Updated for June 2022.
We’ve updated this article to reflect the final redistricting boundaries. You can view the previous version of this article (which analyzed the maps as drawn by the New York State Legislature) on Archive.org.
The New York “Special Master” has finished redistricting our political maps based on the 2020 Census. This includes the New York State Senate, the State Assembly, and the federal Congressional districts for the House of Representatives. What has changed in Bay Ridge? Are you in a new district? What do the voting maps in Bay Ridge look like now? Join us as we analyze the new district maps for Bay Ridge.
House of Representatives (Congressional District NY11)
Our Congressional seat has generated the most buzz. Republicans gerrymandered Texas, North Carolina, Iowa (and more) in 2022. This put political pressure on State Democrats to redistrict New York in a way that minimized possible losses.
However, Albany Democrats attempted to push their luck a bit too far. A Republican-led lawsuit challenged the maps. Their case relied on a unique State Constitutional amendment that outlawed political gerrymanders. Democrats themselves passed the amendment in 2014, and it was perhaps the only good thing to come out of those reforms.
Most states do not ban partisan gerrymanders, resorting to much weaker Federal law. That means gerrymanders are only illegal if they can be proven to be racially motivated. As long as protected groups are kept “intact”, most gerrymanders cannot be challenged in court, even if they are clearly partisan.
Is it unwinnable for Democrats?
Much ink has been spilled by pundits and statisticians about how the NY11 district is unwinnable by Democrats. As the redistricting process went on, it went from +10% Biden to +7.5% Trump. This was a reduction of nearly 40,000 Biden voters when compared to the Democrats’ original plan.
However, this isn’t the whole picture. While NY11 leans Republican, it leans less Republican than the existing maps. NY11 was a +10% Trump district as of 2020. After redistricting, it is +7.5% Trump, a reduction of about 6,000 Trump voters. Six thousand votes wouldn’t have been enough to swing the district to Max Rose in 2020, but it would have cut Malliotakis’s lead by 1/3rd. In a non-presidential year, where turnout is generally less, this may be a critical factor.
A New Primary Date
Non-partisan district maps are important. To do this, regrettably, upstate courts threw the election schedule into disarray. The courts didn’t wait for the 2024 election to institute the changes. Instead, they rushed the final maps into place for 2022. This caused significant chaos in the election schedule. Candidates had already announced and were gathering signatures. Many campaigns lost valuable money, time, and effort. Grassroots candidates felt this the hardest.
The primary for NY11 will occur on August 23, 2022, alongside the New York Senate primary, a two-month delay. This cuts into the time candidates have to campaign for the November election. The NY Assembly, whose maps won’t be fixed until 2024, will use the original primary date of June 23rd, 2022.
Northern Bay Ridge gets an exciting NY10 primary
The Special Master map retained the existing NY11 boundaries in Bay Ridge. This means that the district remains divided at its northern edge. Instead of following the Belt Parkway and Gowanus Expressway, the district remains cut along Bay Ridge Avenue. This cuts Bay Ridge’s Middle Eastern central business district in half and reduces its ability to organize as a single voting bloc. In 2010 this may have made sense, but it has been steadily expanding southward along Fifth Avenue for the past decade.
That said, the folks north of Bay Ridge Avenue will get enjoy an exciting (and heavily publicized) primary election. Incumbent Jerry Nadler no longer lives in NY10, so the new district is an open seat. Democratic candidates range from progressive to nearly Republican. It will be a dramatic race… though Bay Ridge’s role in influencing the election will be minor.
Elimination of Ocean Parkway and Gravesend
Zooming out of Bay Ridge, NY11 sees some other notable changes on the Brooklyn side. The most obvious is the removal of Gravesend and Ocean Parkway from NY11. Instead, these areas get diced into NY8 and NY9.
The most direct result of this is the elimination of Ocean Parkway’s large Orthodox Jewish voting bloc. Malliotakis in 2020 and Donovan in 2018 relied on this area for many Brooklyn votes. It is a reliable Republican stronghold. Marty Golden, for example, relied on the area when it was part of his State Senate gerrymander, hoping it’d bring in enough mail-in ballots to let him overcome Andrew Gounardes.
That said, Max Rose outperformed Joe Biden in these areas, likely in part due to his Jewish heritage. While moving Ocean Parkway out of the district may improve Democrats’ chances in the general election, it will likely impact Rose’s chances in the Democratic primary, since many voters in the area remain registered Democrats.
New Utrecht in the Mix
It’s not all about removals. NY11 gets a bit larger in Bensonhurst. The district entirely covers Bensonhurst, and loops in historic New Utrecht as well. It also includes a slight northward expansion, about four or five blocks, in Dyker Heights.
