Councilmember Jordan Will Not Seek Reelection

Harlem’s Council Member Jordan has decided to not run for reelection. Jordan’s name will remain on the ballot, and she will continue to serve out the rest of her term.

Jordan’s decision leaves Inez Dickens, Al Taylor, and Yusef Salaam in the race.

Harlem resident and activist, Syderia Asberry-Chresfield, said that The Greater Harlem Coalition — which has spoken out about the placement of supervised injection sites in the neighborhood — often found it difficult to work with the outgoing councilmember. 

“We found it challenging to work with a politician who repeatedly viewed issues and concerns through a lens of ideology, rather than through the needs and wishes of constituents,” Asberry-Chresfield wrote in an email to THE CITY.

“Harlem wants a pragmatic and effective Council member.  We’ve had two years of ideology, let’s aim for two years of results.”

Precinct Council Meeting Tonight

Tomorrow! Meet/Walk with Al Taylor

Al Taylor is vieing to be Harlem’s next City Council member and here is your chance to meet him, and walk with him in the neighborhood. Meet him at La Marqueta – 115/Park – tomorrow at 2:30pm and walk up to 126th Street.

Al Taylor is an assembly sponsor of a bill to legalize supervised injection sites in New York State, yet has apparently never seen/toured the OnPoint facility. Here is your chance to show him East 126th Street.

If you can’t walk up from East 115th Street and Park, email [email protected] and ask for an ETA at Lex/126.

In The Street

If you haven’t watched this short film (black and white, shot on 16mm film stock in 1948) you should, just to get a sense of East Harlem in the immediate post-war era.

Puerto Ricans and Italians make up the majority of the people (often children) filmed via small, hidden 16 mm film cameras. This unique record of East Harlem street life shows the joy and vibrancy found in one of Manhattan’s poorest neighborhoods.

Redistricting Changes to Harlem

The boundary between KRJ and Diana Ayala as it currently exists:

The proposed boundary for the next election cycle:

And the boundaries superimposed on the same map (note the color purple is the new proposed boundary whereas the blue line is the current boundary):

Here is the interactive map to test out. Move the slider at the top, left and right:,40.811#%26map=14.23/40.80415/-73.94016

Dan, who presented on Redistricting at one of our spring HNBA meetings, writes:


I hope everyone is having a great week so far! As you all have likely seen, the NYC Districting Commission released it’s first draft maps of the proposed Council district lines on Friday. The folks at CUNY have uploaded these draft maps to their website Redistricting and You, to make it easy to compare the new proposed lines with the current districts.

The new maps made changes to districts all over the city. Some of the most impactful decisions the commission made were:

  1. Staten Island – Staten Islanders lobbied hard to keep three full council districts on the island, without having any district cross-over to Brooklyn or Manhattan. The commission abided their requests. Staten Island was under-populated, so to accommodate this request the commission lowered the population maximum for every other council district in the city. This was done to ensure that every district met the legal criteria requiring no more than a five percent population deviation between the smallest and largest districts. The end results were that the three districts in Staten Island are substantially smaller than nearly every other district, and that the commission had much less flexibility with population sizes for the rest of the districts.
  2. South Brooklyn – The commission united the Asian-American communities in Bensonhurst and Sunset Park, to create an Asian majority district. To do this, the map makers redrew several districts in southern Brooklyn, including changing CD 38 to include Bay Ridge, and moving Red Hook into CD 39.
  3. Western Queens and UES – The draft plan creates a new crossover district uniting CD 26 with Roosevelt Island and parts of the Upper East Side.
  4. Keeping neighborhoods intact – The commission united several neighborhoods that had previously been split between multiple council districts – for example Van Nest in the Bronx. Other neighborhoods currently intact in one council district got split, such as Hell’s Kitchen.

Citizens Union will conduct a closer analysis of the proposed map in the coming weeks. In the meantime, we would love to hear your thoughts on the maps. Please feel free to email [email protected] to share any thoughts or comments.

