
of fewer beds in shelters and more beds in housing, particularly permanent housing. Nonetheless, the City has continued
its stopgap approach to this problem by increasing temporary shelter beds instead of investing in permanent supportive
housing. The Strategic Plan released in June 2002 by the Department of Homeless Services also emphasizes the need
for more homelessness prevention services.
Unfortunately, there still is no coordinated public plan or policy to ensure a geographically equitable distribution of
shelters, drop-in centers, and other facilities. Problems persist in host communities and at the City’s Emergency
Assistance Unit. These issues will have to be addressed, particularly if the numbers of homeless individuals and families
seeking shelter continue to rise.
GOAL: MORE PERMANENT HOUSING
THE CITY SHOULD:
Provide more permanent housing. It costs $36,000 per year to shelter a family in the City’s shelter system and
$23,000 a year for a homeless individual. But as the Coalition for the Homeless points out, a supportive housing
apartment with services costs as little as $12,500 per year and rental assistance with support services costs as little
as $7,700 per year. So it makes budgetary sense to build the housing necessary to significantly reduce the shelter
54 BOROUGH OF BROOKLYN
A third collaborative State/City agreement to develop several thousand more units of supportive housing should be
signed. The first agreement, signed in 1990, is widely viewed as one of the most effective homelessness reduction
initiatives in the nation.
Additional units should also be built that are targeted for single persons living with AIDS, individuals who have had
substance abuse problems, and youths who are “aging out” of foster care.
GOAL: MORE EFFECTIVE CITY HOMELESSNESS PREVENTION EFFORTS
THE CITY SHOULD:
Increase support for the Family and Adult Rental Subsidy program. This program has helped hundreds of families to
maintain permanent housing. And it’s cost effective. The monthly cost of providing shelter to a homeless individual is
nearly $2,000 and the cost for a family is $3,000, compared to the monthly cost of rental subsidy and support services
of only $642 and $742, respectively.
GOAL: IMPROVED SERVICES TO THE HOMELESS
THE BOROUGH PRESIDENT WILL:
Urge the City to keep children in the same school when placing homeless families in shelters, transitional and
permanent housing, and provide in-shelter temporary schooling. Children lose out on schooling and fall farther behind
when they are shifted among addresses and schools. This is very common among families that have to rely on friends,
relatives and the shelter system for housing. When assigning families with elementary and middle school children to
housing, the Department of Homeless Services should seek, whenever possible, to keep the family in the school zone
the children most recently attended.
Senior centers are an important contributor to a good quality of life for hundreds of thousands of older Brooklynites. Shown above: recreational activities at Raices Center on
3rd Avenue in downtown Brooklyn. Raices offers education, recreation, case assistance and outreach services every weekday.
2002 STRATEGIC POLICY STATEMENT 55
GOAL: COMMUNITIES THAT HOST HOMELESS SHELTERS AND TRANSITIONAL
HOUSING, THE DEPARTMENT OF HOMELESS SERVICES, AND HOMELESS
HOUSING FACILITY OPERATORS WORK COLLABORATIVELY
THE BOROUGH PRESIDENT WILL:
Advocate and work with the City to provide communities with ample advance notification and input into the siting
of proposed shelters and transitional housing facilities. The “fair share” provision of the New York City Charter
requires that communities be notified when a facility has been located there. The Charter completely exempts from
public review and scrutiny those projects where the City is not the owner of record or lessee of the underlying property,
or where a contractor handles the purchase or lease of a facility. For purposes of public review, the City should treat
all proposed shelter and transitional housing projects as if the City is the owner of record.
An effective mechanism for community oversight, including advance notification and community participation in
planning, design, and operation of these facilities is needed. There should be no need for lawsuits to stop homeless
facilities from opening or to close or scale down ones that were placed in a community with inadequate notification.
Indeed, providing advance notice and working with the community can lead to modifications that will make the facility
work better for the community, as well as for the people who are being served. Community resistance to these facilities
is heightened when there is inadequate notice and input is discouraged.
Urge the creation of partnerships among host communities, shelters and transitional housing facility operators, and
the Department of Homeless Services. Community advisory boards, with one-on-one relationships with facility
operators, can help create cooperative and supportive relations between communities and facilities. The Park Slope
Armory, which houses a facility for 70 mentally ill, chemical-addicted women, is a model of how such close cooperation
can be successful. When the Church Avenue Merchants Block Association assumed operation of the facility, a
community advisory board was established and a direct relationship between the community and the shelter was
56 BOROUGH OF BROOKLYN
PARKS AND RECREATION
The condition and the availability of recreational facilities and parks and other open spaces is a key measure
of a city’s quality of life. Proper maintenance and, wherever possible, expansion of parks and recreational
facilities, should be a priority.
Brooklyn’s parks are needed now more than ever. The U.S. Census revealed that during the 1990s the
borough’s population increased while median household income declined. For all of the Brooklynites who can’t
afford to travel to alternatives for recreation and relaxation, city parks and beaches are a refuge.
ISSUE 1. MAINTAINING AND IMPROVING PARKS AND
While Brooklyn has some of the best parks in the City, more than a decade of budget cuts has dramatically decreased the
City’s ability to properly maintain them. Brooklyn now has only one gardener for 3,240 acres of parkland, one City park
worker for each 21 acres, three recreational directors to serve nearly 600,000 children, and a mere six plumbers to
maintain 363 bathrooms, 772 drinking fountains, and eleven pools. At any given time, half of the water fountains are
broken and half of the bathrooms are out of service.
Many U.S. cities allocate one percent or more of their annual expense budget to their parks. Yet about 15 years ago New
York City’s parks budget began the steep decline from about one percent of the City budget to the current level of about
one-half of one percent. The resulting maintenance cutbacks hastened the need for debt financed capital renovations and
increased the long-term cost of park maintenance. In the long term, the City should consider earmarking additional funds
for parks maintenance by retaining in its budget some of the tens of millions of dollars generated at park properties through
fees and other collections, rather than relinquishing these monies to the City’s general fund.
Thousands of Brooklynites generously contribute money and time to parks upkeep. For example, Park Moms helped to
revitalize and reclaim McCarren Park in Greenpoint/Williamsburg. But just as hospital volunteers cannot be expected to
perform surgery or administer medication, park volunteers cannot be expected to fix broken pipes, pave asphalt, and repair
playground equipment. These are City responsibilities.
Coney Island Beach and Boardwalk visitors will finally have decent comfort stations. One of the new facilities is shown above.
2002 STRATEGIC POLICY STATEMENT 57
GOAL: ADEQUATE MAINTENANCE OF ALL PARKS FACILITIES
THE BOROUGH PRESIDENT WILL:
Advocate enactment of a City law to mandate a minimum time period for repairs to be made once a complaint has
been filed. New Yorkers should know that if they file a complaint about a broken water fountain or swing, it will be
repaired within a reasonable, prescribed period.
