SE’s Andrew Beveridge in the New York Times on Upper East Side Demographics and Trash by Sydney Beveridge
People, politics and data are clashing over plans to reopen a waste transfer station on Manhattan’s Upper East Side. In the article “In Trash Fight, Upper East Side Cites Injustice,” New York Times writer Mireya Navarro details the key players and the demographics of waste transfer station sites around the city. The article includes original research contributed by Social Explorer’s Andrew Beveridge, who also comments in the article.
The proximity of public housing figures prominently in a battle by Upper East Side residents to derail a city plan to reactivate a waste transfer station on the East River at 91st Street. In lawsuits, rallies and lobbying in the State Legislature, they argue that economically disadvantaged residents, already struggling, should not be saddled with additional problems.
But city officials and environmental justice advocates counter that a housing project does not make a community disadvantaged. The Upper East Side is one of the city’s wealthiest areas, they say, and the sanitation plan is intended to redress the disproportionate number of waste stations in poorer neighborhoods. None of the stations are in Manhattan.
A review by The New York Times of census tracts within roughly a half-mile of the transfer stations confirms that most of them are in moderate- to extremely low-income neighborhoods. More than half the stations are in two areas in particular: the Greenpoint and Williamsburg sections of Brooklyn, and the South Bronx. About 73,000 residents with a median household income of $40,200 for 2009 live near the waste transfer stations in those two Brooklyn neighborhoods, the census figures show; 92,000 people with a median income of $21,000 live near the sites in the South Bronx.
By comparison, the neighborhood near the proposed East River transfer station, Yorkville in the Upper East Side, has about 47,000 residents with a median household income of $91,000.
“It shows that they generally don’t build this sort of facility in high-income areas,” said Andrew A. Beveridge, a sociologist at Queens College who analyzed the census figures for The Times. “Certain neighborhoods have certainly gotten more than their share.”
On average, people living near the waste stations had a median income in 2009 of about $40,000, compared with a city median of $50,000.