Great. As if this city wasn't crowded enough, now the bean counters at the U.S. Census Department have, with the wave of a hand, shrunk the city by two square miles. Couldn't they have just lopped a little off the Meatpacking District and Murray Hill?
In 2008, Department of City Planning recalculated the city’s land area and determined that the city was 17 square miles smaller than the previous size estimate, which had been used for decades. That updated size was 304.8 square miles. But now, according to City Room, the Census Department has used "the most sophisticated mapping techniques available" and determined that the city is actually 302.643 square miles, with most of the shrinkage occuring in Brooklyn and Queens. To be fair, when the Census measurements took place, both boroughs were toweling off after a cold swim.
"We have made our digital data more accurate and more complete, and that has impacted the area figures in many areas,” bragged Katy Rossiter, a geographer for the Census Bureau who explains to City Room that "this is not to say that these areas have really lost or gained land, but our digital representation has changed, therefore the numbers have changed." Oh, so it's only the computer's vision of the city that's changed; actual New Yorkers who still view the "real" world through the soft gelatin of their dull cow eyes won't notice any difference. Which is just what the machines want us to think, as they chip away at our borders until there's nothing left of this town but Randall's Island, where those of us who survive the Census Wars will ultimately be corralled to serve as enslaved human batteries.
But what does the Department of City Planning have to say about all this? Rachaele Raynoff, a spokeswoman for the Department of City Planning, tells City Room, "The measuring sticks used by the Census Bureau and the city produced slightly different results. The difference, relative to the total area of the city, is minimal and does not affect delivery of services." Still, there's a great Twilight Zone episode to be made out of all this. A Brooklyn man wakes up one morning to realize his entire block has vanished from his rapidly shrinking city. As he gazes out his window in horror at the all-consuming white void devouring New York, he must decide whether to stay and fight The Shrinkage, or move to Hoboken, which really isn't as inconvenient as people think.
The Census also found that if everyone in New York State weighed the same, the state's "population center" would be in, ha, Florida, a village in Orange County. At press time, it was unclear what the hell that means, but it figures.