Cheerleading vs. Critical Thinking

On June 6, 2021, New York City launched a pilot program in which both mental and physical health professionals are responding to 911 mental health emergency calls. This new approach, called B-HEARD – the Behavioral Health Emergency Assistance Response Division attempts to treat mental health crises as public health problems, not public safety issues

B-HEARD teams include emergency medical technicians/paramedics from the Fire Department’s Emergency Medical Services and social workers from NYC Health + Hospitals. Teams operate seven days a week, 16 hours a day in the 25, 28, and 32 police precincts in East Harlem and parts of central and north Harlem.

In 2020, there were approximately 8,400 mental health 911 calls in this area (Zone 7), the highest volume of any dispatch zone in the city.

The goals of the B-HEARD pilot are to:

Route 911 mental health calls to a health-centered B-HEARD response whenever it is appropriate to do so. Calls that involve a weapon, an imminent risk of harm, or where NYPD or EMS call-takers know that an individual has an immediate need for a transport to a medical facility will continue to receive a traditional 911 response—an ambulance and police officers.

Increase connection to community-based care, reduce unnecessary transports to hospitals, and reduce unnecessary use of police resources. Before B-HEARD, mental healthcare was not delivered in communities during an emergency. Instead, emergency medical technicians/paramedics provided basic medical assistance in the field and transported those who needed mental healthcare to a hospital. Now, with B-HEARD social workers delivering care on site, emergency mental healthcare is reaching people in their homes or in public spaces for the first time in New York City’s history.

The text above is cribbed from the promotional material of BHeard that you can read (in full) here:

What is interesting is that the rosy picture in the 2nd half of the press release on how successful BHeard has been, is sharply contrasted with the careful analysis found in the Gothamist where they note that the data indicates that:

During the first three months of its operation between early June and late August, 1,478 emergency mental health calls were made to 911 operators in the areas serviced by the program. Only 23% of those calls — 342 incidents — were routed to B-HEARD teams. The rest of the mental health crises were initially shared with traditional response teams involving the cops. In both cases, emergency medical technicians or paramedics were dispatched as well.

On top of that, B-HEARD was often under-resourced and didn’t have enough personnel to handle all of the emergencies shared by 911 operators. The program had to redirect 17% of calls back to the police.

To read the full, Gothamist analysis, see:

https://gothamist.com/news/nyc-tried-to-remove-nypd-from-911-mental-health-emergenciesbut-its-had-little-success

Court Ordered Evictions

How Calculated: 

Rate of executed evictions ordered by the New York City Housing Court, including those pending and scheduled as of December 31, per 10,000 housing units.

Eviction data are reported by New York City Marshals and gathered from NYC Open Data. For more information, see: https://data.cityofnewyork.us/City-Government/Evictions/6z8x-wfk4

Source: New York City Department of Investigation

Odyssey House on East 126 Advances

Odyssey House – a major social services provider in East Harlem (one of their buildings is shown below from the Metro-North platform) – is advancing its project on East 126th Street.

Concrete is being poured. Pump trucks are engaged:

Sign Up for the 25th Precinct Community Council Meeting

https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1Q3BECVQNeZbr_z07TX0x768yYh9llQOA-z3N9lAk54g/edit
Please use the above link to register for the 25th Precinct’s Community Council meeting – October 20th at 6:00 PM.  They need a count of how many plan on attending in person.
Thank you all so much

Parking Lot to be Transformed into Supportive Housing, Parking Garage, and Afro-Latin Music and ArtsCenter

Real Estate News reports that the parking lot behind the 25th Precinct (between 119/118th Street, on Park Avenue) will be developed for supportive housing for homeless individuals:

The city has unveiled a plan for 600 new apartments along with an Afro-Latin Music and Arts Center  and an upgraded community center in East Harlem.

The project is one of the first major developments since the rezoning of East Harlem rezoning and, according to HPD Commissioner Louise Carroll, delivers on significant commitments in the East Harlem Neighborhood Plan for affordable housing, education, and workforce training investments.

“These incredible projects are delivering on the City’s commitment to invest in job training, youth, education, and more affordable housing for East Harlem. They are also proving that affordable housing can be an anchor for the arts and the entire community’s well-being,” said Carroll.

“I am so proud to announce plans for both the new Afro-Latin Music and Arts Center and renovated multi-service facility that will enhance the community’s quality of life. I want to thank our partners, The Community Builders, Ascendant Neighborhood Development, Mega Contracting, Lantern Organization, and the Afro Latin Jazz Alliance for their creative and thoughtful leadership.”

