Well, just when we all thought we were out of the woods with redistricting woes, the problem rears its ugly head again.
To play catch up, last year Greenpoint found itself in a new State Senate district, the 17th, alongside western Queens. A court threw out that district and an independent expert created a new one, the 59th, which became a tri-borough district alongside Manhattan and Queens and is now represented by State Senator Kristen Gonzalez
Last year, the state’s Independent Redistricting Committee only took up the State Senate and congressional boundaries, leaving the State Assembly districts untouched.
The IRC has taken it upon themselves to redraw the State Assembly maps, and they currently plan to split up Greenpoint’s AD50 and put half of it in AD38, which is an entirely Queens-based district, including Glendale, Ozone Park, Richmond Hill, Ridgewood, and Woodhaven.
No matter what your political beliefs, this move would disadvantage all Greenpointers, as it dilutes our political power and lumps in with a district that (rightfully so) has its own priorities.
Here’s what fellow Greenpointers had to say about the proposed decision:
“I’ve spent the last year and half organizing the Greenpoint community. I’ve tried to turn our neighborhood into a transparent community where people feel like they have a voice in their local government and understand the forces that affect their everyday lives. With the new proposed district lines cutting our community in half, our neighborhood will lose its voice. Our efforts over the last year to organize and bring our neighborhood together will have been in vain. We’re being neutered and silenced. Greenpoint deserves to be heard, we have our own needs and issues that can’t be addressed if half our neighborhood is lumped in with a district in Queens.”Michael Reichenberg, Vice Chair AD50’s County Committee
“I am a 21-year resident of Greenpoint. I chair the Environmental Protection Committee of Brooklyn Community Board #1, am a member of the Newtown Creek CAG and am on the boards of two North Brooklyn park friends groups.
The New York State Independent Redistricting Commission has proposed removing a large section of Greenpoint from current Assembly District 50 and allocating it to District 38. As proposed McGuinness Boulevard will serve to bifurcate Greenpoint into two separate districts. This is a very bad proposal. All of Greenpoint must continue to be united as it has for over a century. As construction of the Brooklyn Queens Expressway divided Italian and Latino neighborhoods in Williamsburg, McGuinness Boulevard will work to do the same for the Greenpoint Polish community, the largest Polish population in the US. Furthermore, Greenpoint has been the focus of so many environmental and land use challenges for decades including superfund sites in and adjacent to Newtown Creek, toxic trash issues, proposed power plants and a massive rezoning and its corresponding gentrifying consequences. Greenpoint has best met these challenges by facing them as unified neighborhood, and must continue to do so. As Newtown Creek flows along both sides of McGuinness, so do the increasing risk of major flood incidents induced by climate change affect the entirety of its shoreline. Our neighborhood should not be diluted one iota while it works hard for its crucial sustainability and survival.”Stephen Chesler, BKCB1 Environmental Protection Committee Chair
“We who live in North Brooklyn have been dying and suffering from severe asthma because our waters, land and air have been polluted for over a hundred years of manufacturing to build this country’s industrial wealth.
We need a strong environmental advocate from Brooklyn, as our assembly person! With all due respect to the assembly person from Queens, she will be focused on her Queens based constituents needs.
For a healthier and safer environment inside North Brooklyn, we need a Brooklyn based assembly person to keep us North Brooklyn Strong.”William Vega
“I am a resident of the northeast greenpoint section which would be reassigned to AD 38 if the redistricting proposed is implemented, and I am adamantly opposed to this division. I have lived in this region for 13 years, and in the neighborhood for 18 years. I have two children who attend PS110, I run a small local architecture firm, and I am a coordinator of the Make McGuinness Safe coalition which has been established since our teacher Matt Jensen was killed crossing McGuinness in May of 2021.
Since that crash, I have spent countless hours researching the dangerous history of McGuinness Blvd. The widening of Oakland St proposed in the 50s by Robert Moses was a tremendous loss for the community of North Brooklyn. That dangerous and infamous dividing line has served for decades to separate, isolate, and divide the NE section of Greenpoint from the rest of North Brooklyn. This construction was fueled only by an interest in accommodating cars, bringing reckless driving and their polluting emissions to our residential community.
Now, with the $39m investment in the comprehensive redesign of the boulevard, we at last have an opportunity to reconnect our isolated communities east and west of the boulevard. The proposal to divide our district precisely on this corridor, which will dilute political interests and confuse this critical and extremely successful and popular campaign to reconnect the community, will put our community at odds with each other and make it that much more complicated to affect change and lobby the DOT to provide us with a plan that truly transforms North Brooklyn. I stand firmly with the many other residents who demand that we keep North Brooklyn whole.”Bronwyn Breitner, architect and coordinator of Make McGuinness Safe coalition
Another neighbor definitely not in favor of these proposed changes? Current AD 50 Assemblymember Emily Gallagher:
“There’s a reason we’re called Greenpointers—not Eastern Greenpointers or Western Greenpointers. We’re one community and our political districts have always reflected that. Now the Independent Redistricting Commission are proposing maps that remind me of Robert Moses driving the BQE through our neighborhood, creating arbitrary divisions where none should exist. We need to keep Greenpoint whole, and squarely in one district with Williamsburg. I urge my neighbors to make their voices heard at the upcoming hearing or in written testimony!”
If you feel inspired by the words of your neighbors and want to get involved. Here are some ways you can do it, as sent to us by Heidi Vanderlee, County Committee Member for AD 50:
- Sign-on via this google form to a written testimony to keep North Brooklyn one cohesive community. The testimony was written in partnership between community members and county committee members. There is a link to the letter in the form!
- Share this google form with your North Brooklyn neighbors.
- Attend the Public Hearing on Wednesday, February 15 to show that we are to be taken seriously.
- You can submit an additional, individual testimony or public comment at, https://www.nyirc.gov/participate. You may be required to create a login on the IRDC webpage.
Remember, there will be only ONE hearing for Brooklyn residents concerning the redistricting, so show up to Medgar Evers College at 4 PM on February 15. You can join in online as well, but showing up in person is a good visual representation of Greenpoint’s political power.