What do you care about? The results — and soon, the answers

Earlier this winter I asked you all to comment, send emails or reply to a survey to tell me what issues you care about. I condensed (only a bit) and compiled (a lot) and then sent to the eight candidates for City Council registered with the Board of Elections as well as the seven candidates for mayor polling above 2 percent. (There are too many candidates to count for the mayoral race — I stopped at 22 and was only halfway through the Ks — so reverted to the polls methodology.)

The primary is just nine weeks away — June 22 — so starting tomorrow I will run the responses in the order they came in. I will note that so far, I have only heard from four of the City Council candidates and only one of the mayoral ones, and maybe that’s telling in and of itself? We will see if more come in. The candidates were told they could answer as many or as few as they wanted and I would print it all.

The list for the council seat: Denny Salas, Maud Maron, Chris Marte, Jenny Low, Gigi Li, Sean Hayes, Tiffany Winbush, Susan Lee. For mayor: Katheryn Garcia, Scott Stringer, Ray McGuire, Eric Adams, Shaun Donovan, Maya Wiley, Andrew Yang.

For those who have responded, I have met each of them for a short chat (15 minutes for mayor, an hour for City Council) with some softball questions. I have to say, that was a lot of fun. So far they are all smart, personable, and maybe because it’s spring in New York City, all feeling hopeful.

Here’s how the questionnaire turned out:

As you know, Tribeca residents really value our local restaurants and shops, which we believe give the neighborhood much of its character. We are worried about the challenges for them not just from the pandemic (we have already lost more than 65 storefront businesses) from two consistent forces: real estate costs and city regulations and fines. You can read more about what we mean here and here. So to that end, take on any of the following questions:

1. Do you have any solutions for protecting small business from the pressures of rising real estate costs? (tax abatements for landlords who keep mom-and-pop stores?)
2. What is your proposal or attitude towards the future of Open Restaurants post-pandemic?
3. Do you have any ideas for addressing retail vacancies? (vacancy tax? Incentives?)
4. Do you have any solutions for limiting the regulations and red tape required to both start and maintain small business?

We all understand that we live in an urban setting and accept much of the quality-of-life issues that come with it. However, there are some conditions that have risen to unacceptable levels in this neighborhood. With that in mind, take on any of the following questions:

1. Do you have any solutions to the helicopter traffic that often plagues the neighborhood and others?
2. This neighborhood has been under construction for decades. Do you have any solution for making construction sites be better neighbors? (limiting hours, monitoring vibrations and hours, disallowing the blocking of sidewalks or streets) (and don’t say call 311)
3. There is hardly a block in this neighborhood that does not have a sidewalk shed, some of which have been up for more than a decade. Do you have any solutions for requiring landlords to finish projects within a certain time frame so that they can be removed?
4. Garbage pickup seems to be at an all-time low. Do you have solutions for better street cleaning? And, many private buildings leave mountains of trash on the sidewalks waiting for pickup. Can this be regulated?
5. The proliferation of e-bikes and electric scooters has been a challenge for this neighborhood. We support these delivery workers, but we do not support their use of the sidewalks or bike paths that are reserved for non-motorized vehicles. Do you have a solution?
6. The NYPD has consistently used its power to close public spaces and amenities, especially during the pandemic. Do you have a proposal for this issue?

We have the great advantage and privilege of being a walking community and therefore are often looking for ways to increase pedestrian safety. What are your thoughts on expanding pedestrian-only streets? Do you have other proposals that would address pedestrian safety?

As you know, the city’s homeless population has increased in the past year, and this neighborhood has, along with many others, seen an increase in people living on the streets.
1. Do you have any new solutions for addressing those people who refuse to go to shelters?
2. The Financial District is also being asked to take on several new homeless shelters. What are your thoughts on residents’ opposition to this and their concerns?

Many readers feel there has been a rise in crime since the pandemic (and statistics support that) and not much has been done about it. What is your approach to community policing? This could include policies to address violent crime, muggings and burglary, as well as “minor” issues like graffiti and other vandalism, public urination, counterfeit sellers who take over areas of Canal Street.

We would like to hear your thoughts on the status of affordable housing downtown and in our zip codes. What can be done to preserve it? What can you propose to create more below market housing?

What solutions for seniors in housing, mobility and access to basic needs can ensure that downtown is a place that residents don’t need to leave as they age?

Recently there have been some neighborhood concerns that have not received attention from local elected officials, such as the siting of Citi Bike stations. How will you communicate and deal with constituent concerns? What mechanisms? How will your staffing address that?

Also, as you know the district has several distinct neighborhoods. How will you balance their needs and issues within your office?

Homeowners here are concerned about rising taxes on condos and coops – which is making it harder and harder to keep apartments here affordable. This also strains seniors on fixed incomes, forcing them out of their homes that they have owned for decades. We also see homeowners in other neighborhoods – especially single-family dwellings — paying much lower taxes for the same services. How would you address this inequity?

Most neighborhoods in Lower Manhattan are plagued with traffic issues because of our density and the fact that one of the city’s prime commercial hubs co-exists with vibrant residential neighborhoods. Please take on one of these issues:

Congestion pricing passed in the state legislature two years ago but its implementation has been held up. As councilmember will you urge the MTA and the governor to put it in place? Would you include carve-outs for downtown residents or other groups?

What else do you propose to reduce vehicular traffic, blocking the box, and speeding? More speed cameras? Convert some streets to prohibit private vehicles as was done on 14th Street? Increased enforcement or penalties?

What proposals do you have (or are you against) for increasing bike lanes? One particular concern is the bike route off the Brooklyn Bridge, which currently runs between City Hall and the Tweed Courthouse and is a shared path with pedestrians. This will come into focus again as the proposed bike lane for the Brooklyn Bridge is developed.

