Census (Barely) Leads to a Congressional Loss for New York

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Weather: Mixed sun and clouds. High in the mid-60s.

Alternate-side parking: In effect until Thursday (Holy Thursday, Orthodox).

The Census Bureau announced yesterday that New York’s congressional delegation will shrink by one seat starting with the 2022 election, continuing a decline that dates to the 1940s.

New York lost the seat by the narrowest of margins: just 89 residents, the fewest to cost a state a representative in the modern era.

But even at a reduced size, New York’s delegation will remain one of the most powerful in the country, and its representatives could be crucial to Democratic efforts to retain control of the House.

[New York loses a House seat after coming up 89 people short on the census.]

Here’s what you need to know:

Losing the seat will cut New York’s congressional delegation to 26, putting the state behind California, Texas and Florida, in that order. (California will also lose a seat, Texas will gain two and Florida will gain one.)

The small number of people that led to the loss for New York caused some officials to criticize the state’s approach to the census, which was taken during some of the darkest days of the pandemic.

“The state was simply M.I.A.,” Julie Menin, who served as the city’s census director, told my colleague Shane Goldmacher.

Democratic lawmakers across the country are looking to New York as a bulwark against expected Republican gains in Congress from partisan remapping efforts

In the state, an independent commission made up of an equal number of Democrats and Republicans will formally begin the redistricting process. But if the commission deadlocks, as many think it will, the Democratic-controlled State Legislature will draw the congressional districts.

New York is represented by 19 Democrats and eight Republicans in the House. Some hypothetical maps reduce the number of Republicans to three, which would help the Democrats hold their historically narrow House majority.

Jack McEnany, a former state assemblyman who oversaw redistricting efforts a decade ago, said that lawmakers would likely look upstate to find the district they want to dissolve.

Democrats could push two Republican incumbents into one district or draw lines that make existing Republican seats more Democratic by adding more progressive areas to their districts.

New York Police Department data show that hate crimes against people of Asian descent are on the rise in New York, with 66 reported this year as of last Sunday. That’s more than double the 28 recorded in all of 2020.

But activist groups and the authorities say many people of Asian descent, particularly older, first-generation immigrants who are not fluent in English, do not report bias incidents to the authorities.

Esther Lim took it upon herself to address that reticence by printing booklets in several languages to teach people about hate crime laws and reporting practices. She said the booklets “provide a sense of empowerment” and encourage victims to file reports.

“There were no resources provided in their native tongue,” Ms. Lim said in an interview. “All the information I found was in English.”

Ms. Lim said that so far she has handed out more than 34,500 booklets in San Francisco, Los Angeles and New York City, where she spent much of last weekend distributing more than 2,000 of them in Manhattan’s Chinatown and Flushing, Queens. She said she had printed booklets in Chinese, Korean, Japanese, Thai, Vietnamese, Tagalog and Spanish, and planned to add Khmer, Arabic, Indonesian and Farsi.

The booklets include local hate crime definitions and laws, advice on how to report incidents and useful English phrases.

“English isn’t my first language,” one of the phrases says. “Someone is following me. Can you stay next to me until it is safe?”

The need for outreach was highlighted again on Friday night, when a 61-year-old Asian man was brutally assaulted in East Harlem.

Ms. Lim said that many of the booklet’s recipients, especially if they were older, expressed their gratitude and their anxiety.

“They fear going out to even walk around their neighborhood,” Ms. Lim said. “I’m glad that they’re grateful, but sad that this is needed.”

It’s Tuesday — speak out.

Dear Diary:

I went to a tailor in the West Village to have a few pairs of pants let out. He told me it would not be possible to make the alteration I was hoping for on these particular trousers.

He then proceeded to get down on the floor and demonstrate the proper way to do situps. After doing 10 flawless ones, he snapped back up and advised me to do the same situps 15 minutes each night before going to bed because it “makes you very sleepy.”

I thanked him very much, returned to my apartment and went online to order pants in the next waist size up.

— Bill Oberlander

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