Commission publishes draft Council maps |
The New York City District Commission voted on Friday to release its preliminary proposal for the city’s redistributed City Council districts, which poses potential changes for parts of Astoria, South Ozone Park, South Richmond Hill and more.
The proposal comes after weeks of citywide public hearings and represents a 7.7% increase in population citywide and a 7.8% increase in Queens since the last census.
Perhaps the biggest change in the borough isn’t even in the borough at all: While the finished maps look similar to the preliminary maps, District 26, which is represented by council member Julie Won (D -Sunnyside) and includes Long Island City, Sunnyside and parts of Woodside, would move west to include Roosevelt Island and parts of Manhattan’s Upper East Side.
While the inclusion of roughly 20 Manhattan blocks in a neighborhood primarily located in Queens may raise some eyebrows, it’s not entirely unprecedented. Until this year’s tumultuous redistricting process at the state level — which resulted in a lawsuit, the reshuffling of state Congressional and Senate districts, and the postponement of two primary elections — the 12th Congressional District of New York was divided into parts of Astoria, the Upper East Side, and parts of Greenpoint and Williamsburg. While that district is now entirely in Manhattan, the newly drawn state Senate District 59 — where former councilman Elizabeth Crowley, Democratic socialist Kristen Gonzalez and political strategist Nomiki Konst will square off next month — understands well. many of these same neighborhoods.
Throughout the city and state redistricting processes, many Queens residents have advocated for racial and ethnic groups in the borough to stay together, such as the Guyanese and Bangladeshi populations of South Richmond Hill, but this does not appear to have been granted in the Council’s preliminary district. Plans. A small section of South Richmond Hill would be incorporated into District 27, represented by council member Nantasha Williams (D-St. Albans). South Ozone Park, on the other hand, is more unified in the proposal, and the entire Aqueduct Race Track would be represented by President Adrienne Adams (D-Jamaica); John Adams High School is also said to be in his district. Adams District 26 would, however, lose the portions of JFK Airport currently within its borders; all of JFK would be part of District 31.
“We are reviewing preliminary council district maps released today by the NYC District Commission. It is essential that the public provide feedback on these early drafts as part of the ongoing redistricting process,” Adams said in a statement. “We strongly encourage all New Yorkers to participate, and we will continue to work to ensure community interests are prioritized and protected.”
While her district would no longer include parts of South Ozone Park, Councilwoman Joann Ariola (R-South Ozone Park) would represent more of Woodhaven, part of Glendale and all of Forest Park.
Asked about the proposed changes, Ariola said in a statement, “I represent the voters of District 32. However the redistricting unfolds, from the first draft to the final lines, I will be sure to serve all of my constituents to the best of my abilities. She continued, “Regardless of whether they are in a newly added part of the district or an older part, I want all of my constituents to know that once they are part of my district, I will fight for them with everything I’ve got.
The Commission will go through another round of public hearings throughout August and present its final plan to Council on September 22 for approval. The new districts will be used in next year’s municipal elections.