Think you know your neighborhood? City map sparks debate over boundaries


NEW YORK – There are topics New Yorkers will never stop arguing over, like who has the best pizza or which subway line is the worst. But few stir up as much passion as the amorphous borders between the city’s hundreds of neighborhoods.

That debate was reignited last week with a map that is part of the city’s outreach effort for next year’s national census.

The interactive map on the NYC Census 2020 campaign website divides the city into 245 neighborhoods. Users can click on each one to see what percentage of people responded to the 2010 census on their own and register for neighborhood census organizing committees.

New Yorkers can also use the map to see their neighborhood’s census response rate each day after the start of next year, said Kathleen Daniel, NYC Census 2020 field director. people in the crucial tally that will determine the city’s representation in Congress and its federal funding levels, she said.

“You don’t have to think of census tract 001273,” Daniel said. “You think of Flatbush. You think of Bushwick. You think of DUMBO.”

But some of the neighborhood boundaries on the map raised eyebrows among Big Apple geography enthusiasts despite the city’s good intentions.

For example, it shows Prospect Heights stretching east of its typical border along Washington Avenue. And some neighborhoods such as Ditmas Park and Nolita have been subsumed into larger areas, while others such as Manhattan Valley and Hudson Square are self-contained.

Some lines may look funny because the census team mapped neighborhoods as clusters of smaller census tracts, according to Daniel.

The team grouped the plots and traced the neighborhood boundaries around them, roughly matching the tab areas of the Town Planning Department neighborhoods, she said.

This method will prove useful because the US Census Bureau will provide daily data for each sector during next year’s count, allowing the website to update in real time, officials said. But drawing the boundaries of the neighborhood was a difficult task even for seasoned city organizers, Daniel said.

“Have we reached 100% consensus? No, because we’re New Yorkers. Nobody agrees on everything here, ”she said. “… What we reasonably tried to do was label the neighborhoods in the way most familiar to people.”

Daniel knows the endless neighborhood debates. She grew up near Ditmas Park and now lives in Old Mill Basin, which she says is also simply called Mill Basin or Flatlands, depending on who you ask. “I know where my house is, I know where to get the best coffee, I know where to find the best pizza ever, and it looks good on me,” she said.

While the online map is intended to involve as many New Yorkers as possible in the census, Daniel said she believes the hundreds of billions of dollars in federal aid at stake across the country will eclipse neighborhood boundaries. in people’s minds.

“I don’t think they’re going to care about the line,” Daniel said. “My sincere hope is that people continue to pull the no-go line and make sure we get our fair share.”

Where do you draw the boundaries of your neighborhood? Did the city map prove them right or wrong? Check out the map here and let us know in the comments, or email us at [email protected]

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