Redistricting Harlem

A movement is underway to unite Morningside Heights and Manhattan Valley into a single city council districts with a single city legislator representing the whole area.  This would place the greater Morningside Heights area—from West 96th to 125th streets, between the Hudson River and Central Park West—within one councilman’s district.

Draft maps released earlier this month by the city’s redistricting commission would put most of the area west of Amsterdam Avenue, as well as the Douglass Houses complex in Washington Heights council member Robert Jackson’s 7th District, and most of the area to the east of Amsterdam in Harlem council member Inez Dickens’ 9th District.

The redistricting process already went through its first set of public hearings in August and will have its next hearing on Oct. 4. Jonathan Ettricks, who represented the Redistricting Commission at the meeting, urged attendees to attend the hearing and testify or submit testimony online.

The commission is primarily concerned with fulfilling the New York City charter guidelines—such as ensuring that the populations of each district are roughly equal—rather than dividing the boroughs into their familiar neighborhoods.

“Districters are looking at population changes,” Ettricks said, “not practicality and ease of living.”