Supporting our older neighbors in the New York City budget
By Adrienne Adams, Crystal Hudson & Beth Finkel
amNY, June 1, 2023
The number of older adults in New York City is soaring.
A recent report by the Center for an Urban Future highlights the trends shaping this massive demographic shift. New York City’s 65-and-older age group grew by 36 percent over the past decade. New Yorkers ages 50 and older comprise nearly one-third of the City’s population. Even more striking, the number of older adults living below the poverty line has increased by 37 percent.
These realities call for increased material support for our older neighbors.
However, the Mayor’s proposed budget falls well short of making the needed investments that allow us to ensure our parents, grandparents and other loved ones can live safely and with dignity in the city they call home as they age. The Council is united in efforts to close these gaps in funding.
Despite serving as linchpins to our city’s economy and cultural life, and making up the city’s biggest volunteer base, our older New Yorkers have been left to struggle. More than half spend too much of their income on housing. One in ten is food insecure. And because of the prohibitively expensive cost of medication, too many go without life-saving prescriptions.
Crystal’s Corner: Land Use by the People, for the People
Brooklyn Paper, April 28, 2023
Take a moment to imagine yourself standing in the middle of Downtown Brooklyn or Williamsburg or Prospect Heights. Look around. The overbearing luxury glass towers – residential, commercial, or both — beaming into the skyline, likely make up part of what you see. Ten, twenty years ago, these buildings weren’t there. Their blueprints likely didn’t even exist.
Yet, their ubiquitous presence today has undoubtedly reshaped entire neighborhoods and, in most cases, offered the communities in which they were built very little in return. So, how did we get to the point where huge projects spring up quicker than we’re able to keep track of them? And why do our communities play only a cursory role in the decision-making process, if they get the chance to participate at all?
Our Communities Need Fair Pay for Home Care Work; Albany Leaders Must Hear Them
Co-Authored with Bobbie Sackman, Gotham Gazette, April 18, 2023
For the first time in United States history, a president has declared April as Care Workers Recognition Month. Making the announcement, President Biden stated, “Care workers help raise our children, assist seniors as they age with dignity, and support people with disabilities.” Despite this, care workers remain among our nation’s least recognized heroes.
Today, home care workers are some of the lowest-paid workers in the country and routinely face harsh working conditions. Countless providers are forced to hold multiple jobs and overwhelmingly rely on public assistance programs. One in four home care workers lives under the federal poverty line. In an industry comprised primarily of women, particularly women of color, the impact of this chronic underpayment widens gender and racial pay gaps, and tangibly undermines the wellbeing of our communities.
Crystal’s Corner: This Women’s History Month, we deserve action on reproductive rights
Brooklyn Paper, March 30, 2023
The Supreme Court’s decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization last spring left the vast majority of the nation lurching. In the weeks after the decision was leaked to the press, we were forced to grapple with the reality that an unelected, undemocratic body could inflict such harsh consequences on our communities and scrambled to continue delivering necessary abortion and reproductive care to all who needed it.
The Dobbs decision left us in “a different world.” It made clear that long established legal protections can readily be struck down, and it dangerously undermined our faith in an institution meant to safeguard the very democratic principles this nation supposedly holds so high. More than that, the Dobbs decision showed us that the fight for reproductive justice––one where the struggle for racial equality, gender equity, and economic liberation converge to underscore the plight of Black women, Black LGBTQIA+ folks, and poor and working class people across the country, in particular––has not yet been won.
Crystal’s Corner: Protecting Black Futures is a Moral Obligation to Expand and Fully Fund Right to Counsel
Brooklyn Paper, February 28, 2023
From 2010 to 2020, New York City saw a 9% decline in its Black population. In just the last decade, the District I represent – which includes the neighborhoods of Crown Heights, Prospect Heights, Fort Greene, Clinton Hill, and Bed-Stuy – has experienced a 20% loss in its Black population. In neighboring communities across the city, the same housing and affordability crisis wreaking havoc in traditionally Black neighborhoods is actively undermining the wellbeing of all poor and working class communities across the five boroughs.
In the last two decades, the city and state have taken outwardly hostile stances toward our most vulnerable tenants and moderate and low-income homeowners, worsening economic strain and deepening housing instability. Understanding, then, the mechanisms driving the affordability crisis and enacting meaningful solutions––those that adequately address the material needs of our most vulnerable neighbors — is critical.
Crystal’s Corner: Accountability matters. Why do we exempt the worst landlords?
Brooklyn Paper, January 20, 2023
Every New Yorker knows there are a handful of fundamental truths about living in the greatest city in the world: Times Square should be avoided at all costs, we have the best bagels, and your landlord is probably terrible. Horror stories of persistent leaks, ceiling collapses, and rodent infestations are all too common. To be clear, big, corporate landlords with several multi-unit buildings are disproportionately the problem, not smaller independent landlords who rely on rental incomes to get by.
Op-Ed | Crystal’s Corner: 311 is good. We’re better.
Brooklyn Paper, December 23, 2022
Crystal’s Corner is a monthly column written by New York City Council Member Crystal Hudson (District 35), Chair of the Committee on Aging.
I’m as local as it gets. My team and I see it all, and more: Noise complaints. Evictions. Alternate-side parking. Public safety. Sanitation. Our mission, since we’ve been in office together, is to make city government and its resources more accessible, reliable, and responsive to the needs of all our neighbors.
Consider Ms. Mobley. At ninety-six years old, she’s lived in Fort Greene for more than seven decades. After living in the same apartment all those years, she decided it was time to downsize. Moving around her home was difficult, and getting to her appointments became taxing. Yet, Ms. Mobley remains an independent woman, continuing to do the things that keep her happy, healthy, and thriving. She came to us seeking something that is too frequently denied to older New Yorkers across the five boroughs, and that is the opportunity to age in place affordably, with dignity and comfort in the city we call home.
Op-Ed: New York City isn’t ready for its aging population
New York Daily News, September 15, 2022
Our city’s affordability crisis knows no bounds. Its effects are not only unquestionably tangible today but also a harbinger of crises to come. Presently, skyrocketing rents undermine the health and wellbeing of our communities, forcing scores of long-time residents out of the neighborhoods they’ve long called home and making our city uninhabitable for the millions of poor and working class, Black and Brown New Yorkers continually pushed into the margins of society. But have you considered the effects this crisis has on older New Yorkers — those living on a fixed income, those with mobility limitations or chronic illness, those living close to the loved ones that care for them, or those who simply want to age in place in the comfort of their own homes?
