Vito Lopez

Known for his old-school politics and scandalous downfall, Brooklyn native Vito Lopez died at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Hospital on Monday after a years-long fight with cancer. He was 74.

A Bensonhurst-bred Italian-American, Vito Lopez represented a favor-for-loyalty type of machine-style politics where, for a vote, he was known to bring supporters jobs, housing, and health care. (more…)

De Blasio Donations

Compared to three-term, self-funding, former Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Mayor Bill de Blasio and his administration have a far more transactional relationship with backers. Many donors are seeking and expecting business benefits if they help promote the current mayor’s policy agenda, according to a story in Politico New York.

The mayor has so far raised $3,870,000 from unions and developers, among others, who donate to a nonprofit de Blasio set up in December 2013 to promote his agenda, called The Campaign for One New York. (The group is not subject to the rules of the Campaign Finance Board, either, and contributors often donate anonymously.)



Linda Sarsour — the Brooklyn-born Executive Director of the Arab American Association of New York — has her sights set on a future City Council bid, borough presidency, and eventual Mayorship of an independent Brooklyn, according to a mostly gushing profile in this weekend’s New York Times.

Sarsour has been involved with the city’s politics since joining the Arab American Association in 2001. In the years since, she’s fought the Police Department’s systematic spying on members of New York’s Muslim population, and worked on improving immigration policy, boosting voter registration, fighting Islamophobia and, most recently, advocating and organizing for the Black Lives Matter movement.

In addition to enumerating Sarsour’s many accomplishments, the article reads like a love-letter to her Brooklyn bonafides. Below are Sarsour’s top seven Brooklyn credentials as featured by Times political writer Alan Feuer, in reverse order.



If you’ve got a landlord from hell, you’re invited to speak out tonight and Thursday at a pair of town hall meetings held by Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams and veteran civil rights attorney Norman Siegel.

The goal of the “Tenant Harassment Hearings” goes beyond letting aggravated tenants vent — the idea is to identify Brooklyn’s worst landlords and spur criminal investigations and lawsuits.

“We’re not waiting for tenants to reach the end of their rope, we’re getting proactive,” said Adams in announcing the hearings last month. Adams — pictured above with Siegel (left) and tenant advocates — linked the hearings to the city’s affordable housing crunch, and noted that tenant harassment complaints in housing court have almost doubled since 2011. (more…)

Editor’s Note: Hi I’m Barbara, new Editor here at Brownstoner. This is my first post. We’ll be sharing the rest of our new lineup soon.


Yesterday’s Make It In Brooklyn Innovation Summit started with a bang. And a few surprise blasts from a full marching band. But the real show was seeing real estate bigs David and Jed Walentas of Two Trees and Bruce Ratner and Maryanne Gilmartin of Forest City Ratner share the stage in chummy conversation.

During the Q&A, we asked Ratner how he felt about having Hillary Clinton as a tenant at 1 Pierrepont Plaza, a building he built way back in 1987. His answer: “I was honored. I was sort of surprised. I’m delighted. No matter what my politics are.” (more…)

Commenter Pig Three has started an interesting discussion in the Forum about a supposed new NYPD policy to give drug dealers over 40 a free pass.

A New York Post story about the policy doesn’t say a word about the Mayor, but Pig Three blames the administration. Replies in the Forum evaluate de Blasio’s record on everything from universal pre-K to Vision Zero. Here’s the question:

Relief for drug dealers over 40?

Could this possibly be true? (more…)

park slope library

Earlier this month residents in seven Brooklyn city council districts had the opportunity to vote on whether or not to fund a large number of projects using money allocated by the city to each district. The process, known as participatory budgeting, is designed to give citizens more of a voice in how city funds are spent. And now council members representing three of those Brooklyn districts have announced the results of the vote.

In District 39, which runs from the Columbia Street Waterfront, Cobble Hill and Carroll Gardens through to Park Slope, Kensington and Windsor Terrace, eight projects were funded, including $150,000 for greening Union Street and 9th Street, $250,00 for building a story telling garden at the Park Slope Library (pictured above) and $200,000 for draining a chronically muddy path in Prospect Park. A full list of projects approved by voters in district 39 can be accessed here.



Mayor de Blasio will propose building a new subway line running under Utica Avenue in a speech today about sustainability, according a report in Capital New York. The avenue, currently served by the B46 bus, is “one of the densest areas in the city not directly served by the subway,” said a draft of the speech quoted by Capital New York.

The B46 bus currently runs along Utica from Marine Park up through East Flatbush and then through east Bed Stuy on Malcolm X Boulevard to Williamsburg near Marcy Avenue and Broadway. A story in the Daily News said it’s all posturing and will never happen.



Brooklyn City Council members Brad Lander and Stephen Levin have joined with the Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer and one other City Council member in sponsoring a bill that would speed the landmark review process. The process would move online with a public database showing all actions taken by the Landmark Preservation Commission and the ability to submit applications for landmarks online, according to a story in The Real Deal.

The bill would also require the LPC to respond more quickly, with a 90-day limit for feedback on applications for individual landmarks and 180 days for proposed historic districts. “Unresolved” cases would have to be jettisoned after five years. (more…)

1 pierrepont plaza1

Former US Senator and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has chosen Brooklyn as home base for her campaign for the presidency. Although she has yet to announce her official candidacy, her team just leased two full floors at 1 Pierrepont Plaza in Brooklyn Heights.

The move, which was first reported by Politico, follows months of speculation about where Clinton would base her campaign.

Her new neighbors include the U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of New York and a branch of Morgan Stanley. Forest City Ratner is the landlord.

Photo by 1 Pierrepont Plaza