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Manhattan Municipal Building Renamed for Former Mayor David N. Dinkins

October 15, 2015

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Honoring former mayor’s decades of public service, 1 Centre Street now officially named The David N. Dinkins Municipal Building    

NEW YORK—The Manhattan Municipal Building at 1 Centre Street was renamed today for former Mayor David N. Dinkins in honor of his decades of public service. At the naming ceremony today, Mayor de Blasio and First Lady Chirlane McCray announced that 1 Centre Street is now officially known as the David N. Dinkins Municipal Building, which will be marked by five plaques placed around the building.

“Those of us who were lucky to serve in the Dinkins Administration had the honor of serving a leader who took challenges head on,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “He’s left an indelible impact on this city – and on Chirlane’s and my lives. We are so grateful for Mayor Dinkins’ decades of public service and everything he’s done to ensure a stronger, safer city. I can’t think of a more fitting tribute than to rename the Municipal Building, where he spent 14 years of his career, in his honor.”

“Words cannot express the depth of gratitude Bill and I have for Mayor David N. Dinkins. His legacy is a bright guiding light for me, my family, and countless New Yorkers,” said First Lady Chirlane McCray. “Mayor Dinkins helped me understand that service to others is the rent we pay for time on earth. Throughout his career, he led with dignity, generosity and commitment. And by choosing a life of service, Mayor Dinkins helped grow another mayor, a first lady, and two smart, beautiful children.”

Of all the government buildings in New York City, the Municipal Building has the strongest connection to former Mayor Dinkins. He spent 14 years of his career there: ten years as the City Clerk (from 1975 to 1985) and four more years as the Manhattan Borough President (from 1986 to 1990). When he was elected the City’s first African American Mayor, he moved across the street to City Hall.

Mayor Dinkins began his public service career in 1966 as a member of the New York State Assembly. He was president of the New York City Board of Elections, and served as City Clerk for 10 years before his elections as President of the Borough of Manhattan in 1985 and 106th Mayor of the City of New York in 1989.As Mayor, Mr. Dinkins was responsible for the establishment of numerous widely heralded cultural staples such as Fashion Week, Restaurant Week, and Broadway on Broadway. His administration ensured the revitalization of Times Square and secured an unprecedented deal to keep the U.S. Open Tennis Championships in New York for the next 99 years. One of Mayor Dinkins most notable accomplishments was the implementation of “Safe Streets, Safe City: Cops and Kids,” a comprehensive criminal justice plan for reducing crime and expanding opportunities for the children of New York.


The Municipal Building is a significant piece of New York City architecture. When it was completed in 1914, it was the largest office building in the world, and the first building to be constructed with a subway station inside. Renowned architecture critic Paul Goldberger described the building as an object lesson in “sensitive urbanism” – a fitting description that also applies to Mayor Dinkins’ governance.

“Since his days as a member of the New York State Assembly in the late 1960s, to becoming Manhattan Borough President in 1985 and then serving in this city’s highest elected position as Mayor of New York City, David Dinkins’ career has been about connecting communities and bringing resources to those who need them most,” said Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito. “This building is a reminder to this city that David Dinkins is a champion for all New Yorker and I am proud to join my colleagues in recognizing someone who continues to fight for social and economic justice.”

“The David N. Dinkins Municipal Building will serve as a fitting tribute to Mayor Dinkins’ achievements and high standards of public service," said Assembly Speaker Carl E. Heastie. "Thanks to his vision and leadership, Mayor Dinkins strengthened public safety with major anti-crime initiatives, expanded after school recreational opportunities for young people, invested in housing rehabilitation programs, established resources to broaden economic opportunities for minority and women business owners, and embraced the city’s diversity of people, affectionately calling the five boroughs a ‘gorgeous mosaic.’ For Mayor Dinkins’ many years of distinguished public service to New York City and its residents, this is a most deserving and lasting tribute to one of the city's most respected elected officials and first ever African American mayor.”

"From his countless  contributions in the New York State Assembly to his historic term as Mayor, and his current role as an educator, David Dinkins has spent decades as a fierce defender of all that is best in New York City. Renaming the Municipal Building is the perfect way to honor his legacy,” said Comptroller Scott Stringer.

"Today's renaming is a fitting testament to Mayor Dinkins' trailblazing career and distinguished service to the people of New York City," said Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer. "I am proud to call Mayor Dinkins a friend and mentor, and will be proud to be working in the building that bears his name."

