Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Friday the appointment of current transition team co-chair Carl Weisbrod to serve as head of the City Planning Commission which oversees land use and development issues. NY1's Bobby Cuza filed the following report.
It was three months ago that Bill de Blasio introduced Carl Weisbrod as co-chair of his transition committee, leading the search for new administration officials. On Friday, he was introduced again, this time as chairman of the City Planning Commission, a move that the mayor said took some persuading.
"Mr. Weisbrod had absolutely, positively no role in submitting his own name," de Blasio said. "He was slightly aghast when I forcefully submitted his own name."
De Blasio said that there was simply no one better qualified.
Weisbrod has made a career of reviving neighborhoods. After the September 11th attacks, he served on the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation. In the Dinkins administration, he led the effort to bring the U.S. Tennis Association to Flushing Meadows, and under Mayor Ed Koch, he began the revitalization of Times Square.
"Some of you may not have experienced the joys of 42nd Street in the '70s and '80s, but for those of us who did, if I had given you a picture of today's 42nd Street, and said, 'This guy Carl's going to make it look like that one day,' I would have asked you what you were smoking."
"My entire life, I've had a love affair with New York City for all of it," Weisbrod said.
Weisbrod replaces longtime chairwoman Amanda Burden, an appointee of Mayor Michael Bloomberg who rezoned nearly 40 percent of the city. De Blasio had signaled a different approach, oriented toward goals like expanding affordable housing and fighting inequality. Some Bloomberg projects, like a stalled plan to rezone the area around Grand Central, will see changes.
"We're looking at the soccer stadium with fresh eyes. We're looking at Midtown East with fresh eyes, and a whole different set of goals than the previous administration had," de Blasio said. "We are looking at the notion of what city planning is with fresh eyes."
De Blasio confirmed that Weisbrod's new role means that the transition team is being phased out, with more and more of its work being based out of City Hall, and the transition effectively coming to an end by the end of the month.