Urge that a maintenance baseline for Prospect Park be established. The Prospect Park Alliance has guided the
substantial and ongoing revitalization of the premier park in Brooklyn. Although the Alliance has been successful in
raising revenue and soliciting volunteers for Prospect Park, the City must consider these resources as supplementing,
rather than replacing, City services. The Department of Parks and Recreation should work with the Alliance to establish
a baseline of basic park conditions that will be maintained. Like Central Park in Manhattan, many more people use
Prospect Park than live in its immediate vicinity.
Seek to continue direct assistance to park repair and improvement through the Borough President’s capital budget
allocations. In City fiscal year 2003, Borough President Markowitz provided $6.5 million in capital funding for ten parks
projects located throughout the borough.
GOAL: COMMUNITIES ARE GIVEN A REAL CHANCE TO PARTICIPATE IN
CAPITAL PLANNING AND PROJECT SCOPING
The Borough President will urge the City to provide elected officials with earlier notice of planning the scope of work
and design for capital projects. The Department of Parks and Recreation must release and distribute the scopes of
work and designs to elected officials substantially in advance of when work is scheduled to start. Department
designers and managers should meet with interested community residents and leaders well before the agency prepares
a scope of work and schematic design for a renovation.
To further improve recreational facilities in Coney Island and to draw more visitors to the borough, Borough President Markowitz has allocated $1 million in City capital funds
for amateur and professional handball and volleyball facilities in Asser Levy Park to complement those shown above.
58 BOROUGH OF BROOKLYN
The interim site improvement (a portion of it is seen through the arch above) on the DUMBO waterfront gives a sense of the spectacular facility that will welcome all New
Yorkers once the Brooklyn Bridge Park is completed.
ISSUE 2. IMPROVING WATERFRONT ACCESS
One of Brooklyn’s greatest recreational resources is its extensive shoreline. Further efforts are needed to reclaim
abandoned, underutilized, and degraded waterfront sites for public use, to develop new waterfront parks and recreational
amenities, and to create contiguous public space along the shoreline.
GOAL: CONVENIENT ACCESS TO HUNDREDS OF WATERFRONT ACRES
AVAILABLE FOR RECREATIONAL USE
THE BOROUGH PRESIDENT WILL:
Work with the Brooklyn Bridge Development Corporation and community leaders to expeditiously complete the
Brooklyn Bridge Park. After 15 years of planning and advocating by the community and elected officials, the
development of Brooklyn Bridge Park took its most significant step with the formation in 2002 of a State and City
development corporation to implement the park plan.
The critical next steps are the preparation of a final plan and the environmental impact statement. A citizens’ advisory
committee comprised of representatives of all of the communities near the park will guide this process. In this time of
fiscal uncertainty, it is important that the momentum gained during the last several years be continued and to ensure
that State and City funding that has been promised for park construction is committed and spent.
Urge the City to acquire property adjacent to the new State park being created on the site of the former Eastern
District Terminal in Williamsburg. New York University is providing capital funds to develop this park, with the
understanding that university teams will use the park approximately half of the time and the public will have full access
the rest of the time. Some of the undeveloped property north and south of the park should be acquired to expand the
area open to the general public all the time.
2002 STRATEGIC POLICY STATEMENT 59
Assist in developing the former WNYC transmitter site for public access. Borough President Markowitz has allocated
more than half a million dollars in City capital funding to use in conjunction with a grant from the State to develop a
plan for bulkhead improvement at this site on the Greenpoint shorefront. Since the existing bulkhead is collapsing and
the land is eroding, bulkhead restoration is a necessary first step in developing the site for recreational use.
Urge expansion of the Newtown Barge Terminal Playground onto adjacent City owned property at the former Lumber
Exchange Terminal, which would ensure access to the waterfront at that site. The City owned property adjacent to
the playground is, by statute, reserved for docking and loading vessels and handling cargo. However, use of the
adjoining properties will be changed to residential and retail. If the City owned parcel is no longer needed for water-
borne cargo, the City should annex the property to the playground, which would greatly increase the size of the park
and provide direct public access to the waterfront.
As part of the revitalization of the Gowanus Canal, help make the necessary preparations for building a walkway on
both sides of the waterway that will be compatible with
the existing mix of residential and industrial uses.
Through a State funded contract with the Borough
President’s Office, the Gowanus Canal Community
Development Corporation (GCCDC) has begun preparing a
comprehensive strategy for the revitalization of the canal,
coordinating the work of the Army Corps of Engineers to
complete the Gowanus Canal Ecosystem Restoration
Feasibility Study with enhanced public access and a pilot
project for habitat improvement.
Press for – and work with the City – on a plan for Dreier-
Offerman Park that builds on the current schematic
planning for the park. Planning by the Parks Department
for this park, which encompasses 100 acres on Coney Island
Creek, should make the park available for a range of
passive and active recreation opportunities, while also
ensuring that the soccer and baseball fields currently in
use are retained and maintained.
Assist with planning for a contiguous shorefront path for pedestrians and bicyclists that runs from Greenpoint to
Bay Ridge. The Borough President’s Office is currently seeking grant money to fund planning for this project. If
constructed, the path would, along with the existing Shore Road pathway, provide a pedestrian route along three-
quarters of the Brooklyn waterfront.
Press for completion of the Paerdegat Basin project. This project, for which initial sewer lines are only now being laid,
will include construction of a combined sewer overflow holding tank and a park that will include wetland habitat
restoration, extensive gardens and a walkway/bikeway.
ISSUE 3. IMPROVING BEACHES AND ADJACENT AREAS
With the construction of KeySpan Park and associated public recreational facilities, bathhouses and other improvements,
Coney Island/Brighton Beach is steadily returning to its days as a prime family entertainment destination. As discussed
in the Economic and Community Development section, a Coney Island Local Development Corporation should be created to
plan for new restaurants, hotels, and year round entertainment facilities.
Additional major improvements, such as the Sportsplex complex, will add considerably to the area’s appeal and economic
vitality. In the meantime, other City sponsored improvements would enhance the recreational experiences of the millions
of people who visit the Coney Island/Brighton Beach waterfront every year.
GOAL: CONEY ISLAND/BRIGHTON BEACH’S STATUS AS A RECREATION
CENTER IS ENHANCED
THE BOROUGH PRESIDENT WILL:
Encourage and assist in construction of additional City facilities. These should include handball and volleyball courts
with spectator seating for competitive games and an enhanced amphitheater at Asser Levy Park. Borough President
Markowitz has provided funds to study developing a portion of Asser Levy Park as a modern performance space. The
60 BOROUGH OF BROOKLYN
City should also explore the feasibility of returning the landmarked Parachute Jump amusement ride to operation.
Press the City to open the promised Administrator’s office. An Administrator’s office for Coney Island/Brighton Beach
and Asser Levy Park was promised when the City sealed the deal that led to the construction of KeySpan Park. It was
to have opened by June 2001.
