What do you care about?

This is a real question.

I hope to interview each of the City Council candidates — and perhaps some or all of the mayoral candidates — and I would like to have in hand a list of what we want as neighbors and as residents of Council District 1. You can comment here, you can email me at tribecacitizen@gmail.com, or you can answer via this survey. Over the next couple weeks I will compile, condense and report back. I am not promising to ask every question, but I do intend for this to be a crowd-sourced approach to interviewing the candidates.

What do we stand behind?

The broad topics seem to me:
> neighborhood schools / school choice
> preserving historic districts
> preserving small business
> enhancing and/or creating public open spaces
> safety / neighborhood policing
> homeless population – housing and street safety
> restaurant support / sidewalk cafes / open streets
> congestion pricing
> bike policy
> real estate taxes
> sanitation issues (garbage on streets, compost, pickups)
> transportation issues (bus and subway)
> parking (placard and residential)
> construction regulations

Some background on City Council District 1
Margaret Chin is term-limited after 12 years in office (2010 to 2022)

The district includes at least 10 distinct neighborhoods: Tribeca, Chinatown, Fidi, Battery Park City, Little Italy, the Lower East Side, NoHo, SoHo, South Village, Washington Square

As of Feb. 1, the following people have filed a Candidate Certification and/or a Filer Registration with the city Campaign Finance Board, and have not already terminated their campaign:
Jacqueline Gross
Susan Lee
Gigi Li
Jenny Low
Maud Maron
Christopher Marte
Denny Salas
Tiffany Winbush

You can watch the most recent candidate forum, which included Marte, Li, Low, Maron and Winbush, hosted by the New Downtown Dems on YouTube below.



  1. On my list of concerns:

    – What is your stance on the misguided borough jail plan? If you are against it, what will you do?

    – What will be done about crime (from violent crime, muggings and burglary, all the way down to “minor” issues like graffiti and other vandalism, and public urination, and the counterfeit sellers who take over areas of Canal Street and around the subway stations)?

    – What is your stance on congestion pricing? What else can be done to reduce the dangerous and polluting (both in terms of fresh air and noise levels from vehicles) vehicular traffic? More speed cameras? Convert some streets to protected bus streets as was done on 14th Street? (Imagine that on Canal Street … probably unlikely, but I can dream…I’ve nearly been run over by speeding red-light-runners multiple times on Canal St.) Even consider converting some streets to pedestrian-only (with limited delivery and other access hours for vehicles)?

    – What is your stance on real estate taxes? Any significant increase in real estate taxes would create a serious burden on many home-owners already paying high mortgages, condo or coop fees, repairs, etc. especially in a pandemic time of reduced incomes? (And those reduced incomes will probably continue for years for many of us). This could be a disaster for home-owners, scare away future buyers, and force more people to leave NYC.

    Many other important issues, but I’ll stop there…I’m sure others will weigh in with their priorities.

    Thanks for doing this.

  2. Great idea!

    Having worked with the City Council over the years, I’m realistic about how little a Councilperson is able to do about many of the issues we care about. So let me pick A few were they might be able to make an impact, rather than presenting a list of the issues that concern me.
    1) Regulation, and ideally some kind of licensing, of ebikes, both on the streets and on the Hudson River Bikeway. While I appreciate the desire to protect the people who use them, the Bikeway was never envisioned as a highway for people making a bike deliveries. And what enforcement and other steps can be taken to keep eBikes off the sidewalks, and obeying traffic regulations? They are not only a danger to pedestrians, but also to those who ride standard bicycles. There’s nothing wrong with ebikes per se, but they’re all too often used in dangerous ways. How we accomplish that without unleashing the racism of the NYPD is a real question.
    2) Improving the architectural design of the planned jail, so it is vastly less overwhelming. Simply saying “we don’t want it here“ exemplifies NIMBYism,and ignores the reality of the need to close Rikers. But surely something much better can be designed.
    3) Additional bike lanes and reconsideration, and, ideally, rerouting, of the bike path through City Hall Park. When the area by the chess tables is as busy as it was before the pandemic, having bicycles go through there makes no sense. And far too many riders coming off the bridge assume that they’re allowed to bike through the park too. Surely they can all be rerouted to Chambers Street. This is an extremely logical fit with the plant implementation of bike lanes on the Brooklyn Bridge roadway.
    4) Increased accountability for the NYPD when provoke, beat up provoke and arrest protesters with whose politics they disagree. This is a much larger issue, but I’m tired of watching them provoke and come down on protesters who are obeying the law. I would also like to see an end to the NYPD‘s ability to arbitrarily close public amenities and streets for extended periods of time, as they did with City Hall Park and Chambers Street
    5) Solving the problem of counterfeiting requires a global effort, but surely the police can clean up the blatant mess around Canal and Broadway. And keep it cleaned up.
    6) SoHo was rapidly becoming a mix of honky-tonk tourism and luxury flag ship stores. In the same way that Amsterdam has taken this time to reimagine tourism, perhaps we can do the same to keep that from turning into an area unattractive to New Yorkers.

