Interactive State of the Borough

| 10 Feb 2015 | 05:08

On Sunday, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer held an interactive State of the Borough forum at Columbia University’s Lerner Hall in Morningside Heights, ceding the traditional podium speech to a panel discussion featuring input from the public as well as other officials and advisors.

U.S. Senator Charles Schumer, Deputy Borough Presidents Aldrin Bonilla and Joseph Garba, and 19-year old Community Board 4 member Austin Ochoa gave opening remarks, and Brewer followed by leading a wide-ranging panel discussion. The panel included nonprofit leader Jaime Estades, Community Board 3 chair Gigi Li, SUNY Board of Trustees Chair H. Carl McCall, and American Jewish World Service President (and former Manhattan borough president) Ruth Messinger. The panelists covered a range of topics, housing and affordability, education, technology, economic development and health.

The discussion was peppered with interactive media, including tweets from audience members projected onto a display, and the entire address was broadcast live on the Manhattan Neighborhood Network. Elected leaders also made their own 6-second videos for the social video sharing service Vine, highlighting their visions for the future of Manhattan.

Brewer also emphasized the role of youth in shaping the borough’s future, pointing to her initiative to allow 16- and 17-year-olds to apply and serve on community boards. The event included a performance from The Drowsy Chaperone by students from the Repertory Company High School for Theatre Arts.

“The whole world knows our twenty square miles for our landmarks, our institutions, and our iconic skyline – but it’s also home to 1.6 million New Yorkers,” Brewer said. “The work ahead of us is clear: on education, affordable housing, development, and public space, we must realize a vision of Manhattan’s future not just as the world’s greatest center of business and culture, but as its greatest community.”