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The 2010 Census figures for NYC were released last week, and there's something rotten in the state of Denmark ... or at least in the offices of the Census.
The Census Bureau says that NYC grew by only 166,855 people (or 2.1 percent) since 2000, to a total of 8,175,133. Really?? So just who are all these people crowded butts-to-balls on the subway with me during rush hour ... tourists???
And when you break the numbers down by borough and by neighborhood, it gets curiouser and curiouser...
Here is a personal example: I live in Astoria - a vibrant neighborhood in Northwestern Queens. According to the Census, the borough of Queens (with a population of over 2.2 million) grew by only 1,300 people between 2000 and 2010!! Let's put that into perspective: Radio City Music Hall holds 6,000 people. So the Census Bureau is saying that the entire 110 square-mile borough of Queens grew by the same amount of people that can fit onto one of Radio City's balconies (below). Ridiculous.
Furthermore, the official data says that my particular neighborhood - Astoria - experienced a LOSS of more than 10% its residents. Also ridiculous. On my block - ONE BLOCK - a new apartment building (The "Astoriana") opened last year, and there are two more in various states of completion. All three were built upon empty lots - these are NEW apartments (not renovations) - and this same thing is happening on many of the underdeveloped lots in the neighborhood.
If there's one thing that NYC real estate investors are NOT, it's "reckless". So if there were a ton of vacant apartments already on the market (which is what happens when people leave), they wouldn't be building three new buildings ON ONE BLOCK. These Queens real estate people aren't the huge real estate moguls that you see in Manhattan - they are (in many cases) local investors who know the various neighborhoods and respond when they see an opportunity. A neighborhood which is LOSING residents wouldn't be experiencing this kind of construction because no one would invest in what is essentially a "dying" neighborhood. It's as simple as that.
The "Astoriana" - One of the new buildings on my block
Not surprisingly - the politicians have been freaking out at the potential loss of federal revenue and House seats. Mayor Bloomberg announced this week that the city will formally contest the count and Senator Schumer has been burning up the airwaves with cries of "INVESTIGATION!". And rightly so.
The question remains: What happened?? One explanation is that some of the neighborhoods which saw declines (including mine) have large Hispanic populations. Could it be that all the Conservative yelping about "illegals" over the last few years convinced Hispanic residents to avoid Census Takers? You never know.
Maybe I should bring this information to my landlord and tell him to LOWER my rent. After all, people are leaving the neighborhood in droves (according to the Census), so he should be happy just to have renters. I wonder what his answer will be?...
Does anyone know any Greek curse words - I should probably learn a few, because his response would certainly be chock-full of them.