New Assembly Map Divides Greenpoint in Two

NYS Assembly 2024 draft map

A zigzag path from Frost Street at Kingsland Avenue makes its way to Driggs Avenue then goes straight on McGuinness Boulevard to the Brooklyn edge of the Pulaski Bridge: this is the demarcation line from a new redistricting map that severs Greenpoint into two NYS Assembly Districts.   In this proposed draft, NYS Assembly District 50, which held all of Greenpoint, will lose the neighborhood east of the zigzag and McGuinness — this section will go to NYS Assembly District 38, where Queens will hold the majority of this district’s voters.

This shuffle, is thought to weaken the voices of North Brooklyn’s voters.  The reason for the map being redrawn for the 2024 elections is that it was ruled unconstitutional by the NYS Appellate Court.  U.S. Constitution requires each district should have about the same population.

According to the All About Redistricting on the Loyola Marymount University Law School site, “State and local legislative districts have a bit more flexibility on the numbers; they have to be “substantially” equal. Over a series of cases, it has become accepted that a plan will be constitutionally suspect if the largest and smallest districts are more than ten percent apart. This is not a hard line: a state plan may be upheld if there is a compelling reason for a larger disparity, and a state plan may be struck down if a smaller disparity is not justified by a good reason.”

“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. These new lines remind me Robert Moses driving the BQE through our neighborhoods, creating arbitrary divisions where none should exist and making community advocacy all the more difficult. We need to keep Greenpoint whole, and squarely in one district with Williamsburg, as it’s always been. Let’s make our voices heard!” NYS Assembly Member Emily Gallagher for District 50 stated in an Instagram post that urged members of the community to write letters or testify at the sole hearing for the redistricting held on February 15.  

In her testimony at this hearing, Katherine Thompson stated her reasons for keeping Greenpoint in one district.  “The impact of toxic environmental pollution does not follow drawn district lines.  The polluted contamination flows underground. It blows over fences and moves with the wind. For generations now our Greenpoint Williamsburg community has fought together alongside our elected officials for environmental and social justice. It is imperative that our community born from a rich history of activism remains intact as we continue to fight to remedy past injustices and face new challenges brought forth by the climate emergency. We share the past and we want to share the future together. Cutting off the industrial portion of Greenpoint would redefine and undermine our identity.  … Splitting our neighborhood apart does not make any practical sense and beyond that it would deny us our history, our shared battles and victories. Please do not divide North Brooklyn.”

The current NYS Assembly District Map was used for the 2022 election and is in effect for 2023 and 2024.  April 28, 2023 is the set deadline for the Independent Redistricting Commission to present a final map to the NYS Legislature.

Author: Lori Ann Doyon

Managing editor, head writer, and lead photographer of Greenline | North Brooklyn News since October 2014. Resident of Williamsburg, Brooklyn since 1990.

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