    I hope this helps.

  3. I have no clue how much a single councilperson can actually accomplish, but my biggest concern in general is pedestrian livability:

    – More speeding cameras operating 24/7, especially on the WSH, Canal, and Church Street
    – Enforcing penalties for blocking the box, particularly on Canal, Hudson, WSH, and Holland Tunnel entrance/exit routes, so that people can cross the street without being stuck in traffic
    – Longer delayed lights so people can cross WSH into HRP without cars actively turning into the crosswalk
    – Thoughts on reducing noise pollution (honking, modified mufflers, helicopters, etc.)?
    – Thoughts on creating/expanding pedestrian-only spaces (Duane Park being a prime example of a place that should be one)
    – Thoughts on creating/expanding green spaces, planting more trees, etc.?
    – Thoughts on improving street design for pedestrians and cyclists?

    Basically, what would they do to make the streets safer and nicer for pedestrians and cyclists?

    Another big topic is the proposed Soho/Noho rezoning.

  4. I’d like to second the above questions/concerns:

    – pedestrian safety (especially on the West Side Highway)
    – expanding green space and possibly making street closures permanent on less busy side streets (make Duane St pedestrian only! Wouldn’t that be amazing?)

    How would the Councilperson address ugly and unsafe retail wastelands without resorting to character-destroying chains? Vacancy tax? Incentives?


  5. How about simple stuff – getting the streets swept and garbage picked up so the trash isn’t over flowing and piled up on the corner. Also, bring back the Downtown Alliance (?). The group that gave jobs to folks to sweep the curbs, sidewalks.

  6. Thanks for asking. Before listing specific concerns, first I’d like to
    know which candidates recognize that:

    1. Tribeca is as much a part of Council District 1 as other neighborhoods in the district.

    2. Tribeca should have the same access to and advocacy by our council person as other neighborhoods in the district.

    3. Tribeca exists even in non-election years and should be more than a campaign contribution cash cow to those running to represent it.

  7. Neighborhood schools / school choice

    One of the reasons Tribeca has exploded as an area for young parents since the 1980s is the access to ‘good schools.’ But this has magnified the de facto segregation of the city. School choice for middle and high school presents parents and kids with means (and time) more opportunities. The richest have the option of private schools but the upper-middle-class people have been shown to disproportionately benefit from the public system because they can pay tutors, spare the time to gather information and go through laborious applications, and ‘work the refs’ to get plum slots. New York’s segregation of schools has possibly kept white and Asian parents from fleeing the city but at the cost of an educational caste system between the haves and the have nots. What should be done? Pay all teachers more to attract the best to the profession. Lengthen the school year for all.

    Preserving historic districts

    We should expand them, not just preserve them. New York zoning is a mess and needs a master plan to build more housing. This shouldn’t mean 100 story apartment blocks up and down the Village and Tribeca.

    Preserving small business

    Reduce red tape to start businesses and hire people. Make it easier to start new retail stores and restaurants in vacant ground floor spaces by eliminating taxes for the first two years. Our streets need life again!

    Enhancing and/or creating public open spaces

    New York needs more parks and open space. A ‘complete streets’ plan (a la Paris) should see more bike lanes and trees rather than space devoted to private cars.

    Safety / neighborhood policing

    The city is very safe. Much of the money spent on the police force should be moved to social services and other interventions. Speed cameras (and speed bumps) could keep many people from dying on the streets every year.

    Homeless population – housing

    Homelessness is a regional and national problem. There should be a guaranteed national income to help every citizen afford a home and feed themselves. In New York, housing should be a right and no one should be allowed to sleep on the streets. City services should make sure there is a safe bed for everyone. Mental health centers should be funded to help those with special needs.

    Restaurant support / sidewalk cafes / open streets

    A ‘complete streets’ plan would allow more space for outdoor dining, pedestrians, and bikes.

    Congestion pricing

    We need it. It should help pay for more transit and bike lanes.

    Bike policy

    We need one. Almost everyone benefits from doubling the number of bike lanes and building complete streets.

    Real estate taxes

    The city is generally over-taxed. We should tax the things we want LESS of, i.e., carbon-based transport and heating systems, for example.

    Sanitation issues (garbage on streets, compost, pickups)

    As part of the complete streets plan, the city should build dedicated units for garbage disposal. Removal should be done via a new fleet of smaller all-electric garbage trucks. Street furniture like old phone booths (ad venue) and ‘free’ newspaper storage containers should be heavily taxed.

