Many Apartments In Queens And Brooklyn Are Illegally Divided

Sam Roberts of the New York Times in article Survey Hints At A Census Undercount in New York City reports that Census data suggests that “immigrant burbs”, that is “country communities” have formed in New York where large immigrant families share apartments forming neighborhoods such as “Little Syria” and “Little Russia”.

These include East Elmherst and Jackson Heights in Queens and Sunset Park, Bay Ridge and Bensonhurst.  

East 2nd and O in Brooklyn is one such neighborhood.  

“Why would so many units be there and be illegally subdivided if there was no demand for housing?” said Joseph J. Salvo, director of the population division of the city’s Planning Department, adding that the city had done “extensive field research, work that is corroborated by local data sources on foreclosures, new construction and rents.

Jeff Silverbush, a real estate agent in East Elmhurst, said: “There are certain areas in Queens where half of the houses seem to be for sale. That’s not the case there. You don’t find a huge amount of empty houses around there.”

One woman who answered the door at a single-family home on 99th Street said she never returned her census questionnaire. “I don’t understand much English,” said the 30-year-old woman, who did not want to give her name. In Brooklyn, off Ocean Parkway, a block of mostly one- and two-family homes bounded by East Second and Third Streets and Avenues O and P recorded an increase of 65 vacancies, to 70 from 5, and a decline in population of 57, to 283 from 340.

Theresa Scavo, the chairwoman of Community Board 15, doubted that the block had lost more than 150 people since 2000 and suggested instead that many of the Russian immigrants who moved to the neighborhood in recent years had not filled out forms or answered the door when census takers visited.

“How do you get a decrease in population,” she said, “when 10 years ago the buildings were not as crowded?”

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