Upper East Side sliced ​​into newly redrawn council district maps

UPPER EAST SIDE, NY — Thousands of Upper East Siders could get new representation at City Hall under a newly redesigned map of New York City Council districts.

Draft mapreleased Friday by the city’s District Commission, includes major changes to Upper East Side Districts 4 and 5 – now represented by Keith Powers and Julie Meninrespectively.

Most notably, nearly 50 blocks between East 54th and 79th streets would be absorbed by the 26th Council District, which would cross the river from its current boundaries in Queens, where it now covers neighborhoods like Long Island City and Sunnyside.

Roosevelt Island, which has long been lumped together with the Upper East Side for political purposes, would also be taken over by the new 26th District – currently represented by Julie wonaccording to the maps.

Side by side Maps of the existing 5th Council District (left) and the newly proposed map (right), in which part of the current 5th District would be absorbed by the 26th District, which is based primarily in Queens. (Mapbox/Urban Research Center at CUNY Graduate Center)

Council’s new maps would come into force in February, ahead of next year’s municipal elections – although the commission is holding hearings on the new draft maps, which could lead to changes before they are finally approved anymore late this year.

Redistricting of the Council takes place every 10 years to reflect demographic changes in the recent census. It should not be confused with the other redistricting process covering state legislative and congressional districts, which concluded this summer after a chaotic few months of legal battles and a court-ordered redistricting.

District 5, which currently focuses on Yorkville, would be moved west under the new maps to include more Lenox Hill, gaining about 40 blocks west of Second Avenue under East 79th Street. It would also extend west above East 91st Street, encompassing a few blocks of Carnegie Hill that are currently part of District 4.

Side by side Maps of the existing council’s 4th district (left) and the newly proposed map (right), in which the coverage of the district in the Upper East Side becomes even narrower.

East Side landmarks that would be absorbed into Queens’ majority 26th District include the Weill Cornell Hospital for Special Surgery and Medical Center, John Jay Park, Rockefeller University, and Trader Joe’s 59th Street Market.

Meanwhile, District 4, which now covers a narrow slice of the Upper East Side along Central Park, would become even narrower under the proposed maps, losing all of its territory east of Lexington Avenue – but gaining land in Midtown.

Asked for comment, Menin and Powers both noted that the new maps are still preliminary – although Menin called them “far from perfect”.

“Many communities of interest in my current district would be split into a different district,” she said in a statement. “I will be working hard in the days and weeks ahead to ensure that our community is able to give strong feedback to the Commission on these new lines.”

Powers avoided any criticism of the changed lines, saying, “I appreciate the hard work of the district commission and look forward to continuing to represent the needs of the East Side at City Hall.”

In drawing the new maps, members of the 15-person commission were to give each district a roughly equal population, try to avoid dividing existing neighborhoods and communities, and not dilute the voting power of racial minorities. and linguistics.

Due to a quirk in the city’s charter following the redistricting years, all 51 city council members will be re-elected next year after serving a term of just two years – shorter than the typical term of office. four years.

Use the map below to click on a district and use the slider to compare existing and proposed council districts (map may display better on web browsers):

To obtain feedback on the draft map, the district commission will organize five more hearings at 4 p.m. on August 15, 16, 17, 18 and 22. Members of the public can comment via Zoom, by email at [email protected] or by mail at 235 Broadway, NY, NY 10007.

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