New York’s dysfunctional redistricting process came to an end several days ago, when a panel of federal judges ordered the state to implement new Congressional boundaries based on the 2010 Census. The new lines are not dramatically different on the Lower East Side but there are some changes you’ll want to know about.
Currently, the neighborhood is represented in Washington by Carolyn Maloney (14th Congressional District) and Nydia Velazquez (12th Congressional District). Since New York lost two seats, the districts have been renamed. But more significantly, the boundaries have shifted. Velazquez, for example, picks up most of the Grand Street Co-ops from Maloney, a larger portion of the Two Bridges neighborhood and a few more blocks in Chinatown. Pitt Street is the dividing line, meaning Velazquez (now representing the 7th Congressional District), picks up all of the co-op buildings except Seward Park.
For the first time in 20 years, Velazquez faces a primary challenge. Brooklyn City Councilman Erik Dilan and Dan O’Connor, a lesser known opponent who recently opened a Chinatown office, are taking her on. The district snakes through sections of Brooklyn and Queens. There’s speculation that the new lines (especially in Brooklyn, where Velazquez lost Greenpoint and picked up sections of Williamsburg) could make her vulnerable. The primary takes place June 26.
There are also some changes at the state level. Senator Daniel Squadron shifts from the 25th to the 26th District, losing most of the East Village but retaining all of the Lower East Side below Houston Street and Chinatown. The area above East 6th Street will now be represented by Senator Tom Duane.
In the Assembly, Speaker Sheldon Silver’s district is now the 65th (rather than the 64th) but the boundaries have not changed much at all. The 74th Assembly District (represented by Brian Kavanagh) now incorporates a few more blocks in the East Village, including the Village View apartment complex (Avenue A between East 2nd and East 6th streets).
Still to come: new City Council boundaries. Due to population increases on the West Side, it’s possible District 1 will look a bit different. There have been suggestions that Margaret Chin, District 1’s first-term representative, would like to lose Soho, where she faces opposition from political activists. Chin has denied these claims, pointing out that (unlike the State Legislature) Council redistricting is an independent process that she does not have the ability to influence.
If you would like see the new federal and state districts in detail, have a look at this interactive map.