New Yorkers will have 30 days to look through these draft maps before the Commission takes comments. The next round of borough-specific public hearings will be on August 15th, 16th, 17th, 18th and 22nd from 4pm-7pm. This round of hearings will be critical in determining the ultimate council lines. If you are unhappy with the maps, we encourage you to testify; similarly if you like the new lines in your district, that is also very important to tell the commission.

To submit written testimony to the Districting Commission, please contact: [email protected]

If you’d like to read more, here is some recent press about the new maps, with more expected over the coming week:

  1. New NYC Council district maps create Asian-majority district, but draw fire from sitting members (Gothamist) 
  2. Preliminary City Council district map keeps Staten Island communities whole (silive) 
  3. Districting Commission releases draft of New York City Council maps (City and State) 
  4. Commission releases draft Council maps (Queens Chronicle)
  5. “I Don’t Like the Map!” — Hell’s Kitchen Reacts to NY City Council Proposal to Split Neighborhood into THREE (
  6. Upper East Side Sliced Up In Newly Redrawn Council District Maps | Upper East Side, NY Patch
  7. Preliminary Maps For City Council Districts Released, Crown Heights Remains Divided | – Chabad News, Crown Heights News, Lubavitch News

City Council Districts to be Redrawn

Here’s How to Have Your Say in the Process:

  1. Here are all the slides from the HNBA power point presentation on redistricting of City Council seats.
  2. Here is the Redistricting Commission website – The website will have the most up to date information on the process, as it unfolds.
    1. The Staff memorandum has a good overview of why they chose the lines they did ten years ago
    2. Here is a mapping software called representable, which allows you to create your own maps, including the population counter.
  3. One tool that is user friendly for people already comfortable with Google is the google map software. That said, the google software does not include a population counter. There is also DistrictR
  4. Click here to view the NYC population fact finder tool, which allows you to view demographic data for specific census tracts and other geographic parameters. It also allows you to create your own map, which can allow you to see the demographic data for any areas of interest.
  5. Click here to see demographic data for your City Council district, and view how it has changed since the last census.
  6. Click here to look at the website “redistricting and you”, which allows you to compare the old council lines with new proposals. It also allows you to look more at the dynamics of your district.
  7. Click here to read Citizens Union’s full report on the council redistricting process.
  8. Here is a recording of a training given to a group in Manhattan last month. It can be sent to people who missed HNBA’s training, but still want to find out more.
  9. Here is Citizens Union’s NYC Council redistricting website which will include everything in this email, plus additional resources as the process unfolds.
  10. Testimony Submission: If you would like to submit written testimony, you can do so by emailing [email protected] at any time.

Maya Angelou – 117th Street

MMPCIA Meeting Tonight

MMPCIA Meeting Tonight at 6:00

Here’s the Zoom link:

Redistricting NYC’s City Council

With state and congressional redistricting dominating the headlines, we want to make you are also informed about the council redistricting process, which is currently underway. 
You are invited (on May 17th at 7pm on Zoom) to a presentation and training on council redistricting. The training will last 45 minutes with 15 minutes for questions. You can register for the training here.
 The training will include:

The basics of Council redistricting.
Why engaging in the Council redistricting process is important.
An overview of the process and the criteria used to draw the maps.
How to look at and create your own maps.
How to testify before the Council’s Districting Commission.
The essential elements of an effective testimony.

Considering the impact of new district boundaries, we welcome you to get involved and make your voice heard. See more information about our work at
If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to email [email protected]

Greater Harlem Coalition Meeting on Wednesday

Join the Greater Harlem Coalition for an Election 2021 conversation about what candidates have said they would do about the quality of life issues that impact you, your family, your guests, and your neighbors, on Wednesday at 7:00 PM. Register by clicking on this link:

The ‘Final’ List of City Council Candidates

The New York Board of Elections has finally produced a list of candidates for Harlem:

Primary Election 2021 06/22/2021, New York Democratic Party

Member of the City Council 8th Council District

Tamika Mapp 342 East 119 Street 5B New York, NY 10035
Manuel Onativia
122 East 103 Street 19 New York, NY 10029
Antoinette D. Glover 2415 2 Avenue New York, NY 10035
Diana I. Ayala 430 East 118 Street 6H New York, NY 10035

