My Powerful Neighborhood

I'm starting to develop a cohesive strategy for making my neighborhood more environmentally sustainable and somewhat more insulated from the effects of peak oil. I think that small initial steps like establishing Green Markets, Installing Bike lanes and Bus Rapid Transit, increasing awareness of energy efficient lighting/cooling/heating practices, etc will help create a growing local eco-ethic that will hopefull build over time into a community level effort to increase its sustainability.

The great thing about my neighborhood is that it is not just any old neighborhood. The Upper East Side is a city within a city with a population of 240,000. But its real power of numbers lies more in its pocketbook than its population. It is one of the most affluent areas of the city, especially concentrated in the area between Fifth Avenue and Lexington. The Upper East Side Campaign Donations contributed a large amount of money to both parties in the 2004 presidential election. And as we know in in the modern era, money talks.

Upper East Side of New York City, which includes the area from 59th Street to 96th Street and 5th Avenue to the East River - including all of Lenox Hill, Yorkville, Carnegie Hill and areas along Park Avenue, Madison Avenue and 5th Avenue (zip codes 10022, 10021, 10028 and 10128) is one of the richest areas of the city. In 1999, households in only 15 of the 2216 tracts in New York City had average incomes above $200,000.  Twelve of those 15 tracts were on the Upper East Side, most bordering Fifth Avenue.  

The Upper East Side zip code 10021 generated the most donations for the presidential campaigns of 2000 of any zip code for both Bush and for Gore. It is also home to mayor Bloomberg on 79th Street.

I hope that after we are successful in getting greenmarkets and bike lanes these might actually be used by some of these affluent movers and shakers and not just their servants and delivery people. And perhaps the next time NYPIRG, the Sierra Club, or NRDC calls, they might open their checkbooks a little wider.