Op-Ed: NYC’s homecare workers need care too
New York Daily News, March 6, 2022
Imagine spending two hours on a bus and sitting on three subway trains twice a day to get to your job. Once you get there, you work for 24 hours straight but only get paid for 13 because of an archaic state law. And you’re forced to go into work during a global pandemic even if you’re not feeling well. Odds are you’d likely join the millions of workers who are voluntarily quitting their jobs and try your luck finding a new one. But many workers don’t have that choice.
City Council LGBTQ+ Caucus announces comprehensive plan to protect the gay community
Natalie Duddridge, CBS NY, June 7, 2023
As part of Pride Month, the City Council and the LGBTQ+ Caucus on Wednesday announced an overarching plan and a package of bills to protect the community.
It’s called the Marsha and Sylvia Plan, named after Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera, leaders of the gay liberation movement that took place at Stonewall in 1969.
Organizers say its the first ever comprehensive plan covering a wide range of issues. It comes on the heels of anti-LGBTQ+ sentiment and legislation in other parts of the country.
“It’s addressing every single area from health care to housing to arts and culture to education. Every issue is an LGBTQIA+ issue,” Councilmember Crystal Hudson said.
“This package of legislation, as well as advocacy to invest into our queer spaces, is a stride in fighting to make sure that this city is one of the safest cities for LGBTQ people,” Councilmember Chi Osse said.
From the plan, there are dozens of bills that are all in different phases of passage.
City Council’s LGBTQIA+ Caucus unveils comprehensive policy plan
Matt Tracy, Gay City News, June 2, 2023
The City Council’s LGBTQIA+ Caucus kicked off Pride Month by releasing a comprehensive, multi-pronged policy agenda outlining legislative goals and recommendations on how the city can better serve LGBTQ constituents across the five boroughs.
The policy agenda, labeled as the Marsha and Sylvia Plan in honor of the late LGBTQ trailblazers Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera, points to nine critical areas of need: arts and culture; education; government operations; health; housing and homelessness; older adults; public safety; sex work; and Youth and foster care. The agenda was put forth by members of the LGBTQIA+ Caucus, led by co-chairs Tiffany Cabán of Queens and Crystal Hudson of Brooklyn.
NYC set to slash millions in home delivered meals program for seniors
Giulia Heyward, Gothamist, May 15, 2023
The Adams administration is pushing to cut back on delivering meals to New York seniors, slashing millions of dollars of funding from the program. The move comes amid an anticipated boom in New Yorkers over 65, a population segment expected to outpace the growth of any other age group within the next couple of decades.
The administration plans to cut $5 million from its home-delivered meals program for seniors at the beginning of fiscal year 2024. It’ll be followed by another reduction of $7 million in the same time period, and a reduction of $5.6 million in each of the next three years, according to Council member Crystal Hudson, who represents parts of Brooklyn, including Fort Greene and Clinton Hill, and chairs the Council’s aging committee.
Seniors, city officials call on Mayor to stop budget cuts to senior programs
amNY, May 12, 2023
New York City’s senior community is calling for the mayor to not cut back on services that help seniors live their daily lives.
In his proposed budget, Mayor Eric Adams outlined over $12 million dollars in budget cuts directed toward the city’s aging sector’s congregate and home-delivered meals programs in a year. Of those cuts, $7 million would be cut for Older Adult Centers, $5 million would be cut for the home-delivered meals program, and there would be the elimination of the $1 additional one-time reimbursement rate for home-delivered meals for the 2024 fiscal year.
Led by LiveOn NY, over 400 seniors, as well as many of the city’s elected officials, gathered outside City Hall Park on May 11 to call for better budget contributions to the senior community, as well as cost of living adjustments for staff in those sectors.
“Mr. Mayor, do you hear us? Older New Yorkers are demanding a just budget—one that affirms our communities and strengthens the services and resources they rely on most,” said Council Member Crystal Hudson on Twitter. “Be sure, Mr. Mayor. Older New Yorkers vote, and they are watching.”
New York City Council members, advocates call for accountability in Jordan Neely’s death
Jennifer Bisram, CBS New York, May 11, 2023
It’s been over a week since Jordan Neely’s death was ruled a homicide, and Thursday, city leaders and advocates called for accountability, at times with tears in their eyes.
“Anybody on the subway train could have helped Jordan Neely, anybody,” New York City Council member Crystal Hudson said.
It was an emotional rally at City Hall Park.
“Whether we’re walking down the street minding our business, whether we’re just saying that we’re hungry, our life is on the line,” New York City Council member Selvena Brooks Powers said.
“It’s a dramatic experience that we’re seeing every single day. The support here has been great. Coming out here and talking about it and kind of letting those feelings go is a part of the coping mechanism that we are actually utilizing as well,” New York City Council member Kevin Riley said.
Council member, advocates criticize reduced city funding for senior meals
Annie McDonough, City & State, May 8, 2023
New York City Mayor Eric Adams has consistently said that his citywide savings initiatives – known as Programs to Eliminate the Gap – have been achieved without layoffs, furloughs or cutting services.
How, then, do these plans achieve billions in savings? One strategy is vacancy reductions, in which agencies eliminate currently vacant positions, sometimes in large numbers. In the latest round of budget cuts included in Adams’ executive budget for fiscal year 2024, city agencies more frequently identified savings through cost “re-estimates,” defined as an agency spending less on a program or service because it cost less than they expected.
But ahead of a new round of City Council budget hearings set to begin on Monday, some council members and advocates are arguing that some of those re-estimates could threaten the city’s ability to adequately provide a service that New Yorkers rely on – meal programs for older New Yorkers.
Pols and Neighbors Call For a Safer Franklin Avenue After Killing of Cycling Advocate
Julianne Cuba, Streetsblog NYC, May 5, 2023
The city must do a better job of protecting cyclists on Franklin Avenue, a local council member said in the mournful aftermath of Monday’s death of 39-year-old cyclist Adam Uster at the hands of a truck driver on the crucial Brooklyn route — where neighbors will hold a vigil and rally on Friday.