Mega Contracting, Lantern Organization, The Community Builders and Ascendant Neighborhood Development were selected to build the properties following the East Harlem RFP released in 2019, which sought plans to redevelop two sites that include affordable housing alongside retail and community services.

Located on the east side of Park Avenue between East 118th Street and East 119th Street, the former New York Police Department 25th precinct parking site (pictured top) will be transformed into a residential building with 330 affordable homes, of which 99 homes will be set aside for formerly homeless households.

Mega Contracting and Lantern Organization will build the development, called Timbale Terrace, which will also house a 16,000 s/f Afro-Latin Music and Arts (ALMA) Center, operated by the Afro Latin Jazz Alliance (ALJA). The facility will include practice rooms, community performance and art gallery spaces, recording studios, and street-facing retail.

In addition to hosting professional musical performances, the community partner ALJA will offer free or affordable music education programming for all ages, job training in the arts, and run an anti-gun initiative through the new center.

The Community Builders and Ascendant Neighborhood Development will develop the second site located at 413 East 120th Street, to be known as The Beacon.

The East Harlem Multi-Service Center site will give rise to an affordable 250-home residential building, of which 75 homes, or 30 percent, will be set aside for formerly homeless households. The new residential building will be constructed at the back of the existing East Harlem Multi-Service Center, which will be rehabilitated and expanded.

The original architecture of the multi-service center will be preserved and include additional space for after-school programming, a new atrium, green space, and the Wagner Walk walk path connecting the residential building to the multi-service facility. The renovated facility will continue to host the nonprofit organizations serving East Harlem.

“East Harlem is the community that best represents the mission of the Afro Latin Jazz Alliance, to use music as an entry point for service to the community and to reflect back to that community the beauty and ingenuity of its citizens,” said Arturo O’Farrill, Founder, Artistic Director, Afro Latin Jazz Alliance. “Partnering with the City of New York, the Lantern Organization and Mega development is an opportunity to put theory into daily practice. We are honored to lock arms with these partners and serve the people of East Harlem in a manner designed by their needs. Timbale Terrace will be a place that welcomes all!”

“Lantern Organization is thrilled to partner with the City of New York, Mega Development, and the Afro Latin Jazz Alliance to create Timbale Terrace,” said Dan Kent, President/CEO, Lantern. “We are grateful to the East Harlem community members who inspired this project through their advocacy for mixed-income housing, housing for vulnerable populations, and an arts and cultural center dedicated to this incredible neighborhood. We look forward to working with our neighbors to ensure Timbale Terrace achieves these shared goals for East Harlem.”

“Crafting a vision for Timbale Terrace was a labor of love for our team,” said Mega principal Hercules Argyriou. “Throughout our process, we were dedicated to creating a new mixed-use project that would address the needs articulated by the East Harlem community — 100% affordable housing that prioritizes those most in need with an arts and cultural center that celebrates East Harlem’s history and activates the Park Avenue corridor. In partnership with Lantern Organization and the Afro Latin Jazz Alliance, we are honored to have the opportunity to realize our vision for this important location.”

“At TCB we pride ourselves on building and sustaining strong communities where all people can thrive,” said Desiree Andrepont, Senior Project Manager at The Community Builders. “It is a privilege to partner with Ascendant Neighborhood Development Corporation and bring together the East Harlem community with this exciting project. The transformation of the Multi Service Center will create a collaborative space to unite neighborhood leaders, local organizations and the greater community, and the development will provide much-needed affordable housing for generations to come.”

“For over thirty years, Ascendant has worked with our partners and allies to preserve, protect, and celebrate the unique history and heritage of East Harlem,” said Chris Cirillo, Executive Director at Ascendant Neighborhood Development Corporation. “We are profoundly grateful to have the opportunity to re-envision the Multi-Service Center as a sustainable, resilient, and inclusive 21st century community hub. We look forward to working with community members, Wagner Houses residents, Multi-Service Center tenants, Community Board 11, Council Member Ayala, and all of the other stakeholders who have helped to shape the vision for this site and the broader neighborhood.”

