Heard Around Town

City Council approves redistricting maps, and only one member is furious

After some drama, New York City may have its final council districts for the next decade.

Speaker Adrienne Adams said most members “feel fine” about the new maps.

Speaker Adrienne Adams said most members “feel fine” about the new maps. Emil Cohen/NYC Council Media Unit

The New York City Council is accepting without objections new council maps proposed by the districting commission that will go into effect next year.

That’s a bit of a surprise for a body of 51 opinionated members, but “the majority of the members feel fine about the lines as is,” City Council Speaker Adrienne Adams explained at a press conference Thursday. 

The districting commission submitted the maps earlier this month to the council – a couple weeks after members initially voted against a proposal under pressure from Mayor Eric Adams’ administration, which appointed a majority of the 15-member board. 

So some council insiders had well-earned concerns that the districting commission may not simply go through the pro forma step of submitting the final maps to the city clerk, and will try to change them as well. “I really can’t anticipate on the hypothetical of what the commission is going to do as a result of our response,” the speaker said. 

A spokesperson for the commission said the drama is over. “No further changes at this point,” Eddie Borges told City & State. “The speaker’s package to us included a bunch of letters from members saying how happy they were with the maps, and maybe two or three with objections,” Borges added. “The law doesn’t allow for us to make changes because there are two or three objections.”

The final version of the council maps include notable changes to existing districts in order to account for the city’s significant population growth over the last decade, including in the city’s Asian and Latino populations. Following some heated debate, the new maps split one of Staten Island’s current three districts into a district shared with Southern Brooklyn. But many concerns that were raised after the commission released its first draft of maps back in July were addressed in subsequent revisions.

At least one member was still furious, however. Council Member Ari Kagan is still getting screwed by having his district substantially divided, and his home drawn into the same district as Council Member Justin Brannan. Kagan told City & State that he is “absolutely” running for reelection, but didn’t quite commit when asked whether he would run against Brannan. “That question will be answered when there’s an official decision by the commission that nothing will be changed,” Kagan said. Would he try and sue the commission, to make maps he likes more? “All options are on the table,” he said.