Yellow journalism is alive and well, folks.
So the title of this blog post is pretty harsh but who cares, so is The New York Post’s reporting in general and especially when it comes to The Bronx. This time, however, the offense will not go unnoticed nor without a response.
On Tuesday June 9th, The Bronx and Manhattan celebrated the reopening of The High Bridge—New York City’s oldest standing bridge and having been closed for 45 years—with residents, politicians, community groups from both boroughs coming together for this historic occasion over the Harlem River.
It was a festive day despite the morning rain and residents from Highbridge and Washington Heights—the two neighborhoods which The High Bridge straddles—were out in full force mingling with each other and making new acquaintances.
Instead of reporting back on the real story, The New York Post decided to do what it does best: Yellow Journalism. In their piece on the opening of The High Bridge, they chose to seek out folks who saw it as a negative and went on to say that residents on The Manhattan side are “…worried about the bloodshed across the way…” and that Washington Heights residents, “…fear it would connect their neighborhood to a war zone.”
This was based on quotes from TWO individuals. That’s it. There was no evidence whatsoever that Washington Heights residents were in fear for their lives because of the opening of The High Bridge. These are two communities sharing strong, historical and ethnic ties.
The New York Post talks about the 5 murders within the 44th Precinct in The Bronx which covers Highbridge among other neighborhoods and 23 shootings as of this year. Although the 33rd Precinct in Washington Heights hasn’t registered a murder as of 2015, it has registered 6 shootings which represents a 600% increase in shootings as of this year when compared to the same point last year.
The 23 shootings in Highbridge represent 144% increase, a far cry from the 600% increase over in Manhattan and Washington Heights.
Furthermore what the New York Post doesn’t tell you is that the 44th precinct in The Bronx covers over twice the geographic area that the 33rd precinct in Manhattan covers. The population in the 44th precinct is 146,441 versus 76,958 in the 33rd precinct—that’s almost DOUBLE the population of the Manhattan side. (population statistics of each precinct are straight from nyc.gov)
When you look at the data and current statistics, you can clearly see that there is virtually no differences between the two neighborhoods with respects to crime when you take into account the overall disparities in geographic size and coverage as well as population.
What’s even more ridiculous about The New York Post’s sensationalist piece is that they forget to mention one thing: Both communities already were connected via the Washington Bridge which has pedestrian walkways further to the North. It also neglects to mention that The Bronx is connected to Manhattan by 16 bridges (The Randall’s Island Connector will be the 16th bridge to connect The Bronx with Manhattan/New York County).
Of these 16 bridges 3 are dedicated strictly to rail only and 2 for cars only with the remaining 11 bridges to carry pedestrians, vehicular traffic, and the 1 subway line into Riverdale.
That being said, The Bronx and Manhattan have over a century of being united by dozens of bridges so to highlight The High Bridge as something potentially dangerous for Manhattan is both irresponsible and unfounded and once again puts a spotlight on the ethics of The New York Post and of course these two particularly irresponsible journalists.
I went back yesterday without having even read or heard about the New York Post article yet and was there for a couple of hours interviewing folks from both sides and the consensus from over 3 dozen people (ok so that’s not scientific poll either) was that they were excited and happy that they now have a safe and clear passage into either side void of vehicular traffic.
On its second day of opening, The High Bridge was full of parents with their children who were learning about the history of The High Bridge via the medallions placed along the bridge’s path, bikers, skaters, runners, joggers, or folks simply just sitting on one of the benches to take in the views and the amazing breezes one gets over 100 feet in the air without any obstructions.
Having been there on both the opening day and the second day of its opening for a combined total of roughly six hours speaking to dozens of people, I could not find one person to say anything negative about the opening from either side let alone Manhattan residents.
The New York Post owes The Bronx and The City of New York an apology for its unprofessional reporting that, instead of celebrating a momentous occasion uniting two communities that share common ties even further, it chose to actively seek out to shed a negative spotlight.
Maybe The Bronx should kick the New York Post out FROM The Bronx when The Randall’s Island Connector opens this summer which is directly adjacent to their printing facilities. I say we have them evicted, demolish their plant and turn it into another park for Bronxites. We’re good enough for their polluting trucks coming in and out to deliver their crappy paper but not good enough to write positive stories about our borough so why not get rid of them and put that land to good use.