Uptown Manhattan is one of the most vibrant cultural hubs in the city, home to iconic landmarks like the Apollo Theater, and its waterfronts and lush green spaces are an outdoor enthusiast’s dream.
It has long been an inspiration to creatives, from the leaders of the Harlem Renaissance like Zora Neale Hurston, James Baldwin, Langston Hughes, and Josephine Baker, to playwright Lin-Manuel Miranda’s modern odes to uptown, as he burst onto the scene with “In the Heights” and found inspiration for “Hamilton” in Washington Heights’ Morris-Jumel Mansion. Congressional District 13 is home to a wide range of communities spanning from the Upper West Side to Inwood, and while wealthy residents dwell in magnificent brownstones, a significant amount of inhabitants struggle affording everyday necessities, from housing to transportation, and as the neighborhood gentrifies, conditions are worsening and many who built the neighborhood are forced to leave. What are the biggest issues facing District 13?
Issue #1: Access To Healthcare
As our current White House administration fights to take away the Affordable Care Act, which would devastate millions who would not be able to pay for life-saving health care, there are still massive gaps in accessing healthcare right now that affects vulnerable communities. Obstacles that prevent everyday New Yorkers from receiving care are as simple as reliable transportation, but because of rising fares and fickle, decaying systems of transit, many are left in the dark to struggle alone. Access to quality care shouldn’t be dependent on where you live, and a leader for District 13 must make healthcare readily available for every resident in every community and remove roadblocks for low-income citizens. In addition, work must be done to raise awareness for low-income families and the undocumented about health services that are available to them, because being healthy shouldn’t depend on money and status.
Issue #2: Preserving Parks
Riverside and Central Parks are two of the most luscious green spaces in the city. Always an oasis from the city’s hustle and bustle, residents and tourists alike enjoy the secret gardens that are hidden within. But parks require as much maintenance as any city monument and acquiring an adequate budget to do so has always been a struggle.
Issue #3: Housing Disparities
There exists in upper Manhattan today a deeply unsettling disparity of wealth and income among its residents. Forty percent of children live below the poverty line; while townhomes listed at $4 million are the new normal, low-income people struggle to find safe, clean, and affordable places to live. Although development is great for the health of the neighborhood overall, the economic growth must trickle down to families and individuals who are disenfranchised and find themselves increasingly displaced by gentrification. Residents are fighting against the rezoning of this neighborhood, which will widen chasms in inequality.
Will the Congressional District 13 representative protect the integrity of this community? Learn more about Democratic candidate Adriano Espaillat and Republican candidate Jineea Butler and get informed about 2018’s New York State elections at racetorepresent.com.