In 2017, the New York City Council approved the East Harlem rezoning to identify opportunities to create new mixed-income housing and preserve existing affordable housing. The East Harlem Rezoning builds on recommendations of the East Harlem Neighborhood Plan (EHNP), developed through a comprehensive community planning process and led by a committee of local stakeholders including former New York City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer, Manhattan Community Board 11 and Community Voices Heard. After a series of community meetings, the EHNP was issued with 232 recommendations for addressing key neighborhood issues.  In addition to authorizing the Mandatory Inclusionary Housing program for East Harlem, the rezoning creates opportunities for economic development while preserving the community’s existing commercial and manufacturing uses

The East Harlem rezoning also prioritizes creating more than 2,600 affordable homes, serving the lowest-earning families by leveraging city subsidies and the transformation of local public-owned sites. Other East Harlem affordable housing projects, include the 100 percent affordable Sendero Verde project, a mixed-use development primarily serving low-income households. Sendero Verde will become the nation’s largest Passive House development, providing more than 700 affordable homes. At least 20 percent of the homes will serve families earning less than $25,000, and 60 percent will serve households earning less than $49,000. In addition, 79 affordable apartments are for seniors. Once completed, Sendero Verde will also feature a community center, a Harlem Children’s Zone charter school, and a community art space.

Additionally, the City announced the East Harlem El Barrio Community Land Trust (EHEBCLT) alongside a $13.2 million project to convert four city-owned buildings into affordable housing under the CLT’s ownership. The EHEBCLT is the first CLT to receive public land, capital financing and startup support from the City in decades. Under the model, a board of tenants, community members, and nonprofit leaders will oversee and operate the development as an affordable rental mutual housing association.

Since the rezoning, the City has financed over 7,500 affordable homes in East Harlem. The zoning changes also support the construction of stations in the next phase of the Second Avenue Subway by planning for needed elevators, station access, and ventilation facilities.

Bengalis in Harlem

In the early/mid 20th century Harlem became the destination for African Americans escaping racial terror in the south, and hoping for a better life in New York City. In addition to southern migrants, other Black, Hispanic, and Asian diasporas found homes in Harlem – frequently after being denied the ability to rent in white neighborhoods.

In addition to these groups, Bengali seafarers moved from Manhattan’s waterfronts to live in the Lower East Side and also in Harlem. These diverse communities provided cover for undocumented immigrants who could blend into communities of color and remain undetected by white authorities. 

In his 2013 book, Bengali Harlem and the Lost Histories of South Asian America, Vivek Bald explains how Bengali migration to Harlem it had roots in colonialism.

In 19th-century India, British policies gutted the handicraft industry and its local markets—but in America, “Oriental goods” (such as embroidered cotton and silk, perfumes, spices, rugs, and handbags) were symbols of sophistication in middle-class homes. So Bengali men from villages north of Calcutta came to America as traders and peddlers, and some of them settled in New Orleans and across the American South, where they lived in segregated communities and tended to marry Black women while selling their wares in white neighborhoods.

Life aboard British steamships was “worse than working in hell” according to a 1920 news report quoted in Bald’s book—and by the 20th century, Bengali seamen like Habib were deserting their posts and seeking work in the Northeast and industrial Midwest. Between 1910 to the 1940s, Bald estimates, thousands of primarily Bengali Muslim men jumped ship. The majority of them returned to the subcontinent, but “somewhere in the high hundreds ended up settling in the New York/New Jersey area, Detroit, and elsewhere in the East and Midwest,” says Bald, now an associate professor of comparative media studies at MIT. In New York, they opened restaurants or set up small businesses selling herbs and spices.

National Night Out Tomorrow

National Night Out

The 25th Precinct Community Council is looking for organizations to staff a table at National Night Out on August 3rd. If you would be interested in staffing a table for HNBA, let us know:

Here is the letter from the 25th Precinct Community Council:

Good Evening,
As you know National Night Out is an annual event that happens on the 1st Tuesday of August.  We, unfortunately, were not able to host it last year because of the pandemic.  However, we are looking forward to a fun-filled night this year. 
I’m hoping that you and your organization will participate with us on the evening of August 3rd.  We are asking all organizations and partners to contribute by tabling and possibly supplying a fun activity or game.  Your activity can be for children or adults.  I.E. If you are an organization that specializes in art then you might want to have the kids color/paint National Night Out Logos (This is just an example) or you might want to host a carnival game of some sort or you can support by making an in-kind donation such as Snacks, Hot Dogs for the grill, Hamburgers for the grill, condiments, water, ice, possibly even a bouncy rental for kids, or some other inflatable rental (WE REALLY DO NEED A BOUNCY HOUSE) —(You get my drift) –  But It is totally up to you.  Look, bottom line is- we just want you to hang out with us and help make the day fun.  
If you do plan on participating and have an activity or plan on donating something please email me or text me so that I can put it on our spreadsheet.  
We totally appreciate anything that you can do to help support this night. 
Best Regards,Kioka Jackson and the 25th Precinct Community Council

NYC’s Department of Health Approves Bringing More Men and Women In Crisis Into East Harlem

You may have heard of Project Renewal’s Support and Connection Center (SCC) which was located on East 116th Street. This innovative project was supposed to allow officers of the 25th Precinct to bring men and women experiencing a crisis, into a supportive dormitory where trained staff members could help with a wide range of resources and assistance (both short and long term).