Member of the City Council 9th Council District

Pierre A. Gooding 2050 Frederick Douglas Boulevard New York, NY 10026
Athena Moore 216 West 136 Street New York, NY 10030
William A. Allen 1925 Seventh Avenue 6H New York, NY 10026
Kristin Richardson Jordan 45 West 132 Street 2D New York, NY 10037
Bernadette McNear 159 48 Harlem River Drive New York, NY 10039
Ruth L. McDaniels 110 West 137 Street 3A New York, NY 10030
Mario Rosser 300 West 135 Street 4K New York, NY 10030
Keith Taylor 32 Edgecombe Avenue New York, NY 10030
Cordell Cleare 1851 Adam C. Powell Jr. Boulevard New York, NY 10026
Bill Perkins 1295 5 Avenue 15D New York, NY 10029
Billy Council 2130 Adam Clayton Powell Boulevard 5J New York, NY 10027
Sheba T. Simpson Amsterdam 30 West 141 Street 8N New York, NY 10037
Joshua Albert Clennon 7 West 122 Street 1 New York, NY 10027

City Council District 9 Candidates’ Forum, Tonight at 7:00 PM

What does a City Council Member do, anyway?

And yes, some of the candidates seem to be fuzzy on this as well…

Earlier in March, The City had a great breakdown of what City Council members do, and why you should care about their election. Here is part of The City’s email on the issue:

City Council is kind of like Congress, but for the city. It may seem like a small office, but since New York has 8.4 million people living here, a local office like the City Council has more influence than you may think.

Klein pointed out that some leaders — Mayor Bill de Blasio and Public Advocate Jumaane Williams, to name two — have used the City Council as a stepping stone to higher office.

“City Council is an entry point into politics — and a way to build a bench for more diverse representation in higher offices years down the line,” she said. “One reason many people are disappointed in the mayoral field is because 15 years ago, the city wasn’t building an exciting and diverse bench of new political talent.”

City Council members represent a district that usually includes two to four neighborhoods, and they have four main responsibilities.

They pass laws

Just like Congress or the state Legislature, the City Council proposes and votes on legislation that makes the rules for all sorts of things ranging from public health, education, housing and transportation. You can see all the different City Council committees here.

After a bill is proposed, the Council holds a public hearing to get feedback from the community and potentially make changes. Then, members vote on the bill.

Bills passed by a majority of the Council go to the mayor to be signed into law. The Council can override a veto from the mayor with a vote of at least two-thirds of the members.

Example: The Council has passed laws authorizing things such as police reforms (just last month members proposed another set of reform bills), bike lane protections, the plastic bag banprotecting tenants from harassment and the tax lien sale.

They *help* decide the budget

The Council negotiates with the mayor to pass the city budget every year. That means members help decide how your taxes and other revenue will be spent to fund different city agencies and programs — ranging from the public schools to policing to a bunch of social services. The most recent budget was more than $88 billion.

Your Council member can advocate for certain programs or projects to be funded in your neighborhood. And each Council member has their own discretionary budget to fund local projects and groups

Example: The Council has a huge say in how the city funds its police force, and it cut funding for affordable housing programs in the last budget.

They keep an eye on city agencies

The Council makes sure agencies like the Department of Education, the Department of Housing and Preservation, NYCHA and the NYPD are doing their jobs well.

Example: The Council can monitor what the DOE is doing about school segregation and provide a check on how NYCHA manages and maintains its buildings.

Here’s a list of all the city agencies.

They have a say in how the city uses public land 

And Council members vote to approve or reject development projects that need public approval.

How land is used can affect if housing is affordable, what kind of greenspace is available and how much pollution is likely to affect a neighborhood, among other things.

Klein said: “City Council candidates are extremely accessible in a way that candidates for higher offices aren’t. If you want to get involved in local government, meet with your council candidates, get to know them and ask them questions.”

