You might have recently heard an interview on Marketplace with Measure of America co-director Sarah Burd-Sharps. The segment focused on the highs and lows in New York City—more specifically, on Manhattan’s East Side and the South Bronx. These two locales are at both extremes of the distribution of median personal earnings in the entire nation; quite a startling statistic considering they are only six subway stops apart.
Measure of America led a tour of these areas for Marketplace, pointing out how government investment in differing areas is sometimes very uneven. The way the pie is divided has large implications for individuals and communities, as is evident in the quality of local infrastructure and services. We made sure to visit public facilities within the same system in both areas to explore how public resources are allocated. The tour included two branches of the New York Public library system, two parks in the NYC Department of Parks and Recreation, a waste transfer site in the Bronx, as well as a proposed site in the Upper East Side.
East Side, Manhattan
Congressional District 14Annual Median Personal Earnings: $51,507
– John Jay Park – Carl Shurz Park – Webster Library – Waste Transfer Site
Congressional District 16Annual Median Personal Earnings: $19,043
– Rainey Park – Dawson Playground – Woodstock Library – Proposed Waste Transfer Site
Six miles and five hours later, plus many more in the recording studio, here you have it: a four-minute clip on Marketplace!With sincere thanks to Marketplace, David Brancaccio (@economy4_0) and Ann Heppermann. Also, stay tuned for more on our Tale of Two’s series. We’ll be following up on this post with examples from other places across the nation.
What do you think about these disparities? Do you see them within the places you live? Leave us a comment below.