Quinn and ICE
August 17th, 2011

Council Speaker Christine Quinn introduced legislation today that would prohibit New York City’s department of corrections from subsidizing the work of the Immigrations and Customs Enforcement. Make the Road New York issued this statement supporting the move:

“The announcement by Speaker Quinn and Council Members Mark-Viverito and Daniel Dromm that the New York City Council will prohibit New York City’s Department of Corrections from subsidizing and supporting the deportation of thousands of non-criminal New Yorkers each year is fantastic news.

Every day New York City benefits from the energy, initiative and hard-work of immigrants. In a city where forty percent of all New Yorkers are immigrants, and for the City to do its job, New York City government must not burn bridges to immigrant communities. Today, New York City is taking a clear stand that it refuses to be in the business of tearing apart of immigrant families and subsidizing the deportation of non-criminal New Yorkers.”

Quinn’s legislation follows Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s decision to pull out of the federal Secure Communities Program and the US government’s insistence that New York legally must take part in the program. Read the rest of this entry »

By on August 17, 2011, 1:12 pm
In category: Albany,City Hall,Civil Rights,Crime & Safety,Demographics,Eye on Albany,Immigrants,Work and Labor | 5 Comments »

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Challenging the Census
August 10th, 2011

As expected the city has filed a formal challenge of the Census Bureau’s 2010 count of New York City residents. In its filing, the Bloomberg administration contends the census incorrectly counted as vacant a number of homes in Astoria, Jackson Heights, Bay Ridge and Bensonhurst, which it says “are among the most vibrant areas in New York City.”

In his letter to Census Bureau director Robert Groves, Mayor Michael Bloomberg said, “It is our expectation that the city’s population could increase by tens of thousands of New Yorkers if the errors … were corrected.” The city does not anticipate a correction would have a major effect on redistricting or save on of the state’s two lost congressional seats but it does think a recount could increase the amount of money the city would receive from various aid programs.

Various New York officials issued statements in support of the administration’s effort. Sen. Charles Schumer, for one, called the federal government’s numbers “dead wrong.”

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand noted that the census found only very modest population growth in Brooklyn and Queens and expressed concern “that this inaccuracy may be the result of the difficulty in ascertaining accurate counts in immigrants communities such as Jackson Heights, Astoria and Sunset Park.”

As Andrew Beveridge wrote in Gotham Gazette this spring, the census found some 246,0000 fewer city residents than the administration had anticipated, and grew by 2.1 percent, not 5.2 percent. The numbers cast cold water on the mayor’s prediction that 9 million people would call New York City home by 2030. In his column Beveridge wrote that, while the mayor’s disappointment is understandable, evidence exists to support the Census Bureau’s count.

By on August 10, 2011, 3:42 pm
In category: City Hall,Demographics,Gotham City | 1 Comment »

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Bloomberg and the Achievement Gap
August 4th, 2011

Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s announcement earlier today of a major initiative to help young black and Latino men today, includes a big focus on education. Few would debate the wisdom of that.

Bloomberg has long patted himself on the back for narrowing the gap in academic achievement between the city’s white and Asian students on one hand and blacks and Latinos on the other. Today Chancellor Dennis Walcott sounded the theme. Weve come a long way in improving achievement for black and Latino young men, helping to narrow the racial gaps in state exams and graduation rates,” he said.

But as Bloomberg basks in praise (and some almost fawning press coverage) for tackling a truly tough issue, his record on ending education disparities is — to put it charitably mixed.

The mayor noted the city had narrowed the gap in high school graduation rates between the races. And the evidence backs that up. But in myriad other areas — test scores, admission to elite high schools, admission to gifted and talented elementary programs, suspensions — the gap has remained essentially the same or widened under the Bloomberg regime.

Let’s looks at the numbers after the jump.
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By on August 4, 2011, 3:34 pm
In category: City Hall,Civil Rights,Demographics,Education | 3 Comments »

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New Yorkers Want Wal-Mart (UPDATE)
March 18th, 2011


Photo (cc) Wal-Mart

Despite fierce opposition from the city’s unions and a majority of the City Council, New Yorkers favor bringing the world’s largest retailer to the five boroughs.

According to a new poll from Quinnipiac University, 57 percent of New York City voters say officials should allow Wal-Mart to open up in the the city, while 36 percent say the retailer should be kept out. If Wal-Mart set up shop in the Big Apple, 68 percent of New York City voters would shop there if it was convenient.

