Candidate for City Council District 4
How will you get New Yorker’s back to work?
During the last year, New Yorkers — especially in my district in Midtown Manhattan — shifted to remote working and emptied out their office spaces. It’s essential that we bring them back, especially for the ecosystem of businesses that rely on their foot traffic. The key to restoring our city, getting people back to work, and revamping our economy is vaccination. So, our top priority has to be ensuring that New Yorkers get vaccinated.
As people begin to get vaccinated and our economy rebounds, it’s critical that we make sure individuals feel safe and willing to go back to the office. This means not only thinking deeply about what the future of working is, but ensuring that the city is accommodating their return. Last November, I wrote an op-ed for Crain’s New York that outlines the ways we can increase safe and healthy transportation options in Midtown to help foster people’s return to the workforce.
We need our New York City residents and regional commuters to come back into the city, which means we need to make sure that they feel safe returning to the office. This means addressing any issues relating to health or safety that might give them pause.
Once vaccinations are widespread, the Mayor and Governor should be proactively working to bring back people to work in a coordinated manner.
How will you make our city’s streets safer?
How will you address the city’s increasing budget deficit?
The recent news of federal aid coming to New York City ($6 billion) is welcome news to help offset the major deficits here, but we need to recognize that it’s a one-time shot in the arm for the city during COVID. We need to use that funding on addressing COVID and boosting the economy, including the tourism and hospitality industries that have been devastated.
This is a critical time for us to look at our spending in New York City and make reasonable, but necessary, adjustments. Even with the federal stimulus, the economic uncertainty of the economic rebound means that we need to be careful with how we allocate our dollars. We should also look for new revenue sources at the city and state level, and we should hold the line on major spending increases. Ultimately, we all have to recognize that this isn’t easy, but it’s essential to running a major city.
How will you stop the exodus of residents from New York City?
How will you bring back tourism?
Tourism is critical to New York City’s economy. As the Council Member who represents Times Square, Museum Mile, Broadway, and a number of major tourism attractions in the city, I have concerns about the future of these areas and institutions.
One of the first strategies the city can take is boosting its spending to tourism entities like New York City and Co. to give them resources to compete once travel resumes. Additionally, we need to rescue the struggling hotel industry, which is essential to bringing back tourism here.
It’s also critical that we focus on local and regional tourism by drawing people back into the city. This means getting our arts and cultural institutions back up and running, and providing other things to do in the city for folks in the region.
As the warm weather returns, one idea I’ve proposed to bring back tourism is a program called Open Neighborhoods, where we close streets and allow dining/cultural activities to happen in different neighborhoods. This will not only help us boost spending, but drive New Yorkers into local neighborhoods.
Ultimately, vaccines, warm weather, and financial relief provide a lot of hope for the future of our city. Nonetheless, we have to focus on delivering essential services to the city in order to ready ourselves for the long-term reopening.
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