July 15: LES Historic District* Walking Tour

Walking Tour of Proposed LES Historic District

Sunday, July 15
2:00 – 3:00 pm

Meet at the corner of Hester & Forsyth

We’ve received a special invitation from LESPI board member (and GSD member) Helena Andreyko:

The Lower East Side Preservation Initiative (LESPI) was honored to receive the support of the Grand Street Democrats for the proposed historic district on the LES, and is delighted to invite members of GSD for a free tour of the proposed district, Sunday, July 15, 2:00 pm.

Our tenement buildings have been home to waves of immigrants for generations and were once the center of one of the most vital and bustling centers of commerce in the City. Their facades reflect an era of intricate design and construction that would never be replicated today, but whose intricate features are rarely noticed by pedestrians hurriedly passing by.

Please join Richard Moses, President of LESPI, for a one hour tour as he points out buildings and the beautiful features that make our neighborhood special and worthy of historic designation.

The tour is free but we request an RSVP below.

*Proposed Historic District (so far).

DOT has no proposals yet for Grand/Clinton congestion

Staff from the NYC Department of Transportation presented to Community Board 3’s Transportation Committee on Thursday, June 28, 2018 in regards to the traffic on Grand, Clinton, and East Broadway.

DOT promised elected officials a traffic study of the area in 2017, but by the end of last year could say only that no conclusions could be drawn until after Essex Crossing construction is completed. Additional pressure from community leaders and elected officials this year brought DOT back to the neighborhood … but its report last week was still inconclusive.

The DOT says that data traffic collected this spring still needs to be analyzed. Aside from minor changes to signage and light-timing, no new proposals were presented for review by the CB3 committee.

What we did see were slides indicating a dozen or so proposals from the community that DOT has said it will be considering in the coming months, plus an estimated timeline that pushes any real proposals to the end of 2018. No date has been set for a return to CB3, and it was noted that this timeline pushes right up against considerations for L Train shutdown mitigation beginning spring 2019, which will make it even more difficult to implement.

In the past two months, DOT has made small changes to make drivers aware of other ways to the Williamsburg Bridge:

  • signage southbound on the FDR has removed the word “alternate” from the Houston Street exit;
  • new signs have been placed on Grand to let drivers know that both lanes will get them to the bridge (using Clinton and Norfolk); and
  • a “no-honking” sign has been moved slightly east on Grand to warn drivers earlier to lay off their horn.

Coming soon:

  • A new traffic agent will hopefully be assigned to the Clinton/East Broadway intersection to help pedestrians cross there during rush hour and keep drivers from blocking the intersection.
  • DOT is also experimenting with light timing along Grand Street to increase the flow of traffic.

Now DOT is modelling more far-reaching proposals based on recent data:

  • Eliminate Clinton access to bridge. Create dedicated left turn from Essex to Delancey (safer than before). Can Essex and Allen Streets handle the additional capacity? Estimated analysis completion: Aug. 2018.
  • Reduce Clinton traffic by eliminating left turn from East Broadway, Henry, and Madison during rush. Can Essex and Allen Streets handle the additional capacity? Estimated analysis completion: Aug. 2018.
  • Open access on Delancey Street from FDR to bridge. DOT is not sure Delancey has the physical characteristics for this to be possible. Parking in the neighborhood would be reduced, and the NYPD and FDNY at Pitt and Delancey would need to be accomodated. Estimated analysis completion: Dec. 2018.

CB3 will invite DOT back in the fall. In the meantime, we believe that continued pressure from elected officials and community leaders, including members of Grand Street Democrats, will be critical in forcing DOT to recognize that Clinton Street is not an appropriate approach to the Williamsburg Bridge.

Here are the slides from DOT’s presentation on June 28:

Families Belong Together — sign-making today, rally tomorrow

Our friends at Manny Cantor Center are taking the lead in organizing our community’s protest of Trump policy to separate families at the border. Despite his executive order last week, the threat to children still exists and we feel compelled to continue resisting this fascist program.

GSD will be making signs later today (Friday) and marching tomorrow (Saturday). Please see below for details.


Dear friends,

In the past few weeks members of our Manny Cantor Center community have attended a rally organized by Families Belong Together and signed a banner in our lobby in support of those seeking asylum and the families that have been detained or separated across our nation.

This afternoon, we will meet as a community to prepare for tomorrow’s rally, and tomorrow, along with our friends from the 14th Street Y, we will meet together to mobilize with #FamiliesBelongTogether.

We invite you to raise your voices and join us:

Rally Sign Making | BYO Materials
TODAY, 4PM-6PM | Manny Cantor Center, 4th floor

#MCCMobilize to Attend “Families Belong Together” Rally in Foley Square
TOMORROW (Saturday), 9:15 AM | Meet in Front of Manny Cantor Center to walk to Foley Square

Thursday 6/28: Can DOT stop the traffic madness?

With our elected officials’ help, we’ve been pushing the Department of Transportation to make good on its promise to provide a solution to the traffic problem that plagues Grand Street, Clinton Street, and East Broadway.

On Thursday, we might finally get a chance to hear the DOT proposal at a special CB3 meeting:

Thursday, June 28
6:30 – 8:30 pm
301 Henry Street
(Henry Street Settlement Youth Services Gymnasium)

If you can, please show up (wearing your pink Grand Street Dems shirt) so DOT knows just how important this issue is to our neighborhood.