THE CITY SHOULD:
Exclude non-emergency vehicles from driving on the boardwalk. Build a bike path. Vehicles, even bicycles, are the
main cause of damage to the wooden boardwalk. With the exception of emergency vehicles, the boardwalk should be
limited to pedestrians. To make the boardwalk safer for pedestrians, and to extend its life and minimize repairs, the City
should support the application by Friends of the Boardwalk for federal TEA-21 funds to construct a bicycle path on the
Rotate closures of beach bays and install additional directional signage. A shortage of lifeguards and insufficient
visitor demand at the beginning of the season has led the City to close the same sections of beach at Coney Island and
Brighton for six consecutive years. To address neighboring residents’ complaints that this policy is unfair, the City
should rotate the bays that are open, so that all areas are served for at least part of each season between Memorial
Day and Labor Day. This would be particularly beneficial to the neighborhood’s many older residents, who may find it
difficult to walk long stretches to the nearest open beach. The Parks Department also should improve signage – on the
boardwalk, on the streets and in the subways – that direct beach visitors to the open beach sections.
Fredrick Law Olmstead and Calvert Vaux designed Central Park, but they considered Prospect Park (above) their crowning achievement. The City must allocate sufficient
resources to properly maintain this masterpiece, which is enjoyed by residents of the entire borough.
2002 STRATEGIC POLICY STATEMENT 61
ISSUE 4. RECREATIONAL FACILITIES FOR ALL BROOKLYNITES
New parks and playgrounds should be developed and existing facilities enhanced so that all Brooklynites have access to
recreation that is convenient and programmed for varied interests.
GOAL: NEW REOPENED FACILITIES IN UNDERSERVED NEIGHBORHOODS
THE BOROUGH PRESIDENT WILL PRESS THE CITY TO:
Acquire property and develop new parks and playgrounds in Brooklyn’s most underserved neighborhoods. Only three
of Brooklyn’s 18 community districts meet the Department of City Planning’s standard for public open space of 2.5
acres for every one thousand residents. Eight planning districts have less than one acre per thousand residents. Yet
most of the City’s recent open space acquisitions have been on Staten Island, the borough with the highest ratio of
parkland per capita. The City must now focus on acquiring property and developing parks in Brooklyn’s underserved
Construct a waterfront park at Bush Terminal Piers 1-6 in Sunset Park. Sunset Park is one of the city’s most park-
deprived communities. And despite its nearly two mile long waterfront, Sunset Park residents still have no waterfront
access. The Economic Development Corporation is preparing plans for a waterfront park at Bush Terminal Piers 1-6.
The City should allocate funding necessary for its construction.
GOAL: NEW AND RECONSTRUCTED PARK FACILITIES THAT MEET THE
EMERGING, EVOLVING RECREATIONAL NEEDS OF BROOKLYNITES
THE CITY SHOULD:
Construct new kinds of facilities to serve the diverse and changing recreational interests of Brooklynites. Just as
baseball diamonds were built in the past, new waves of immigration have changed the kinds of facilities needed to meet
recreational needs — cricket pitches, for example, are now in demand. And many Brooklynites are participating in newly
popular sports such as in-line skating, skateboarding and rock climbing. Innovative planning such as for the new
skateboard facility at Owls Head Park should be pursued to address these needs.
Rebuild the McCarren Park pool. The Department of Parks and Recreation and the local community have reached
consensus on renovating the McCarren Park Pool, which has been closed for almost two decades, as a four season,
multi-use recreational facility. The next step is to secure funding for reconstruction, possibly through a public-private
partnership. One possibility is to rebuild the facility, which is located near the Olympic Village proposed for the 2012
Olympics, as an Olympic training facility.
ISSUE 5. COMMUNITY GREEN SPACE
The City should strive to create greenspace wherever possible in Brooklyn. Significant opportunities lie in the borough’s
hundreds of community gardens, many of which are in low-income neighborhoods that have little existing or potential
GOAL: MORE GREEN SPACE, MORE TREES
THE CITY SHOULD:
Plant more street trees. In planting trees, the City should be especially attentive to neighborhoods that have minimal
tree canopy as well as to areas, such as business improvement districts and tourist destinations, where street trees can
augment other capital improvements and help attract shoppers and visitors. Borough President Markowitz recognized
the importance of street trees by allocating $500,000 in Fiscal Year 2003 to plant hundreds of new trees.
Restore funding for the Greenstreets program in the longterm. Under the program, bare patches of concrete were
transformed into urban oases by the planting of trees and shrubs. The City should also acquire more water trucks and
establish more public-private partnerships to maintain existing and new Greenstreet plots.
62 BOROUGH OF BROOKLYN
PUBLIC SAFETY AND CRIMINAL JUSTICE
ISSUE 1. EFFECTIVE POLICING
One of the greatest municipal accomplishments in America in decades was halving crime in New York City. This
achievement dramatically improved the quality of life for everyone and catalyzed neighborhood revitalization and economic
Fortunately, the overall crime rate in Brooklyn and elsewhere in New York City has continued to trend downward, even as
it has edged back up in some other major cities. Still, crime remains at unacceptable levels. In some neighborhoods,
effective street enforcement has forced drug dealing indoors, where it is harder to root out, and in many other communities
street-corner drug dealing remains commonplace. Quality of life crimes such as prostitution continue to plague many
Brooklyn is fortunate to have many very qualified, highly experienced, community-sensitive police chiefs and captains who
are fully capable of keeping crime in check. Borough Hall has been working closely with them on local crime concerns.
GOAL: EVEN LESS CRIME
THE POLICE DEPARTMENT SHOULD:
Increase police officer presence in Brooklyn communities; reassign officers on administrative duty to patrolling.
Notwithstanding the City’s current fiscal crisis, police presence in many Brooklyn neighborhoods needs to be
augmented and response time to emergency calls shortened. This is nearly a universal request in the annual district
needs statements prepared by the borough’s community boards. A particular need has been expressed for more
neighborhood foot patrols. Some of the officers for expanded patrols could be secured by civilianizing police
department jobs; an audit issued by the City Comptroller in June 2002 identified 831 jobs now being performed by
officers that could be handled by civilians at considerably less cost.
THE BOROUGH PRESIDENT WILL:
Support Police Department enforcement efforts against quality of life crimes. Crimes such as prostitution and public
consumption of alcoholic beverages must continue to be vigorously combated.
Continue the close working relationship between Borough Hall and police commanders. In May 2002 Borough
President Markowitz met at Borough Hall with the chiefs of the Brooklyn North and South commands and the captains
of all 23 Brooklyn precincts. They discussed ways in which Borough Hall can support the Department’s work. The
Borough President will continue this close working relationship.
Encourage establishment of more Business Improvement Districts (BIDs). BID security patrols have played a major
role in reducing crime in commercial districts, which has in turn stimulated commerce and made nearby residential
areas more attractive.
