Ask Scott Stringer to describe a typical day in his job as Manhattan Borough President and he’ll answer that there’s no such thing—and that’s the way he likes it.
“I haven’t found one yet,” he says. “Part of what we’ve tried to do since being elected was to really change this office and raise the bar as to what’s really possible.” Citing one example, he mentions putting together a land-use operation that will work on zoning and land use in Manhattan. “Day in and day out, we are coming up with new additions and policies that I really think are playing an important role in the borough.”
Stringer’s start in politics came at an early age and he’s got the bloodlines to prove it. He grew up in Washington Heights, and at the precocious age of 17 was appointed by civil rights activist Percy Sutton to a community board in the neighborhood. He later campaigned for his cousin, Bella Abzug, when she ran for the U.S. Congress, and his mother served on the New York City Council. He went to public schools in Manhattan and attended the John Jay College of Criminal Justice. He started working for Assemblyman Jerrold Nadler in 1983 and ran for Nadler’s seat in 1992 after Nadler was elected to Congress.
While a member of the Assembly, Stringer served as chairman of several committees such as the Cities Committee, Real Property Taxation Committee and the Oversight Analysis and Investigation Committee. He was elected to his first four-year term (the office has a limit of two terms) as Manhattan Borough President in September of 2005, succeeding C. Virginia Fields. He was sworn in on January 1, 2006.
“So in a sense of service, I have been involved since I was a teenager,” he says. “Now, 30 years later, it’s kind of exciting that you realize, you get to pick the community board appointments and run an office that I have really admired since I was a teenager. Most kids don’t think they want to grow up to be borough president, so it’s kind of funny.”