At a community advisory board meeting, it was announced that the Department of Health (DOHMH) had expanded the catchment area of the East Harlem pilot project to include the 28th and 32nd Precincts. This move was explained by a Department of Health official as a way to “address the underutilization of the beds.”

There was no mention that this move may be in response to the scathing press from May of this year that noted:

East Harlem has served just 45 people — coming out to $1.1 million per visit.

Here is the full article in The City:

https://www.thecity.nyc/2021/5/9/22426250/thrive-nyc-nypd-diversion-centers-for-mentally-ill-sit-empty

The press coverage of the SCC debacle was a huge blow to New York’s DOHMH and the administration of Mayor Deblasio. Many members of HBNA noted how yet again New Yorkers paid millions for a mental health program with little to no result.

To see the full minutes of the SCC CAB meeting and the justification for bringing more men and women in crisis to East Harlem, see:

As a member of the SCC CAB I have written the following response:

Hello Daylyn, 
Thank you for these minutes.

  1. Could we please have a discussion at the next CAB meeting centered on how the decision by DOHMH to take on referrals from neighboring precincts contributes to (bureaucratic) systems of structural racism?  In particular, I would like to hear how the decision by DOHMH to add referrals from neighboring precincts helps an already oversaturated and already extremely vulnerable community.  Perhaps we could all take a look at: https://www1.nyc.gov/assets/doh/downloads/pdf/dpho/race-to-justice-action-kit-impacts-of-racism-on-health.pdf and discuss this in light of the NYC Department of Health’s “Race to Justice internal reform effort to help [their] staff learn what they can do to better address racial health gaps and improve health outcomes” (see: https://www1.nyc.gov/site/doh/health/health-topics/race-to-justice.page)
  2. I would also like to know if when SCC was being proposed and presented to the East Harlem community, was it made clear that the East Harlem SCC would/could take on referrals from neighboring precincts?
  3. Lastly, I would like to know if this is now the SCC/Community workflow; that SCC will make (or be told to make) programmatic and policy changes and then present these changes to the CAB as a fait accompli?  I’m trying to understand whether or not the members of the CAB are partners that are consulted and engaged, or if the SCC CAB is simply a forum for SCC to announce changes, milestones etc.

Our block association (HNBA.org) looks forward to hearing more about these issues.
best,
Shawn Hill

Run For Justice

JOIN US FOR THE 4TH ANNUAL #RUNFORJUSTICE World Day For International Justice is 7/17 and we invite you to join us for the 4th annual Run for Justice 5K! For the 2nd year in a row, Latinos Run and Black Men Run are teaming up for this great event. By participating, not only will you further our missions to increase health and fitness in communities of color, but you will help us bring awareness to social justice issues and promote equity, diversity, and access to resources. A portion of our proceeds will support two organizations at the forefront of social justice: ACLU and Equal Justice InitiativeDon’t forget to share your pics and hashtag us#RunForJustice #LatinosRun #BlackMenRun
SIGN UP

Build the Block, Tonight at 5:30

Come to Ginjan Cafe at 5:30 this afternoon to meet our two Neighborhood Coordination Officers (NCO’s).

This is an opportunity to discuss community concerns, quality of life issues, and to interface with the NYPD as residents who are looking for creative, thoughtful, and non-endangering solutions to concerns you might have.

Still Don’t Know Who To Vote For?

The City has the answer to all the ranked choice confusion swirling around in our collective zeitgeist

By going through their version of political online dating, The City will show you which candidate’s answers to the same questions, most parallel yours:

https://projects.thecity.nyc/meet-your-mayor/ultimate-match.html

And a Great Article on New York’s Fractured Political Landscape from FiveThirtyEight.com

The 5 Political Boroughs Of New York City

By Nathaniel Rakich

Filed under New York City

Published Jun. 21, 2021

EMILY SCHERER / GETTY IMAGES

If you’re one of the approximately 320 million Americans who don’t live in New York City, it might seem like its Democratic mayoral primary has gotten an outsized amount of media coverage. But even I, a Bostonian, can admit that the complex politics of New York City makes Tuesday’s election one of the most intriguing races of the year.