GOAL: GREATER COMMUNITY PARTICIPATION IN THE FIGHT AGAINST CRIME
THE POLICE DEPARTMENT SHOULD:
Include on its website a map, updated weekly, that shows the exact locations of crimes that occurred during the
previous two weeks in each precinct. The San Antonio Police Department’s website has a map that shows the locations
of assaults/homicides, sexual offenses, and robberies. In New York, such information would be very helpful to
community leaders, community patrols and citizens, letting them know exactly where the trouble spots are within their
community and where additional crime fighting attention may be needed.
Strengthen Precinct Community Councils. One way would be to offer community leaders specialized training in
THE BOROUGH PRESIDENT WILL:
Continue to hold quarterly meetings at Borough Hall with the presidents of the borough’s Police Community
2002 STRATEGIC POLICY STATEMENT 63
Councils. At these meetings, issues of joint concern among precincts and commands are discussed and substantive
presentations are made by experts such as a recent presentation on terrorism response preparations in Brooklyn.
These meetings inform the Borough President of cross-precinct issues and trends that he can then ask borough
commanders to address.
GOAL: YOUNG PEOPLE ARE SAFER
THE POLICE DEPARTMENT SHOULD:
Expand the Safe Corridor Program. The program ensures a proper level of supervision for children as they travel to
and from school. It should be extended to cover every school — public, private, and parochial.
Continue to expand the number of “safe havens.” Under the Safe Haven Program, local businesses sign up and receive
a Safe Haven decal for their entrance doors if they agree to serve as a location where a child could seek adult help in
case of an emergency.
Ensure that all school entrances are closely monitored. In December 1998, the Police Department assumed
responsibility for school safety from the Board of Education. The transfer has been a success, as measured by the
numbers of reported incidents. Still more efforts are needed to ensure that all entrances are secure, particularly in
middle schools and high schools.
THE BOROUGH PRESIDENT WILL:
Hold a Brooklyn conference on youth gangs. Gang recruitment among youth — especially by peers among immigrants
with ethnic ties to cities in Mexico and Central America — is becoming more aggressive. New approaches are needed
to identify and deal with this problem. More attention from community based organizations and criminal justice
The NYPD's Brooklyn precinct captains and commanders met with Borough President Markowitz and several of the borough's elected officials. After the meeting they stood on
Borough Hall's front steps for this photo. All of Brooklyn is looking to these police officials to continue making all of Brooklyn safer. Bottom row, l. to r., Assembly Member
(and Assembly Codes Commiittee Chair) Joe Lentol; Chief Joseph Fox, Commanding Officer, Brooklyn Borough South Command; Borough President Markowitz; Deputy Borough
President Yvonne Graham; Council Member Dominic Recchia.
64 BOROUGH OF BROOKLYN
agencies and new after school alternatives may be necessary.
ISSUE 2. COMMUNITY SENSITIVE POLICING
Considerable progress has been achieved, but much work remains to be done to foster improved community-police
GOAL: BETTER POLICE-COMMUNITY RELATIONS
THE POLICE DEPARTMENT SHOULD:
Carefully evaluate police officer cultural awareness and sensitivity training. This training may need to be revised and
Consider new incentives such as a mortgage subsidy program to encourage police officers to live in New York City.
Expand the Police Cadet Corps. It has been shown that officers who have more formal education tend to be involved
in fewer bias-related incidents.
Expand community outreach and education programs, especially among recent immigrants. Brooklyn is home to
many recently arrived immigrants from nations where the police may have much greater latitude and where there are
few due process protections. Many new immigrants are unaware of the proper role of the police and what to expect in
their dealings with them. Community outreach programs can help build trust, which is key to controlling crime. Special
attention is needed to address issues of sexual and spousal abuse.
THE BOROUGH PRESIDENT WILL:
Encourage participation in Precinct Community Councils by a broad cross section of each community. The 23
Councils are the official point of interaction between communities and police. They could become even more useful and
relevant if a broader cross-section of their communities became involved.
Encourage creation of new opportunities for positive police-community interaction. These could include more
precinct “Town Hall” meetings and interactive social activities among police and the communities, including sports
activities and mentoring programs. If community residents get to know their police officers, they will see that they are
“real” people. And police officers should get to know Brooklynites as “real” people and individuals much like
Press the Police Department to intensify recruitment efforts aimed at hiring more officers who live in Brooklyn,
particularly among people of color and citizens who are members of recent immigrant groups. Special efforts are
needed to attract recruits who can speak the languages of Brooklyn’s fast expanding immigrant communities, including
Chinese, Russian, and Spanish.
ISSUE 3. UPGRADING POLICE FACILITIES
GOAL: ALL PRECINCT HOUSES ARE IN A STATE OF GOOD REPAIR
The City should accelerate the program of renovating precinct houses and improve precinct house maintenance.
Brooklyn has more than its share of the City’s oldest and most deteriorated precinct houses. Many of these buildings
need new roofs, lockers, air conditioning, windows and office furniture. In some precincts, entirely new buildings have
been needed for years. Capital improvements in precinct houses most in need of renovation should be fast-tracked.
Day-to-day maintenance must be upgraded in all precinct buildings.
GOAL: SUFFICIENT PARKING NEAR PRECINCT HOUSES FOR OFFICERS AND VISITORS
The City should provide more off-street parking near precinct houses. Traffic and sidewalk congestion caused by
police officers’ and impounded cars parked near precinct houses is a perennial complaint of most Brooklyn community
boards. Police and communities rightfully demand more legal parking spaces.
2002 STRATEGIC POLICY STATEMENT 65
Brooklyn's firefighters proved their mettle on September 11th, 2001 -- and every day since then.
ISSUE 4. IMPROVING FIRE SAFETY
The entire world witnessed the heroism of New York City firefighters on September 11th, 2001. Brooklyn’s own ladder and
engine companies suffered tremendous loss of life. The outpouring of support for them after that terrible day
demonstrated that the public understands and appreciates the hazards firefighters face.
Now the Department is facing a leadership vacuum caused by a surge in retirements of senior personnel. And firefighters
are retiring at more than twice the normal rate.
While the Fire Department operates the City ambulance system, there continues to be concern about the adequacy of
coverage by voluntary and private ambulance services in neighborhoods the City system does not completely cover.
GOAL: FIRE DEPARTMENT RESPONDS TO CALLS WITHIN FIVE MINUTES
IN ALL COMMUNITIES
The Fire Department should meet its commitment to respond to all fires within five minutes of notification in every
community. The five minute commitment has not always been met in communities thst have in the past had higher
numbers of fire fatalities, including Bushwick, Red Hook, and Fort Greene.
66 BOROUGH OF BROOKLYN
GOAL: FEWER FIRES
THE FIRE DEPARTMENT SHOULD:
Add inspectors. More inspectors mean more inspections and fewer fires.