The news gets worse and worse. Here’s what we can do …

In the past few weeks the Trump administration has become even more Orwellian. The actions and language around so-called “tender care” shelters epitomizes the worst treatment of refugees and undocumented people in our country. Wednesday’s executive order should not be mistaken for real progress.

So what now?

1) Donate. The legal and therapeutic services on the ground have massive work to do, both to reunite children and parents currently separated, and to help aid these families manage their ongoing trauma. Donations at this link will be distributed among 10 excellent organizations, including the ACLU, La Union del Pueblo Entero, and the Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services.

2) Rally. Protests will be held nation-wide on Saturday, June 30 including here in NYC. Grand Street Democrats will partner with our friends at the Manny Cantor Center to organize a crew from the LES. Sign-making will be on Friday, June 29 from 4:00 – 6:00 at MCC, 4th floor. And then we’ll meet in front of MCC again the next morning at 9:15 am to go together to the rally in Foley Square. (Email me if you want to be more involved in organizing the neighborhood for this rally.)

3) VOTE. In every election — including the Democratic primary coming up this Tuesday, June 26. Our endorsed congressional candidate for NY-12, Rep. Carolyn Maloney, has a strong record of standing up to Trump and we know she deserves another term to defend our values. (If you’d like to help Get Out the Vote for Maloney over the next 5 days, sign up here.)

In solidarity,
Caroline Laskow, Democratic District Leader

PS. An even bigger ask, but also important: can you work in your local poll site on Election Day? It’s a really long day but without our poll workers our elections wouldn’t happen. And you do get paid. Just email me if you are interested.

Tell Gov. Cuomo: Pass ERPO Now!

With only days left in Albany’s legislative session, now is the time to put pressure on the State Senate and Gov. Cuomo to strengthen New York’s gun safety laws by passing the Extreme Risk Protection Order Act (ERPO) sponsored by our State Senator Brian Kavanagh.

According to the Giffords Law Center: “ERPO empowers families and law enforcement to prevent gun tragedies by allowing them to petition a court to temporarily remove guns from individuals at an elevated risk of endangering themselves or others. An ERPO prohibits individuals in crisis from purchasing or accessing firearms and requires them to relinquish any guns they possess while the order is in effect.”

The bill has already passed the Democratic-led State Assembly but will need Gov. Cuomo’s full support to pass the State Senate. Please take a moment on Monday to share on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and other social media channels your support of ERPO.

June 14: Rally — Families Belong Together

Rally — Families Belong Together

Thursday, June 14
5:00 pm – 7:00 pm

Meet at Manny Cantor Center
197 East Broadway

Travel together to rally at Brooklyn Borough Hall

Rabbi Joanna Samuels, the Executive Director of Manny Cantor, invites us to join her at a rally Thursday afternoon in Brooklyn to protest the mistreatment of children and families crossing the border to the United States.

As Rabbi Samuels said, “U.S. government agents are forcibly separating children from their immigrant parents, sending the children to foster homes or detention centers while their parents are sent to jail. Often, the parents do not know their children’s whereabouts, or even if they are safe. The children are sent to live with strangers or in prison-like detention centers, unaware of whether they will ever be reunited with the families. This cannot continue.”

There are numerous reports of families being forcibly separated at the border, and of children being placed in prison-like detention centers where they have been abused physically and sexually. The legal context of these separations may be complicated, but the outcomes are clearly wrong, and as Americans we should not allow activity like this to be perpetrated in our name.

If you and your family would like to join the rally, meet at the Manny Cantor Center, 197 East Broadway at 5:00 pm. We will then take the F train together to Brooklyn, where the rally starts at 5:30 pm.

June 4: Action Evening!

Petition Organizing & Sister District Phonebank

Monday, June 4
6:00 pm – 8:00 pm

Manny Cantor Center
Room 404 (4th Floor)
197 East Broadway

Grand Street Democrats is ready to mobilize for election season!

On Monday, June 4, from 6:00 – 8:00 pm please join us at Manny Cantor Center for petition drive organizing for our endorsed candidates in New York, and for phone banking with Sister District for Liz Hanbidge for Pennsylvania.

We will also hear from Joe Telano from the NYS Democratic Party. He’ll let us know of some upcoming chances this summer to volunteer for Democratic campaigns that will help flip Congressional and State Senate seats to blue.

Petitioning starts on Tuesday, and we want everyone to chip in. This is an important function of belonging to Grand Street Democrats: our endorsed candidates need your help.

To participate in phone banking, please bring a laptop and mobile phone. We will be working from a script, contacting PA voters to make sure they know about important upcoming state elections.

Even in this deep blue corner of Manhattan we can help make a difference.

Grand Street Democrats endorses Letitia James for Attorney General

After the unexpected resignation of NY Attorney General Eric Schneiderman in May, this open seat has attracted three dynamite candidates for the Democratic nomination. After having a chance to meet all three, GSD members voted to endorse Letitia James.

James is currently the NYC Public Advocate. Before that she represented parts of Brooklyn in City Council, and has served as Assistant Attorney General under AG Eliot Spitzer. She began her career as a public defender for the Legal Aid Society.

Grand Street Democrats endorses Christopher Marte for Democratic State Committee

Christopher Marte, born and raised on the Lower East Side, has made his presence felt in downtown Manhattan as a community activist, political candidate, and volunteer. He intends to bring that spirit of public service and activism to the role of Democratic State Committeemember, an unpaid position within the Democratic Party. Marte is currently an Associate at The Arena, a political organization dedicated to encouraging new progressive voices in American politics.