The city is a stark reminder that “heavily Democratic” does not necessarily equal “far left.” The front-runner for mayor is Eric Adams, a Black former Republican who has staked his campaign on his opposition to defunding the police. Kathryn Garcia, Maya Wiley and Andrew Yang are also within striking distance in the polls, but only Wiley unambiguously belongs to the party’s progressive wing.

But it’s too facile to just say it’s progressives vs. moderates in New York City — there are far more divisions at play. The city’s politics may share the same contours that have defined so many Democratic primaries nationwide, but its racial diversity, parochial neighborhoods and sheer number of Democratic voters — each with his or her own cross-cutting identities — expose fissures within fissures. 

To illustrate this, we’ve redrawn New York City’s five boroughs into five political regions based on the results of four recent Democratic primaries: for president in 2016 (Hillary Clinton vs. Bernie Sanders), and for governor (Andrew Cuomo vs. Cynthia Nixon), lieutenant governor (Kathy Hochul vs. Jumaane Williams) and attorney general (Letitia James vs. Sean Patrick Maloney vs. Zephyr Teachout) in 2018.1 

You already know Clinton and Sanders; Nixon, an actor and progressive activist, and Williams, a self-identified socialist then serving on the New York City Council, waged spirited primary challenges to moderate incumbents Cuomo and Hochul but ultimately fell short. James, the New York City public advocate at the time, had previously been a progressive darling but aligned herself with Cuomo in the attorney general’s race; instead, Teachout, a law professor who had unsuccessfully primaried Cuomo from the left in 2014, claimed the mantle of the left in that race. (Maloney, a moderate upstate congressman, was a nonfactor in most parts of New York City — with some important exceptions.) These four races produced four different voting patterns, so together they provide a not-half-bad template for understanding the city’s political geography.

So hop on the virtual subway with us and take a tour of New York City’s five “political boroughs.” These categories will come in handy while following along with and interpreting the results of the mayoral election over the next several weeks (it’s expected to take until mid-July to get final results because New York is slow to count absentee ballots, and because the city is using ranked-choice voting for the first time). But even if that’s not your bag, the mix of ideology and identity that marks these boroughs can help deepen our understanding of the broader divisions within the Democratic Party nationwide.

The Elite Circles

When people say that New York City’s political, economic and social elite live in a bubble, this is the bubble. The Elite Circles borough2 includes most of Manhattan from the Financial District to Central Park as well as adjacent parts of Brooklyn and Queens. It’s defined by its high levels of education (63 percent of residents age 25 or older have at least a bachelor’s degree) and its whiteness — a majority of its residents (56 percent) are non-Hispanic white. However, the political borough also includes some gentrified but historically ethnic enclaves with significant Hispanic, Asian American and Black populations.

Elite Circles demographics
DEMOGRAPHICPERCENTAGE
White56%
Black8
Hispanic20
Asian14
Bachelor’s degree or higher (among 25+ population)63

White, Black and Asian American residents are non-Hispanic.

SOURCE: AMERICAN COMMUNITY SURVEYADVERTISING

The Elite Circles is the most progressive slice of the city. It was Williams’s best political borough in the 2018 lieutenant governor race and was the only one to support Nixon for governor and Teachout for attorney general. Sanders also turned in an above-average performance here in the 2016 Democratic presidential primary.

Recent Elite Circles election results
RACECANDIDATEVOTE SHARE
2016 Pres.Clinton61%
Sanders39
2018 Gov.Cuomo49.6
Nixon50.1
2018 Lt. Gov.Hochul38
Williams62
2018 Att. Gen.James31
Maloney15
Teachout52

SOURCE: NEW YORK CITY BOARD OF ELECTIONS

But different parts of this political borough are different degrees of progressive. Some, especially hip neighborhoods with lots of young professionals, are dyed-in-the-wool leftist, even socialist — for example, all four progressive candidates carried the state Assembly districts that cover Ditmars Steinway and Astoria in Queens and Greenpoint and Williamsburg in Brooklyn by at least 8 percentage points. And in the 2020 Democratic presidential primary, Sanders got more than 30 percent of the vote in these areas even though he had already dropped out of the race by the time New York voted.

