City Council member Melissa Mark-Viverito assailed proposed new maps that would drastically reshape the district she represents at a Community Board 7 meeting Tuesday night.
“The most drastic reconfiguration of all 51 districts would happen to be District 8,” she said.
Mark-Viverito represents the South Bronx, East Harlem, and a slice of the Upper West Side. Redistricting would remove the western part of the district, which goes from 96th Street to 110th Street, add much more territory in the Bronx, and shift the East Harlem dividing line east.
“It really doesn’t make sense to me,” Mark-Viverito said, adding that the change “could even be against the city charter because it divides communities in half.”
Mark-Viverito said that she thought the changes were made because the Bronx grew in population, but that this doesn’t justify such a large change in the lines.
“I never doubted that I needed to grow in the Bronx,” she said. “But to take away from one borough to give to another really doesn’t make sense.”
The district would exclude even the famed East Harlem market La Marqueta, a neighborhood icon.
“I’ve been hearing from a lot of constituents,” Mark-Viverito said. “East Harlem is up in arms about this—if you touch La Marqueta, you have a problem.”
The city’s redistricting commission will solicit input at public hearings this month—including one at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture this Thursday night—and then submit edited maps to the City Council in November. Another set of revised maps will be released in January, and final maps will be sent to the council for approval in March.
If the redrawn lines go into effect, Mark-Viverito will have to become acquainted with a whole new area. She came late to the CB7 meeting, she said, because she had gotten lost on the way there from a hearing on the draft maps in the Bronx.
“I don’t even know where in the Bronx I was, to be honest,” Mark-Viverito said. “I took a detour and ended up in Jersey.”
“Hopefully this will not be the story of my life the next four years,” she added.