They’ve been in office since January, but some of Brooklyn’s newest elected officials finally got to celebrate their new positions this past weekend, including Brooklyn Borough President Antonio Reynoso.
Nearly all of New York City’s political offices were turned over to new leadership after last fall’s election, but many representatives chose to delay their celebrations as the Omicron variant sent COVID cases skyrocketing across the five boroughs. Now that cases have fallen and the weather has warmed, Brooklyn’s busy politicos took a moment to celebrate the work they’ve done so far, and all the work they’ve yet to tackle.
“It’s an honor of a lifetime to not only serve as the Borough President for the greatest place in the world, Brooklyn, but also to bear the responsibility of its future,” Reynoso said, in a release. “There is work to do in order to preserve Brooklyn’s culture and heritage, make it a safer, more livable place to raise families, and allow individuals to reach their definition of the American dream, but I’m confident that the team we’ve built will accomplish this and much more. Thank you to everyone who’s supported me and who will continue to fight with us for a stronger Brooklyn.”
While Reynoso has spent just a few months at Brooklyn Borough Hall, he’s no stranger to holding elected office in New York City, having spent seven years representing Williamsburg, Bushwick, and parts of Queens in the City Council. The beep is the son of Dominican immigrants and was raised in Williamsburg, and is the first Latino elected Brooklyn Borough President.
New York electeds including US Senator Chuck Schumer, New York City Comptroller Brad Lander, and US Rep. Nydia Velázquez made speeches praising Reynoso’s past and future in city politics, and the borough president celebrated his heritage with performances by Nieves Latin Dance Studio and the West Indian American Day Carnival Association on the steps of borough hall on Sunday afternoon.
A few miles south, Councilmember Shahana Hanif of Brooklyn’s 39th District welcomed guests to a “Feminist Future” at her inaugural event in Park Slope.
Formerly a staffer in then-Councilmember Lander’s office, Hanif is the first Muslim woman and the first Bangladeshi-American to serve in the city council, and chairs the council’s Committee on Immigration. Hanif also co-chairs the Council’s Progressive Caucus with her North Brooklyn colleague Lincoln Restler.
“I’ve attended a lot of inaugurations, including Obama’s first and one of my own — but I’ve never been so hopeful about the luminous possibility of genuinely inclusive multiracial democracy as I was yesterday at [Hanif’s,]” Lander said, in a tweet. “And definitely never cried as much.”
Hanif was also joined by Assemblymember Jo Anne Simon and Manhattan Councilmember Julie Menin as her family members ceremonially swore her into office months after her official oath-taking in the council floor.
Between budget hearings and office hours, April has been a busy month for belated celebrations. Councilmembers Alexa Avilés and Lincoln Restler also celebrated their new positions earlier this month, gathering friends, family, and supporters to finally enjoy the fruits of months of campaigning — and months hard at work in City Hall.
“Thank you so much to everyone who joined us and participated in our breakout room discussions about your priorities,” Restler tweeted after his April 3 fête. “We loved gathering your concerns and ideas and are committed to taking action on issues like enrolling neighbors in curbside composting, hosting Community Cleanups, organizing to end placard abuse, prioritizing local hiring and more!”