5 ways NYC is investing in major improvement projects

Austin Havens-Bowen
By Austin Havens-Bowen  |
October 9, 2019 - 3:00PM

The Brownsville Plan will bring over 2,500 affordable apartments to the neighborhood.

New York City Department of Transportation/Flickr

If you’ve ever wanted lots and lots of detail about how your hard-earned tax dollars are being spent then you’re in luck, because New York City’s Department of City Planning released the first digital version of the city’s biennial 10-year capital strategy, which describes infrastructure priorities for the next decade.

The plan is available online and can be downloaded as a PDF, and breaks down how the city’s agencies are investing a total of $116.9 billion. This is the latest in the city's push to digitize information—the Department of City Planning published their Zoning Resolution online for the first time in February, and the Department of City Planning launched a digital mapping tool in April.

Brad Lander, NYC council member, described the document as a “roadmap” that lays out how the city invests in school buildings, protection from climate change, and provides resources for parks, libraries, streets, and sewers.

Brick Underground dug around the 137-page document, and came up with this list of the ways NYC is investing in its infrastructure.

Brownsville Neighborhood Plan

A result of a year-long, community-driven planning process, the Housing Preservation and Development-led project will bring over 2,500 new affordable apartments to the neighborhood in addition to a new cultural center and space for community organizations. Improvements will also be made to local parks and open spaces on NYCHA developments—all expected to be complete or underway within five years.

Water Tunnel improvements

The city is committing a total of $944.2 million to the two active stages of the city’s third water tunnel, which will expand the water drinking delivery system, allow for the maintenance and repairs of the two existing water tunnels, and create a backup to the water delivery system. 

Manhattan Greenway completion

This project will complete a 32.5-mile continuous loop around Manhattan by connecting waterfront green spaces. The end result is over 1,000 acres of green space featuring designated bike and walking paths. The city has committed to providing an additional 15 acres of open space in Inwood, Esplanade Gardens, East Harlem, East Midtown, and United Nations Esplanade. 

School enhancements

The Department of Education is spending $2.3 billion out of a total $24.1 billion budget for capital improvements related to technology. These improvements include providing computers to teachers and students, purchasing educational software, upgrading networks, and rewiring schools for enhanced internet access. To further science education, school science labs will be upgraded and replaced city-wide. 

Major museum upgrades

Funded by the Department of Cultural Affairs, a total of $806.3 million will focus on much-needed facility reconstruction and programmatic enhancements. Some of our favorite cultural institutions that are set to score funding include: Bronx Zoo ($17.4 million), New York Botanical Garden ($10.3 million), Brooklyn Academy of Music ($22.4 million), Queens Museum ($14.7 million), MoMA PS1 ($18.3 million), and the Metropolitan Museum of Art ($21.7 million).

Plus there’s more

Other notable investments include the Transit Authority’s $350 million for ongoing track improvements and rehabilitation, and the Department of Homeless Services’ $423.8 million to build shelters for the homeless, and $181 million for shelters for homeless families.

Austin Havens-Bowen

Austin Havens-Bowen


Austin Havens-Bowen is a writer and reporter. He previously covered local news for the Queens Ledger and The Hunts Point Express in the Bronx. He graduated from Hunter College with a BA in media studies. He rents a one-bedroom apartment in Astoria with his boyfriend and their two cats.

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