A big chunk of the Upper East Side doesn’t belong to Queens and shouldn’t be represented by Queens. It’s a simple, obvious message, but one that still needed to be sent, after proposed City Council district maps chopped off dozens of UES blocks and Roosevelt Island from Manhattan. Now, Council Member Julie Menin is officially delivering that message on behalf of outraged Upper East Siders.
In a letter sent to the Districting Commission last Friday, Council Member Menin— whose Upper East Side district is butchered under the proposed maps— lays out the ways they will negatively impact thousands of our neighbors and the concerns she’s heard from residents about why it just doesn’t make any logical sense to lump three dozen blocks of Manhattan in with Queens.
“Three elementary schools redistricted into Council District 26 — P.S. 158, P.S. 183, and P.S. 217, all will remain in Manhattan’s School District 2, but would be represented by a Council Member who primarily represents Queens School Districts 24 and 30,” Menin explains in the letter.
“Furthermore, many residents who would remain in Council District 5 would continue to attend these schools despite the schools being represented by a different Council Member than the one who represents them.”
The proposed maps currently sever twenty blocks east of York Avenue, as well as fourteen blocks east of First Avenue, from the rest of the Upper East Side.
That means portions of the East River Esplanade, John Jay Park and Andrew Haswell Park on the Upper East Side would become part of Council District 26, which Queens residents would need to travel to a different borough to access— and could impact their funding, Menin says.
“Residents throughout these communities have contacted my office expressing their concerns that the new district lines separate communities of interest.”
“The Commission must consider these strong community ties as they amend the draft maps,” writes the Council Member.
Council redistricting happens every ten years, following the US Census, and the new maps, once approved, would go into effect next year.
Upper East Siders can have their voices heard in person at the next public hearing, scheduled for Monday, August 22nd at 5:30 pm at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, located at 515 Malcolm X Boulevard in Harlem.
Residents can email their concerns to the Districting Commission by clicking here.