By Zainab Iqbal
Published: November 1st, 2017
In an effort to build a closer relationship between New Yorkers and the city government, NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio attended one of his many “City Hall in Your Borough” Resource Fairs last Wednesday, Oct. 25, right here at Brooklyn College.
“City Hall in Your Borough” is an initiative to bring de Blasio and his staff on the road across the five boroughs to engage NYC citizens about the government, and to encourage them to ask questions and voice concerns about local problems.
From 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., the second floor of the Student Center was packed with Brooklynites, including Brooklyn College students and faculty and various agencies. Each city department, such as the Department of Transportation, New York Police Department, and Department of Finance, was stationed throughout the floor giving away pamphlets and free promotional items.
There was a center podium awaiting the mayor, and it wasn’t until 1:15 p.m. that he arrived, first greeting BC President Michelle Anderson.
“The mayor was warm and engaged when I met him,” Anderson said. “He asked how we are doing at Brooklyn College. I said we are doing well, and I shared news of our strategic planning process and the ‘We Stand Against Hate’ series. He seemed genuinely pleased.”
De Blasio was then introduced to College of Liberal Arts and Science (CLAS) President Nissim Said, and then proceeded to go through the line to hear the concerns of Brooklynites.
“We’re here to learn more about the resources that are accessible to students,” Said said. “We also hope to hear the Mayor express his support for CUNY students.”
Those who wanted to meet the mayor stood in a line and, one by one, went up to ask him whatever questions they had. If de Blasio could answer the question, he did. But he would call up specific department officials if he felt they were better equipped to address certain concerns.
One of the attendees standing on line was Gloria C. Thomas, a community advocate for 26 years. She was waiting to speak to the mayor about nursing homes.
“Residents need politicians to come see them. They’re voting and need to put face to the name,” Thomas said. “That human touch would be everything. It shows concern, it shows the elderly are not forgotten, and you need their votes.”
Among the many people in attendance was Brooklyn Borough Commissioner of NYC Department of Parks and Recreation, Martin Maher. Maher believes de Blasio conducts “City Hall in Your Borough” to be responsive to people.
“Brooklyn College is very centric to Brooklyn,” Maher said. “It’s easy to get to, everyone knows where it is—it’s the epicenter of this borough.”