“On this particular corridor where we’ve just seen so much vehicular violence I think definitely having a protected bike lane would help save lives,” said Council Member Crystal Hudson (D-Fort Greene). “This is a tragic loss that could have been avoided. I hope his death does not go in vain.”
According to police and family, Uster — a cycling advocate and member of Transportation Alternatives with a passion for photography — was heading home from Wegmans with his bike trailer filled with groceries when he was struck by the driver of a flatbed truck at the corner of Franklin and Lexington avenues at about 11:30 a.m. Police, who did not release the driver’s name nor issued any summonses, said the investigation is ongoing.
Get Me In The Rat Zone, Says 200+ Prospect Heights Residents
Peter Senzamici, Patch, May 4, 2023
Prospect Heights has so many rats that, instead of the classic “birds and the bees” talk, parents are having the “please don’t play with the squished rat” chat.
And neighbors are fed up. At least a few hundred of them.
Over 200 Prospect Heights neighbors submitted testimony demanding the city recognize the neighborhood for what they claim it really is: one of the most rat-infested neighborhoods in the city.
Brooklyn high school leads pilot program training anti-bullying and harassment tactics for students
Sarah Belle Lin, amNY, May 3, 2023
High school students at a Brooklyn school are learning how to intervene when they see bullying and harassment at school and on the streets.
The Academy of Urban Planning and Engineering (AUPE), formerly Bushwick High School, has partnered with anti-bullying nonprofit Right to Be since last September to equip teachers with a curriculum that trains people how to be better bystanders when they witness a situation.
School Library, Garden Win Participatory Budget Funds In Brooklyn
Emily Rahhal, Patch, April 27, 2023
Four Central Brooklyn schools will share $1 million in public funding for library, school yard and other improvement projects after residents voted in this year’s participatory budgeting process.
Nearly 2,000 locals age 11 and older voted to fund school-related projects in Clinton Hill and Crown Heights, according to City Council Member Crystal Hudson.
P.S. 11 in Clinton Hill will receive the biggest share — $350,000 to upgrade its school yard, which has been damaged by years of construction, according to Hudson. The school yard is currently a concrete play area that is unsafe for students.
The “Unapologetic Quest” of the City Council’s Crystal Hudson
Brian Braiker, Brooklyn Magazine, April 24, 2023
Crystal Hudson didn’t initially intend to get into public service. The City Council member, who represents the 35th district, was in marketing for a decade, first for pro sports in Washington D.C., and then for Amtrak. But when Hudson’s mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, she became her primary caregiver for eight years … and found herself navigating the byzantine bureaucratic systems for elderly and sick New Yorkers. Galvanized to make a difference, she went to work for the city where she served as deputy public advocate to Public Advocate Jumaane Williams, and is a former aide to City Council Member Laurie Cumbo. She ran for office in 2021 on a platform that tackled issues around affordable housing, education, criminal justice reform, and elder care.
This week, Council Member Hudson, a third generation Brooklynite from Prospect Heights who represents her own neighborhood plus Fort Greene, Clinton Hill, Crown Heights and part of Bed-Stuy, joins us on “Brooklyn Magazine: The Podcast.” One of first open Black gay black women — and one of 20 members of the progressive caucus — on the City Council, Hudson joins the podcast to speak about her first year in office, her accomplishments, goals and challenges.
Revamping Atlantic Avenue: You May Have a Say in Brooklyn’s Transformation Plans
Romaissaa Benzizoune, BK Reader, April 18, 2023
What do you want Atlantic Avenue to look and feel like? What types of businesses do you want to see on the avenue? Are the housing options inclusive enough?
These are just a few of the questions New York City officials asked dozens of Brooklynites on April 16, at a walking tour of the area. The gathering was part of a community-based brainstorming process called the Atlantic Avenue Mixed-Use Plan.
AAMUP aims to create an “inclusive, mixed-use” area along Atlantic Avenue and nearby blocks in Crown Heights and Bed-Stuy.
The plan’s objectives include facilitating the construction of affordable housing, providing additional space for jobs and services, improving pedestrian safety and investing in neighborhood enhancements, according to city documents.
Help Shape Central Brooklyn’s Land Use Policies
Emily Rahhal, Patch, April 18, 2023
Central Brooklyn residents will weigh in on the accessibility of community hubs, transit, businesses, parks and more in a new local participatory land use process.
City Council Member Crystal Hudson, who represents Crown and Prospect Heights, recently asked residents to fill out a survey to help electeds make decisions about land use and development.
The survey is part of a larger project to include community feedback in land use decisions, Hudson said in an update to locals Monday.
‘It’s baffling’: NYC proposes cuts to senior programs despite anticipated boom in population
Giulia Heyward, Gothamist, March 29, 2023
The Adams administration is considering more than $16 million in cuts to resources it provides to senior citizens across the five boroughs in the city’s budget next year. These reductions are coming at the same time that the number of New Yorkers over 65 is expected to exponentially increase – more than any other age group – in the immediate future.
Brooklyn Councilmember Crystal Hudson, a Democrat who chairs the Committee on Aging, called the anticipated cuts both “baffling” and “unconscionable.” On March 14, Hudson led a preliminary hearing that examined potential cuts to the budget of the city’s Department for the Aging that would affect New Yorkers 65 years and older.
Council’s LGBTQIA+ Caucus rips New York Post over coverage of Nashville shooter’s gender identity
Matt Tracy, Gay City News, March 28, 2023
The co-chairs of the New York City Council’s LGBTQIA+ Caucus blasted the New York Post on March 28 after the newspaper ran a cover story describing the Nashville school shooter as a “TRANSGENDER KILLER” who targeted a “CHRISTIAN SCHOOL”
The cover was published just hours after a March 27 school shooting in the Green Hills section of Nashville, Tennessee, where an individual entered the Covenant School and fatally shot three children and three adults. The shooter was fatally shot by police officers who responded to the scene.
After 1 Year In Office, Brooklyn City Council Rep Reflects On Policies
Emily Rahhal, Patch, March 22, 2023
After just over a year in office, Brooklyn City Council member Crystal Hudson reflected on and celebrated her office’s wins Tuesday, including protections for aging residents and tenants.
Hudson delivered her “State of the District” address Tuesday evening at Medgar Evers College, a “gem of an institution” just a few blocks away from where she held her inaugural ceremony just over a year ago, Hudson said. Hudson represents Crown Heights, Prospect Heights, Fort Greene, Clinton Hill and part of Bed Stuy.
Attorney General James leads drag story hour ‘read-a-thon’ at LGBT Center
Matt Tracy, Gay City News, March 20, 2023
Attorney General Letitia James hosted a drag story hour “read-a-thon” at the LGBT Center in Manhattan on March 19, drawing supporters and some opponents who flashed signs outside of the venue.
“The recent rise in anti-LGBTQ+ protests, rhetoric, and policies has left New Yorkers — myself included — devastated and disappointed,” James said in a written statement after the event. “But I know better than anyone that when the choice is between love and hate, between joy and venom, New Yorkers will always choose love, and New Yorkers will always choose joy.”
Brooklyn Councilmember Crystal Hudson on progressive politics, budget talks
Errol Louis, NY1, March 14, 2023
City Council Speaker Adrienne Adams delivered her State of the City address last week, touching on issues of affordable housing, the employment shortage in city agencies, and Rikers Island.
This comes as the council continues budget hearings.
Meanwhile, the council is going through some changes of its own with a shakeup within the progressive caucus, causing the group to shrink to just 20 members.
One of the remaining members, Councilmember Crystal Hudson, joined Errol Louis on “Inside City Hall” to discuss what it means to be a progressive, public safety, her work as the chair of the Committee on Aging, and the diverse constituencies of her district.
Her Brooklyn district includes the neighborhoods of Prospect Heights, Fort Greene, and parts of Crown Heights and Bedford-Stuyvesant.
What Does It Mean to Be a Progressive in New York City?
Jeffery C. Mays and Emma G. Fitzsimmons, The New York Times, February 17, 2023
In the summer of 2020, New York’s progressive movement looked more robust than ever before. The murder of George Floyd by the police led activists to occupy City Hall Park for a month and prompted the City Council to pass a budget that called for $1 billion in cuts to the New York Police Department.
It quickly became voguish for Democratic politicians, especially in New York City, to proclaim their progressive bona fides — and suddenly everybody was aligning themselves with the left.
So leaders of the City Council’s Progressive Caucus decided they needed to establish a litmus test: a “statement of principles” that called for a commitment to a lengthy agenda including universal early childhood education, affordable housing and, most controversially, a reduction in the Police Department at a time when major crime rose by 22 percent last year.
One year in office: Councilmember Crystal Hudson talks wins, losses, and her plans for the future
Ximena Del Cerro, Brooklyn Paper, February 8, 2023
Last year, a host of brand-new New York City councilmembers took their seats in City Hall for the very first time. Among them was councilmember Crystal Hudson of District 35, representing Prospect Heights, Fort Greene, Clinton Hill, and parts of Crown Heights and Bedford-Stuyvesant. A former city government employee and the founder of a local mutual aid group, Hudson was elected in 2021 and became one of the first gay Black women ever to the council.
Now a little over a year into her first term — and facing the prospect of council elections this summer — Hudson is reflecting on her first 365 days in office: what she’s accomplished, what she’s learned, and what she’s planning for this year and the hopeful future terms to come.
Advocates, pols rally at City Hall for the passage of bills requiring more police transparency during stops
Emily Davenport and Paul Frangipane, amNY, February 8, 2023
Community officials and advocates gathered at City Hall on Wednesday to call for legislation that would ensure more accountability and transparency from the New York City Police Department.
Organizations from around the city, including Communities United for Police Reform, joined Public Advocate Jumaane Williams and Council members Alexa Avilés and Crystal Hudson to rally for the passage of the How Many Stops Act, which consists of two bills aiming to bring oversight and transparency to the NYPD’s interactions with the public.
“A lot of what happens, they’re saying they’re trying to deal with the violence going on but as we have seen for decades, simply adding more police and more aggressive police does not address the gun violence that is affecting so many of us in this city, state and country,” said Williams.
Rally outside City Hall calls for more transparency from NYPD
News 12 Staff, February 8, 2023
Following the death of Tyre Nichols at the hands of police officers in Memphis, advocates and City Council members are calling on the NYPD to provide more transparency in their operations.
The reform advocates were joined by community organizations outside City Hall on Wednesday, demanding new legislation be passed that would force police to report more of their interactions with the public.
City Council members Crystal Hudson and Alexa Aviles are sponsoring the How Many Stops Act, with support from Public Advocate Jumaane Williams. The act would consist of two bills that they say would make communities safer.
City Council Members facing harassment and intimidation for drag story hour support
Jeff Coltin, City & State New York, February 3, 2023
Protests against drag story hours – and the New York City Council members who support them – have been happening with regularity, and not every incident gets press coverage. “They’ve come to my district 11 times in the last six months,” Council Member Shekar Krishnan said of the anti-LGBTQ activists. “Four times at my district office, twice at my house, four times at the library, and another LGBT event that we had, too.”
Krishnan and Council Members Crystal Hudson and Erik Bottcher got together at City Hall Thursday to talk about being targeted by far right hate groups, including the Proud Boys. Hudson, who like Bottcher, is gay, said it wasn’t protesting, but “harassment and intimidation” for supporting and funding the popular programs where drag artists read to children. “It was ringing my neighbor’s bell saying ‘is she in there, bring her out,’ screaming all sorts of things for hours.” Two people were arrested in December after trespassing into Bottcher’s building and tagging his home with homophobic graffiti.
Council members look to increase funding for Drag Story Hour, refuse to cower to far-right protesters
Ethan Stark-Miller, AMNY, February 3, 2023
After being targeted at his office and home over the past few months by a group of far-right protesters vehemently opposed to Drag Story Hour events, City Council Member Erik Bottcher said Thursday that he’s looking to increase funding for the program in the coming fiscal year.
Bottcher, an out Democrat who represents Manhattan neighborhoods including the West Village and Chelsea, made the remarks during a sit-down interview on Thursday afternoon, in which he and his colleagues who’ve also been targeted — Council Members Crystal Hudson (D-Brooklyn) and Shekar Krishnan (D-Queens) — shared their experiences with reporters.
NYC Jails Want to Ban Physical Mail, Then Privatize Scanning of Digital Versions
Akela Lacy, The Intercept, January 23, 2023
The New York City Department of Correction wants to stop incarcerated people from receiving physical mail inside city jails. The department, known as DOC, said the proposed changes are part of an effort to increase safety in the jail system by cracking down on illegal contraband following the deaths of 19 people last year at Rikers Island, the city’s jail complex. Several of the people died from apparent drug overdoses, including at least one from fentanyl.
Top Electeds Honored Martin Luther King Jr in Poignant Annual Tribute at BAM
BK Reader, January 18, 2023
Local and state officials donned their best to take in Brooklyn’s annual tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
The Brooklyn Academy of Music hosted its annual tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. on Jan. 16, at the Howard Gilman Opera House.
The 37th annual event, presented by BAM and Brooklyn Borough president Antonio Reynoso, is a beloved Brooklyn tradition.
Board of Corrections to contemplate restrictions on mail in city jails as BK pols, public defenders voice opposition
Kirstyn Brendlen, Brooklyn Paper, January 18, 2023
The city’s Board of Corrections has formed a committee to explore the consequences of a proposal that would effectively ban people held in city jails from receiving physical mail and packages, it announced at a Jan. 10 meeting.
Three members of the board, which oversees and monitors city jails and the Department of Corrections, will “focus on the impact of the proposed variances on the incarcerated population,” said BOC chair Dwayne C. Sampson. The committee — made up of BOC members Jacqueline Sherman, Jacqueline Pitts, and Joseph Ramos — will work to address the concerns of the board and of the general public before the next BOC meeting on Feb. 14, according to Sampson.
Community voices ideas, concerns about Atlantic Avenue development in Brooklyn
Greg Mocker, PIX 11, January 17, 2023
New housing and jobs are at the top of the list when new development projects are discussed.
How will new zoning proposals change a neighborhood? The conversation is coming to a stretch of Atlantic Avenue between Vanderbilt and Nostrand avenues.
New York City is moving ahead with the next big plan along the busy corridor in Brooklyn. A 13-block stretch runs through Bedford-Stuyvesant, Prospect Heights and Crown Heights.
Smart Composting Bins Appear in Prospect Heights, Delighting Neighbors
Peter Senzamici, Patch, January 17, 2023
Reinforcements have arrived in the war on rats — and for once, it’s not for the unwashed rodent horde.
Seven Smart Composting Bins appeared in Prospect Heights this morning, and neighbors were welcoming the apparition of public curbside 24/7 organic waste drop off with open arms.
One neighbor’s social media reaction: “AAAA!!”
BK D-35 Council Member Crystal Hudson makes King’s Message Current at the BAM Tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Jan 16
Our Time Press, January 16, 2023
My name is Crystal Hudson, and I am your Council Member, proudly representing the neighborhoods of Crown Heights, Prospect Heights, Fort Greene, Clinton Hill, and Bed-Stuy, right here in the People’s Republic of Brooklyn. Thank you to BAM’s esteemed president, Gina Duncan, and to the incredible staff, who work tirelessly to ensure that the Brooklyn Academy of Music remains a true gem in our City and a place where all are welcome. It is an honor to represent this district for so many reasons, and BAM is most certainly one of them. Dr. King’s legacy is one marked by sustained struggle.
Drag Story Hour in Jackson Heights draws hundreds
Deirdre Bardolf, Queens Chronicle, January 5, 2023
Hundreds flooded 81st Street in front of the Jackson Heights library last Thursday to defend Drag Story Hour, a program in which drag artists read stories to kids, while some counter-protested opposite them.
Tensions were high as police separated protesters yelling in each other’s faces and one arrest took place but Drag Story Hour continued on despite the ruckus outside.
A chorus of outrage rings out against mayor’s proposed cuts to nonprofits
Ariama C. Long, Amsterdam News, December 29, 2022
Mayor Eric Adams is in hot water this holiday season over a letter he crafted that calls for 50% cuts to City Council grants for nonprofit organizations.
City agencies were told to reduce spending by 3% back in September under the eliminate-the-gap (PEG) program to reach specific goals in the city’s financial plan. The financial plan totals $5.55 billion in savings over the next four years. The comptroller’s office concluded that the PEG programs “are an essential part of addressing the city’s sizable budget gaps” but warned against “calls for a broad 50% reduction” to the city’s agencies.
E-Bikes Are Not Allowed in Prospect Park, But These Brooklyn Electeds Think They Should Be
BK Reader, December 28, 2022
Brooklyn council members Shahana Hanif, Rita Joseph and Crystal Hudson are urging New York City Parks to allow electric bikes in Prospect Park.
The council members penned a letter to NYC Parks Commissioner on Dec. 20, urging the parks department to work with Prospect Park Alliance to establish a policy that permits e-bike users. Their districts all include portions of Prospect Park.
NYC Mayor Adams, Council members clash on how to pay for costs from migrant crisis
Michael Gartland, New York Daily News, December 21, 2022
Mayor Adams and City Council members locked horns Wednesday over how city government should bankroll aid to the thousands of migrants who have come here this year — with the mayor arguing lawmakers should dip into their own discretionary funding to foot the bill.
Adams’ suggestion that City Council members use funding typically reserved for their own pet causes came after two days of Council hearings devoted to the migrant crisis.
Three Council Members Whose Districts Surround Prospect Park Demand the Return of E-Bikes
Gersh Kuntzman, StreetsBlog NYC, December 21, 2022
E-bikes aren’t evil.
Three Brooklyn Council members whose districts all touch Prospect Park are demanding that the Parks Department allow the battery-boosted bikes to be used inside the greenspace, which, like other city parks, don’t permit e-bikes.
The trio — Shahana Hanif (D-Park Slope), Crystal Hudson (D-Prospect Heights) and Rita Joseph (D-Prospect Lefferts Gardens — said in a letter to the agency that it acknowledged that Prospect Park officials have “safety concerns” about electric bikes, but then quickly added, “E-bikes are legal to ride on New York City streets and make moving around the city more accessible without adding more pollution and congestion to our streets and parks via cars or environmentally unfriendly forms of transportation.”
Adams’ First Two Neighborhood Rezonings Take Shape as Mayor Looks to Supercharge Development
David Brand, CityLimits, December 9, 2022
Mayor Eric Adams on Thursday released new details about the first two neighborhood-level rezonings pursued by his administration, positioning plans for the East Bronx and Central Brooklyn in a broader strategy to supercharge housing development across New York City.