"Mayor Dinkins is a true public servant, a role model for tens of thousands pursuing a life of working for the city they love. He broke the glass ceiling for African-Americans like me to reach for the highest of aspirations, all while conducting himself with grace and dedication to his fellow New Yorkers. I thank Mayor de Blasio for memorializing his career with the renaming of the Manhattan Municipal Building, an icon that looms as large as his legacy,” said Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams.

Queens Borough President Melinda Katz said ‎“Mayor Dinkins was a trailblazer, long admired for his commitment to New Yorkers of all walks of life. The historic Municipal Building will now be a fitting tribute to his legacy of service.‎"

“I applaud Mayor De Blasio for honoring one of the greatest New Yorkers, my longtime best friend and brother Mayor David Dinkins for his tireless dedication to public service,” said Congressman Charles B. Rangel.  “The former Manhattan Municipal Building will bear the name of a remarkable individual who never fails to go the extra mile to improve the lives of people in our Great city. As Mayor, David left an indelible legacy, cementing our city into a cultural epicenter.  His devotion as an exemplary public servant will withstand years of inspiration for all who pass through the building."

“Naming the Manhattan Municipal Building in honor of Mayor Dinkins is a fitting tribute to a person who dedicated so much to serving our great city,” said Congressman Joe Crowley. “From the State Assembly to City Hall, Mayor Dinkins has left an incredible legacy, and he is continuing to cultivate the spirit of public service in his efforts today.”

“I had the honor and the privilege of working with Mayor Dinkins during my years in the New York City Council,” said Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney. “He was a strong, brave leader, and is still a dear friend. He worked hard for this city, and I am so glad that we are expressing our gratitude to him in such a permanent way. The Municipal Building at 1 Centre Street holds special meaning for Mayor Dinkins. He spent 14 years of his life there, first as City Clerk and then as Manhattan Borough President. It is fitting that this building will now bear his name to recognize his decades of commitment to our city.”

"The visionary leadership of Mayor David M. Dinkins helped transform New York City in fundamental ways and put in place foundations for the forward-looking city it is today. David Dinkins is the first mayor to embrace New York City's increasingly multiracial and multiethnic population, and built an administration inclusive of this "gorgeous mosaic." Mayor Dinkins' success in getting his "Safe Streets, Safe City" policy and visionary focus on community-policing brought neighborhoods together and made our streets safer,” said Congressman Gregory Meeks.  “He governed in a collegial style that respected the interests of all segments of the city, emphasized policies and programs that sought to address income inequality and racial discrimination, and always conducted the duties of his office with dignity and confidence. With the renaming of the Municipal Building in his honor, his place in the city's history as its first African American mayor who made innumerable contributions to its recovery and renewal will stand tall for generations to come."

“This is a fitting honor for a man who was a true trailblazer, someone who dedicated his life to public service,” said Congressman Jerrold Nadler.  “David Dinkins spent 14 years in the very building that will now bear his name, starting as the City Clerk in 1975 and then as Manhattan Borough President before moving into City Hall across the street in 1990 as New York City's 106th and first African American Mayor. The David N. Dinkins Municipal Building is a testament to Mayor Dinkins’ work and accomplishments, which continue to leave a mark on this great City.”

“This is a fitting tribute to someone who has had an important impact on our City as the first and only African-American Mayor in New York City’s history.  As a trailblazer in New York politics, he built the foundation for New York’s renewal, and to this day, he continues making invaluable contributions to our City and nation. As a long-time colleague and friend, this is a appropriate recognition of Mayor Dinkins’ influence on our city.  Renaming the Manhattan Municipal Building after former Mayor Dinkins will help ensure his memory and legacy lives on for generations to come,” said Congressman José E. Serrano.

Council Member Fernando Cabrera said, “This morning, October 15, 2015, the Municipal building will be re-named The David N. Dinkins Municipal Building, in honor of the former Mayor. I am thrilled that city officials will be working in a building that carries his name and honors his legacy for generations to come. Future public servants should look to David Dinkins as a model of a humble, hard-working, effective public servant. I applaud Mayor de Blasio for his decision to honor our City’s first African-American Mayor in this way.  Before he became Mayor in 1989, David Dinkins had already built a career in public service. He served in the U.S. Marines, obtained degrees in Mathematics and in Law, worked in the New York State legislature, and served as New York City Clerk and then Borough President.”

