The UES is Part of Queens in Ridiculous New Charter-Violating City Council Maps 

The UES is Part of Queens in Ridiculous New Charter-Violating City Council Maps 
The UES is Part of Queens in Ridiculous New Charter-Violating City Council Maps | Uran Kabashi/Unsplash, NYC Districting Commission

New Yorkers are fiercely loyal to their neighborhood and their borough, which is what makes the latest bone-headed political map, drawn as a result of redistricting, even more head-scratching than others released earlier this year. That’s because the new City Council district maps steal part of Upper East Side and Roosevelt Island, giving them to Queens, in violation of the City’s own Charter.

Just take a look at the proposed maps, released in a Friday news dump— a time reserved for burying controversial stories. The maps sever twenty blocks east of York Avenue, as well as fourteen blocks east of First Avenue, from the rest of the Upper East Side. 

The Manhattan redistricting map doesn’t even show these Upper East Side homes as existing in the borough anymore— instead they appear as a tiny sliver in District 26 on the fringes of the Queens map. Whomever drew the map even failed to label the UES as a neighborhood. 

34 UES blocks and Roosevelt Island are removed from Manhattan in new maps | NYC Districting Commission
34 UES blocks and Roosevelt Island are removed from Manhattan in new maps | NYC Districting Commission

Council Member Menin says the “preliminary City Council District maps by the New York City Districting Commission [are] far from perfect and is only a first draft, subject to significant changes.”

Removing these Upper East Siders from Council District 5– represented by City Council Member Julie Menin– will drown out their voices in a sea of residents from Long Island City and Sunnyside, Queens— hardly neighborhoods with similar character to our beloved Lenox Hill. 

ALSO READ | The Upper East Side Guide to NYC Restaurant Week, Summer 2022

Roosevelt Island’s ten thousand residents don’t fare any better— the entire island would join the same Queens district, currently represented by Julie Won.

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

Even the City Charter itself requires that the Districting Commission draw new lines such that a ‘district shall not cross borough or county boundaries.’ 

The new maps fail this test.

34 UES blocks and Roosevelt Island are part of Queens in new maps | NYC Districting Commission
34 UES blocks and Roosevelt Island are part of Queens in new maps | NYC Districting Commission

The Charter also says ‘districts shall not be drawn for the purpose of separating geographic concentrations of voters enrolled in the same political party into two or more districts in order to diminish the effective representation of such voters.”

These requirements were also not followed when they butchered the Upper East Side into part of Queens.

Council District 4, which also covers parts of the UES, was also shifted— moving forty blocks of Lenox Hill from being represented by Council Member Keith Powers to Julie Menin’s district. 

ALSO READ | Popular Cookie Chain to Open First NYC Shop on the Upper East Side

However, this may actually be beneficial for residents. 

While Menin has been working tirelessly to bring universal childcare to NYC, tackling antisemitism and quality of life issues across the UES, Mr. Powers, in his capacity as City Council majority leader, has raced over the past few months to give away taxpayer dollars to special interests that lavish him with awards.

Mr. Powers could not immediately be reached for comment.

UES City Council Member Julie Menin leads rally for universal childcare in City Hall Park | Upper East Site
UES City Council Member Julie Menin leads rally for universal childcare in City Hall Park in early June| Upper East Site

“It is critical that during the redistricting process we prioritize maintaining communities of interest and now is the time for communities to come out and make their voices heard,” said Council Member Julie Menin.

Upper East Site asked the Districting Commission whether the absence of the UES blocks and neighborhood’s name from the maps was an intentional act to drown out the voice of residents in local government— as well as for an explanation of the four Charter rules violated by these maps—  but we did not hear back by time of publication.

ALSO READ | Fresh Direct Takes Over UES Block with Triple-Parked Trucks, Barrier & Cones that Don’t Belong to Them

Council redistricting happens every ten years, following the US Census, and the new maps, once approved, would go into effect next year.

You can sound off about the proposed maps by attending one of the upcoming public hearings or emailing the Districting Commission here.

For updates around the clock, follow us on InstagramTwitter and Facebook

Crumbl Cookies is opening its first NYC location on the Upper East Side | Crumbl Cookies

Popular Cookie Chain to Open First NYC Shop on the Upper East Side

Spoonable Spirits brings grown up pudding and jelly shots to the Upper East Side | Upper East Site, Spoonable Spirits

Spoonable Spirits Brings Grown Up Jell-O Shots to the Upper East Side