The mixed-use rezonings, previously discussed by city planning and housing officials following years of preparation, will target neighborhoods around new Metro-North stations set to open in Morris Park and Parkchester/Van Nest in 2027, as well as a light manufacturing corridor along Atlantic Avenue.
Group of city councilmembers push for federal takeover of Rikers Island
Courtney Gross, NY1, November 16, 2022
At least seven City Council members are now urging a federal judge to appoint a receiver for Rikers Island. In a letter obtained exclusively by NY1, these lawmakers say Rikers Island has only become more deadly and the only way to turn things around would be through a federal takeover. Eighteen people in custody or recently released from custody have died this year. “Over the past 11 months, many of us have visited the jails and have held public and private meetings with the Department of Correction’s executive leadership. On these visits, we have continued to witness Rikers’ deteriorating conditions and spoken with dozens of detainees who experience a lack of basic services and safety precautions,” the councilmembers wrote. “Despite promises from leadership, the jails have grown more deadly and far less transparent.”
Prospect Heights Council Member Offers Free Turkeys And Music
Peter Senzamici, Patch, November 16, 2022
Come get your free turkey, courtesy of your local Council member! On Saturday, Nov. 19, first-term Council Member Crystal Hudson is hosting a free turkey giveaway from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Prospect Heights Educational Campus located at 883 Classon Ave. The announcement promises “all the fixins’” in addition to the seasonal birds.
Childcare bills signed into law
Ariama Long, Amsterdam News, November 17, 2022
Mayor Eric Adams signed a package of childcare bills into law last week sponsored by a majority woman city council. The bills address chronic issues with the city’s child care system and access to services. “No parent leaves home without their phone, their keys, and without knowing that their child has a proper place and well-being. COVID-19 really decimated families of far too many; they had to make some strong and challenging decisions,” said Mayor Adams at the signing on Wednesday, Nov. 9. “They have lost wages and childcare in the process. We understand that and we’re focused on rightsizing to get this right.”
Local Dems push for ranked choice voting
Jeff Hirsh, Evanston Now, October 26, 2022
Crystal Hudson may have been in first place, but she was still not officially “first,” at least not until New York City’s system of ranked choice voting was applied. Then she became the winner. Hudson was part of a webinar Tuesday night from the Democratic Party of Evanston, as DPOE tries to convince Evanstonians to change the way city officeholders are chosen. “Ranked choice voting is the way to go,” Hudson said, reflecting on her own experience running for New York’s City Council, saying the system “empowered” the voters.
New $500K Plan Recruits LGBTQ+ Workers For Unions Jobs: PH Elected
Peter Senzamici, Patch, October 7, 2022
Council member Crystal Hudson announced Friday a $500,000 initiative to help get more LGBTQIA+ workers at unionized positions, according to the lawmaker’s office. The initiative will help fund recruitment efforts at nonprofits and city agencies with the aim to get more LGBTQIA+ employed at union jobs. Funding will also prepare workers for jobs across different sectors — like building trades, pre-apprenticeships, civil service and certification exams — and provide support on the job, Hudson’s office said in a release.
Prospect Heights Hopes For Rat Help From New Council Member
Peter Senzamici, Patch, September 30, 2022
It’s not secret that rats are a major problem in this otherwise bucolic neighborhood. And finally, after years of community meetings — and dodging rats on the streets — residents say a meeting with their new council member left them with a sense of change. At the start of the meeting on Monday Sept. 26, residents were not quite seeing the light. Some told Patch that they felt frustrated by presentations on how 311 works and the basics of the Department of Health Rat Academy lessons.
Council’s LGBTQIA+ Caucus urges Yeshiva University to recognize Pride Alliance
Matt Tracy, Gay City News, September 28, 2022
Five members of the New York City Council’s LGBTQIA+ Caucus delivered a letter to Yeshiva University on September 27 demanding that the school recognize an undergraduate LGBTQ club on campus in the midst of a protracted legal battle over whether the school should be required to acknowledge the group.
“Simply put, your refusal to recognize this group is in blatant defiance of the spirit and letter of the New York City Human Rights Law,” the lawmakers wrote in a letter addressed to Rabbi Dr. Ari Berman, who serves as Yeshiva University’s president. “As a non-sectarian educational institution, as indicated by your charter, Yeshiva University is not exempt from the human rights law and cannot deny recognition of a student group on the basis of religious freedom.”
Hudson, older NYers call for more age-in-place protections for seniors
Ariama Long, Amsterdam News, September 15, 2022
Data shows older adults represent New York City’s “fastest growing demographic.” Councilmember Crystal Hudson, The American Association of Retired Persons (AARP), and other electeds joined forces to introduce bills that will help senior tenants age in place on Sept 7. At least 23 out of the 55 census defined neighborhoods citywide have a majority immigrant older adult population, said Hudson. She added that older New Yorkers, ages 50+, generally want to age in their homes and neighborhoods rather than institutional settings.
51 Council Members in 52 Weeks: District 35, Crystal Hudson
Brian Lehrer, WNYC, August 30, 2022
The majority of the New York City Council members are new and are part of a class that is the most diverse and progressive in city history. Over the next year Brian Lehrer will get to know all 51 members. This week, Councilmember Crystal Hudson, talks about her priorities for District 35, which includes Fort Greene, Clinton Hill, Crown Heights, Prospect Heights and Bedford Stuyvesant.
Brooklyn firehouse reflects diversity of community
Ayana Harry, PIX11, August 26, 2022
A group of Brooklyn firefighters was recognized on Friday. They hail from Engine 234, which holds the distinction as one of the most diverse fire companies in the FDNY. “We’re proud of that,” Capt. Paul Washington said. The fast-paced firehouse is stationed in the heart of Crown Heights. “Some of our members were born and raised in this community or surrounding areas so we have a special feeling for the neighborhood,” Washington said. PIX11 News was there as City Council member Crystal Hudson stopped by to recognize Engine 234, tour the firehouse and say thank you. “These are places that we don’t actually get into all the time, and that we don’t see necessarily who’s behind the uniform,” Hudson said. “To see all different types of people serving a community that looks like me — it is inspiring.”