Other neighborhoods in this borough — especially traditionally tony neighborhoods in Manhattan — are more progressive-curious. For instance, districts containing Chelsea and the Upper West Side split their 2018 tickets between Cuomo for governor and Williams for lieutenant governor. And districts that include Midtown East and the Upper East Side voted strongly for Teachout in 2018 but even more strongly for Clinton in 2016. 

In this year’s mayoral race, expect that division to manifest itself again. The Elite Circles seems like it will be fertile ground for both Wiley and Garcia, who are especially strong with college-educated respondents in polls. But the more technocratic Garcia, who has the endorsement of The New York Times, seems like a better fit for Manhattan, while the more ideologically leftist Wiley, who was endorsed by the Working Families Party and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, will likely do better in Brooklyn. (A recent Marist College poll for WNBC, Telemundo 47 and POLITICO provides evidence for this.)

The True-Blue Bronx

On the other side of the ledger, the True-Blue Bronx3 is the least college-educated (just 18 percent) and most consistently pro-establishment region of New York City. Clinton defeated Sanders 70 percent to 30 percent here; Hochul beat Williams 59 percent to 41 percent. Teachout got only 8 percent in this political borough, well outpaced by both James and Maloney. Most dramatically, Cuomo defeated Nixon 84 percent to 16 percent here.

Recent True-Blue Bronx election results
RACECANDIDATEVOTE SHARE
2016 Pres.Clinton70%
Sanders30
2018 Gov.Cuomo84
Nixon16
2018 Lt. Gov.Hochul59
Williams41
2018 Att. Gen.James69
Maloney20
Teachout8

SOURCE: NEW YORK CITY BOARD OF ELECTIONS

As the name implies, the True-Blue Bronx overlaps closely with the real-life borough of the Bronx, except without its northwestern neighborhoods like Riverdale, which are noticeably more progressive than the rest of the borough. (It also takes in North Corona and East Elmhurst’s Assembly district in Queens, just across the East River.) That the Bronx is a safe haven for moderate, even conservative, Democrats won’t come as a surprise to observers of city politics: One of the borough’s best-known politicians is Democrat Rubén Díaz Sr., an anti-abortion city council member who has spoken favorably of former President Donald Trump.

True-Blue Bronx demographics
DEMOGRAPHICPERCENTAGE
White7%
Black29
Hispanic57
Asian5
Bachelor’s degree or higher (among 25+ population)18

White, Black and Asian American residents are non-Hispanic.

SOURCE: AMERICAN COMMUNITY SURVEY

The True-Blue Bronx is predominantly (57 percent) Hispanic, with particularly strong Dominican and Puerto Rican communities. However, there is also a notable non-Hispanic Black population (29 percent), and the East Bronx is pretty racially heterogeneous. Although every district that constitutes the True-Blue Bronx voted more establishment than the city as a whole in all four primaries, progressives tended to do especially badly in more homogenous districts.

With multiple moderates in the mayor’s race, it’s hard to predict how this borough will vote on Tuesday. As the overall front-runner, Adams could do well here, but one recent poll suggested Yang is the preferred candidate of Hispanic voters. Which candidate carries this political borough may well decide who wins the mayoralty.

The Black Bloc

The Black Bloc4 also tends to vote strongly for establishment-aligned candidates. In fact, it gave a higher share of the vote to Clinton (73 percent), James (a whopping 81 percent) and Cuomo (an even more whopping 86 percent) than any other political borough. 

Recent Black Bloc election results
RACECANDIDATEVOTE SHARE
2016 Pres.Clinton73%
Sanders27
2018 Gov.Cuomo86
Nixon14
2018 Lt. Gov.Hochul48
Williams52
2018 Att. Gen.James81
Maloney13
Teachout5

SOURCE: NEW YORK CITY BOARD OF ELECTIONS

But what sets it apart from the True-Blue Bronx is that it also voted for the progressive Williams for lieutenant governor, 52 percent to 48 percent. The likely explanation: Williams, a Black man, enjoyed strong support with New York City’s Black community even as his running mate Nixon and other progressives fizzled with them. And the Black Bloc is heavily (63 percent) non-Hispanic Black.

Black Bloc demographics
DEMOGRAPHICPERCENTAGE
White7%
Black63
Hispanic16
Asian9
Bachelor’s degree or higher (among 25+ population)23

White, Black and Asian American residents are non-Hispanic.