That means where to build, what to preserve and what to close (like Rikers Island). The Council has a major say in real estate deals for city-owned land and votes on all zoning changes or rezoning.

Example: The Council approved the Flushing rezoning plan.

They can advocate for you

Lastly, Council members can advocate on behalf of their constituents to advance certain causes, like joining the Hunts Point Produce Market workers strike.

Most candidates are hosting campaign events on Zoom or offering ways to be in touch directly with constituents.

Here is a great Explainer Video, Admittedly with a Brooklyn Bias, but hey, BRIC created it…

It’s 2021: Who Has the Money?

November 2021 will be a pivotal election year for the city. City Council candidates are busily fundraising to get their names out in races currently held by Bill Perkins and Diana Ayala.

Diana Ayala is the only candidate in her district to get matching funds. She’s received over $82,000 of these matching funds.

In Bill Perkins’ district (District 9) no one has qualified for matching funds.

The Campaign Finance Board has an $8-to-1 match from public funds for the first $175 for each for City Council and Borough President candidates.

The CFB issued a total of $17.3 million in its first payment of matching money for all candidates running for city office next year. One comptroller, two borough presidents and 56 City Council candidates also qualified for funds.

More than 96% of candidates running for office next year have opted into the matching funds program which gives a boost to candidates who may not have access to the funds needed to run for office on their own. It encourages them to seek small-dollar support from voters. But by taking public funds, participants are also agreeing to specific fundraising and expenditure rules.

On the map below, you can see the number of candidates per City Council district (darker blue means more competitors)

While fundraising is only one measure of a campaign’s effectiveness, candidates in 2021 are under added pressure to build and maintain momentum quickly with an accelerated primary calendar that moves the municipal contests to June from September, with as many open seats as the city’s seen in a generation, not to mention the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Matching funds for the fundraising period, from July 11th, 2020 – January 11th, 2021, will be paid out in February.

With nearly two-thirds of the seats for City Council open with no incumbent seeking re-election, CFB payments highlighted the neighborhoods where those races are likely to be most competitive. City Council candidates needed to raise $5,000 in eligible contributions including from 75 contributors in their district in order to qualify for public matching funds.

Dead Line Block

100 years ago, the New York Times used blatantly racist language to describe a Harlem real estate transaction, conducted by a church.

Terms like “dead line block” for an imagined racial (real estate) barrier and “invaded”, are sprinkled in the copy as signifiers of white racial anxiety.

The blocks mentioned in the article deteriorated over the next half century as Harlem was redlined and denied mortgages or loans that could have been used to better maintain the housing stock, while racist housing policies forced Black New Yorkers into overcrowded blocks like this. Eventually, Robert Moses intervened and the properties mentioned in the New York Times article were razed and replaced with the Lenox Terrace development.

The image below shows the blocks mentioned in the New York Times Article, and the ones that would be knocked down to build Lenox Terrace. Note the YMCA tower to the left at the center/top, and the CCNY buildings further back to the right of the YMCA:

The “Harlem site” included tenement houses described as “gloomy” with “overcrowded buildings so poorly lighted they are unsafe after dark”. 1,683 families lived in 164 buildings, of which 89% were categorized as “run-down” according to a survey of residents. Many of the buildings were found to have “inadequate courts and air shafts”. View select pages of the plan.

The proposal for the site included razing the three blocks and incorporating the “uneconomic street areas” into the superblock that exists today. Seven 20-story towers containing 1,113 units were to be built in a park with “landscaped sitting areas and playgrounds reserved solely for the tenants and their small children”. Parking would be provided and stores –until then located in converted basements and first floors in residential tenement buildings– would be replaced with dedicated commercial spaces along Lenox Avenue, separate from the residential areas.

Reducing overcrowding was central to slum clearance. The population at the Harlem site had increased by 22.5% between 1940 and 1950, reaching 803 persons per net acre of residential use according to the plan. The new development would reduce density to 440 persons per net acre of residential use, requiring the relocation of hundreds of residents. 1,010 families (60% of those living on the site) would be eligible to relocate to some of the 50,000+ units of public housing that were planned at the time; it was hoped that the rest would “prefer to relocate themselves”, although the City would offer relocation services to help those unable to find an apartment on their own.