City Council and LGBTQIA+ Caucus to introduce monkeypox bills
Ariama Long, Amsterdam News, August 15, 2022
Councilmembers Crystal Hudson, Chi Osse, and the LGBTQIA+ Caucus introduced a package of bills last week to address the monkeypox crisis as well as vaccination equity and public outreach, just as the COVID-19 pandemic recedes. “This City has had more than two years to learn from the COVID-19 pandemic; to study its missteps and put into place a rapid response plan to handle any future outbreaks of infectious disease effectively and efficiently,” said Hudson in a statement.
Brooklyn councilmembers propose new legislation on affordable housing, monkeypox response
Kirstyn Brendlen, Brooklyn Paper, August 12, 2022
Brooklyn councilmembers took the reins at Thursday’s regular full City Council meeting, introducing new packages of legislation relating to affordable housing, the monkeypox outbreak and more, and celebrating as their previously-written bills were approved by their colleagues. The Council on Aug. 10 overwhelmingly voted to approve a package of bills on reproductive health and maternal mortality. Four of the seven bills in the package were sponsored by Brooklyn pols, and the newly-approved legislation will create education programs, force more transparency between hospitals and birthing patients, and more.
Council passes package of reproductive health legislation, expanding doula and midwifery services
Ethan Stark-Miller, PoliticsNY, August 11, 2022
Building on their mission to counter the U.S. Supreme Court’s overturning Roe v. Wade last month, the City Council Thursday passed a package of reproductive health and maternal mortality legislation following an abortion protections package they passed last month. The seven bill and five resolution package includes legislation requiring the city Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DHMH) to post its annual Maternal Mortality and Morbidity Report on its website and to provide doula services to low income communities across the five boroughs as well as direct the city to distribute educational information on doula and midwifery services.
LGBTQIA+ Caucus Members In BK Want To Close Monkeypox Vax Equity Gap
Naeisha Rose, Patch, August 11, 2022
The city is falling short on distributing the monkeypox vaccine, especially among queer minorities, a prominent Crown Heights Council Member charged this week. Crystal Hudson, co-chair of the Council’s LGBTQIA+ Caucus, plans to join her colleagues in introducing bills to stop the spread of the virus. The bills also aim to focus on people of color in the LGBT communities, who have long been ignored in past inaction, she said.
New York City Council’s LGBTQ caucus introduces legislation calling for increased monkeypox vaccine availability
Astrid Martinez, CBS News, August 11, 2022
As cases of monkeypox increase across the country, so are the calls for a change in the way the vaccine is distributed. As CBS2’s Astrid Martinez reports, new legislation was introduced in New York by the City Council’s LGBTQ caucus Thursday. Emergency orders declared. Long lines of people waiting hours for a monkeypox vaccine. New York City residents detailing their struggles to get a shot.
Missing Crown Heights Teen Found After Week-Long Search, NYPD Says
Kayla Levy, Patch, August 4, 2022
After going missing for over a week and spurring a neighborhood-wide search effort, a Crown Heights teenager was found Thursday, officials confirmed. “Aunisty Elliot has been found and is safe!!!” announced Brooklyn Councilmember Crystal Hudson, who spearheaded the local search efforts. Police also confirmed she has been found and is safe. Elliot, 14, went missing from her Prospect Place home on the morning of July 27.
Brooklyn politician wants ‘urgency’ in search for teen
Mary Murphy, PIX11, August 3, 2022
The New York City Council member who represents central Brooklyn called on the NYPD to treat the disappearance of a 14-year-old girl last week with “urgency.” “We know that statistically, Black girls are labeled as runaways,” Council member Crystal Hudson observed, “even when, you know, there might be evidence of trafficking or other types of foul play.”
Brooklyn Electeds Introduce Bills to Provide No-Cost Doula Services for NY’ers
BK Reader, June 9, 2022
New York City Councilmembers Jennifer Gutiérrez, Farah Louis and Crystal Hudson last week introduced legislation to build a pipeline of no-cost professional doula services and an educational campaign across the city. “This country has one of the highest rates of maternal mortality among high-income countries, especially when it comes to women of color,” said Gutiérrez. “We know that when people use doulas during pregnancy and birth, they’re two times less likely to have birth complications and four times less likely to have a low birth weight baby. Those are life-saving statistics”
A Q&A with New York City Council LGBTQ Caucus Co-Chairs Tiffany Cabán and Crystal Hudson
Annie McDonough, City and State, June 7, 2022
New York City Council Members Tiffany Cabán and Crystal Hudson are looking to shake things up as co-chairs of the council’s LGBTQ Caucus – starting with its name. “We’re finalizing our bylaws, but the name of the caucus is formally being changed to the LGBTQIA+ Caucus,” Cabán told City & State recently. Transitioning to a more inclusive name might not achieve material gains for the community, but it’s indicative of the approach that the two co-chairs are taking to lead the caucus. While the co-chairs wouldn’t talk much about a package of bills that the caucus is working on, Cabán and Hudson said they were “unapologetic” in their intention to focus on the most at-risk members of the LGBTQ community, including transgender youth and seniors as well as queer people of color.
Brooklyn pol makes good on ‘Black Agenda’ campaign promise with 4 new bills
Kirstyn Brendlen, Brooklyn Paper, June 2, 2022
Councilmember Crystal Hudson made good on her campaign policy “A Black Agenda For New York City” on Thursday, introducing a package of bills central to the policy’s goals in the City Council. Hudson, who represents parts of Fort Greene, Clinton Hill, Prospect Heights, and Bedford-Stuyvesant, introduced the policy early on in her campaign, releasing a comprehensive study identifying the most pressing needs of Black New Yorkers and a list of recommendations for elected officials way back in February 2021. Now halfway through her first year in office, Hudson is taking her own advice and introducing four bills that address health, economic, housing and discrimination justice.
Council approves Atlantic Avenue buildings after Hudson negotiates more affordable units
Kirstyn Brendlen, Brooklyn Paper, May 2, 2022
The New York City Council voted 48-1 to approve a pair of new buildings on Atlantic Avenue on Thursday, a move Brooklyn Councilmember Crystal Hudson said would change the game for affordable housing in future rezonings.