This dramatically increases the area’s Asian voting power. It consolidates much of Northern Dyker Height’s Fujianese population and unifies the Bensonhurst Chinatown. This means that NY11 now hosts New York’s most populous Chinatown.
These voters have increasingly moved right in the past five to six years. Still, they remain swing voters who resist easy classification by pundits and politicians. It’ll take community ties, outreach, and a strong field operation from any political candidate who hopes to earn their vote.
NY11 At A Glance:
- Currently Represented By: Nicole Malliotakis (R)
- Total Bay Ridge Residents in NY11: 73,991 (9% of the district population)
There are no changes to the Bay Ridge lines in the new NY11. Elsewhere in Brooklyn, the heavily Orthodox Jewish Ocean Parkway is removed from the district in exchange for more unified Asian representation in Bensonhurst and New Utrecht.
NY10 At A Glance:
- Currently Represented By: Open Seat
A brand-new district with an open seat gives a handful of northern Bay Ridge residents the opportunity to participate in a wild Democratic primary.
New York State Senate (Senate Districts SD17 and SD23)
Bay Ridge’s State Senate district has seen the biggest overall changes. It no longer stretches into South-Eastern Brooklyn, the so-called Marty Golden gerrymander. Instead, it moves north along the R line to Downtown Brooklyn. But does anything change in Bay Ridge?
SD22 gets renamed
On a superficial level, Senate District 22 has been renamed Senate District 26. It still includes Andrew Gounardes’s home, so he has become the de-facto incumbent for the newly drawn SD26.
SD17: A new Asian-majority district
Bay Ridge’s second Senate District reconfigured significantly. Northeastern Bay Ridge used to be part of a bizarre Staten Island district, SD23. In the new map, this heavily Asian part of Bay Ridge gets incorporated into the brand-new 17th Senate District.
While this doesn’t keep the neighborhood unified, it does reflect Demographic changes over the past ten years. It incorporates Bay Ridge’s Fujianese population into a brand-new Asian-majority district that includs both the Bensonhurst and Sunset Park Chinatowns. This maximizes their political power and is long overdue.
Fort Hamilton Army Base changes
The old Staten Island-based SD23 might no longer run along Lief Ericson Park, but it does retain a foothold in Bay Ridge. It now occupies the entirety of the Fort Hamilton Army Base. This makes some small amount of sense, as SD23 will share representation with Fort Wadsworth across the Narrows in Staten Island.
Including the Bay Ridge Towers
For Andrew Gounardes’s Senate District 26, Bay Ridge will finally be unified with the Bay Ridge Towers. The towers had been part of Diane Savino’s Staten Island district and have long been excluded from Bay Ridge politics. It’s great to see them have a local voice.
Minor adjustments along the waterfront
The Owls Head Treatment Plant is now finally under the influence of at least one Bay Ridge political official, as well, having formerly been overseen by mostly Staten Island officials. Here’s hoping we see more environmental and infrastructural investments at the aging plant.
Similarly, the Shore Road promenade west of the Belt Parkway is also properly controlled by a Bay Ridge-based politician in Albany. Gounardes, for example, campaigned on getting funding for reconstructing parts of the promenade… and he now has the opportunity to represent that sliver of land.
SD17 At A Glance:
- Currently Represented By: Open Seat (New District)
- Total Bay Ridge Residents in SD17: 7,237 people (2% of the district population)
A brand-new Asian-majority district that unifies representation between the Sunset Park and Bensonhurst Chinatowns. Includes a piece of Northeast Bay Ridge and northern Dyker Heights.
SD23 At A Glance:
- Currently Represented By: Open Seat (Diane Savino retiring)
Remains a Staten Island-based district that includes Coney Island. Doesn’t weirdly include Leif Ericson Park anymore, and instead takes over Fort Hamilton Army Base.
SD26 At A Glance:
- Currently Represented By: Andrew Gounardes (D)
- Total Bay Ridge Residents in SD26: 77,576 people (24% of the district population)
Formerly SD22. Runs north along the R line to Brooklyn Heights instead of east to Gerritsen Beach. Now includes the Bay Ridge Towers and the Shore Road promenade, which were formerly excluded.
New York State Assembly (Assembly Districts AD46, AD64 and AD51)
The State Assembly map has changed the least. It’s also the only map that wasn’t changed from the legislature-approved maps since it wasn’t challenged by the Republican gerrymandering lawsuits.
The courts decided that the process involved in creating these maps was flawed, but won’t institute any further changes until 2024.
Big Changes in Bay Ridge
While the Assembly maps changed very little state-wide, that’s not the case in Bay Ridge. 8,903 Bay Ridge residents will wake up and find themselves in a new district in 2023. And since Assembly districts cover smaller areas than the State Senate, Bay Ridge remains carved up between three different districts for now.