SOURCE: AMERICAN COMMUNITY SURVEY

While virtually every corner of the Black Bloc voted the same way for president, governor and attorney general, Williams ran especially strongly in the western half of this bisected borough: heavily Black, low-income neighborhoods in Brooklyn like East Flatbush and Brownsville. But Hochul (narrowly) carried the eastern half, which comprises middle-class Queens neighborhoods like St. Albans and Queens Village that are more racially diverse. The difference may be because Williams has closer ties to the Brooklyn side of the borough (he grew up in East New York and represented East Flatbush and Canarsie on the City Council).

So the Black Bloc is probably best thought of as a stronghold for establishment Democrats, but one that will vote for members of its community first and foremost. In the mayor’s race, this probably bodes well for Adams, the moderate, Black borough president of Brooklyn. But there may also be an undercurrent of support here for Wiley, who is also Black and lives in Brooklyn.

The Lands of Contradiction

At first glance, the Lands of Contradiction borough5 is an enigma. It voted for Cuomo 71 percent to 28 percent, and it was Hochul’s and Maloney’s strongest political borough. But it was also Sanders’s strongest, voting for Clinton just 55 percent to 45 percent.

Recent Lands of Contradiction election result
RACECANDIDATEVOTE SHARE
2016 Pres.Clinton55%
Sanders45
2018 Gov.Cuomo71
Nixon28
2018 Lt. Gov.Hochul61
Williams38
2018 Att. Gen.James47
Maloney27
Teachout22

SOURCE: NEW YORK CITY BOARD OF ELECTIONS

But this incongruity makes more sense when you think of those votes for Sanders as votes against Clinton. In general, Democrats in the Lands of Contradiction tend to be conservative,6 but they likely voted for Sanders anyway as a form of protest against the national Democratic Party (it’s hard to remember now, but in early 2016, conservatives were a lot more anti-Clinton than they were anti-socialist). This hypothesis is supported by the fact that the Lands of Contradiction was by far Trump’s strongest political borough in the 2020 general election; President Biden carried it just 51 percent to 47 percent, whereas he won at least 80 percent of the vote in the other four political boroughs.

Another way to think about the Lands of Contradiction is that it votes less on ideology and more on a candidate’s brand (much like the Upper East Side, just inverted): Although they live in the biggest city in the nation, voters here consistently reject candidates who represent the urban, urbane Democratic Party and gravitate toward the party’s plain-spoken, industrial and/or rural image of yore. (This is also consistent with its support for Trump.) Hochul and Maloney both hail from upstate New York and grew up in middle-class Irish Catholic families; Sanders is from rustic Vermont and could never be accused of focus-grouping his appearance and messaging. 

Lands of Contradiction demographics
DEMOGRAPHICPERCENTAGE
White46%
Black5
Hispanic19
Asian American26
Bachelor’s degree or higher (among 25+ population)35

White, Black and Asian American residents are non-Hispanic.

SOURCE: AMERICAN COMMUNITY SURVEY

These preferences make sense, given that the Lands of Contradiction is mostly white (46 percent, a plurality of the population) and non-college-educated. Italian and Irish Americans are the largest ethnic groups, although no area may sum up this borough better than the heavily Orthodox Jewish neighborhoods of Borough Park and Midwood, deeply conservative pockets of liberal Brooklyn. In addition, the Lands of Contradiction has sizable Asian American (26 percent) and Hispanic (19 percent) populations. In fact, six of the seven most heavily Asian American Assembly districts in New York City are in this political borough.

Six of the city’s eight oldest Assembly districts (going by median age) are also in the Lands of Contradiction, jibing with its more old-school vision of the Democratic Party. And geographically, the borough covers most of famously contrarian Staten Island as well as the parts of Brooklyn and Queens at the ends of subway lines — in other words, some of the parts of the city that are farthest from Manhattan (and its Elite Circles that the borough so disdains).

This political borough can be unpredictable in who it supports, but look for Adams and/or Yang to rack up votes here. In the Marist poll, Adams was the overwhelming choice of conservative respondents, while several Asian American groups have endorsed Yang, who would be the city’s first Asian American mayor. (As a political outsider, he may also appeal to this borough’s disaffected voters.)

The Crossroads

Crossroads demographics
DEMOGRAPHICPERCENTAGE
White21%
Black30
Hispanic38
Asian American9
Bachelor’s degree or higher (among 25+ population)33

White, Black and Asian American residents are non-Hispanic.