Tribeca is known for its cobblestone streets. However, they have been poorly maintained. What’s your stance on their preservation and/or maintenance?

As you know, White Street is the location for the Manhattan borough-based jail, the proposal that addresses the closing of Rikers Island. What is your stance on the borough-based jail plan for this location? If you are against it, what do you suggest instead, in order to accommodate the loss of Rikers?

If you do not oppose it, do you have a position on the architectural quality or the size of the jail at this location?

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) with more opportunities. We also have several schools in District 2 that give preference for children that reside in the district. What is your opinion on school choice? What proposals do you have to address inequities? Or not?

Threats to historic districts have been hitting very close to home lately in both the proposal for 250 Water in the South Street Seaport Historic District and the SoHo/NoHo rezoning proposal. Both intend to offer affordable housing as an exchange for much higher and bulkier buildings, and dismiss historic district zoning regs. What is your opinion on preserving historic districts?

This neighborhood – as well as Chinatown and the Financial District — has been plagued with placard parkers who both abuse the privilege and leave cars stationary for months at a time, often on streets designed for commercial parking or at metered spaces. This adds yet another challenge for local businesses who cannot get deliveries or whose customers cannot park in metered spaces. The city’s plan to address this is dead in the water.

How do you plan to deal with the abuse of placard holders (real and fake ones)

Do you have any solutions for residential street parking?



  1. This is excellent. Thank you for compiling this and applying the questions to the candidates.

    I look forward to hearing the results!

  2. Explosion of counterfeit sellers on and around Canal Street. The steps taken to rein this in have failed. What can be done?

    • It’s gotten much worse since that building at Broadway and Canal is vacant. . I try to avoid walking around there because of this, but it’s unavoidable if I have to access those subway stations. Some days it’s impossible to traverse the sidewalk and you can’t get in or out of the subway without being accosted with sales of “Rolex” and “Gucci”. It creates a sense of total lawlessness (which is magnified by the graffiti all along Canal Street, including on the beautiful corner building, and the reckless driving on Canal Street… I always think “I should really write my will” before I cross Canal Street especially at peak traffic hours. I’ve nearly been run down by red light runners multiple times.)

      The Problem: I don’t see any efforts at all to stop this. I see police parked there or they walk or drive right by without doing anything. No other city agency seems to be dealing with it either. I’m surprised the companies whose works are being counterfeited don’t try to stop it, but maybe they have no power in this case, and it has to rely on local enforcement … which is completely absent.

      Now there’s also the debate about general unlicensed street-vendor enforcement (mostly related to food vendors though), and apparently NYPD no longer enforces street vendor laws in general. This seems backwards to me; reform the licensing system if it is problematic or too expensive; to stop enforcing it just means that even less will bother to be licensed or abide by laws.


      What can be done? I’d like to hear real solutions and plans from the mayoral candidates.

      • This problem is worse than ever. I’ve never seen so many. On recent weekends they are taking over the entire stretch of Broadway and even a good part of Walker Street. The sidewalk was completely impassable and we had to walk out in traffic to get around it. What can be done about this? Seems to me this behavior must be breaking multiple laws and city codes. Yet no law enforcement? The area is feeling like a lawless zone.

  3. I will note that so far, I have only heard from four of the City Council candidates and only one of the mayoral ones, and maybe that’s telling in and of itself?

    Which were the candidates that responded. This is important to know as it shows they value downtown. Any word on Republican candidates for Mayor?

  4. Feel bad for all new tenants there once they find out they live next to a use to be garage the houses homeless shelters

  5. Thank you for compiling! These are all super good! Looking forward to the follow up.

  6. https://nyc.streetsblog.org/2021/04/15/yang-unveils-placard-abuse-crackdown-plan-as-adams-calls-the-corruption-a-new-paltz-issue/

    “Two rival mayoral candidates sparred over placard abuse on Thursday, with Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams attacking Andrew Yang for elevating what Adams — himself a prime perpetrator of this form of corruption — claims is not an issue that real New Yorkers care about. […]

    “The beep, a former cop and State Senator who is a self-proclaimed ‘ardent supporter of ‘broken windows’ policing’ and a well-known placard abuser and sidewalk parker himself, accused Yang of ignoring New Yorkers’ real plight — rising crime — in favor of illegal parking as Yang unveiled a plan to crack down on an issue that has long plagued New Yorkers (seriously).

    ” ‘Violent crime is skyrocketing in New York. People are dying. Five-year-old and 12-year-old children are being shot in our streets — and Andrew Yang is focused on double-parking,’ Adams’s spokesperson, Madia Coleman, said in a statement issued after news broke that Yang would be presenting a placard plan on Thursday. ‘Maybe parking is the big crime problem in New Paltz, but not in New York. We need serious leadership at this critical moment who understands what communities of color and working class communities are going through.’ […]

    “Yang also clapped back at Adams, saying during his presser at Cadman Plaza — just feet from where Adams has allowed his own staffers to park illegally on the public plaza outside Brooklyn Borough Hall — that not only is it quite possible for a mayoral candidate to tackle two issues at the same time, but it’s crucial for the safety of all New Yorkers.

    ” ‘I think about what’s happening to families in New York all the time, particularly victims of violent crimes, which unfortunately have risen in the city, and we have to do everything we can to get those crimes going down not up,’ Yang said. ‘New Yorkers sense that we have the capacity to do multiple things at once and one’s ability to address parking placard abuse, which is a problem that’s been growing for years, has nothing to do with one’s ability to address the rising rates of crime in the city. I’m someone who has spent a lot of time biking my kids to school and a lot of New Yorkers will say this is very much an NYC issue and its’ a very solvable one we can address quite easily.’ […] “