In response to the poll, Steven Restivo, director of community affairs for Wal-Mart, sent over the following statement:

The results affirm what we have been hearing for months: New Yorkers want Walmart. Whether it’s physically leaving the city to shop our stores, responding favorably in polls or just voicing their opinion on Facebook and at neighborhood rallies, city residents show their support for Walmart every day. With too many communities living with double-digit unemployment and limited access to affordable groceries, we continue to evaluate local opportunities that will allow us to do what we do best: open stores, create jobs, stimulate economic development and lower the cost of living for customers.

Mickey Carroll, director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute, said in a statement: “Voters agree that Walmart can be tough on its employees and on its mom-and-pop competitors, but even voters in union households say 63 – 34 percent they’ll shop there anyway.”

For months — years actually — city officials have been blocking Wal-Mart’s attempt to infiltrate the New York City market. They claim the retailer’s wages are below average, they have a poor record of providing health care and discriminate against certain employees, specifically women. Officials have also said Wal-Mart would drive out New York City’s mom and pop shops.

On the other hand, the five boroughs already is home to Target, Costco, Best Buy and other big-box retailers. We looked into whether there were stark differences between them.

Here is what we found.

UPDATE: Wal-Mart Free NYC sent over this response to today’s poll:

“New York didn’t become great because of Walmart, it became great because of the thousands of small businesses owners who worked hard to make our mom and pops the engine of our economy — the same neighborhood mom and pops that New Yorkers agree Walmart would destroy,” said Eric Koch, a spokesman for Wal-Mart Free NYC

By on March 18, 2011, 11:28 am
In category: City Hall,Demographics,Economy,Eye Opener,Gotham City,Land Use,Measuring UP,nextNY | Comments Off on New Yorkers Want Wal-Mart (UPDATE)

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Racial Admissions Gap
February 11th, 2011

The number of black and Hispanic eight graders admitted to the city’s most selective public high schools continues to decline, according to figures just released by the Department of Education.

Only 5 percent of the students offered admission to eight of the city’s specialized high school are black and only 6 percent are Hispanic. These eight schools all chose students entirely on the basis of a test given in the fall. The other specialized high school — LaGuardia, an arts school — is not included in the figures because it selects students on the basis of other criteria, such as an audition.

The percentage of blacks and Hispanics admitted to the eight schools fell by one percentage point from 2010, continuing a recent trend.

At the city’s three oldest specialized high schools –Bronx Science, Brooklyn Tech and Stuyvesant– the figures were no better. Blacks accounted for only 4.5 of those offered admission to the schools; Hispanics, 5.5 percent. At Stuyvesant– traditionally the most selective — the numbers are even more jarring: Only 1.2 percent of students offered admission were black and only 1.3 percent Hispanic.

More number crunching after the jump.
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By on February 11, 2011, 2:52 pm
In category: Civil Rights,Demographics,Education,Gotham City | 4 Comments »

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Bloomberg Joins It Gets Better Campaign
January 4th, 2011

The latest in the It Gets Better Project from Hizzoner himself.

By on January 4, 2011, 5:25 pm
In category: City Hall,Civil Rights,Demographics,Eye Opener,Gotham City,Immigrants,nextNY | 1 Comment »

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Divide in the Charter Commission?
May 10th, 2010

Some Charter Revision Commission members seemed split this morning over whether the commission could thoroughly vet the more serious issues scheduled for review and still get them on the November ballot.

The commission approved a resolution today outlining five issue areas to explore and scheduled public hearings and expert panels on those specific topics for May and June. The issues include term limits, voter participation (including nonpartisan elections), land use (especially the ULURP process), balance of powers (including the roles of community boards, the borough presidents and the City Council) and fiscal responsibility.

Just before approving the resolution, the Rev. Joseph M. McShane proposed an amendment to require the commission to revisit its timeline before proposing anything for November’s ballot. To get anything on the ballot this fall, the commission would have to solidify its proposals by September.

Commission Chair Matthew Goldstein rejected McShane’s amendment, saying it was already “embedded” in the document. The commission, Goldstein said, will have a deliberative process.

After the meeting, Goldstein told reporters, “I’ve always said that this year was a much better opportunity, because there will be more and more active participation because we’re going to have statewide elections. If I wanted to bring something or we wanted to bring something, it would make a lot of sense not to lose that opportunity. The opportunity cost would be higher.”
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By on May 10, 2010, 1:14 pm
In category: Albany,City Hall,Community Development,Demographics,Electoral Politics,Gotham City,Governing,Land Use,Law,Measuring UP,nextNY,Public Finance,Waterfront,Work and Labor | Comments Off on Divide in the Charter Commission?