Today the Lenox Terrace development appears largely as Robert Moses envisioned it over 60 years ago: tall residential towers stand in the middle of a superblock while separate commercial spaces front the avenues. Parking lots and driveways, however, occupy most of what Moses envisioned as playgrounds and landscaped areas.

For the full, New York Times article, see:

The 12

Patch has an article on the 12 declared contenders for Bill Perkins’ seat in the City Council’s 9th District. Nick Garber’s article includes a list of the candidates and some info about their fundraising background, and platforms:

William Allen

  • Money raised: $13,213
  • A former journalist, Allen has also worked as the National Crisis and Service Director at the National Action Network. He has served as a Democratic district leader in Harlem and worked for the city Board of Elections.

Cordell Cleare

  • Money raised: $31,699
  • Cleare formerly served as Perkins’s chief of staff in the State Senate and founded the Michelle Obama Community Democratic Club. She ran for City Council in the 2017 special election, coming in third place.

Joshua Clennon

  • Money raised: $14,308
  • Clennon is a manager for the property management firm UMDI, is treasurer of Community Board 10, and served as executive director of the Uptown Democratic Club.

William Council

  • Money raised: $17,170
  • Council has worked as an administrator at the nonoprofit rehabilitation center Phoenix House, has worked as a youth basketball coach and co-founded the A.A.U basketball program The Rens and the nonprofit CouncilHim.

Pierre Gooding

  • Money raised: $7,245
  • An attorney, Gooding also identifies as a libertarian. He works as general counsel at the Scholar Athlete Fund and formerly worked for Success Academy Charter Schools.

Kristin Richardson Jordan

  • Money raised: $55,690 (plus $160,444 in public matching funds)
  • Jordan is an author, poet, teaching after and activist in Harlem. She founded the independent publishing house Pens Up Press, runs the Uproar Poetry Group and has held poetry workshops at a Harlem school and senior center.

Alpheaus Marcus

  • Money raised: none
  • Marcus ran for State Assembly in the Bronx in 2018, as a Republican. He founded the Urban Nonprartisan Club and is CEO of AMX Consultants, a political firm.

Ruth McDaniels

  • Money raised: $11,776
  • Before her retirement, McDaniels worked as a peace officer at city schools, a supervisor at the NYPD’s school safety division and a police sergeant for the city’s human resources administration. She is now a tenant association president and is vice president for an NYPD community council.

Bernadette McNear

  • Money raised: none
  • McNear has been a tenant leader at NYCHA’s Rangel Houses and is currently employed as a Program Director of an afterschool program for kids in grades k-5th located in Harlem. Current Employer: Catholic Charities Community Services Alianza/Rangel

Mario Rosser

  • Money raised: $47,963
  • Rosser is a partnership manager at LinkedIn, and formerly co-chaired the New York Young Leadership Board.

Sheba Simpson

  • Money raised: $9,859
  • A special education teacher, Simpson also founded the Central Harlem Merchant Coalition to Save Small Businesses.

Keith Taylor

  • Money raised: $20,377
  • A longtime member of Community Board 10, Taylor is an adjunct professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice. He worked for decades in the NYPD and served as an assistant commissioner for the Department of Corrections.

HNBA Meeting Tonight @7 PM

On Tuesday, January 12th at 7pm, Join HNBA in welcoming:

  • Liz Crotty on who is running for Manhattan DA
  • Ruth McDaniels who is running to replace Bill Perkins on the City Council
  • Valerie Bradley from the Marcus Garvey Park Alliance

We hope you’ll be able to attend with questions for the candidates. For the Zoom link, subscribe to our blog:

Rent to Income Ratio

New Yorkers now pay about 34% of their income in rent. This ratio has been going up in fits and starts (but mostly up, up, up) since 1965. We’ll see how this pandemic and the economic fallout impacts these numbers: