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We Asked You to Draw Your Own Neighborhood Map: Here Are the Results

By Nigel Chiwaya | September 28, 2015 7:28am | Updated on October 7, 2015 11:22am

NEW YORK CITY — We asked, and boy did you deliver.

In August we asked readers to settle age-old disputes and draw where their neighborhoods begin and end. More than 12,000 New Yorkers responded, drawing maps in more than 280 neighborhoods and giving us a pretty detailed look at the local geography.

Now we're ready to share the results with you. We used your drawings to create composite  neighborhoods, which you can browse below.


So what did we learn from this experiment? For starters, while there's broad consensus over the heart of neighborhoods — everyone agrees that North 3rd Street and Bedford Avenue is Williamsburg — borders are very much open to interpretation. Take for example Morningside Heights, where readers drew the northern border at either 125th or 123rd Streets.

These fluid borders are actually part of the reason the city doesn't have official neighborhood maps. The closest thing is the Department of City Planning's City of Neighborhoods Map, which lists area names but not borders. 

We also learned that the city might want to update its map with some new names. Several readers drew neighborhoods not seen on the city's map, including "South Slope" and NoMad

Here are just a few of the notable points of consensus — and dispute:


INWOOD AND WASHINGTON HEIGHTS: Both Washington Heights and Inwood lay equal claim to the Broadway/Nagle Avenue/Hillside Avenue intersection. About 46 percent of readers who drew Inwood included the area in their drawings, compared to 43 percent of Washington Heights' respondents. 

HARLEM: Very few Harlem residents included the crime-ridden area north of 125th Street and between Fifth Avenue and the East River as part of their neighborhood, according to the maps they submitted. Most drew East Harlem from 110th Street to 125th Street, and both Harlem and East Harlem residents claimed parts of Marcus Garvey Park.

UPPER EAST SIDE: Most of the UES residents drew the neighborhood from East 65th Street to 102th Street, but some drew all the way south to East 57th Street and north to East 115th Street. Nearly all of those who drew the map put the western border at Fifth Avenue but locals were divided on whether the area east of First Avenue was included in the neighborhood.

UPPER WEST SIDE: The vast majority of locals who drew their neighborhood think it begins at West 67th Street and runs north to West 97th Street, but many extended the southern border to West 59th Street and the northern border to West 110th Street. And a handful of people drew all the way north to West 125th Street. Most agreed that the area is bounded by Riverside Park to the west and Central Park to the east.

CHELSEA AND HELL'S KITCHEN: Most of the Chelsea residents who drew their borders believe the neighborhood's northern border is around 29th Street, yet the majority of locals who've lived in Hell's Kitchen for fewer than five years tended to draw the neighborhood's southern boundary at 42nd Street, leaving a wide gap between the adjacent neighborhoods. Even 20-plus year residents only extended the southern border of Hell's Kitchen to 34th-36th Street.

► MIDTOWN: Despite a debate over its eastern and western borders, most agreed that Midtown covers Fifth to Eighth avenues from 42nd to 57th streets. Still, some drew Midtown all the way down to 23rd Street, and others included the entire width of the island from the Hudson to the East rivers.

MURRAY HILL: The most contested area between Murray Hill and Kips Bay is in the area of the low 30s, to which residents of both neighborhoods lay claim. The vast majority of respondents from both neighborhoods had lived there for five years or less.

LOWER EAST SIDE: Those who have lived on the LES more than 20 years tended to include the East Village and parts of Chinatown in their drawings of the neighborhood, and some even included Little Italy, Nolita and parts of NoHo. By comparison, those who moved in a decade ago or less excluded Alphabet City and the East Village.

GREENWICH VILLAGE: Most locals agree Greenwich Village extends from Sixth Avenue to Broadway, but some residents drew the western border all the way to the Hudson River and others pushed the eastern border all the way to the Bowery.

LOWER MANHATTAN: While almost all of the hundreds of readers who submitted outlines for TriBeCa agreed on Canal Street being the northern border, the southern border of TriBeCa seems to be drifting lower — with some drawing it all the way down at Battery Place. The Financial District was also in flux, as some drew the area almost as far north as Canal Street and as far west as Battery Park City and as east as the South Street Seaport.


BED-STUY: Most locals believe the area is bounded by Myrtle Avenue, Bedford Avenue, Fulton Street and Broadway, while a few go as far west as Washington Avenue and far south as Prospect Place. But newcomers are much more all-encompassing, as those who reported having in the area for five years or less think the western and eastern cutoffs are Bedford and Saratoga avenues while those who have lived there for more than 20 years drew the eastern boundary just short of Malcolm X Boulevard.

COBBLE HILL: Most of those who drew Cobble Hill placed it between Atlantic Avenue to Degraw Street and from Court to Hicks streets. But some who've lived in the neighborhood for less than five years included the entire Columbia Street Waterfront District — which others consider a freestanding neighborhood.

CROWN HEIGHTS: Those who have lived in the area for five years or less believe the neighborhood begins at Atlantic Avenue and ends at Empire Boulevard, with Classon and Utica avenues as the western and eastern borders. But those who have lived in the area for 10 to 20 years say the neighborhood is much smaller — from Sterling Place to Empire, with Rogers and Utica on either side.

DOWNTOWN BROOKLYN: Fulton Mall divides new and old residents of Downtown Brooklyn: 88 percent of readers who have lived in Downtown Brooklyn for fewer than five years included blocks between Fulton Mall and Livingston Street as part of the neighborhood, while residents who have lived in the neighborhood for more than 20 years were evenly split on the area.

FORT GREENE: Most locals say Fort Greene stretches from Flatbush Avenue to Vanderbilt and Myrtle to Fulton Street. But a debate remains about the edges of the neighborhood, with newcomers less likely to include the area north of Myrtle Avenue than longtime residents.

PARK SLOPE: "South Slope" and "Greenwood Heights" — which some Park Slope locals think were invented by real estate agents — have apparently won over enough locals to merit a series of residents to nominate them for inclusion on the map. Most said the heart of the South Slope runs between Ninth and 20th streets and Fifth and Seventh avenues.

► WILLIAMSBURG: Overall, most readers agreed that Williamsburg falls between North 11th Street to the north and Grand Avenue to the south, from the Waterfront to approximately Union Avenue. But those who've lived in the area for 20 years or more drew the eastern borders all the way to Bushwick Avenue.


SOUTH BRONX: most DNAinfo readers agree that Mott Haven stretches from 135th to 149th streets — but some readers drew the area all the way from the southern waterfront north to 163rd Street.


ASTORIA: Longtime residents drew a wider neighborhood than newcomers, as those who've lived in the area for five years or less think it runs from approximately 12th Street to the west to Steinway Street, while those who've lived there for two decades or more say the area runs west from Astoria Park almost to Hazen Street to the east. 

JACKSON HEIGHTS: The general consensus for Jackson Heights boundaries are the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway to the west, Roosevelt Avenue to the south and Junction Boulevard to the east. But its northern boundary is often a source of contention. Those who lived in the area for 20 or more years pushed its northern boundary to Astoria Boulevard or 31st Avenue.

JAMAICA: Some readers defined the neighborhood strictly as downtown Jamaica — along Jamaica Avenue, roughly between the Van Wyck Expressway and 175th Street, and between Hillside and Liberty avenues. But a large group of readers thought the border should be extended all the way to Linden Boulevard on the south and 180th Street on the east.


ANNADALE: West Brighton and Annadale were among the most hotly debated neighborhood borders on Staten Island. In West Brighton, the majority of residents — old and new — agreed it's bordered by Forest and Castleton avenues, but some drew it stretching past Castleton Avenue to Henderson Avenue or even Richmond Terrace.