New York City’s world-class universities and hospitals create tremendous opportunity for growth of the biotech economy in coming years. However, in order to leverage our advantages, we must invest in human and physical capital; identify locations where clustering of businesses can take place; and work with other cities to push Washington to end the callous and short-sighted sequestration cuts to research and development.
As this excellent article notes, New York City’s biotech hub has indeed arrived at a crucial moment.
In 2007, I partnered with elected officials, community and labor leaders, civic groups and grassroots organizations to forge an agreement on an unprecedented rezoning of West Harlem, which laid the groundwork for future jobs and investment in New York City’s burgeoning biotech sector while striving to preserve the existing social and physical character of West Harlem.
That same year, my office contributed $500,000 to the groundbreaking Alexandria Center for Science and Technology on City-owned land. In just a few short years, that facility has already become a node for discovery and innovation on Manhattan’s East Side.
Other recent investments also promise to support a robust biotech ecosystem—from BioBAT, a 486,000-square-foot center for commercial bioscience at the Brooklyn Army Terminal, to the recently-opened New York Genome Center in Lower Manhattan.
Today, New York City is poised to compete with Boston and San Francisco for the next generation of biotech innovation and the well-paying jobs that accompany it. Robust community engagement and participation is a growth strategy that New York City must continue to embrace as we continue to evolve.
My office announced a $1 million allocation yesterday that will complete the preservation of the historic Fire Watchtower in Harlem’s Marcus Garvey Park—the last such 19th century structure standing in New York City. This allocation was the final financial piece needed to finish a restoration project that began in the early 90’s.
Without the funding provided today and the restoration work to follow, we were in danger of losing a significant part of Harlem’s history I’m proud that a structure which had been abandoned and fenced off will once again become a beautiful and vibrant part of this public park. I’m also proud to have worked with the Marcus Garvey Park Alliance and the Mount Morris Community Improvement Association to have made this possible.
This 47-foot, cast iron tower has been watching over Harlem since 1857 and was designed as a lookout post for fire volunteers, who would climb the stairs, look out for fires and ring a 10,000-pound bell in the event of a blaze. Even as the fire department modernized, replacing towers with telegraphic alarms, the tower played a role in the community, with the bell sounding during the week and on Sundays for timekeeping and church purposes. The tower is a designated New York City landmark and is also listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
In a 21st century economy, our children and communities must have access to a reliable Internet connection in order to be successful and competitive on a global stage. My office’s newest report reveals for the 1st time that 75 percent of the city’s schools have Internet speeds that are 100 times slower than the national standard recently set by President Barack Obama for the year 2020. So proud to stand with Congressman Rangel and so many of our parents in Harlem to release this report and demand quality Internet connectivity throughout all 5 Boroughs.
We are building the very first waterfront site on the East River in Manhattan at Brooklyn Bridge Beach so residents can enjoy the river. I am partnering with Speaker Christine Quinn, Assemblyman Brian Kavanagh, and Councilman Dan Garodnick to fund a combined $8 million to help realize the very first projects of the East River Blueway!
Photo courtesy of: William Alatriste
Go Green Initiative: Nighttime Greenmarket
This week, I partnered with GrowNYC and the partnership for Union Square to bring to life the idea of a nighttime greenmarket. I believe that hardworking New Yorkers should have access to the freshest, healthiest food at a time that is convenient for them to shop, which is after work for most! The market saw a great turnout and farmers were happy to stay open late to sell their locally grown produce to NYC families. Stay tuned for more news about my office’s Go Green Initiative and the expansion of night time markets around the city!
Join us! Wednesday, July 17th from 4pm-8pm, Union Square
So many families in this City are busy juggling kids’ schedules, work, and so much more – and they deserve better access to affordable, nutritious and locally grown produce in the evening, when it is most convenient for them to shop. I am delighted to be sponsoring New York City’s first night time farmers market in Union Square with GrowNYC, with whom my office previously launched the City’s inaugural night time market in Central Harlem. I look forward to making evening markets a permanent fixture throughout all five boroughs, to expand shopping opportunities for all New Yorkers.
Hope to see you there!
Veggie Van: A Mobile Greenmarket
Standing in front of an abandoned Pathmark on the Lower East Side – in a neighborhood hard hit by Hurricane Sandy – I unveiled the “Veggie Van” yesterday, a mobile greenmarket that will deliver fresh and locally-grown produce directly to New Yorkers in underserved communities. The Veggie Van is the culmination of over seven years of hard work to expand access to fresh food for Manhattan residents through my Go Green Initiative.
Under the Veggie Van program, which just began operations, residents can sign-up through participating community-based organizations to receive a large bag of fresh fruit and vegetables once a week for only ten dollars. The van will travel to senior centers, public housing developments, nursing homes and large residential complexes, and will accept cash, debit, credit, EBT (food stamps) – so everyone can take part.
This collaboration with GrowNYC will serve communities stuck in ”food deserts” throughout the Manhattan borough. My office allocated $85,000 in capital funding to help make the Veggie Van a reality. All New Yorkers deserve access to fresh food, no matter where they live.
Attracting STEM talent to NYC:
Joining Assembly Member Rozic and State Senator Carlucci in releasing the Empire Engineers Initiative, which creates financial incentives for engineering grads to work and build businesses in New York State. This terrific bill is based on a recommendation from my #StartUpCity report—learn more in Crain’s New York and at my Start-up City website.
Join Us in Celebrating Pride Month:
June is Pride Month! Join me in celebrating New York’s LGBTQ community at the Herald Square Macy’s on June 25th! In partnership with Macy’s and TheMENevent.com, I’ll be honoring Paul Kelterborn, Jerry Mitchell, Thomas Roberts, Glennda Testone, and Christopher Tepper for their outstanding contributions to the LGBTQ community.
As a longtime advocate of LGBTQ rights, the last few years have been particularly exciting, with the passage of Marriage Equality in New York and states around the country. Join us in recognizing these achievements, and discussing the work we still have to do.