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Specialized High School Admissions
February 8th, 2010

Some 958 students received the good news last week that they had been admitted to Stuyvesant High School, considered by many to be the city’s best public high school. Only 7 of those proud students are black.

The figures announced Friday represent a continuing decline in the number of black and Hispanic kids admitted to the city’s academically elite schools. Last year, 12 blacks got into Stuyvesant. Seventeen Hispanic students received admission to Stuyvesant this year, compared to 24 a year ago.
Read the rest of this entry »

By on February 8, 2010, 11:32 am
In category: Civil Rights,Demographics,Education,Measuring UP | 1 Comment »

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A Night of Counting
January 26th, 2010

Last night thousands of volunteers scoured the city for men, women and children who call the streets home.

It happens every year since 2003, and it’s called the HOPE Street Survey — or the Homeless Outreach Population Estimate. Volunteers for the city’s Department of Homeless Services tour the five boroughs from 11 p.m. until 4 a.m. looking for people living on the streets. The count is supposed to capture an estimate of the city’s homeless population that do not use the shelter system.

Every year, according to the department, the numbers have declined, and since 2005 they have almost been cut in half — from 4,375 to 2,328.

Advocates dispute the study’s findings. Patrick Markee of the Coalition for the Homeless wrote that the survey has “an inherently flawed methodology.” The survey, he continued, fails to count the homeless that are in hard to reach locations and it doesn’t factor in inclement weather.

Last night, for instance, was unseasonably warm.

Either way, we won’t know last night’s results anytime soon. According to the press office at the Department of Homeless Services, the count can take weeks to compile.

For more, listen to this segment from Brian Lehrer this morning.

By on January 26, 2010, 5:47 pm
In category: City Hall,Demographics,Gotham City,Health,Housing,nextNY | Comments Off on A Night of Counting

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Immigration's Female Face
July 15th, 2009

This post was filed by Jackie Pearce.

The face of immigration in America is changing, according to experts, advocates and media representatives who gathered at the Ford Foundation auditorium this afternoon. That face, they say, is a womans.

The panel discussion focused on a poll recently released by New American Media, which looked at the problems and experiences of the often-silent female immigrant. Women now account for the majority of immigrants coming to the U.S. — 53 percent. Read the rest of this entry »

By on July 15, 2009, 5:51 pm
In category: Civil Rights,Demographics,Gotham City,Immigrants,Measuring UP | 2 Comments »

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Domestic Workers Push for Bill of Rights
June 12th, 2009

Taking care of children and the elderly: Check.

A bill of rights: left blank.

Early this morning, dozens of domestic workers and their allies set up shop outside City Hall, participating in a 24-hour vigil to lobby for a bill that would provide basic labor protections for domestic workers in New York.

Domestic laborers said that the 24-hour vigil is symbolic of their working situation. “We work in the employers’ house around the clock, 24 hours,” said Joycelynn Gill-Campbell, a former nanny from Barbados who is now a full-time organizer with Domestic Workers United, a grassroots group.

If passed, the domestic workers’ bill of rights would be the first bill to address their exclusion from federal and state labor laws. Though its prospects, according to some legislators, looked good at one point, it too could become a casualty of the Senate stalemate.

“I know what it is to be treated less than a human being and to be exploited and abused,” Gill-Campbell said. “We have to create history. The bill of rights is about correcting all the injustices that have been done.”
Read the rest of this entry »

By on June 12, 2009, 5:23 pm
In category: Albany,Civil Rights,Demographics,Eye on Albany,Gotham City,Governing,Immigrants,nextNY | 1 Comment »

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New Yorkers in Poverty
March 12th, 2009

The New York State Community Action Association has released a report on New York’s poverty rates. Statewide, 14 percent of the population lives in poverty, compared to 13.3 percent of the nation as a whole. But in New York City, the gap is much wider. The federal poverty line, which is the definition the report uses, is an annual income of $18,310 for a family of three.

Here’s some of the more striking highlights from the five boroughs:

The Bronx poverty rate, at 28 percent, is double the state average. Furthermore, nearly 40 percent of children live in poverty there. In Manhattan, which has a poverty rate of 18 percent, blacks and Hispanics are three times as likely to live in poverty than whites.

