We hope 2022 is off to a good start, friends! 

We’re settling into a groove here at BetaNYC. We brought in the new year working from home. This past week, we returned to the office, where much has changed! It is bittersweet. At the end of 2021, we bid farewell to former Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer (who now presides over Council District 6 and just yesterday was named Chair of the Committee on Oversight and Investigations). Now, we warmly welcome newly inaugurated Manhattan Borough President Mark Levine and his staff. BetaNYC looks forward to continuing our Civic Innovation Fellowship and Apprenticeship program with your office and supporting Manhattan's needs through public interest data and technology. Welcome!

Since it is a new year, we set a few goals. They are:
  1. Engage more people in our Civic Innovation Lab’s tech and data support services (aka RADAR). We’re improving our documentation process so you can gain insight into common open data challenges and our solutions. We want to make open data more tangible for New Yorkers! To start, check out a few highlights in the RADAR roundup below.
  2. Make NYC govtech the best it can be! The other day, Mayor Adams announced a complete reorganization of municipal technology teams. We are excited about this (!) and to continue working with the Open Data Team, develop new public interest technology initiatives, and support NYC Opportunity's service design work. 
  3. Revive our community. If ever there was a time to get back to our roots of organizing, it is now. Join us on Jan 27th for our inaugural 2022 Civic Hack Night and save the date for NYC School of Data and Open Data Week!
Rock n roll,

Recent BetaNYC News

Later on in the newsletter, you’ll find a number of amazing opportunities; we wanted to highlight two of them.
  1. BetaNYC is hiring a Civic Innovation Lab Director to lead a more robust technical services division. If you have any questions, please email
  2. NYC Mayor’s Office of the Chief Technology Officer is looking for members to be their inaugural member of NYC’s Digital Service team. We have spent EIGHT YEARS advocating for this team and want to make sure they have NYC’s best and brightest.
  3. NYC Mayor’s Office of Data Analytics (MODA) is recruiting a Data Scientist.

A round-up of some of our recent RADARs!

In 2021 our Civic Innovation Lab responded to 32 RADARs. These research and data assistance requests hailed from all over the city— from the offices of Borough Presidents, Council Members, Community Boards, NYC agencies, media organizations, universities, nonprofits and community based organizations. Folks came to us with a challenge and we helped them address it. We scraped and processed datasets, conducted analyses, fleshed out reports, built maps, improved processes, developed dashboards, and created analytics tools. Check out the highlights below.
Reminder: We love problem solving with New Yorkers! If you have a data challenge or question that you could use some help with, let us know by submitting a RADAR.

 What does a NYC school’s demographics and geography have to do with the food options offered to its students?

Using data from the Department of Education’s InfoHub, our lab helped Council Member Kallos identify trends in food offerings at NYC schools in 2019. We analyzed them by campuses, districts, and demographics. 

Check it out: We used the DOE’s School Food Reports which you can find here. The dataset has information from 2017 and 2019 on school food offerings, including breakfast before and after the school day starts, lunch, after-school snacks, after-school supper, and salad bar. Much of DOE and other agency data is released only from requests from Council Members and local laws. You can explore other reports here

 Has NYC’s Open Streets Program had an impact on the rate of traffic collisions in locations where they’re implemented?

Largely speaking, Open Streets have been a huge success in the city. Working with an open street coalition, we looked at five Open Street locations to identify whether there was a change in the number of vehicle collisions before and after the implementation of their open street. At each location, we found that after the implementation of an open street, there was a drastic reduction in the number of motor vehicle collisions and we also found that the number of deaths from collisions there went down to zero.

Check it out: This is the dataset we used to explore the Open Streets Program (note: currently, it is missing geometries). Transportation Alternatives Open Streets Progress Report also has some great information on this topic, including a survey, data tidbits, and other information about the positive impacts of NYC’s Open Streets program.

 What are the geographic boundaries and gateways of Chinatown? (Bonus points if you can identify the locations in each of these images!)

Working with Borough President Gale Brewer, we used our data and research skills to support Chinatown’s successful application to the final round of New York State’s Downtown Revitalization Initiative. We analyzed private and public funding earmarked for the neighborhood and created a map for their final report that visualizes its geographic boundaries and gateways. We’re happy to share that the neighborhood received a $20 million award from the state and will use it to build on its history as a cultural destination in order to preserve and return the neighborhood to a vibrant downtown area. Congratulations!

 Why NYC’s Open Restaurants program should be made permanent in specific zoning contexts

Manhattan Community Board 2 has the most open restaurants of any community district (489!). They approached us to identify data they could use to guide their decision-making as the city looks to make the Open Restaurants program permanent. Open Restaurants is a temporary program that was implemented during the pandemic to allow restaurants to operate outdoor dining facilities on sidewalks and streets. 

We helped staff investigate the distribution of restaurants in their district across residential, commercial and manufacturing zones. We found that almost half of the open restaurants are located in residential areas or areas that do not allow for current sidewalk cafes under the existing zoning laws. We also examined quality of life complaints to identify if the location of open restaurants was associated with an increase in the number of complaints there.
We found an increase in the number of noise complaints and no other significant change in the number of complaints in areas where there are open restaurants.

What's up, NYC

Happy new legislative year!! I’m going to be using this newsletter section to keep you abreast of public interest design and technology items I’m tracking. As a digital good government group, we have our eyes in many directions. If you’re interested in this intersection, please join our slack and follow us on twitter. - Noel Hidalgo

Hearings and legislation

  • On January 20th, the City Council reconvened and announced its committee assignments. Not only are we excited for Speaker Adrienne Adams’ leadership, and a majority female council, we’re excited to see North Brooklyn’s CM Jen Gutierrez become Technology Committee Chair, and CM Gale Brewer become Chair of the Oversight and Investigations Committee. (Ben Max via Twitter)

  • On January 19th, Mayor Adams reorganized NYC’s tech departments. For eight years, we’ve been asking for this reorganization and are excited to see our government colleagues get the resources they need to improve NYC’s public facing technology. (City and State)

  • On January 14th, Governor Hochul extended the State’s ability to host virtual open meetings. This gives us one more year to figure out how to do things right. (Bill Mahoney via Twitter)  

  • In Governor Hochul’s State of the State, the Governor announced a $1 billion broadband plan to take on the digital divide. (Crain’s New York Business)

What else is up?

Here are some recent content picks from our team and community. Share yours in next month's newsletter here.

👀  Serving lewks...

10 Ways Cities Came Back in 2021 by Linda Poon

Chile Writes Its Constitution, Confronting Climate Change Head On by Somini Sengupta

Future engineers need to understand their work’s human impact – here’s how my classes prepare students to tackle problems like climate change by Gordon D. Hoople

A Walking Tour of Slavery Resistance in NYC by Jason Kottke 

Crypto: the good, the bad and the ugly by Laurie Voss

Seasonality in the number of bee colonies by Iker Rivas-González

Creating Impact in Digital Government: Successes, Challenges, and Strategy of New York City’s Mayor’s Office of the Chief Technology Officer by Sarah Scott Rodriguez

Reducing Poverty and Advancing Equity A Retrospective by the Mayor’s Office for Economic Opportunity (NYC Opportunity)

📰  Recently in the news...

Meet the new City Council: A giant class of 35 incoming members with big ambitions by Annie McDonough

Mayor Adams Wants to End Agency Silos; Five City Initiatives Have Been Doing It by Samar Khurshid

The Community District Needs Process: Every year, New York City’s 59 local Community Boards prepare a “Community District Needs” statement identifying the funding priorities for their districts. Read about that process in this article.

What Are The Hopes Of A Majority Women City Council? Women Members Reflect by Brigid Bergin

Adams Appoints Chief Technology Officer & New City Efficiency Czar by Stephen Witt

New Law Requires MTA "To Consider Bicycle And Pedestrian Access" At Bridges And Stations by Jen Chung

Four Finalists Chosen for Climate-Change Hub on Governors Island by Rachel Holliday Smith

New “Smart Bins” Show City’s Slow Progress On Composting Goals by Jake Offenhartz

Amazon, FedEx and UPS Deliver New NYC Warehouses, Bringing a Package of Environmental Challenges by Samantha Maldonado

📚 Books

The 1619 Project: A New Origin Story by Nikole Hannah-Jones

Call Us What We Carry by Amanda Gorman

First Principles: What America's Founders Learned from the Greeks and Romans and How That Shaped Our Country by Thomas E. Ricks

Separated: Inside an American Tragedy by Jacob Soboroff

🎧  Listen on your commute...

The Brian Lehrer Show - During a Much Needed Winter Break, Parents and Teachers Tell Us How They're Coping

The Brian Lehrer Show - 51 Council Members in 52 Weeks

All Things Considered - What's on the social media horizon in the year ahead

CUNY Podcasts - A CUNY Professor’s Quest to Rescue Her ‘Literary Family’ from the Taliban


Tweet of the Month

Check out the updates to the Historic Land Use Data courtesy of the NYC Mayor’s Office of Environmental Remediation!

Upcoming Events

Announcements and Opportunities

To contribute to our listings, be sure it is mission aligned and submit your announcement, job listing, opportunity or request here.

BetaNYC is hiring a Civic Innovation Lab Director. If you have any questions, please email

The Office of the Brooklyn Borough President is hiring for several positions, including a Manager of Information Technology (IT).

The Federal Communications Commission’s Affordable Connectivity Program is now live! Learn more and apply here

The NYC Mayor’s Office of Data Analytics (MODA) is recruiting a Data Scientist.

The Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City’s Designed by Community Fellowship Program applications are now open! The deadline is February 21.

The Beeck Center for Social Impact + Innovation at Georgetown University is searching for a Deputy Director.

NYU’s Integrated Design & Media Program (IDM) is looking for an Adjunct Instructor to teach Mobile App Development.

Wiggle Room is seeking a Chief Technology Officer.

Jarvus is hiring a Data Science Program Director and a Data Science Tools Engineer.

The Fund for Public Housing is searching for an Executive Director.

Union Settlement is looking for an Operations Coordinator.

Rocking the Boat is seeking an Office Manager and a Senior Director of Programs

Common Justice is hiring a Director of Communications.

Upland is searching for a Data Project Manager and an UI/UX Designer.

inCitu is looking for a 3D Modeling intern. If interested, please email

Flare Health is seeking a Junior Developer.

LimaCharlie is hiring for several positions, including a Front-End Engineer.

Rodo is searching for several roles, including a Senior Data Engineer.  

Civic Fact of the Month 

David Dinkins, in a tan coat and red scarf, stands at a lectern and in front of  American flags
Image Credit: IDNYC via Twitter.

The City recently celebrated the 7th anniversary of IDNYC and its groundbreaking milestones - we've come a long way!

On January 12 2015, the City launched the much-anticipated IDNYC, a free municipal identification card for all New Yorkers regardless of immigration status. Learn more about the largest municipal ID program in the nation as well as the expansive marketing campaign in 2015 to spread the word.

Want to support the public interest tech talent pipeline in NYC!

Donate $21 to our 20$21 campaign to support employment opportunities for Civic Innovation Fellows and Apprentices to continue working and growing with us. Thank you!

Connect with us on:

See you next month! Peace, openness and gratitude!

- BetaNYC 🗽
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