    Transportation issues (bus and subway)

    More streets should be like 14th Street in Manhattan with dedicated bus lanes. Labor rules (and corruption) should be reduced to make building new miles of the subway at least as affordable as peer cities.

    Parking (placard and residential)

    Street parking should be taxed with higher fees across the board. No one should be immune including placard holders.

    Construction regulations

    Affordable housing should be legalized by making construction more affordable (changing rules favored by unions) and eliminating rules like parking minimums. Vacant lots on the city-owned property should be considered for housing.

    • This is a smart approach to assessing taxes, in part based upon the fact that space is at a premium. Taxes on those gargantuan double-wide baby strollers should be added to the list.

    • I like the criterion that we should tax more of what we want less of!

  8. Thanks for doing this. Great suggestions above. This one is very narrow and would apply city wide. If you pay close attention, you will notice that one of the single loudest noises in the noise pollution orchestra, is the clanging of the massive steel construction trash containers riding on the back of the flat beds that carry them to and from construction sites. A simple regulation would force the industry to come up with some kind of rubber bumper or other bumper to prevent steel on steel banging. I promise you now that I mention this, this will be like that song you cannot get out of your head. This could be fixed quite easily but there are no incentives yet to resolve. The city could require a fix. Thank you.

  9. This 2014 article from the NYTimes details new, quieter jackhammer designs. They save workers, residents and passersby’s hearing. The city did not act on this at the time – why not now? https://www.nytimes.com/2014/12/18/nyregion/electric-jackhammers-and-revised-noise-rules-may-help-quiet-new-york-city.html

  10. Great list and suggestions. I would add:
    -preservation/ creation of affordable housing
    -support for seniors

  11. Please clean up Canal street. It is not safe.

  12. Agree with Paul above: there are many important issues but trash and street cleanliness should be at the top of the list – especially in FiDi, where overbuilding has led to literal mountains of trash bags on sidewalks waiting for pickup ( and the new buildings aren’t even occupied yet).
    Why not create jobs by adding more street cleaners? ( individuals, not the big machines that just kick up dust)

  13. trash, street cleaning, rats
    safety on streets
    green space expansion
    getting storefronts that have been empty since before the pandemic filled
    get rid of “cobblestones” or get them done properly. They are treacherous to walk on and drive on because those who dig them up and put them back in after water and electrical work don’t know how to install them. They are really dangerous.
    Better noise control
    When the pandemic is behind us (???) outdoor dining should have curfews but leaving indoor dining closings as they were pre pandemic.

  14. One more to add to NYPD, they should be more responsive to other quality of life issues i.e. late night 311 calls regarding party noises from roof tops and other outdoor spaces which have been rampant since Covid. 311 response had been consistently non existent.

  15. the Runaway DOT citibike expansion is right now highest on my list.
    secondly- support for small businesses and small commercial landlords- including a tax abatement for landlords who keep mom and pop stores( yep- like mine) under market rent in order to preserve the character of the neighborhood
    Number 3: placard abuse

  16. The constant low flying sightseeing tour helicopters. I would really like that be addressed.

  17. All great suggestions already above, so no need to add but I do have a question; it’s quite annoying when I’m looking for street parking especially on the weekends by my apt in FiDi. Why are the traffic police/police taking so many parking spots that we need? I’ve seen one police pull out her personal car and pull in her traffic police car on John right before William St. On that block specifically (John between William/Dutch) there are usually 2-3 police cars taking up the limited parking spots. Good luck!

  18. Locally
    Public Safety. Everything flows from there.

    Small business revival. We live here and in a city to walk down the street and shop and eat local. How can the city not only keep them alive but revive commercial corridors.

    Keeping streets clean.

    City Wide.
    Transit. Making transit work so people dont have to have a car.
    Speaking of can we set up a residents only permit? I think that would help and provide revenue that goes back into the street cleaning topic

    Housing. We need more housing. It can be built right. Tribeca can and should host its share of below market rate units.

  19. Agree with everything said above. I would also like to add what would you do to enhance our quality of life through stricter monitoring and approval for new development projects and construction sites.

    I have lived in this neighborhood 14 years and it has been like living constantly in a construction zone. The constructions sites have no monitoring and no regard for the quality of life of the actual residents who live here now. The sound which sometimes go on way after hours, the vibrations to the point of being dangerous, the arbitrary blocking of traffic lanes for years at a time, the use of fire hydrants for construction water…the list goes on. And there is no real process to lodge a complaint. 311 is completely useless, they exist only to dismiss your concern. And frankly do we need more of these high-rise high end apartments? Does every plot and every old building need to be redeveloped into another soulless apartment building? Why do small business like the 24 hr deli, the cuban bodega, basement galleries need to be demolished to make way for them? How about some other kinds of development that actually adds to the fabric of the neighborhood?