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Social Explorer Creates Possibilities – and Street-Level Demographic Data – for New York Times


A 1.3-mile-long stretch of road in a Queens neighborhood is becoming a model for a sustainable, urban, human-centric model that more parts of the nation’s largest city would like to emulate, right down to its status as one of the city’s premier melting pots.

The 34th Street Avenue strip running through Jackson Heights, which was closed to vehicles in March 2020, was highlighted in an Aug. 9 New York Times story that credited Social Explorer with confirming the neighborhood’s status as one of the most diverse parts of the metropolitan area.

Social Explorer, a data visualization and mapping company that frequently analyzes demographic data for the New York Times, used its expertise with the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey to discover that more than 75 percent of the population of Jackson Heights is either Hispanic or Asian.

New York has been in the forefront of blocking off once-busy vehicle thoroughfares and turning them into pedestrian- and bicycle-friendly plazas. The 34th Avenue strip was blocked off in March 2020; the city-sponsored effort was abandoned as the COVID-19 pandemic forced people into lockdown, then relaunched.

According to the New York Times, the closure has been so popular that a neighborhood group has more than 140 volunteers who have raised $20,000 for local activities; picked up trash along the road; and helped operate a food pantry.

“It’s totally changed,” said Jim Burke, a local man who helped spearhead the local effort to turn the street over to people. “One of the densest parts of Queens has become a small town.”

Myrna Tinoco, another neighborhood resident, described the closure to the New York Times as “a whole exercise in what is possible.” Use Social Explorer’s intuitive, award-winning mapping and reporting tools to find out everything that’s possible in your community.

Author: Frank Bass

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