May 17, 2022 By Christian Murray
The new state senate districts in western Queens have undergone significant change with both Astoria and Long Island City residents slated to be in entirely new districts—while the maps across the borough are much more compact.
A draft of the revised maps was released Monday that was put together by a special master appointed by Steuben County Judge Patrick McAllister.
McAllister rejected the maps last month that were produced by state Democrats and appointed Jonathan Cervas, a redistricting expert based at Carnegie Mellon University, to replace them. His maps are deemed drafts but are likely to be finalized this Friday, May 20.
The rejected maps were drawn by the Democratically controlled state Senate and Assembly, with Astoria’s State Sen. Michael Gianaris chairing the legislative task force that drew them. Judge McAllister concluded that the maps were in violation of the state constitution.
Long Island City and Astoria are currently part of Senate District 12, which Gianaris represents. The 12th district, which snakes through various western Queens neighborhoods, was drawn in 2011.
The historically odd-shaped districts, Democrats argue, stem from Republican gerrymandering in the past.
Most of Astoria and Long Island City will be part of district 59. The new district will cover Astoria, Long Island City, Greenpoint, northern Williamsburg and a section of Manhattan.
The revised 12th Senate District will only take in a tiny section of northern Astoria but is more focused on Sunnyside, Woodside, Maspeth and sections of Ridgewood and Elmhurst. Gianaris plans to run again to represent the revised 12th district and a spokesperson for him said that he lives in the district.
Should the newly proposed State Senate lines become permanent, I look forward to seeking re-election in Senate District 12 and continuing to represent the neighborhoods in which I was born, raised, and have lived my entire life
— Sen. Mike Gianaris (@SenGianaris) May 17, 2022
The very northern tip of Astoria, which is currently part of Senate District 13 and represented by Jessica Ramos, will be part of Senate District 11. District 11, which takes in northern Queens, is currently represented by John Liu.
The changes will see the loss of the much-anticipated Senate District 17 that was drawn up by state Democrats this year and would have been centered in western Queens.
The district, which would have included Long Island City—south of the Queensboro Bridge—and portions of Sunnyside, Maspeth, Glendale, Woodhaven and Richmond Hill—has been scrapped by the special master.
Kristen Gonzalez and Elizabeth Crowley were among the candidates vying for the seat. Both tweeted that they plan to run for the 59th district senate seat.
Gonzalez, a Long Island City resident, said that her team had deliberated on the new district and that she plans on running.
We’re proud of what we’ve accomplished these last few months and the thousands of conversations we’ve had. After careful deliberation with our team, we’re excited to announce our run for State Senate District 59, where my own home is, pending final maps later this week.
— Kristen Gonzalez (@Gonzalez4NY) May 17, 2022
Crowley, who lives outside the newly drawn 59th district, sent out a tweet today saying that she would be running to represent it. “Provided that these drafts are finalized, I intend to run for the 59th State Senate District and represent communities in Brooklyn, Queens, and Manhattan!” she tweeted.
Provided that these draft districts are finalized, I intend to run for the new 59th State Senate District and represent communities in Brooklyn, Queens, and Manhattan! https://t.co/VmZ6RkhI65
— Elizabeth Crowley for State Senate (@ElizCrowleyNYC) May 17, 2022