The Zombie Apocalypse Is Located on a Terrifying Street Corner in Vinegar Hill, According to Google Maps

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Google Maps directs us to our doom
In these uncertain times, it's natural for one's thoughts to turn towards the inevitable nuclear war/pandemic/act of bioterrorism that will finally doom us as a species. Most of us will be wiped out, of course, and most of the ones who remain will be drooling, shuffling, hollow-eyed wraiths, subsisting only on the brains of the living. (No, not members of Congress. Although that's also a good guess.)

The bad news, as Business Insider recently pointed out, is that New York ranks almost dead last on the list of states most likely to survive the zombie apocalypse. (We rank in at number 48, mercifully beating Jersey, who are at the absolute bottom.)

The worse news, we regret to inform you, is that the zombie apocalypse is already here.

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Mapmaker, Mapmaker, Make Me a Map: John Randel Jr., and the Manhattan grid

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Much of Manhattan was made long in the past--or long enough ago that its boundaries are often seen as acceptable and natural, while the people who live on the fringe (read: above 96th Street) are easily forgotten when defining the character of the city. (This tendency became briefly regretful when, during Superstorm Sandy, word got out that people in Washington Heights were taking hot showers, getting drunk, and enjoying a day off while everyone downtown stumbled around in the dark). Certainly there are exceptions; Columbia's expansion into West Harlem, and its disruption of neighborhood borders, gets lots of coverage from uptown blogs like Harlem + Bespoke, which are both agents and critics of gentrification.


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Redistricting Round Two: City Council Pushes Forward With New Commission Picks

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CUNY Center for Urban Research
The City Council today announced the key figures who will be charged with dividing up the city into new districts based on Census data.

It's the next redistricting frontier!

The announcement of the Council's appointments comes on the same day that important news broke in the statewide redistricting battle: The Senate Democrats' lawsuit attempting to throw out the Republicans' plan was blocked this morning by the highest court in the state, the New York Court of Appeals. The Senate Dems were going after the Republicans' addition of a 63rd State Senate Seat, arguing that the addition is unconstitutional, but today the court upheld a lower court's ruling and unanimously agreed that the methods of the Legislature don't amount to a "gross and deliberate violation of the plain intent of the Constitution."

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Interactive Map App Shows You Everything In New York City in Real-Time

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Map enthusiasts and social media aficionados, rejoice! A website and iPhone application that is officially launching today is taking the concept of mapping to a whole new interactive level that might forever change your physical and virtual existence as a New Yorker.

In all seriousness, though, this thing's pretty cool -- CityMaps, a one-stop shop map site and iPhone app, integrates hyperlocal data with all kinds of social media functions so that users can browse around and make plans based on real-time information coming from across the city.

Here's how it works: The map, which aims to include the name and location of every storefront on every block, is connected to Twitter, Facebook, Foursquare and all the other cool networking sites kids are using these days. CityMaps users can browse what's around them, find out what other people have said and are saying about these establishments, and get info on what kinds of deals or events these businesses are having at that moment. All in a user-friendly, visually-intuitive format!

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Asian-American Advocacy Groups: New Congressional Maps Are Pretty Good

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Congressional district proposals for parts of Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Queens.
Asian Americans in New York City may actually have the voting power they deserve in Congress if the lines drawn this week by a judge become reality, advocates said today.

If you haven't been following the redistricting drama closely, here's what you need to know: Since state legislators, stuck in partisan disagreements over the course of 11 months, failed to draw proposals for congressional districts, a federal magistrate stepped into create districts for New York state. Earlier than expected, this so-called "special master" released those maps this week, giving interested parties a tight deadline to submit comments. The special master has until Monday to submit the plan to a panel of three judges.

This plan could actually be adopted, although the Legislature could also come together to pass its own map before the court's process is complete -- and with a signature from Governor Andrew Cuomo, that redistricting plan could go into effect.

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Support for Majority Latino Congressional District Grows; Mayoral Hopefuls Like It

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Sam Levin
Electeds and advocates rallying for a new Latino congressional district earlier this month.
As delays and uncertainty persist in the redistricting process in Albany, support is growing for a new majority Latino congressional district in New York City.

Pols and advocates have been rallying this month in an effort to pressure the state to draw a majority Latino district that would include parts of upper Manhattan, the west Bronx, and Corona and Jackson Heights in Queens. Advocates say this district would unite communities of interest and give a stronger voice to the city's Latino population which has grown dramatically over the last decade. (Latinos make up the city's largest minority group at 29 percent of the total 8.1 million population).

On Friday, public advocate and likely mayoral candidate Bill de Blasio sent out a statement in support of this Latino district -- which would be the third in the city.

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Cool Interactive Map Shows You Which City Blocks Use the Most Electricity

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A new interactive map tool, created by the Modi Research Group at Columbia University's School of Engineering and Applied Science, reveals some unsurprising patterns about New York City's energy consumption.

The tool can tell you, down to individual buildings, which parts of the city used the most energy in 2011. Click on an individual building, and you'll get a pie graph showing you what types of energy were used -- gas, water, electricity, or heating.


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State Senator Gustavo Rivera on Redistricting: Bad Process, Horrendous Product

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Runnin' Scared caught up with State Senator Gustavo Rivera yesterday to hear his thoughts on the ongoing redistricting battles in Albany. He testified on Monday at a hearing on the matter. (He wasn't able to attend a Bronx redistricting hearing yesterday at the Bronx Museum of the Arts -- which was open to the public.)

When the new maps first came out last week, we managed to grab State Senator Michael Gianaris, who has been a loud critic of the process behind redistricting -- where states redraw district boundaries based on Census population data every 10 years.

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Asian Advocacy Group Says State's New District Maps Unfairly Divide Communities

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Yesterday, the state -- after a fair amount of delay and confusion -- finally released map proposals for new district lines in New York, based on Census data.

We heard from one angry pol yesterday, predictably mad at the political motivations that often drive the process. He's not the only frustrated elected -- and there's been a lot of talk today about what the next step might be for those who are upset with the process or product of redistricting.

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State Senator Michael Gianaris on Redistricting: 'We're Not Going To Stand for It'

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After a lot of back-and-forth and a fair amount of confusion about when the state's redrawn district maps might actually be released, the new state Senate lines came out today.

This is it! After months of talk and hearings, these are the new political lines that the state task force charged with redistricting is proposing, based on Census data collected every ten years. Throughout this predictably messy process, concerns have risen about who gets to draw these maps (Governor Cuomo has pushed for an independent process) and the ways in which minority groups are represented in the districts.

We haven't had a chance to look in great detail at the maps or talk to many electeds and civic groups, but we caught up with State Sen. Michael Gianaris this afternoon at a press conference in Queens to hear his thoughts. He's been a vocal opponent of how Albany is handling the process.

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