Enhance fire prevention outreach and education. In particular, efforts to educate the public about fire safety should
be culturally oriented and in languages spoken by Brooklyn’s increasingly diverse population.
GOAL: A DIVERSIFIED FIRE DEPARTMENT COMMAND STRUCTURE AND STAFF
The Fire Department should step up recruitment in communities of color and among immigrants and women. Only
a very small and entirely unacceptable percentage of New York City Fire Department personnel are people of color or
women. In nearly every major city in the nation, people of color comprise a much larger share of firefighters and
GOAL: IMPROVED FIREHOUSE PHYSICAL CONDITIONS
The City should accelerate the firehouse rehabilitation program in Brooklyn. After September 11th, 2001, many
Brooklynites visited their local firehouse to offer support to surviving firefighters. Many first time visitors were
surprised at the poor physical condition of many of these buildings. The public would certainly support expediting the
necessary renovations so that firefighters have acceptable living and working environments.
ISSUE 5. TIMELY EMERGENCY MEDICAL TRANSPORT
According to an audit by the New York City Comptroller in 2001, ambulances from private hospitals tend to take private-
pay patients back to their own hospital. rather than the nearest emergency room, sometimes in violation of the prescribed
procedure, which requires that in an emergency the hospital of choice must be reachable within ten minutes. Some parts
of Brooklyn are covered almost exclusively by private or voluntary ambulance services, which also raises issues of
potential service quality disparities among neighborhoods.
GOAL: CONSISTENTLY HIGH QUALITY AND TIMELY EMERGENCY MEDICAL
RESPONSE THROUGHOUT THE BOROUGH
THE FIRE DEPARTMENT SHOULD:
Ensure that municipal ambulances cover the entire borough. The Emergency Medical Service allows private and voluntary
ambulance services such as those affiliated with hospitals to participate in the 911 emergency services. Arrangements
between the City and private ambulance operators should be subject to the franchise provisions of the City Charter.
ISSUE 7. ADMINISTRATION OF CRIMINAL JUSTICE
Court facilities. Brooklyn, which has long had some of the most antiquated court facilities in the nation, is finally getting
new courthouses. Family Court, New York State Supreme Court Criminal Term, Housing Court, Supreme Court Civil Parts,
and the U.S. Courts are moving into new or refurbished facilities. Unfortunately, it will be several years before the Kings
County Criminal Court facility on Schermerhorn Street is renovated, although an elevator modernization project will begin
Drug laws. Hundreds - perhaps thousands — of Brooklyn residents remain incarcerated in State prison under the harsh
“Rockefeller drug laws” enacted in the 1970s. Every year, many more people are sentenced under these laws. The State
Legislature must finally reach an agreement that eases the impact of these unreasonable laws, allowing for more discretion
for sentencing judges to reduce the disproportional impact of the laws on low level operatives, many of them mothers with
addiction problems. In many cases, drug treatment, not long prison terms, are called for.
Juvenile justice system. The juvenile justice system faces multiple challenges. Among these are the serious substance abuse
problems of many of the young people in the Department of Juvenile Justice secure detention facilities, and mental illness. It
has been estimated that as many as half of the youths in detention centers have a diagnosed mental health problem.
Automobile insurance fraud. Automobile insurance fraud is widely acknowledged as a leading factor behind Brooklyn’s
2002 STRATEGIC POLICY STATEMENT 67
skyrocketing auto insurance premiums — the highest in the State and probably the nation. Because auto insurance has
become prohibitively expensive for most Brooklynites, thousands of drivers are without any insurance at all, putting
everyone at risk.
GOAL: MORE YOUTH COURTS
The City should open more youth courts. The Red Hook Youth Court is a national model of teenagers working within
the justice system to hold their peers responsible for misconduct. It is considered highly successful. Youth courts
should be opened in additional neighborhoods.
GOAL: BETTER MENTAL HEALTH TREATMENT IN JUVENILE JUSTICE FACILITIES
The City should augment psychiatric staffing in secure juvenile facilities, such as Crossroads in Brooklyn. These
facilities have in-house mental health services, but the psychiatric staff is overburdened. These services should be
GOAL: UTILIZATION, WHENEVER APPROPRIATE, OF ALTERNATIVES
The City should expand the use of alternatives to incarceration (ATI). A June 2000 report by a task force convened
Brooklyn's police officers have been able to keep crime rates trending down, even as crime rates in many other major U.S. cities have begun to rise again.
68 BOROUGH OF BROOKLYN
by Chief Judge Judith Kaye acknowledged the efficacy of ATIs for substance abuse offenders in reducing drug use and
criminality, and recommended that such programs be expanded. For youthful offenders, ATI can be more effective in
reducing recidivism, according to a study by the Citizens Committee for Children, and placing a youth offender in an ATI
program costs a fraction of the cost of placing a youth in a juvenile facility.
GOAL: A SUBSTANTIAL REDUCTION IN AUTOMOBILE INSURANCE FRAUD
The State Legislature should enact, and the Governor should sign, legislation that would curb automobile insurance
fraud. Borough President Markowitz has written to the legislative leaders in Albany urging immediate action on bills
that would increase penalties for “runners” and against medical care providers who participate in staged and phantom
To fight insurance fraud, the Borough President has published and is widely distributing a pamphlet that explains
how to identify and report fraud, and how to avoid becoming a victim of fraud, such as through staged accidents.
GOAL: DOMESTIC VIOLENCE VICTIMS ARE PROTECTED FROM EVICTION AND
CAN READILY ACCESS SHELTERS
THE CITY COUNCIL SHOULD:
Enact legislation introduced by Brooklyn Council Member Bill DeBlasio (39th CD) eliminating the requirement placed
on women going to City shelters that they immediately show documentation of their abuse. They should be allowed
to produce documentation later on.
Enact legislation introduced by Brooklyn Council Member David Yassky (33rd CD) to prohibit landlords from evicting
or denying housing to a woman solely because she was abused, and requiring employers to make reasonable
accommodations to domestic violence survivors and victims of sexual assault or stalking. Domestic violence
survivors report that such housing discrimination is common.
2002 STRATEGIC POLICY STATEMENT 69
One of Brooklyn’s advantages as a place to live and work is its central location in the middle of the New York
region. For the full impact of this advantage to be realized, Brooklyn’s transportation links – its subways,
bridges, commuter rail, and arterials — must move people and goods to, from, and within the borough freely and
ISSUE 1. REDUCING CONGESTION
With more cars in Brooklyn than ever, the borough’s traffic often moves at a crawl. Stop and go traffic makes the economy
less productive and raises costs for businesses and consumers. It makes residential neighborhoods less livable. And idling
trucks, buses and cars spew thousands of tons of pollutants from their tailpipes.
GOAL: LESS TRAFFIC CONGESTION
THE BOROUGH PRESIDENT WILL:
Encourage and participate in comprehensive, boroughwide transportation planning. A boroughwide plan is needed to
improve traffic, transit, and goods movement, and to build a consensus for the borough’s top congestion fighting
transportation priorities. The Borough President’s Office stands ready to assist in such planning.
