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Dear neighbors,

What a whirlwind 2022 was. Over the last year, our team has worked tirelessly to serve our district, invest in our community, fight for your interests and reorient policies to prioritize and address the needs of working people.

We are right back to it this January. Our district has received hundreds of asylum seekers to date, and as you may know, a new relief center in Red Hook began receiving migrants as of this week. We distributed gifts and holiday cheer at Three Kings Day celebrations across the district. We have been working to hold the NYPD accountable during its selection process for a new Commanding Officer for the 72 Precinct in Sunset Park. What we learned, despite stated commitments from Department officials and the Mayor himself, is that NYPD has no written policy of engaging community members in selecting a new commanding officer.

You may have also heard about a new agreement reached between the City and a major cruise operator. This deal would have cruise ships docking at the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal adding to pollution and traffic with little tangible investment into Red Hook or local businesses. This is unacceptable. I will continue to fight for our communities to ensure that the City’s long standing extractive relationship to our district ends.

This is our first newsletter of the year, and we’ll be introducing some changes to how we share information over email in the future. First, we plan to make these updates more frequent and digestible. We hope to tailor our messages to reach you with relevant and timely updates, too. If you haven’t updated your contact preferences with us before, please update your contact preferences here. If you have feedback on how we can make these emails even better, we want to hear from you. Please share your thoughts with our team at

Serving our district in the City Council is the honor of my life. I can’t wait to see what we’ll achieve this year, together!

In solidarity,




Council Member 
Alexa Avilés

Community acknowledgements

This January, we celebrated Three Kings Day, Martin Luther King Jr. Day and the Lunar New Year. Our office sponsored many giveaways for Three Kings Day and Lunar New Year. Celebrations will continue with the first-ever multicultural Lunar New Year parade down 5th Avenue this Sunday.

In February, we recognize Black History Month, as our country grieves the killing of another young Black man, Tyre Nichols, at the hands of police. I affirm that Black Lives Matter, and that Black history is US history. 

Lastly, we are excited to announce that Sunset Parker Rob Aguilar has been promoted to District Director where he will manage the constituent service team and the District 38 community events and outreach.  Felicidades Rob, thank you for all you do.


District bulletin

New district office hours 

To better serve community needs, we are updating walk-in hours for our District Office.
We know that working class New Yorkers often cannot make appointments during normal business hours. We will now open at 11:00am on Tuesday mornings and stay open later on Wednesdays, through 7pm. 
We will remain closed to visitors on Fridays.

2023 Office hours in Red Hook and on Eighth Avenue

We are pleased to announce dates and times for twice-monthly office hours in Red Hook and Sunset Park through March 2023.

We bring our office closer to you to assist with your housing issues, applications for government programs like SNAP and more.

Save and share our flyers, and you can make an appointment for our upcoming office hours here.


Relief center to open in Red Hook

In the past week and a half since a new emergency relief center was announced to open in Red Hook, our office has been in communication with local residents and organizations as our district prepares to receive up to 1,000 asylum seekers. We have been demanding answers and accountability out of this administration on its plans for how to manage this new reality.

Along with other Council Members, we have been calling on the administration to source out shelters for asylum seekers that are not improvised structures like what we are seeing in Red Hook. Over the weekend, some asylum seekers resisted efforts to relocate to the new facility. Together with other Council Members and elected officials, I toured the facility yesterday. While the location is fairly warm and many essential needs are provided for, my colleagues in the Council and I have urged the administration to identify brick-and-mortar locations to receive asylum seekers. We must also care for those who have long been stuck in our shelter system and reduce the barriers for them to find permanent housing, which my colleagues and I are working to address through legislation.

Most of all, I am proud of how residents are stepping up to welcome our new neighbors in these times. If you want to get involved in helping support new asylum seekers in Red Hook, sign up to volunteer with Red Hook Mutual Aid here, or stop by their temporary space at 147 Pioneer St if you're in the neighborhood.

We will continue to share updates over email and over social media as this situation develops.


Photo via PortSide New York

Free tax prep services with Grow Brooklyn start at our office this week!

Starting next week, we’re partnering with Grow Brooklyn again to offer free tax prep services out of our district office, 4417 4 Ave.

Appointments can be made at or by calling 347-502-6804.


Free tax prep services in Red Hook

Our partners at the Red Hook Community Justice Center are also available to help with your tax prep needs. Call ahead to make an appointment at their location at 88 Visitation Place at 718-923-8250.


Public school parents: apply to run for Community Education Council by February 13

Community Education Councils (CECs) are advisory bodies made up of public school parents in each New York City school district. Also known as school boards in other cities and states, CEC members weigh in on siting, zoning and school planning decisions and may propose resolutions or statements about education policy.

Community Education Council elections will take place this year, and interested public school parents should apply to run by February 13, 2023. Learn more and attend an upcoming information session here.

