Vincent Joseph "Vinnie" Gentile (born January 3, 1959) is a New York City Council Member for the 43rd District. In this capacity, Vincent represents the interests of over 175,000 constituents from the neighborhoods of Bath Beach, Bay Ridge, Bensonhurst, and Dyker Heights in Brooklyn. A lifelong Democrat, and career public servant, Gentile currently chairs the Council’s Oversight and Investigation Committee and serves on the Consumer Affairs, Economic Development, Education, Land Use and Public Safety Committees.
Brooklyn Roots - Brooklyn Values
Vinnie was born and raised in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn. He grew up on 74th Street between Sixth and Seventh Avenues and attended McKinley Junior High School and then Fort Hamilton High School, graduating in 1977. As a first-generation immigrant, Vinnie was raised by his maternal grandmother who taught him the importance of giving back to the community and searching for a positive impact in everything you do.
Vinnie began to understand the meaning of these words when in his senior year of high school after his principal proposed a budget that would lead to cuts in the school curriculum. Motivated by a need to push back against such draconian cuts, Vinnie ran, and won, a race for class President. Uniting the student body, Vinnie pushed back against the proposed cuts, helped save the school curriculum, and most importantly, drove home the reality that advocacy can work.
Following his high school graduation he became the founding president of the school's alumni association and launched the Bay Ridge Democrats. This foundational experience ultimately led Vinnie to pursue a career in public service.
The Pursuit of Justice
Vinnie went on to receive a B.A. in Government from Cornell University in upstate New York, followed by a J.D. from Fordham University School of Law. First admitted to the New York State bar in 1986, Vinnie was inspired to become a prosecutor so could have a positive impact for those individuals who were victims of crime.
Upon graduation he was offered a position as a prosecutor in the office of the Queens County District Attorney under Richard A Brown. Wanting to have an immediate impact, Vinnie joined the Special Victim’s Bureau, dealing with serious crimes committed against women, the elderly and children. Following the Special Victim’s Bureau he joined the Major case Narcotics Bureau, leading major investigations into criminal trafficking of drugs into New York City. Through the work he did, Queens County was able to intercept large quantities of illegal drugs before they hit the streets of NYC, preventing individuals from becoming victims of the drug trade.
In his most signature case, Vinnie was one of two prosecutors that led the St John's University sexual assault case, the first date rape prosecution in New York State history.
After 11 years of enforcing the law as an Assistant District Attorney, Vinnie ran for public office to further pursue his dreams of being an agent for change, progress and accountability.
A Lifetime of Service
Vinnie first won public office in 1996, winning a competitive three-way race for the 23rd District in the New York State Senate. During his time as Senator, Vinnie was a consistent advocate for working families, public school parents, union households, senior citizens and the criminal justice community.
As senator, Vinnie championed the repeal of the sales tax on clothing and shoes, and was the impetus in expanding the NYS prescription drug program for seniors.
Over the last 14 years, Vinnie has served as a New York City Council Member in Brooklyn’s 43rd District. This experience has allowed him to be a tireless advocate on local issues that affect Brooklynites everyday lives. Among his chief accomplishments he has passed legislation to eliminate Sunday parking meters, spearheaded New York City’s largest ever “downzoning”, a comprehensive 249-block project, led the effort to establish universal Pre K in our schools and fought hard to secure $12 million for new bulletproof vests for the NYPD.
Vinnie allocated nearly $600,000 in funding for local civic groups, sports leagues, parks, schools and food pantries. Vinnie supported the Criminal Justice Reform package transferring low-level criminal cases to the civil court rather than criminal, thus preventing a permanent criminal record for thousands of Brooklynites. He is currently working on the passage of the “Right to Know” Act, a bill that promotes communication, transparency and accountability in everyday interactions between the NYPD and the public.
Upon his re-election in 2013 Vinnie returned to the New York City Council as the Dean of the Delegation – the senior-most member of the 51-member body and serves as Deputy Leader. With the launch of his campaign, Vinnie hopes to continue his career in public service and serve the people of Brooklyn as their next District Attorney- a position he would carry out with the highest honor