Meet the City Council’s New Members: Andrew Cohen

Meet the City Council’s New Members: Andrew Cohen

Meet the City Council’s New Members: Andrew Cohen
January 28, 2014

Andrew Cohen has a long list of areas to tackle, from the budget to stop-and-frisk to education.

But what he heard about the most during his campaign was something closer to home.

“It’s funny, as a candidate, how you study up, and you’re ready to take on big policy issues, but when you meet with constituents, people have a very high expectation of constituent service,” Cohen said. “So I’m working on getting a district office up and running and getting a top notch staff, so that I’m able to deliver the kind of constituent service that people expect.”

One top policy interest is parks, a natural focus for Cohen since parkland makes up more than a third of his district. Van Cortlandt Park accounts for much of that green expanse, and the Parks Department is putting together a master plan for it that is just starting to be rolled out.

“There is a significant need there to implement some of these great ideas, and then I think that there’s a lot of procurement issues,” Cohen said. “The Council takes lead on capital funding for the parks. There are opportunities in using our oversight responsibility, so that maybe things could be done more efficiently or cost effectively, and the city gets more bang for the buck.”

Cohen said that there are also major development issues in his Bronx district “that are not waiting for me to take office.”

“Montefiore Medical Center is looking to expand in the district, and that’s causing some excitement, for lack of a better word,” he said. “There’s been some rezoning that is having some unintended consequences. So there’s a lot going on in the district right away that I will be on right after Jan. 1.”

Cohen, who has lived in the Bronx for 12 years, is an attorney by trade, but also has years of experience in local government. He worked as legal counsel to Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz, served as a court attorney to a Bronx judge and was a member of Community Board 8, chairing its Aging Committee.

“I’ve always been interested in public service,” Cohen said. “I started on the community board, and when terms limits created the opportunity, I dove in.”

District: 11
Neighborhoods represented: Riverdale, Kingsbridge, Woodlawn, Van Cortlandt Village, Norwood and Bedford Park
Policy focus: Parks
Date of birth: Aug. 9, 1969
Birthplace: Brooklyn, N.Y.
Education: B.A. in sociology, SUNY New Paltz; J.D., Cardozo School of Law
Previous occupation: Attorney
Family: Wife: Dr. Heather Erhard; daughter: Sarah
Party: Democrat
Jon Lentz
is City & State’s editor-in-chief.