NEW YORK—Council Member Stephen Levin has be presiding over District 33 since he was elected into New York City Council in 2010. His district includes Brooklyn Heights, Greenpoint; parts of Williamsburg, Park Slope, and Boerum Hill.
What was your biggest achievement in 2013?
One of the most important things Council member Levin worked on last year was to keep the neighborhood hospital, the Long Island College Hospital (LICH), open.
“The community came together with the elected officials and fought what a year ago looked like a fait accomplis, in terms of the hospital closure,” he said.
The hospital was supposed to close down last March, but the State University of New York (SUNY) is still in the process of fighting the reversal of the case. According to Levin, the hospital has been in the community for over 150 years, and is one of the oldest nursing schools in the country.
“It’s been part of the fabric of the community for that entire time,” Levin said.
What the community doesn’t want, Levin said, is more condos, or a privatized health system.
“We need comprehensive health options in this community,” he said.
What will you be focusing on this year?
First and foremost, Levin said he’s excited to work with the new administration this year. The council member remembered the time when he was arrested together with now-mayor Bill de Blasio in July, while they were protesting the closure of LICH. He’s also looking to work on the homelessness issue and making sure that less people are on the streets.
“We need to have a collective approach, a collective strategy to decrease those numbers,” he said.
Levin said the city needs to be more compassionate towards people that have to suffer living in sub-par facilities.
“Any one of us can find themselves in that situation,” he said.
He also wants to expand universal pre-K. “The foundation for the better future of our city, is to have good quality early childhood education,” he said.
What are some of the issues your constituents are concerned about?
His constituents are still raising concerns about keeping LICH open, they are also concerned about pedestrian safety. Earlier in January, a woman was killed on McGuinness Boulevard, in the 33rd District. “We need to do everything that we can to create better infrastructure so that we’re reducing speed, having better enforcement to reduce speed, greater awareness for drivers, cyclists, and pedestrians,” Levin said.
If you had a coat of arms, what would it be, and why?
The three bridges he would put on his coat of arms. The Brooklyn Bridge, The Manhattan Bridge, and The Williamsburg Bridge, which are all in the 33rd District. “Those three bridges are the way in which Brooklyn welcomes the rest of the world,” he said. His slogan would be: “Brooklyn Welcomes All.”
Epoch Times is interviewing members of the 2014 New York City Council to find out what their biggest achievements were last year and what they hope to accomplish in this one. For a list of all council member articles in this project, click here.