On Tuesday night, residents packed the auditorium of IS. 218 for Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer’s hearing on the de Blasio administration’s proposed Inwood rezoning, with most testifiers speaking passionately against the proposal.
The Inwood rezoning is the fifth rezoning sponsored by the de Blasio administration to move through the multi-stage public review process known as ULURP through which a rezoning is approved or disproved. On March 20, the local community board voted against the proposal and enumerated an array of specific recommendations. The borough president will be issuing her own recommendation on April 25, after which the City Planning Commission, and finally the City Council, will make the ultimate and binding decisions.
There was an energy in the crowded auditorium both fiery and confident, buoyant and creative. Each person who came up to the mic to speak in opposition rode a wave of cheering and applause back to their seat. Someone with a set of markers was pumping out alluring posters. One activist brought bulk quantities of chocolate banana bread, soup and lentils to share as testifiers grew hungry. And then, lining the back of the auditorium, there were the balloons: six gigantic letters, in gold and silver, spelling out “VOTE NO.”