The three year Southern Brooklyn
Transportation Investment Study (TIS) is a
major step in this direction. Now just
getting underway, the TIS is a
comprehensive effort to lay out multi-
modal options for improving traffic flow for
eleven community districts covering more
than half the borough. Public “visioning
meetings” held in Spring 2002 identified
key community concerns, such as voids in
mass transit service and areas of heaviest
A complementary study for Northern
Brooklyn is needed. Special attention
should be paid to Downtown Brooklyn, the
East River bridge approaches, and to the
corridor along the Brooklyn-Queens
Expressway, from the Gowanus Expressway
to the Kosciusko Bridge, with a long-term
framework for arterial and transit
improvements that takes into account
downtown’s development potential.
Advocate for more and better mass
transit. (See Issue 3)
Press the City to continue ferry service
started after September 11, 2001, and to
add new ferry routes. Ferries can play a
very helpful role in reducing traffic
congestion and connecting Brooklyn
neighborhoods with employment centers.
When the disaster of September 11th
disrupted subway service and road access,
The $200-million reconstruction of the Stillwell Avenue subway complex will provide another boost for Coney
Island. The reconstructed station will feature a police precinct house, plenty of stores, and a futuristic the Transportation Department instituted
overhead canopy equipped with electricity-generating solar panels capable of powering the entire facility. direct ferry service between the Brooklyn
Army Terminal and lower Manhattan. Even
70 BOROUGH OF BROOKLYN
after subway service was restored on the N and R lines, there was little dropoff in patronage.
This service was later replaced by a New York Waterways ferry under City contract paid for by the Federal Emergency
Management Agency until the end of 2002. This service should be continued and joined by other services such as the
New York Water Taxi from Fulton Ferry to Manhattan. Additional ferry services should be encouraged, including a
network to connect points on the New York City and New Jersey waterfronts — perhaps a link between the Brooklyn
Army Terminal, the Rockaways, New Jersey, and southern Staten Island with other Brooklyn waterfront locations such
as Red Hook and the 39th Street Pier.
Advocate development and implementation of effective measures to improve traffic flow in Downtown Brooklyn, in
particular, and traffic calming measures throughout the borough.
Downtown area improvements. Millions of square feet of additional office space are projected for downtown Brooklyn.
If this space is built and only a small percentage of the added workers drive there, downtown rush hour traffic
congestion could go from very congested to regularly gridlocked. Traffic spillover into adjacent residential
neighborhoods, already a serious problem, could increase. Even without new office space being built, downtown
Brooklyn needs to meet a pent up demand for off-street parking facilities. There is also a need to beef up traffic
enforcement and reduce illegal permit parking.
The pilot traffic calming measures of the Downtown Brooklyn Traffic Calming Project are a good beginning. But in
residential areas, in particular, the need now is to implement a broader range of options, such as raised crosswalks
between neckdowns, wider neckdowns, and slow speed zones.
The Downtown Brooklyn Traffic Calming Project did not address the impact of the development of additional downtown
office space that has been proposed for the next decade. Given this and other new developments such as the Brooklyn
Bridge Park, an areawide traffic analysis should be undertaken.
Traffic calming elsewhere in Brooklyn. Federal funding should be sought to expand traffic calming measures and
programs in other areas of Brooklyn.
Encourage biking. As a longterm strategy, the City should seek to complete the 1997 New York City Bicycle Master
Plan, a joint project of the Departments of City Planning and Transportation. More cyclists could be encouraged to use
the new Manhattan Bridge bike path with a few basic access and safety improvement measures, such as a flashing red
light at the end of the Jay Street ramp to give cyclists coming off the bridge a chance to cross the street. Call boxes
that connect to 911 on both the Manhattan and Williamsburg Bridge bicycle/pedestrian lanes would also help.
Oppose East River bridge tolls. Bridge tolls would constitute an unfair tax on those who must drive over them because
there is no mass transit near their homes, or they work in a location which is not convenient to mass transit, or they
need their car for work. Many people who drive to Manhattan over the bridges are continuing onto New Jersey or
beyond. Since three of the four bridges that would be tolled are in Brooklyn, this new tax would fall disproportionately
on Brooklyn residents. Even if new EZ Pass transponder-readers that don’t require drivers to slow down are installed,
tolling would probably require construction of toll booths for drivers who do not have EZ pass. With backups at bridge
entrances already a regular occurrence, toll booths -- even if they serve only a fraction of the drivers crossing the
bridges -- would exacerbate traffic congestion and air pollution.
ISSUE 2. IMPROVING BROOKLYN’S HIGHWAYS, STREETS, AND BRIDGES
Traffic congestion and miles-long tie-ups on Brooklyn’s arterial highways are exacerbated by the poor condition and
outmoded design of much of the system. Many of the borough’s streets also remain in unacceptable condition. A study
by the Fund for the City of New York Center on Municipal Government Performance found that the number of Brooklyn
streets that were rated acceptably smooth dropped from 63 percent in 1998 to 58 percent in 2001.
Construction activities on the more than 200 bridge projects underway in Brooklyn have profound effects on adjacent
neighborhoods. The City must carry out this work in the least disruptive manner practicable and with ample community
input during the planning process.
Since Brooklyn has the largest number of vehicles involved in personal injuries of any borough, improving traffic and
pedestrian safety needs to be one of the highest transportation priorities. The same locations appear year after year on
the Police Department’s list of Brooklyn’s most accident prone locations. They need to be fixed now.
2002 STRATEGIC POLICY STATEMENT 71
GOAL: ARTERIAL HIGHWAYS/PARKWAYS UPGRADED AS NEEDED AND
MAINTAINED IN GOOD CONDITION
THE CITY AND STATE SHOULD:
Include a comprehensive study of the Shore (Belt) Parkway Corridor in the Southern Brooklyn Transportation
Infrastructure Study. This highway is often clogged with traffic, a situation worsened by obsolete construction and
nonstandard features in many sections.
Consider all viable alternatives for Gowanus Expressway reconstruction. Reconstruction of the Gowanus Expressway
must consider the needs of all communities and carefully examine all alternatives, including replacing the expressway
viaduct with a tunnel.
GOAL: BRIDGE RECONSTRUCTION WORK IS ACCOMPLISHED WITH MINIMUM
HARMFUL IMPACT ON COMMUNITIES
THE CITY SHOULD:
Ensure the effectiveness of the required Management and Protection of Traffic (MPT) plans that accompany bridge
reconstruction projects. To be truly effective, these plans must be based on the most current traffic counts and signal
patterns, coordinated with other capital projects that may affect traffic in the area, provide for construction to be
phased in gradually to preserve in place a substantial portion of the traffic over bridges, and be formulated with
extensive consultation among affected community boards and civic groups and at the earliest practicable time during
The upcoming reconstruction of the Kosciusko Bridge provides the City with an opportunity to involve the nearby
communities in resolving questions such as the possible utilization of truck diversion routes and the impact of the
height of the bridge on traffic speed, which affects air pollution levels.