State Senate Democratic Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins said, “David Dinkins has spent his life serving our state and nation. As a Marine Corps veteran, he fought to make our country safe. As a State Assemblyman and Manhattan Borough President, he served his constituents. As the first African American Mayor in the history of New York City, he was a trailblazer who worked tirelessly to make the ‘gorgeous mosaic’ a better and safer place to live and work. I applaud Mayor de Blasio for renaming the Manhattan Municipal Building in his honor as it is a fitting tribute to this great man and remarkable public servant.”

State Senator Brad Hoylman said, “Mayor Dinkins' distinguished career exemplifies the best of public service and New York. It’s fitting that we honor the name and legacy of a man who inspired an entire generation of public servants. I commend Mayor de Blasio for his leadership in the renaming of 1 Centre Street and congratulate Mayor Dinkins on this historic day.”

“Former New York City Mayor David Dinkins dedicated his life to serve New York and renaming such a historic building after him is a well-deserve tribute. This building is an architectural jewel where the former mayor worked first, as the City Clerk, and then as Manhattan Borough President,” said State Senator Jose Peralta.

“The renaming of the Manhattan Municipal Building is a testament to the exemplary work of Mayor David Dinkins throughout his decades of public service,” said Assembly Member Marcos Crespo. “We are proud to pay tribute with this timeless honor and find it more than fitting that this architectural marvel will continue to house future generations of New York City’s public servants while now aptly bearing his name.”

"Few people will remember that during the early days of the AIDS crisis, when the City Administration was slow to act, it was Manhattan Borough President David Dinkins, who allocated the first funds for public education.  Most people recognized his gracious manner, but I will never forget his courage and compassion in taking this first step to respond to the AIDS crisis,” said Assembly Member Deborah Glick.

“This is a fitting tribute to our 106th mayor,” said Assembly Member Richard N. Gottfried.  “Like David Dinkins, the Building is elegant and dedicated to public service.  David has worked his entire public career to make every piece of what he called the “gorgeous mosaic” of New York shine.  The statue of “Civic Fame” atop the Building holds a crown with five turrets, symbolizing the unity of the city’s boroughs, and Mayor Dinkins celebrated and elevated New York’s unity and diversity.”

“I applaud Mayor de Blasio for bestowing such a tribute on a stalwart public servant of New York City - David Dinkins. It is only fitting that a building of this stature and rich history, and has so much significance in the career of former Mayor Dinkins be named in his honor. Let us, as fellow public servants, continue his legacy of selfless dedication to the needs of our communities into the 21st  century," said Assembly Member Walter Mosley.

“I can’t think of a better way to honor a man who has dedicated his life to public service,” said Assembly Member Francisco Moya. “David Dinkins’ life work has been the betterment of New York—as a mayor, an assemblyman, a public servant, and a humanitarian. I thank him for his service to the city of New York and commend Mayor de Blasio for renaming the Manhattan Municipal Building in Mayor Dinkins’ honor.”

"Mayor David Dinkins saved a neighborhood health clinic in long island city when he was Mayor because he put caring for New Yorkers at the top of his agenda, and he made government work for the people. Congratulations to him and to Mayor de Blasio and first lady Chirlane McCray for honoring him today,” said Assembly Member Catherine Nolan.

Assembly Member Felix W. Ortiz said, "I am pleased to be honoring Mayor David Dinkins today. This is a mayor who moved New York City forward with "Safe Cities, Safe Streets," making New York a better city with plummeting crime rates. He started the clean up of Times Square and led the rebuilding of a record number of new homes in decaying neighborhoods. Let us remember him for his humanity and good   deeds."

"David Dinkins was a fierce public servant,  He fought relentlessly to rehabilitate housing across the boroughs, reduce homeless while increasing mental health services, and lower crime. This is a grand honor befitting his prolific career,” said Assembly Member Robert Rodriguez.

“It is particularly appropriate that the Municipal Building will be named henceforth after Mayor David N. Dinkins.  His offices as Manhattan Borough President were located there, prior to his service as mayor, and subsequent to his tenure in the New York State Assembly.   We warmly congratulate this distinguished New Yorker, a man who I am proud to represent, on this very special honor,” said Assembly Member Rebecca Seawright.

"As former Finance Chair of the NYC Council, I gained an appreciation for the level of partnership and strength it took between the city and staunch advocates such as Former Mayor Dinkins to get things done. It would have never been possible to see vital Queens projects like the National Tennis Center in Flushing Meadows Corona Park come to fruition without his vision. Today, the Tennis Center is amongst the most profitable of sports in New York City. Former Mayor’s Dinkins’ contributions to Queens and this great city have truly been invaluable. Nothing could be more fitting today than naming this beautiful structure - the David N. Dinkins Municipal Building - after having housed one of its most prominent city workers ever,” said Assembly Member David Weprin.

“It’s is very deserving to honor former Mayor David N. Dinkins, our City’s first mayor of African-American ancestry, who has had a long career in public service, is a great leader and good friend,” said Council Member Andy King, Co-Chair of the Black, Latino & Asian Caucus. “It’s not often the City of New York renames its municipal buildings; this is the least we can do for a New Yorker who is greatly loved and admired by many generations. I applaud Mayor Bill de Blasio and First Lady Chirlane McCray for honoring former Mayor Dinkins in such an outstanding way."

“I congratulate Mayor Dinkins and applaud him for his decades of public service and steadfast dedication to the City of New York and all new Yorkers,” said Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer. “This honor is a fitting tribute for a honorable public servant who has a long and continued legacy of helping make our City great.”

Council Member Inez Barron said, “I am pleased that the city has seen fit to acknowledge the accomplishments of David N. Dinkins as the 106th Mayor of NYC. His significant programs, such as the Beacon Community Centers that were housed in our public schools have had sustained positive impact on our communities. We are glad that this tribute is being paid to former Mayor David N. Dinkins.”

Council Member Margaret Chin said, “Renaming the Municipal Building for former Mayor David Dinkins is a fitting honor for a dedicated public servant who spent a large part of his long career at this center of New York City government. For his many contributions to our city, I thank Mayor Dinkins, and congratulate him on receiving this well-earned recognition.”

Council Member Robert E. Cornegy, Jr. said, "Like the co-naming of a street, the re-naming of a building is an meaningful way to ensure that our city's infrastructure reflects its social history. This particular co-naming is beautifully appropriate. Former Mayor Dinkins is a hero to me and to so many African American elected officials, both in New York City and across our country both for who he is and what he accomplished. His name will bring new honor to the grand building, at the foot of the iconic Brooklyn Bridge, in which so much of his good works in public service were done."

Council Member Laurie Cumbo said, "Mayor David Dinkins is a living legend and will forever be recognized for inspiring a generation of leaders of all races, religions and nationalities to claim their rightful place in houses of leadership all over the country. His hard work, determination and coalition building broke cemented ceilings as he became the first African American Mayor of the City of New York. He is a man whose bold political actions and forward thinking policies made him a man ahead of his time and Mayor de Blasio and First Lady Chirlane McCray's decision to name the Municipal Building in his honor will immortalize his great contributions to the City of New York".

"I cannot think of a better name to grace the name of our Municipal building. Mayor Dinkins personifies what public service is all about and he has spent his entire life trying to make our city great. This renaming is a great honor for a great man and one that is truly deserving," stated Council Member Rafael L. Espinal, Jr.

"As our city's first black mayor, David Dinkins laid a new foundation for all New Yorkers. It's only fitting that the Manhattan Municipal Building will be renamed after Mayor Dinkins, who built up – as he so often said – New York City's gorgeous mosaic," said Council Member Mathieu Eugene. "I commend Mayor Bill de Blasio for recognizing his outstanding predecessor and I look forward to walking through the Mayor David N. Dinkins Municipal Building."

“Mayor David Dinkins is a prolific public servant whose decades of dedicated work helped to shape New York into the City we know and love today.  I congratulate Mayor Dinkins on this well-deserved honor and thank Mayor de Blasio and First Lady Chirlane McCray for adding to Mayor Dinkins' already impressive legacy,” said Council Member Vanessa Gibson.

Council Member Peter Koo said, “Mayor David Dinkins was a dedicated public servant who served our great city for many years. Renaming the Manhattan Municipal Building for him is a way for us to honor the legacy of our City’s first African American Mayor, and the impact that he had – and continues to have – on all New Yorkers.”

Council Member Rory Lancman said,"Mayor Dinkins dedicated his career to making New York City safer and more prosperous. It's a fitting tribute to rename the building where he spent so many years in his honor."

