member photo
Assemblymember
Richard N. Gottfried
January 2015
Assembly District 75
NYS Assembly Seal
Community Update

Statement on the Passing of Former Governor Mario Cuomo

Three decades ago, Mario Cuomo electrified New Yorkers and Americans with his challenge to the prevailing rhetoric and politics of that era. His concept of "the family of New York" and the way he eloquently built on that concept is an important contribution that re-shaped the way we think about the progressive agenda.

Mario Cuomo was one of the most intelligent and thoughtful public leaders New York has known. He devoted his energy and talents to shaping public policy and trying to build a stronger community in which all would have a fair shot at health care, education, and a good job.

I valued Mario as a friend and was honored when he came to speak at the celebration of my 40th anniversary in the Assembly.

We can best celebrate his life and honor his memory by thinking about his words and his work and resolving to carry them forward.

Old Chelsea Post Office Development Plans

The United States Postal Service (USPS) has again announced plans to sell development rights attached to the Old Chelsea Post Office. "Community notification" of these plans consisted of posting a single piece of paper on the Post Office's bulletin board, with almost no outreach to elected officials at any level of government.

The public comment period, which included comment from members of the State Legislature and City Council, closed on Dec. 11. I joined U.S. Representatives Maloney and Nadler, State Senator Hoylman, and Councilmember Johnson in requesting an extended period of public commentary, since most affected community members had not been made aware of the plans in time to share their concerns. The USPS rejected our request.

I will continue to communicate my questions and concerns to the USPS, and submitted formal comments in December in order to be certain they would be considered.

Fighting the Good Fight for the Café Edison

Café Edison, the beloved unofficial clubhouse for Broadway performers and theatergoers, has closed after a protracted public battle to save its lease with the Edison Hotel. I joined hundreds of New Yorkers, including other elected officials, theater district residents and workers, union members, and preservationists, to support the effort to keep open this family-owned small business that was part of our city's cultural heritage and save the dozens of good-paying jobs at the Café. We wrote to the new owner of the Edison Hotel urging him to respect his late father's decades-old verbal contract assuring the Café's future lease renewals at the Hotel.

I joined a spirited crowd of New Yorkers in December to rally support for the Café. I spoke about the importance of maintaining small business jobs in New York City and the Café Edison's cultural significance and its role as an oasis of affordable dining in the increasingly pricy theater district.

Despite these and other efforts, like an online petition with over 10,000 signatories urging that the Café be saved, the Edison Hotel's management refused to renew the Café's lease.

We must continue to stand up for and support small businesses in our city, which are such an integral part of the fabric of our communities and which are critical generators of jobs in New York.

Rally for Corporate Responsibility at Signature Bank HQ

Signature Bank is the second most prolific lender to landlords on the New York City Public Advocate's list of the 100 Worst Landlords in the five boroughs.

In December, I joined tenants and housing activists outside the headquarters of Signature Bank in midtown Manhattan to demand accountability for the anti-tenant practices of landlords and developers whose residential real estate acquisitions were financed through the Bank. In March of 2014, Signature Bank made a loan of $12.15 million to Slate Property

Group in order to finance Slate's purchase of 222-224 West 21 Street. Since that time, the tenants have endured a campaign of harassment, eviction, and sub-standard living conditions.

Signature Bank claims that its Community Development Officer helps meet the financial and organizational needs of low- and middle-income neighbors, but its loan to Slate Property has financed the Slate's tenant harassment and poor management. When tenants are wrongfully evicted from their longtime homes, it's an injustice that affects the entire community.

At the rally, I urged Signature Bank to use its financial power for the public good, and to cease enabling the eviction and harassment of innocent New Yorkers. The communities where Signature does business deserve better.

photo With housing activist Michael McKee and Councilmember Corey Johnson rallying for tenants outside Signature Bank.

Renovations at the Historic Time/Life Building

The owners of the Time-Life Building at 1271 Avenue of the Americas want to renovate the lobby. Because the lobby is a New York City-designated landmark, it requires the approval of the Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC). I think it is a good plan, and I applaud the owners, the Rockefeller Group, for their good judgment and care and for preserving the art in the lobby and the lobby's historic design.

By landmarking the interior, the LPC has ensured the preservation of the architectural and artistic integrity of one of the most striking twentieth-century lobbies in Manhattan incorporating the International Style and mid-century modernism.