Both Queens and Staten Island have lower rates than the state and national averages, with poverty rates of 12.1 percent and 10.1 percent respectively. And in Queens, the racial disparity in poverty rates is much less pronounced than the other boroughs; there are less blacks in poverty there than the national average for the general population. But in Staten Island, nearly four times as many blacks are in poverty compared to whites.

The report’s authors note that while the data is as recent as possible, it “is still too old to reflect the current economic conditions facing New Yorkers”

By on March 12, 2009, 9:44 am
In category: Albany,Community Development,Demographics,Economy,Measuring UP | 2 Comments »

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Enforcing Anti-Discrimination Lending Laws
March 5th, 2009

The city comptroller yesterday filed an amicus brief with the U.S. Supreme Court in support of Attorney General Andrew Cuomo’s attempts to enforce national banks’ compliance with state laws against discriminatory lending. The brief used data from the comptroller’s office showing the need for such enforcement in New York City.

“In New York City, African-American and Hispanic home buyers and owners, at all income levels, have been the victims of disparate and unequal treatment by home mortgage lenders, including national banks and their affiliates, Comptroller William Thompson said in the brief.

Using data from his office’s Foreclosure Prevention Helpline, the comptroller’s office found that homeowners in danger of facing foreclosure are concentrated in black and Hispanic neighborhoods, regardless of the areas’ income levels.

“This starkly disparate outcome appears to result from the exact issue [Cuomo] had attempted to investigate before being enjoined: that ‘a significantly higher percentage of high-interest home mortgage loans are issued to African-American and Hispanic borrowers than to white borrowers.'”

The data adds to numerous other studies that come to similar conclusions from the Furman Center, the Neighborhood Economic Development Advocacy Project and the New York Times.
Read the rest of this entry »

By on March 5, 2009, 8:03 pm
In category: Albany,Civil Rights,Demographics,Economy,Housing,Law | 3 Comments »

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Crowded Classrooms?
September 3rd, 2008

With New York City’s 1.1 million public school students back in school — and some in pretty crowded schools at that — Brownstoner readers debate this week’s Gotham Gazette article on how luxury housing development is squeezing nearby public schools. Disagreement raged over whether the situation is a problem and who is to blame.

“Anyone with half a brain saw this coming,” said Cobblehook. And now, another reader said, the city needs need to fix it. “The fact that the local authorities cannot quickly utilize this money to upgrade the infrastructure is an indictment of the bureaucracy. Why should it take so long for the [Department of Education] to add on capacity?” the writer wondered.

But, hey, what crowding? One comment called the problem overblown and “a good problem to have.” Another went so far as to frame the crunch as a way to improve schools: “A school becomes excellent because people with resources … send their kids to that school and then get involved in it. …There are schools that need help that you can make a difference in. Then, not only do YOUR kids get a great education that you were instrumental in creating, but other kids whose families have fewer resources also benefit.”

So what about it Wonkster readers? What’s the situation at your child’s school? Is crowding a problem in New York’s classrooms? And if so, what should the city do about it?

By on September 3, 2008, 12:32 pm
In category: Community Development,Demographics,Education,Land Use | 1 Comment »

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Calculating Poverty
July 14th, 2008

Good data is almost always a good idea, so it’s hard to dispute Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s effort to update a formula for determining the poverty level, a formula that has existed since the mid 1960s.

If the mayor’s method of calculation were to be used, the percentage of New Yorkers considered poor would increase from about 19 percent to 23 percent. Cynics have observed this could help the city since, in the event that the federal government adopted the mayor’s method, more New Yorkers would be eligible for various types of assistance.

No matter how one does the math, though, the Bloomberg years have not been good for New York’s poorest citizens — despite the general economic boom.
Read the rest of this entry »

By on July 14, 2008, 1:35 pm
In category: Demographics,Economy,Social Services | 5 Comments »

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The Politics of Change in Lower Manhattan
July 1st, 2008

The New York Times reports that “The Lower East Side of Manhattan is being SoHo-fied. (Or is it Chelsea-fied?)” The travel section article lists hidden L.E.S. art galleries that have popped up in the past year or so – though the galleries mentioned by name are likely to lose their “hidden” status fast. The reporter takes the new art scene as a sign of the changing face of the area.

And while demographic shifts could have implications in the art world, they may also affect September’s elections, potentially even threatening the re-election of 32-year incumbent and Assembly speaker Sheldon Silver. (For more on this race, see Gotham Gazette’s Running Against Albany on Manhattan’s Lower East Side.

