Polemical Mapping

HNBA’s Vice President, Shawn Hill, presented at NYC’s Open Data week this past winter. The presentation is now up on NYC Open Data’s YouTube channel.

The video looks at how the De Blasio administration obscured the inequitable distribution of shelters in New York City and compares the distribution of family shelters vs. single adult shelters.

Job Opportunity at Concrete Safaris

Concrete Safaris is hiring! If you’re 18+, you can apply to be a Public Health AmeriCorps Member. 24 community members will be hired and get public health, leadership, community organizing, and career development training.

See the PDF, below, for more details.

Concrete Safaris:


158 East 115th Street, Suite 144

New York, NY 10029

The Train Used to Stop at 110th Street

Above is a rendering of the 110th Street station in 1876 on what became the Metro-North line on Park Avenue. Note that above 110th street the train line was not on an iron el platform, and instead was on a solid masonry platform.

You can see spacious upper Manhattan farmland, a few brownstones (long since gone and replaced by projects), the tunnel at 98th Street, and horse and buggies.

The 110th Street station opened in 1876 and Harlem residents could catch up to sixteen trains a day that ran between Grand Central and William’s Bridge.

By 1896-1897 as the line’s grade was raised onto iron girders north of 111th Street and the new viaduct and the new 110th Street station opened in February 1897. However, by 1906, the New York Central Railway discontinued service at the 110th Street station.

The 110th Street station (as seen above) was partially built within the viaduct. The station’s waiting room was built into the northern side of the bridge over 110th Street and was located at street level.

From the waiting room, two staircases went up along the side of the viaduct’s retaining walls–one per side–to the side platforms atop the viaduct.

The stairways to the street still exist and are used in case of emergencies.

Letter Sent to CB11 to Support Converting Shelters in CB11 to Supportive Housing


As a part of a FOIL request I recently sent to the Department of Homeless Services (DHS), I was given a map illustrating the number of buildings (466 in total) in which DHS provides shelter and services (as of January 31, 2021). The sidebar, next to the map, claims that there were 31% fewer buildings than the 647 buildings reported in DHS’s “Turning the Tide” in February 2017.

On the map, DHS claimed to be working to ensure that shelters are distributed equitably across the five boroughs, including in communities that do not currently have any shelters, and at the end of the text they note that the NYC DHS shelter census stands at less than 53,000.

(note the huge disparity in building totals, above)

What is interesting is that they decided to focus on the number of buildings and not the number of people in the buildings. This is especially interesting given that by including their DHS shelter census total, they’ve indicated that they do know the number of people.

Until DHS replies with the community district population totals (which they have refused to do in response to 4 FOIL requests I’ve made), it is impossible to assess the balance or imbalance, of these facilities, and how they burden some communities more than others.

Below is a close-up of the density of shelters in northern Manhattan and the southern Bronx:

And compare that to Staten Island which has only only 1 shelter (the size of which we don’t know).

For the full map see: