Iris Weinshall Biography

Iris Weinshall an American academic and former government official, also known as the wife of US senator Chuck Schumer. Check out this biography to know about her childhood, family life, career, and achievements.

Quick Facts

Birthday: September 5, 1953

Nationality: American

Famous: American Men American Intellectuals & Academics

Age: 66 Years, 66 Year Old Males

Sun Sign: Virgo

Born in: Brooklyn, New York City, New York

Famous as: CEO of The New York Public Library


Spouse/Ex-: Chuck Schumer (m. 1980)

children: Alison Emma Schumer, Jessica Emily Schumer

U.S. State: New Yorkers

More Facts

education: Wagner Graduate School of Public Service, NYU Wagner, Brooklyn College, New York University

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Iris Weinshall is an American academic and former government official, also known as the wife of US senator Chuck Schumer. She is a woman who wears many hats. She is the chief operating officer (COO) of the ‘New York Public Library,’ but that is not her only achievement. She has served as the vice chancellor at the ‘City University of New York.’ She has also worked as the commissioner of the ‘New York City Department of Transportation’ from 2000 to 2007. Her work toward the development of Queens Boulevard, which is known as one of the most dangerous roads in New York, was highly appreciated. She was, however, criticized for compromising on the quality of ferries, after the 2003 ‘Staten Island Ferry’ accident that killed more than 10 people. She also initiated and executed the installment of bike lanes to encourage the use of bicycles more than any other vehicle. After serving for 7 years, she worked for another 7 years at the ‘City University’ before she was finally appointed as the COO of ‘New Public Library’ in 2014. She has a strong career of her own and is married to one of the most popular political leaders of New York, Chuck Schumer, since 1980. They have two daughters.

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Childhood & Early Life
  • Before becoming the COO of the ‘New York Public Library,’ she served as the senior vice president of the ‘New York State Urban Development Corporation.’ Apart from this, she also held positions in various organizations.
  • She served as the president of the non-profit organization ‘Financial Services Corporation’ and as the regional vice president of ‘Integrated Resources Inc.’ Her role in the latter involved striking partnership deals for property acquisition and operations.
  • She then served as the deputy commissioner for management and budget at the ‘New York City Department of Environmental Protection,’ from 1988 to 1996.
  • She also served as the first deputy commissioner of the ‘Department of Citywide Administrative Services.’ In 2000, she was appointed as the commissioner of the ‘New York City Department of Transportation.’
  • She was appointed by Mayor Rudy Giuliani and then reappointed by Mayor Michael Bloomberg. One of her biggest achievements during her stint with the ‘Department of Transportation’ was the improvement and development of one of the most dangerous roads in New York, Queens Boulevard.
  • She tried to develop the road by allowing a small number of vehicles on the road at a time. She also focused on changing traffic signals, slowing traffic, and adding new sign boards for pedestrians. The changes resulted in a fair reduction of fatalities in the area.
  • With her 2003 ‘THRU Streets Program,’ she bettered the flow of traffic in the congested area of Midtown Manhattan. As a result of the program, vehicle speeds increased by 33%.
  • Iris considers the above project one of the most successful during her time in the ‘Department of Transportation.’ For better visibility, she ordered the installation of bigger sign boards in the crucial areas.
  • She also initiated the concept of putting pedestrian fences to keep people restricted and safe during intense flow of vehicles, especially in Brooklyn. A project of $3 billion was initiated to rehabilitate the East River bridges.
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  • Under her direction, the ‘Department of Transportation’ collaborated with the ‘Hudson River Greenway’ to build bike lanes between the East River bridges and Downtown Brooklyn. She appointed Andrew Vesselinovitch to take care of the initiative that encouraged people to use bicycles more than petrol-driven vehicles.
  • Andrew Vesselinovitch was supposed to manage the initiative. However, he abandoned the job in 2006, stating to the media that most of his suggestions had been rejected by Iris. He also accused her of knowingly sabotaging the fixes and claimed that it could have led to various hazards.
  • He also stated that when he had tried to remove bumps from the ‘Williamsburg Bridge,’ he was removed by the deputy commissioner, Michael Primeggia. Weinshall was also said to have paid the media to keep the matter in her favor.
  • The bike lane project got a lot of media attention because of this. Weinshall was also criticized during the crash of the ‘Staten Island Ferry’ in 2003 that killed 11 people. People believed she did not focus on the safety of the ferry operations.
  • Her focus remained mainly on the basic maintenance of roads. While she worked at the ‘Department of Transportation,’ she was also appointed by the then-mayor, Mr. Bloomberg, as his ‘Special Transportation Advisor.’
  • She was also given the responsibility of strategizing for and guiding the ‘New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission.’ After serving the ‘Department of Transportation’ for 7 years, on January 29, 2007, she announced that she would be stepping down from her position for good.
  • She was replaced by Janette Sadik-Khan. In April 2007, she got an opportunity to work as the vice chancellor for facilities planning, construction, and management at the ‘City University of New York,’ which she readily accepted.
  • She was responsible for the maintenance of the university’s budget for 5 years. She is also involved in various plans and initiatives of the university.
  • In 2014, after 7 years of working as the vice chancellor, Iris was finally appointed as the COO of the ‘New York Public Library.’ She started her latest job on September 1, 2014.
Awards & Achievements
  • After the implementation of the bike lanes, New York was billed by the magazine ‘Bicycling’ as one of the top cities for bicycling in the US.
Family & Personal Life
  • She married US senator Chuck Schumer in 1980. The ceremony was held at the ‘Windows on the World,’ on the top floors of the north tower of the ‘World Trade Center.’
  • They have two daughters, Alison and Jessica. Alison works in the technology industry, while Jessica works as the chief of staff at the ‘Robin Hood Foundation.’
  • Both Jessica and Alison are ‘Harvard’ graduates. Jessica has also earned a law degree from ‘Yale.’
  • The family lives in Brooklyn.

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