Imminent work on all the bridges over the Shore Parkway must be reevaluated and coordinated with ongoing
transportation studies in the area, so as to avoid much worse cumulative traffic congestion and air pollution in
GOAL: STREET PAVING AND RECONSTRUCTION RESPONDS TO COMMUNITY
PRIORITIES, COSTS LESS, AND DISRUPTS FEWER RESIDENTS
THE CITY SHOULD:
In deciding which streets to resurface, adhere more closely to the priority locations identified by community boards.
Not begin a street reconstruction project until all outstanding infrastructure work has been completed underneath
Ensure that street resurfacing activities by “in house” crews observe the same work restrictions as the City
imposes on private contractors doing similar work. For example, night and weekend paving operations should be
subject to the same regulations as private contractors must meet.
Evaluate promising emerging technologies in roadway resurfacing so that the frequency of resurfacings can be
reduced and funds saved.
ISSUE 3. BETTER MASS TRANSIT
More than one and a half million Brooklynites take mass transit every day, more than in any other borough. Although
Brooklyn has 36 percent of the City’s subway stations, 35 percent of bus miles, and 31.3 percent of its bus riders, the
Transit Authority’s capital investment program tends to be Manhattan-centric. Brooklyn needs — and deserves — a fairer
share of mass transit capital dollars. Brooklyn mass transit users particularly need improvements to track and signals
that will shorten train runs and add capacity, additional station renovations, and increased bus service to reduce the severe
overcrowding experienced on many bus routes.
72 BOROUGH OF BROOKLYN
THE NEW YORK CITY TRANSIT AUTHORITY SHOULD:
Plan now for service improvements that can be implemented once Manhattan Bridge reconstruction is completed and
all of the tracks on the bridge become available in 2004. To optimize the utilization of subway tracks on both sides
of the bridge, a comprehensive public planning process for full bridge reopening is needed. This study should look at
all subway service in Southwest Brooklyn and include a comprehensive plan for the Brighton, Culver, West End, Sea
Beach and Fourth Avenue lines. The plan should also explore restoration of the N train service across the bridge and
G-train enhancements. When the Bergen Street
Station signal and switching infrastructure and car
availability permit, the V train should be extended to
Expand and improve Brooklyn subway service to
attract more riders and retain existing customers.
Increases in subway service have not kept up with
the 39 percent rise in subway patronage since 1990.
Result: more overcrowding. Among actions needed
to improve service and reduce overcrowding, are:
Reduce headways between trains. A top priority for
the Transit Authority should be to reduce headways
by running more trains, particularly during
weekends, which have seen particularly sharp
Build additional capital improvements to speed service and minimize delays such as the Nostrand Junction Major
Rebuild. In the long term, the Transit Authority should consider extending the New Lots Line to Fresh Creek to serve
the new Gateway Estates commercial and residential complex.
Build the Second Avenue Subway, including an extension to Brooklyn. A full length Second Avenue Subway would
reduce overcrowding on the other subway lines connecting Brooklyn and Manhattan and stimulate the borough’s economy.
Continued expansion of ferry service in New York harbor will help reduce street and subway congestion. Above: christening "The Brooklyn," New York Waterway's new ferry
which will shuttle commuters from Brooklyn to lower Manhattan. Left to right: Arthur E. Imperatore, Sr., founder and Chairman, NY Waterways; Rep. Vito Fosella; NY
Waterways President Arthur E. Imperatore, Jr.; Assembly Member Felix Ortiz; Sen. Seymour Lachman; Borough President Markowitz; Council Member Marty Golden; City
Council Member Simcha Felder; Assembly Member Vito Lopez.
2002 STRATEGIC POLICY STATEMENT 73
Add buses on overcrowded lines. Increases in Brooklyn bus ridership in recent years have considerably outpaced
THE MTA SHOULD:
Maintain current subway and bus fares. As of this
writing, the MTA claims in excess of a $2 billion deficit
for the next two years. The MTA should close this
deficit in part through administrative savings, such as
its plan to consolidate the operations of the commuter
railroads. Much of the deficit should be closed -- and
equity with subway riders established -- by raising
fares for suburban commuters. Long Island Railroad
passengers, for example, pay only 44 percent of the
cost of their ride compared to 60 percent for New York
City subway and bus riders. The MTA should also press
for New York City to receive a fairer percentage of
State mass transit operating assistance; City riders
account for 84 percent of the state’s mass transit use
but receive only 62 percent of State transit assistance.
Ensure that lower Manhattan commuter rail access improvements, such as a proposal to run Long Island Railroad
trains from Atlantic Avenue to lower Manhattan via a subway tunnel, do not negatively impact Brooklyn subway
riders. The MTA’s Lower Manhattan Access Major Investment Study, which reviewed the suburban access needs of
lower Manhattan, found that extending the Second Avenue Subway from Grand Central Terminal, where LIRR service is
being planned, is the preferred way to move Long Island commuters into Manhattan.
GOAL: ALL SUBWAY STATIONS IN GOOD REPAIR AND EASILY ACCESSED
THE TRANSIT AUTHORITY SHOULD:
From 1997 to 2000, increases in bus patronage exceeded increases in bus service on 35 of Brooklyn's 16 bus routes. Bus service must be expanded to meet this new demand.
Brooklyn Borough Hall can be seen in the background above.
74 BOROUGH OF BROOKLYN
Renovate more Brooklyn subway stations. Major upgrades of the Stillwell Avenue, Atlantic Avenue and DeKalb Avenue
station complexes are underway. Still, more Brooklyn stations — in addition to three more that were announced in
Summer 2002 — should be renovated, especially downtown stations as part of efforts to help attract additional
employers. Throughout the borough, stations should be reconfigured to help passengers avoid long passageways and
distant token booths. Passenger convenience would be enhanced by building connections at stations in addition to
those planned; these should include connecting the J and M trains at Hewes Street with the G train at Broadway and
connecting the 3 train at Junius Street with the L train at Livonia Avenue.
Keep open all auxiliary token booths needed to ensure passenger safety and reasonable convenience. The preliminary
list of auxiliary booths in Brooklyn proposed for closure in 2003 includes a number of locations where closure could
compromise passenger security or where passengers would have to cross a busy thoroughfare or walk several desolate
blocks to reach a 24 hour booth.
GOAL: MORE EFFICIENT MOVEMENT OF PASSENGERS ON BUS ROUTES
THE CITY SHOULD:
Develop an overall plan for commuter vans and
strictly enforce existing rules. A plan should
consider operating requirements, enforcement
mechanisms, areas to be served, congestion reduction
and safety. Community Boards should be involved in
developing such a plan. Existing regulations
governing routes and places for passenger pickup and
discharge should be strictly enforced.