Making NYC Age-Friendly: An ABC7 Town Hall with AARP
ABC 7, April 27, 2022
Channel 7 Eyewitness News anchor and reporter Mike Marza will moderate a discussion on the needs of older New Yorkers and NYC’s responsibilities to them. The panel will discuss a wide range of issues, including ageism, affordable housing, transportation, food security and more.
Max Politics Podcast: City Council Member Crystal Hudson on Supporting Aging New Yorkers, Budget Priorities, & More
Ben Max, Gotham Gazette, April 25, 2022
City Council Member Crystal Hudson, a Democrat representing parts of Brooklyn, joined the show to discuss her work chairing the Council’s Committee on Aging, city budget priorities, housing policy, and more.
Bill aims to increase heat in NYC apartment buildings following deadly Bronx fire
Sonia Rincon, ABC 7, March 28, 2022
An effort is underway to require New York City apartment building landlords to turn up the heat during the coldest months of the year to help prevent devastating fires. The deadly fire back in January that killed 17 people in the Bronx, started with a space heater.
City Council eyes boosting minimum heat rules
Rich Calder, New York Post, March 26, 2022
The City Council is looking to turn up the heat on landlords. In a bid to reduce the use of space heaters like the one which caused the Bronx blaze in January that killed 17 people, Councilwoman Crystal Hudson (D-Brooklyn) introduced legislation that would require building owners to raise the minimum temperature in all residential units during the eight-month “heat season.”
NYC Council Member Crystal Hudson Inaugurated in Brooklyn
COLive, March 13, 2022
Crystal Hudson, the newly elected New York City Council Member of District 35, was sworn in to her new role at an Inauguration Ceremony on Saturday night in Brooklyn. Elected officials joined Hudson’s supporters, family, and friends for the celebration which included speakers New York Senator and the Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, Attorney General of New York Tish James, Congresswoman Yvette Clarke, and New York City Public Advocate Jumaane Williams.
Councilwoman Crystal Hudson to co-chair LGBTQ caucus
Monica Espitia, NY1, March 10, 2022
Councilwoman Crystal Hudson was recently appointed co-chair of the LGBT Caucus, alongside Tiffany Cabán from Queens. She joined Errol Louis on “Inside City Hall” on Thursday to talk about some of her legislative priorities. Hudson is also the chair of the Council’s Committee on Aging and represents District 35, which covers all or part of Fort Greene, Clinton Hill, Prospect Heights and Crown Heights.
NYC Councilmember Hudson talks Adams’ faith leader controversy
Dan Mannarino, PIX11, February 27, 2022
New York City Mayor Eric Adams continues to face criticism, even from within the Democratic Party, over a recent appointment. This past week, Adams named Bronx pastor Fernando Cabrera his senior faith advisor. Many City Council members, as well as New Yorkers, took issue with the appointment because of Cabrera’s past comments praising Uganda’s anti-LGBTQ policies.
‘Anti-Gay’ Mayoral Appointments ‘Disappoint’ Local LGBTQ Leader
Kayla Levy, Patch, February 22, 2022
An LGBTQ local leader spoke out against Mayor Eric Adams’ choice to appoint a pastor who rallied against gay marriage and a politician who praised a law criminalizing homosexuality to his administration. “As a member of the NYC Council’s LGBTQ Caucus, I am disappointed with a number of [Mayor Eric Adams’] appointments,” wrote Council Member Crystal Hudson, alongside a joint statement written by the City Council caucus.
Council’s LGBTQ Caucus Condemns Adams’ Appointments
Matt Tracy, Gay City News, February 21, 2022
The City Council’s LGBTQ Caucus criticized Mayor Eric Adams on February 21 over his appointment of several individuals with a history of making anti-LGBTQ statements to spots in his administration.
“New York City went to the polls in November to elect a government among the most diverse in history,” the LGBTQ Caucus wrote in a joint statement. “The people have spoken: inclusion, dignity, and justice are clear shared values. Unfortunately, a number of Mayor Adams’ new appointments are steps in the opposite direction.”
Bronx Fire Prompts Safety Walkthroughs At Crown Heights Buildings
BK Reader, February 5, 2022
A long list of repairs in three major Crown Heights apartment complexes are getting renewed attention given the fatal fire in the Bronx, which was caused by a faulty space heater. Tenant leaders in the Ebbets Field apartments, Tivoli Towers and Stoddard Place complexes led a group of elected officials on a tour through their buildings this week in the hopes of correcting long-standing problems, including heat issues, that have spurred even more concern given the January fire.
City Watch: New Brooklyn Councilmember Wants to Streamline Housing Aid
David Brand, CityLimits, February 2, 2022
Central Brooklyn’s newest councilmember is urging New York City and state to streamline assistance for renters in need as she settles into her first term in office amid an affordable housing shortage. Councilmember Crystal Hudson, who represents Brooklyn’s 35th District, appeared on City Watch on WBAI 99.5 FM Sunday to discuss her priorities for her first term in office. Hudson was appointed chair of the Council’s Committee on Aging earlier this month. She said one of her goals is to connect seniors with rental assistance and permanent housing after eviction protections expired Jan. 15.
13 Brooklyn Pols Appointed City Council Committee Chairs
Kirstyn Brendlen, Brooklyn Paper, January 21, 2022
The almost all-new slate of New York City councilmembers have been hard at work at City Hall for just about three weeks now, and on Thursday they received their committee assignments, setting the course for which issues they’ll champion over the next four years. The council’s 38 committees — or 39, including a new special task force on fire prevention, formed in the wake of the deadly Twin Parks fire — handle most of the Council’s day-to-day work, hashing out the details of proposed legislation, taking votes, and holding hearings to receive feedback from the community. A number of subcommittees, including the newly-formed Subcommittee on COVID Recovery and Resilience and the often popular Subcommittee on Zoning and Franchises, handle specific issues within their larger committees.
Queer Councilmembers Secure Committee Assignments
Matt Tracy, Gay City News, January 20, 2022
The seven new members of the City Council’s LGBT Caucus have received their committee assignments under City Council Speaker Adrienne Adams, and several of them have been tapped to serve as committee chairs. Crystal Hudson will chair the Aging Committee; Chi Ossé will lead the Cultural Affairs, Libraries, and International Intergroup Relations Committee; Lynn Schulman will be chair of the Health Committee; and Tiffany Cabán will chair the Committee on Women and Gender Equity.