As New York Magazine noted last month in an article about the speaker, “It’s not the old neighborhood anymore.” Silver hails from Lower Manhattan’s Orthodox Jewish community, which has shrunk in recent years.
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By on July 1, 2008, 12:13 pm
In category: Demographics | 1 Comment »

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To Be Poor in New York
May 27th, 2008

Gothamist commenters have plenty to say about Cara Buckley’s recent Time’s piece, written (apparently) in a demographic vacuum, about the suffering (oh, the suffering) of young, white new yorkers trying to get by on a budget. Tight budgets have them making difficult choices like mascara or lip gloss while foraging for B.Y.O.B. brunch spots (making your own waffles is, apparently, as unimaginable as a Saturday morning without mimosas). I double checked: April Fools Day has long passed. A little refresher course: the median income in New York City? $38,293. The suffering of a single guy making that and then half again sounds like the distant wail of one teeny, tiny violin.

One commenter came up with a fairly plausible theory: the Times is trying to stir up their comment boards by offending as many new yorkers in a single article as they possibly can.

For real coverage of New York City demographics, economics and fianance, I suppose we’ll all have to read Gotham Gazette.

By on May 27, 2008, 10:39 am
In category: Demographics,Gotham City | 1 Comment »

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Working From Home? Get Out Once and a While...
April 23rd, 2008

A common reply to the announcement that you work from home is: “Wow, that’s the life. Rolling out of bed and working.” But a number people that do work from home around the world seem to find something missing with the lack of an office. A common sentiment is the need for community offered by coworkers. There’s the absence of having somebody to chat with at the water cooler about new work ideas or somebody to grab lunch with. And a productive work space is another concern. Having a television five feet away from your desk can be a distraction for some.

In response, home-workers from the Czech Republic to Chicago have increasingly been forming a new type of work collective called “coworking.” And New York City – where about 1-in-25 workers stay at home – has a plethora of its own coworking events and locations. They range from meetings in people’s homes and in cafes, businesses that open up their offices for coworking events, and dedicated coworking office spaces where one can rent a space for a given period of time.
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By on April 23, 2008, 8:05 am
In category: Community Development,Demographics,Economy,nextNY,Tech | 4 Comments »

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Geography of a Housing Plan
March 6th, 2008

The Independent Budget Office has released maps and analysis of the locations of affordable housing funded under the mayor’s plan to create or preserve 165,000 affordable units. About 61,000 have been funded so far.

In Manhattan, Staten Island, and Brooklyn, about 70 percent of the units will be preserved while the Bronx is split between construction and preservation and construction accounts for 60 percent of the units in Queens.

Most of the preserved units are clustered in Northern Manhattan and North Brooklyn while the created units are more evenly spread out amongst the city.

Manhattan has the majority of funded affordable housing with about 23,000 while the Bronx ranks second with about 20,000. The Bronx has the most low-income units with over 17,000 and Manhattan is second with over 16,000. But Manhattan has the vast majority of moderate-income units with over 2,200; about double the Bronx, which is the runner up.

To view the maps and full analysis, click here for the PDF.

By on March 6, 2008, 7:10 am
In category: Demographics,Housing | 1 Comment »

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The Bad News is the Good News
January 20th, 2008

Most New Yorkers applaud the drop in crime. But to every silver lining there must be a cloud. Lower crime rates mean fewer prisoners, and Errol Louis writes in today’s Daly News, that concerns upstate communities whose economies rely on prisons and prisoners.

The Spitzer administration is seeking to shut down four prisons, saving the state more than $44 million over the next two years. But officials in some of the affected areas want to stop the move. After all, prison work crews clean and repair roads — virtually for free, residents have jobs in the prisons and the practice of counting prisoners as residents of the communities where they are incarcerated swells the upstate population, bringing in more aid and giving those areas political clout.

None of that impresses Louis. “Downstate advocates of prison reentry – a policy of redirecting public resources to schools, housing, jobs and recreation programs instead of prison – need to get fired up and jump into this debate,” he writes. And he says Spitzer must “hold firm and make clear that the last thing upstate’s ailing economy needs is a fiscally and morally bankrupt

By on January 20, 2008, 3:20 pm
In category: Albany,Crime & Safety,Demographics | 1 Comment »

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Gotham Gazette is published by Citizens Union Foundation and is made possible by support from the Robert Sterling Clark Foundation, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the Altman Foundation,the Fund for the City of New York and donors to Citizens Union Foundation. Please consider supporting Citizens Union Foundation's public education programs. Critical early support to Gotham Gazette was provided by the Charles H. Revson Foundation, Rockefeller Brothers Fund and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.

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