I support the plan and trust that with the assistance of the LPC, it will maintain the planning principles of Rockefeller Center as well as ensure that any changes to the interior will be in keeping with its historic character.

I will submit testimony to the LPC in support of this application.

New Law Requires Recycling Electronic Waste

Disposing of electronic devices, or "e-waste," is one of the great environmental challenges we face. Electronics are often replaced frequently, and contain hazardous and non-biodegradable materials. If not disposed of safely, they crowd our landfills and pollute the environment.

As of January 1, 2015, manufacturers are responsible for the disposal or recycling of discarded electronic equipment like computers, cell phones, or TVs. These can no longer be put in the trash or left at curbside for pickup. This law, which I co-sponsored, sets up two ways for New York State residents to recycle their electronic equipment:

1) Use the "Manufacturer Takeback Program," in which electronic equipment manufacturers recycle their own product brands free of charge. Please go to the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) website at http://www.dec.ny.gov/chemical/82084.html to find a list of registered manufacturers, what equipment is covered by the law, and information on their electronic waste acceptance program. Manufacturers are required to accept their own brand of electronic equipment for recycling and one piece of electronic waste of any manufacturer's brand if offered by a consumer with the purchase of electronic equipment covered by the law of the same type by a consumer.

2) Go to an Electronic Waste Collection Site. New York City residents can find a collection site near them by going to DEC's website and clicking the link to the interactive map at https://www.google.com/maps/d/viewer?mid=zxg6HOaDh-mU.k9uJx85_j4YU.

There are dozens of sites in Manhattan.

City residents are advised to call ahead before using an electronic waste collection site, as the site listed may not accept a particular type or brand of equipment. If the collection site is not affiliated with a manufacturer's acceptance program, you may be charged a fee to recycle your electronic waste. Those looking for a free and convenient way to recycle equipment are encouraged first to try to take advantage of the Manufacturer Takeback Program.

Two Opportunities to Recycle E-Waste in January

Two convenient opportunities for recycling electronic waste are taking place this month as part of the Lower East Side Ecology Center's 12th annual "After the Holidays Electronics Collection Events." TVs, VCRs, DVD players, computer components, mobile phones, and other electronic waste will be accepted for recycling, free of charge. Please visit http://lesecologycenter.org/ for more information, more locations and for a list of items you can bring.

The Ecology Center will be at Tekserve, 119 West 23rd Street, this Saturday, Jan. 10 between 10:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m.

On Sun., January 25 from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m, you can go to the West Side YMCA at 7 W. 63rd For more information on proper disposal of electronic equipment, please contact DEC by calling (518) 402-8706 or emailing ewaste@dec.ny.gov.

Free Flu Shots in Chelsea

It's important to be on guard against the flu in winter. It is on the rise in New York and across the country.

Everyone over 6 months old is strongly encouraged to receive a flu vaccine, especially those at high risk for complications from the flu, including children under the age of 5, seniors over 65, pregnant women, and others with certain chronic medical conditions. Persons with diabetes, asthma, or heart or lung problems are encouraged to consult a physician at the first sign of contracting the flu.

I am co-hosting a series of free flu shot opportunities being offered by the Lenox Hill HealthPlex at 30 Seventh Avenue between West 12th and 13th Sts. These will be offered on Sunday, January 10 from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.; and on both Monday, January 12 and Wednesday, January 14 from 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. Please call 347-802-7400 or email wkawadler@nshs.edu. Walk-ins will be taken based on availability.

You can learn about other opportunities for free flu shots by consulting the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene's website at http://on.nyc.gov/1mQvEhr.

Lenox Hill HealthPlex Blood Drive

The need for blood is constant. Those who donate can tell you there is no better feeling than saving a life, though only about five percent of eligible donors actually donate. That's why regular donors - those who donate once a season -- are so important in ensuring that blood is available all year round. (The other nice thing about donating blood is you get to lie down for a little while and then they give you juice and cookies.)

The Lenox Hill HealthPlex blood drive is happening from 9am-430pm on Tues., Jan. 27 and Wed., Jan. 28. at 30 Seventh Avenue between West 12th and 13th Streets. To RSVP, please call 347-802-7400 or email wkawadler@nshs.edu. Walk-ins will be taken based on availability.

A single donation can save up to three lives.

Office Addresses:

District Address:
242 West 27th Street
New York, NY 10001
212-807-7900
Fax: 212-243-2035
Albany Address:
LOB 822
Albany, NY 12248
518-455-4941
Fax: 518-455-5939