Coney Island’s AD46
First up is AD46, represented by Democrat Mathylde Frontus. It remains a Coney Island / Bay Ridge district, though it has expanded north from 79th Street up to 74th Street. This brings it just short of the stretch of 5th Avenue considered Little Palestine in Northern Bay Ridge. In exchange, AD46 gets a bit smaller on the west. A chunk of the district between 91st Street and Fort Hamilton High School is given to AD64.
Frontus ends up losing the expansive Shore Hill Apartments in this swap. Shore Hill is a senior facility and one of the few Mitchell-Llama developments in Bay Ridge. Shore Hill is what makes the immediate area politically purple, with a slim majority of Democrats.
Staten Island’s AD64
Most of the gains and losses from AD46 are traded with the similarly-numbered AD64. Staten Island’s South Shore dominates this district. Republican Michael Tannousis represents AD64, following in the footsteps of Nicole Malliotakis.
AD64 gains Shore Hill and the low-density shorefront areas around it. It loses a large chunk of central Bay Ridge as Coney Island’s AD46 moved north. In a domino effect, that means AD46 ends up moving north as well, but by a smaller amount. It heads north a block or two from Ovington and Bay Ridge Avenue to 68th Street.
These blocks, however, are dense. Ovington and Bay Ridge Ave contain mostly apartment buildings. They are among the highest-density blocks in Bay Ridge (along with Shore Hill). It isn’t enough to offset the five blocks lost in the 70s, but Tannousis only loses about 918 Bay Ridge constituents. And despite losing overall population in Bay Ridge, due to the higher voter registration in these areas, AD64 gains about nine registered Bay Ridge voters. As far as party enrollment goes, it’s a big win for the GOP: a net loss of 144 Democrats, and a net gain of 106 Republicans. Along with expansions on the Staten Island side, Tannousis’s district has become solidly GOP.
Sunset Park’s AD51
Continuing the chain of dominoes, Tannousis’s two-block expansion north to 68th street eats into AD51. Currently represented by DSA-friendly Democrat Marcela Mitaynes, AD51 loses nearly 5,771 Bay Ridge residents, and about 2,629 voters, mostly Democrats.
AD51 now consists of only the blocks east of Owls Head Park until 6th Avenue, in one clean dividing line.
In the end, the changes on the Assembly level make Bay Ridge’s Assembly lines a bit straighter. There are fewer random turns, and it is easier to explain the boundaries. The major dividing lines are Colonial Road, Ridge Boulevard, 74th Street, and 68th street.
AD46 District Changes At A Glance:
- Currently Represented By: Mathylde Frontus (D)
Very similar to the old district, but it loses bits of Shore Road (including Shore Hill housing) and instead pushes north to the outskirts of the Middle Eastern business district.
AD64 District Changes At A Glance:
- Currently Represented By: Michael Tannousis (R)
The Staten Island South Shore-dominated district becomes more Republican, losing Democrats in the brownstone belt between 3rd and 5th Avenue and gaining a handful of dense apartment buildings.
AD51 District Changes At A Glance:
- Currently Represented By: Marcela Mitaynes (D)
The progressive Sunset Park district recedes north, losing 5,771 Bay Ridge residents as it gets edged out by the other Assembly Districts.
Frequently Asked Questions
No. You are still represented by your former elected officials. The changes will only take place when the results of the 2022 November election are final! You always get a chance to vote for your elected representative.
Not yet. Municipal elections do not happen until 2023, so city government has time before it needs to redistrict. The last time redistricting happened in 2013. In the summer of 2012. the city formed a formal Districting Commission. Members of the commission are appointed, some by the mayor, some by the majority party in the City Council (Democrats), and some by the minority party (Republicans). We expect to hear more about the new City Council districts later this year.
Yes. Normally, City Council members have a four-year term. But because of redistricting, Justin Brannan’s current term is 2022-2023. He will need to run again when the City Council seats are redistricted.
Nope! The Community Board boundaries are pretty firm, and have been in place for decades. Since they aren’t electoral, and consist mainly of appointed volunteers, they can remain unchanged. You can learn more about our local Community Board, Brooklyn CB10, in our episode “Bay Ridge’s Little City Hall“
No. Despite some political figures complaining that they were “cut out” out of a district, New York State law only requires that a person lives within the county (i.e. Brooklyn) during redistricting years. Living within the district itself only applies in non-redistricting years.
Redistricting & You is a great resource. It provides excellent maps and interactive maps that explore the new districts. Since we only focus on Bay Ridge here at the podcast, check them out for a wider perspective!