“Mayor Dinkins’ trail-blazing life in public service leaves a lasting legacy for our city and beyond. From his early days in the Marine Corps to his time as mayor, his record of distinguished service to our country and city is an inspiration. As mayor, he reduced crime, invested in young people and rehabilitated dilapidated housing. He fought for every New Yorker to have a fair shot at a decent living. He is one of Harlem’s favorite sons and a symbol of what’s possible in the “gorgeous mosaic” of New York City. I cannot think of a more fitting tribute than to re-name the historic Municipal Building in his honor,” said Council Member Mark Levine.

"It is always great to see a friend honored. I am extremely joyed that the Municipal Building will be renamed after Mayor David N. Dickens. He was one of the greatest leaders of our time. He was an effective, charismatic leader who lead by example,” said Council Member Darlene Mealy.

Council Member Rosie Mendez said, "Renaming the Municipal Building after David Dinkins is an incredibly fitting way to honor the former Mayor's work and contributions to this great City.  Mayor Dinkins spent 18 years in a variety of positions in service to this City including his years as Manhattan Borough President working from the building that will soon bear his name."

"The renaming of the City’s Municipal Building after our 106th Mayor, the Hon. David N. Dinkins is a fitting tribute to one of the great heroes of our time. His successful career in government from his start in the New York State Assembly to tenure as Mayor of the City of New York mirrored hard won advances being made by African Americans and other former disenfranchised minorities,” said Council Member I. Daneek Miller. “His accomplishments as Mayor at a time of crisis and turmoil were many and lasting and still relevant today. But perhaps no accomplishment was greater than the inspiration he provided to countless others, including myself, by serving as a role model. David N. Dinkins gave our City the foundation and commitment to carry-on and his legacy of courage under fire will well be remembered and respected as people pass this historic building.”

"The work of Mayor Dinkins echoes the goals of our city today in so many ways," said Council Member Donovan Richards. "Not only did he fight to decrease inequality as the first black mayor in New York City, but he also added more police officers, worked to keep teenagers off the streets and rebuilt tens of thousands of housing units. He also negotiated the deal to land the tennis stadium in Queens that brings hundreds of thousands of tourists to the borough every year for the U.S. Open. I'd like to thank Mayor de Blasio and our First Lady Chirlane McCray for immortalizing the work of a truly dedicated and under appreciated  Mayor of New York City."

"Mayor Dinkins not only left an incredible impact on people of color in our city, but left a lasting legacy of progressive values. He updated and expanded the Human Rights Law and vastly improved the cultural programming of our city to name just a few of his many accomplishments. Today we celebrate a man with decades of public service and New York City in his heart and mind. Thank you Mayor De Blasio for honoring one of our city's greatest leaders," said Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez.

“Mayor David Dinkins led this city though some difficult times, leaving a legacy that all New Yorkers should be proud of. It was under the leadership of Mayor Dinkins that our city's crime rates began a long steady decline, eventually making New York the safest big city in the country. He also helped bring organized recreational programming to our youth, an initiative that is still paying dividends to our city. As he worked so many years in the Manhattan Municipal Building prior to serving as mayor, renaming the building for him is a fitting way to honor his contributions to our city,” said Council Member Debi Rose.

"I had the honor of serving Mayor Dinkins as an employee of the Office of Management and Budget. Under his leadership, I was part of a small team that established the Primary Care Development Corporation (PCDC). Since its creation, PCDC has created thousands of new jobs and served millions of New Yorkers," said Council Member Helen Rosenthal. "The renaming of the Municipal Building in Mayor Dinkins' honor is well deserved."

“Mayor Dinkins’ leadership and dedication to public service made a lasting impact on the City of New York and its residents, and are an inspiration to many public servants and elected officials. The renaming of the Municipal Building is a fitting tribute to a man whose legacy will have a presence over and continue to shape the City,” said Council Member Ritchie Torres.

“Mayor Dinkins famously referred to New York City’s demographic diversity as a ‘gorgeous mosaic,’ and as our 106th Mayor, his ideology became contagious as he made strides toward improved racial relations. His life-long dedication to public service, crime prevention and social justice will now and forever be memorialized at 1 Centre Street,” said Council Member Jumaane D. Williams.

Council Member Ruben Wills said, "The Municipal Building is second in stature only to City Hall. So, it's befitting that this central pillar of our city's government is to be renamed in honor of one of its most dedicated public servants: David Dinkins. A trailblazer in civic affairs, and a revered African American icon, much is owed to Mayor Dinkins for his stewardship of the city during its transition from the disorder of the 1980s to the pre-millennial renaissance he ultimately steered it towards."

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