SOURCE: AMERICAN COMMUNITY SURVEY

Recent Crossroads election results
RACECANDIDATEVOTE SHARE
2016 Pres.Clinton62%
Sanders38
2018 Gov.Cuomo67
Nixon33
2018 Lt. Gov.Hochul41
Williams58
2018 Att. Gen.James57
Maloney15
Teachout25

SOURCE: NEW YORK CITY BOARD OF ELECTIONS

Finally, the neighborhoods that make up the Crossroads7 are the parts of the city that don’t fit neatly into one of the other four regions. Often, this is because they sit at the intersection of two or more of the city’s political camps. For instance, the gentrifying Brooklyn neighborhoods of Bedford-StuyvesantCrown Heights and Flatbush are on the boundary of the Black Bloc and the Elite Circles. Black and Hispanic New Yorkers together make up the majority of the Harlem and Washington Heights neighborhoods of Manhattan. And Queens’s Jackson Heights and Corona neighborhoods might make sense in the True-Blue Bronx, with their large Hispanic populations, but their significant Asian American communities help them to vote more like the Lands of Contradiction.

Unsurprisingly, the Crossroads looks a lot like New York City demographically and politically. No racial group constitutes a majority, or even reaches 40 percent of the population; instead, there are roughly similar numbers of Hispanic, Black and white residents. And at the ballot box, it leans toward establishment candidates, but it will vote for progressives under the right circumstances — just like the city as a whole. 

Of course, that’s just on average; different Crossroads neighborhoods vote differently (in general, they vote in between the two political boroughs they are a combination of). By its very nature, the Crossroads doesn’t have as cohesive an identity as the other four political boroughs. But this heterodoxy also makes it the most “New York” of all of them — and therefore the best bellwether of citywide elections. In the mayor’s race, look for all four major candidates to rack up solid support here, since everyone’s bases are represented.


If these five political boroughs sound familiar, it’s because we’ve seen very similar ideological and identity divides play out in recent Democratic primaries nationwide. Since 2016, an ascendant progressive movement has redefined the left wing of the Democratic Party, and it’s been fueled primarily by white voters. But progressives still make up a minority of the party nationwide. After all, Clinton and Biden won the Democratic presidential nominations thanks largely to their strength with Democrats of color. 

That’s the challenge for the aspiring hizzoners who are fighting for New Yorkers’ votes on Tuesday. Because politics has become so nationalized, their support in many ways is predetermined and limited, even as they try to speak to every corner of a city dealing with inequality, segregation, crime, COVID-19 and an unpopular outgoing mayor. In the end, whoever does the best job expanding their coalition beyond their natural base is likely to become New York City’s 110th mayor.

East Harlem by Afinelyne

https://www.etsy.com/listing/655893661/east-harlem-map?share_time=1623184938000

Lynn Lieberman is an Artist/Writer at GothamToGo Follow her paintbrush @ http://gothamtogo.com or Facebook at GothamToGoNew York, NYgothamtogo.com

Also see more of Lynn’s amazing work here:

https://www.etsy.com/shop/afinelyne?ref=simple-shop-header-name&listing_id=655893661

Seen on Park Avenue

The top three tips for ranked choice voting are…

  1. Vote for your genuine favorites, in your order of preference. Don’t try to game the system and guess who has the best chance. Just vote for whom you like in the order that you like them. There’s no risk of losing your vote, because if your favorite is knocked out, your vote will go to your second favorite, and so on.
  2. Don’t rank someone you don’t like. The last spots on your ballot should be for candidates that you are OK with or could live with. If there are candidates you disagree with or really do not want to win, do not put them on your ballot.
  3. You don’t have to fill all five slots, if there are only three or four candidates that you like, you can just rank them. 

Build the Block

Wednesday at 5:30, in Ginjan Cafe (Park/125).

25th Precinct Community Council Meeting Tonight at 6:00 PM

Below please see the zoom invite for our upcoming 25th Precinct Community Council Meeting scheduled for tonight, Wednesday, April 21st at 6 PM. 

We will be discussing ideas that we have to prevent Gun Violence in our community and the Elections for the Council.

This is also your opportunity to talk to the Commanding Officer, Deputy Inspector Henning, and our Community Affairs Officers about what’s going on in your neighborhood.  As the weather gets warmer we should begin to think about how we can keep our community safe.  Hope to see you all tonight.

Apr 21, 2021. 06:00 PM

Join Zoom Meeting
https://us02web.zoom.us/j/5184698981

Meeting ID: 518 469 8981