Apply to join your Community Board by February 14

Community Boards members are appointed by Council Members and the Borough President. Community Boards are made up of volunteers who take on an oversight and advisory role approving land-use changes, proposing district budget priorities and other decisions relating to local government. 

Learn more and apply by February 14.

Brooklyn bus redesign

In case you missed it, the MTA dropped its draft Brooklyn bus network redesign on December 1. The stated goal of the bus redesign is to simplify the bus network and improve service, but your feedback is essential to ensuring the plan achieves its goals.

The MTA has begun holding public workshops in each Brooklyn Community Board, with more public meetings and opportunities to share your feedback coming up this year. Community Board 7 will host an MTA workshop on January 31. Community boards 10, 11 and 12 will have workshops February 9, February 13 and February 16, respectively.

Click here to see all the dates and RSVP for a community workshop near you.

BQE South Corridor Visioning meetings resume in March

NYC DOT will continue its BQE visioning meetings in 2023, with meetings on the South Corridor, which includes everything below Atlantic Avenue, resuming in March.

So far, much of the discussion has revolved around the triple cantilever section of the BQE, to the exclusion of frank conversations about environmental racism and how the BQE has negatively impacted communities like Sunset Park and Red Hook for decades.

I’ve also been disappointed by the lack of engagement from New York State, which is responsible for the North and South sections of the BQE and has historically ignored our communities’ needs. DOT will host two follow up meetings on the South Corridor, March 23 and March 30. Save the date and RSVP here.


February Civic Engagement Series — Thursday, February 2 — 6:00PM–7:30PM — Virtual

Join us for our monthly series on Civic Engagement! 

With Community Education Council and Community Board applications due February 13 and February 14, respectively, we’re hosting a Q&A on what community boards are all about and how you can get involved.

Join us tonight at 6:00PM.


Multicultural Lunar New Year Parade — Sunday, February 5 — starts 11:30am at 60 St and 5 Ave

Everyone is invited to this final Lunar New Year event of the season! Enjoy this first annual Lunar New Year parade down Sunset Park's 5 Avenue starting at 11:30am.


Free heart health clinic — Saturday, February 11 — 11:00AM–2:00PM — Our Lady of Perpetual Help, 545 60 St

February is heart disease and stroke prevention month, and we’re teaming up with NYU Langone to offer a free heart health check-up clinic, Saturday, February 11. 

Call us ahead at 718-439-9012 to make an appointment. Walk-ins welcome.


Safe families workshop — Saturday, February 18 — 10:00AM–

This month, we’re partnering with the Healing Center to offer a workshop to offer greater education and awareness on the topic of family mental health and wellness. 

While these topics may be challenging, the Healing Center based out of Sunset Park brings their culturally sensitive approach and years of experience to the table to educate people of all backgrounds on how to address these issues.


Volunteer with Red Hook Conservancy — Saturday, February 25

Join us for a volunteer activity cleaning up and supporting local parks in Red Hook. 

Learn more and sign up here. 

Participatory budget meetings this February

Join us this month for another round of participatory budget assemblies, where we discuss community needs and the latest updates on the City budget process.

This month, we’ll review project feedback from City agencies and discuss which projects will be voted on, starting March 25. Plus, we’ll answer your questions and talk about what’s at stake in the City’s $100 billion budget as a whole.
Upcoming participatory budget meetings: 
  • Thurs, Feb 16: Virtual session
  • Tues, Feb 21: In-person session at Sunset Park Library
  • Tues, Feb 28: In-person session at Red Hook Library
Register for an upcoming session here


NYC Government job fair

On Saturday, February 11, stop by the New York City government job fair, hosted by DC37 and the NYC Department of Citywide Administrative Services, which is responsible for recruiting City workers. 

Register to attend at


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Or, if you’ve already applied, spread the word to other small businesses.

Call 888-SBS-4NYC or visit for questions or help with your application.


Department of Finance property tax info sessions

Homeowners and co-op owners receive their annual notice of property value in January. But did you know you can save money on property taxes with exemptions and abatements? 

This Friday, February 3, the NYC Department of Finance will host an informational session for homeowners on how to understand your property’s assessed value and how you can unlock savings this year. The event will take place from 5:00PM–8:00PM at Brooklyn Borough Hall, 209 Joralemon.



Around the neighborhood

This month, Small Business Services Commissioner David Kim joined members of the Red Hook Business Alliance and I for a walkthrough. 

Together, we discussed how City economic policy can support not just the largest firms but local businesses, too.



As rat complaints have increased in Red Hook in recent months, we invited NYCHA management to join our office, residents and advocates for an evening rat tour, where we discussed pest mitigation strategies and how better waste management can help bring this issue under control. 



Our office supported Parent-Child Relationship Association and the Chinese-American Planning Council in organizing a Lunar New Year dragon dance and celebration at the Sunset Park recreation center.

We were proud to be joined by Attorney General Tish James, Congressman Dan Goldman, State Senators Iwen Chu and Andrew Gounardes, and Assemblymember Marcela Mitaynes.