As office-bound data geeks, we seldom get to do fieldwork. But last Thursday we had the pleasure of visiting New York’s 8th Congressional District — #7 on our list of least compact congressional districts. We were at the offices of the Green Film Company in Chelsea, being interviewed for a new documentary about gerrymandering. (Big thanks to Jeff, Susan, and Gary for all their great questions about maps and politics. We hope their film travels far!)
New York's 8th Congressional District: The 7th least compact U.S. House district
NY-8 is an urban gem. While the district appears contiguous in the image above, it’s really divided across two separate land masses — the northern part of the district stretches from the Upper West Side to the tip of Manhattan; the southern part skips along the edge of Brooklyn to pick up parts of the neighborhoods of Sunset Park, Bay Ridge, Borough Park, Bensonhurst, Gravesend, Brighton Beach, and Coney Island. Physical geography played a role in the creation of this two-part district, but a bigger driving force was the desire of legislators to consolidate the Hispanic vote in neighboring NY-12.
We plan to pick up the pace of our Top Ten countdown over the next several days. The October 21 launch of Redistricting the Nation is fast approaching. Like the crew of the Gerrymandering movie, we’re working down to the wire. Good luck to all of us!