Redouble efforts to end bus bunching, such as by
utilizing new remote satellite technology to monitor
bus movement and congestion.
GOAL: GOOD MOBILITY FOR PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES
THE TRANSIT AUTHORITY SHOULD:
Improve Access-a-Ride (AAR). While there have been some service improvements in recent years, the Borough
President’s office continues to receive many complaints about AAR services. Among the needed improvements, the
Transit Authority should revise routes and schedules so that passengers are no longer driven on zigzag routes that
result in 20 minute trips taking an hour or two, end extraordinarily long waits for rides, implement a back-up system for
picking up stranded passengers, set up a system to call to passengers when a van is going to arrive late, and upgrade
the complaints system.
Maintain subway station elevators and escalators in better repair; keep the elevator status hotline up to date. Many
people with disabilities would like to use the elevators that have been installed in subway stations in recent years in
compliance with the Americans With Disabilities Act. But they don’t venture underground because the elevators are
frequently out of service and the authority’s special hotline for elevator status information is frequently out of date.
There should be a 24 hour escalator repair team in Brooklyn.
ISSUE 4. IMPROVING PEDESTRIAN AND CYCLIST SAFETY
Although New York City’s pedestrian safety record has improved in recent years, the City still has more pedestrian deaths
and injuries than anywhere in the nation. And most traffic deaths in New York City are pedestrians.
Bicycling should be encouraged as a healthful exercise and non-polluting way to commute to work that does not additionally
burden mass transit and streets. To encourage more Brooklynites to bike, it needs to be made safer and more convenient.
GOAL: FEWER PEDESTRIAN AND BICYCLIST INJURIES
THE CITY SHOULD:
Implement the recommendations of the Brooklyn traffic/pedestrian safety study and expand the effort to cover
2002 STRATEGIC POLICY STATEMENT 75
additional dangerous intersections. So far, recommendations have been made for improvements at the three most
accident-prone intersections: Atlantic and Pennsylvania Avenues, Flatbush Avenue and Empire Boulevard, and Flatbush
Avenue and Avenue U.
Step up enforcement against vehicles occupying bicycle lanes.
ISSUE 5. EFFICIENT, ENVIRONMENTALLY SENSITIVE FREIGHT
More trucks are crowding Brooklyn’s arterials and streets, contributing to traffic congestion and air pollution, and raising
the cost of doing business. One of the most effective solutions would be for some of the freight coming into Brooklyn on
trucks to travel instead by train and cross-harbor float barge. Currently, it is estimated that less than three percent of
goods shipped to and from Brooklyn come by rail, compared to ten times this percentage for most major U.S. cities.
GOAL: MORE FREIGHT MOVES BY RAIL, LESS BY TRUCK
Construct rail-freight improvements. These should include a cross-harbor rail freight tunnel and improvements to the
Bay Ridge Line, as proposed in the Economic and Community Development section. In the meantime, greater use of
rail float-barges that connect Brooklyn and New Jersey railheads should be encouraged.
GOAL: BETTER TRUCK ROUTING
Update the Brooklyn truck route network to be consistent with current conditions. There has been a substantial
increase in truck traffic and complaints about trucks from Brooklynites since the present route was established in 1982.
There must be extensive public participation as a new network is designed.
With the G-line recently experiencing substantial patronage increases, the Transit Authority should add to its capital program a new G-line track and platform at Queens Plaza
and an enclosed passageway to the #7-train.
76 BOROUGH OF BROOKLYN
ISSUE 6. FEDERAL AND STATE TRANSPORTATION FUNDING
In 2003, Congress will authorize the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century (TEA-21), the main vehicle for federal
transportation funding. Unfortunately, in the past, federal funding has heavily favored automobile related projects and
discounted mass transit needs. Brooklyn must be sure to obtain its full and fair share of funding for its essential
automobile and transit related needs. On the State level, Brooklyn must obtain a fairer share of Metropolitan
Transportation Authority spending.
GOAL: SECURE A GREATER SHARE OF FEDERAL AND STATE FUNDING
THE BOROUGH PRESIDENT WILL:
Develop a ten point priority plan identifying Brooklyn’s strategic transportation needs. This plan will be used as a
basis for lobbying for additional funding.
NEW YORK STATE SHOULD:
Give each borough president a representative on the New York Metropolitan Transportation Council (NYMTC) and the
Transportation Coordinating Committee (TCC). The New York Metropolitan Transportation Council allocates all federal
transportation funding in the New York area. It is comprised of three Transportation Coordinating Committees (TCC) -
– one for the City’s northern suburbs, one for Long Island, and one for New York City. While the suburban TCCs include
voting members representing the suburban counties, the New York City TCC includes voting members appointed by the
Mayor, and none that represent the individual counties within the City. Borough President Markowitz wrote to Governor
Pataki asking him to modify the NYMTC authorizing legislation to grant the borough presidents a seat on the NYMTC
and NYC TCC.
Give borough presidents a representative on the Board of Directors of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority.
Although Brooklyn generates the most transit riders of any county in the MTA district, Brooklyn is without a voice on
the MTA Board. Borough President Markowitz has written to Governor Pataki to urge that the borough presidents have
an appointment to the Board, as do the county executives of the seven suburban counties within the MTA district.
2002 STRATEGIC POLICY STATEMENT 77
PREPARED BY THE OFFICE OF THE BROOKLYN BOROUGH PRESIDENT
DEPUTY BOROUGH PRESIDENT
MICHAEL BURKE CHIEF OF STAFF
SETH CUMMINS GENERAL COUNSEL
JON BENGUIAT DIRECTOR OF PLANNING & DEVELOPMENT
MARY ANNE CINO EXECUTIVE ASSISTANT
SCOTT COTTEN DIRECTOR MIS AND FACILITIES
CAROLYN GREER DIRECTOR OF PUBLIC EVENTS
IRIS MULÉ DIRECTOR OF CITY SERVICES
ERIK PAULINO DIRECTOR OF CONSTITUENT SERVICES
ANDREW ROSS DIRECTOR OF COMMUNICATIONS
MELODY RUIZ DIRECTOR OF HUMAN RESOURCES
GEORGE SYNEFAKIS CHIEF ENGINEER/DIRECTOR OF TOPOGRAPHICAL/ENGINEERING UNIT
PROJECT DIRECTOR/PRINCIPAL WRITER
GLENN VON NOSTITZ, SR. POLICY ADVISOR
RICHARD BEARAK, DOTTIE CONWAY, VALERIE FORBES, LISA FRASER,
ROBERT LIPINSKY, PERSIS LUKE, OLIVER KLAPPER, ELIZABETH KOCH,
STUART LEFFLER, ROBERT PERRIS, MICHAEL ROSSMY, EVA SILVERBERG
ART DIRECTION, DESIGN AND LAYOUT
CHARTS AND TABLES
78 BOROUGH OF BROOKLYN