A group of journalism graduate students at Columbia University put together this interesting study of how Brooklyn is politically divided (“Bleeding Red for McCain”) on their original online news publication, Brooklyn Ink. Using public records of campaign donations, they put together a map that visually reflects which areas of Brooklyn are red and which are blue. Following the map is a series of vignettes about the particular areas in support of McCain. The introduction follows:
Venture to the southeastern point of Brooklyn, below Avenue H, and you will find a Brooklyn where Syrian Jews dine on kibbeh in Gravesend, and where Muslims heed the call to prayer in Bensonhurst. This is a Brooklyn where the manicured lawns and Mercedeses on Ocean Parkway or in Dyker Heights shout one kind of American dream, and where the Cyrillic lettering on the Russian supper clubs in Little Odessa speak another.
Here is the Brooklyn where the real life drama of Vito Fossella – whose career as the city’s only Republican congressman was undone when he admitted to having not one family but two – exceeds even that of Bensonhurst’s own fictional anti-hero, Tony Manero, whom John Travolta famously captured devouring two slices of pizza from Lenny’s as he strutted down 86th street in “Saturday Night Fever.” In this Brooklyn you can shop at the Avi Glatt Kosher Market in the morning, down blinis for lunch and sample sushi for dinner – all without ever leaving the corner of Avenue U and 8th Street.
Yet for all its many disparate parts, there is one thing that many in this Brooklyn share: a belief in the candidacy of John McCain. Avenue H is, roughly by our measurement, Brooklyn’s equivalent of the Mason-Dixon line. North of it – as our map of the borough reveals – is Obama country. But it is a different story south of Avenue H. Here, according to the Federal Election Commission, is the pocket of Brooklyn where contributions to McCain exceed those to Obama. In a sea of blue, this small quadrant of Brooklyn is an island of red.
So we ventured south of Avenue H, to ask what people saw when they looked at the candidates, so that we could understand McCain’s appeal in a Brooklyn that seems at odds with the rest of the borough.
Check out the rest of the story here.
Photo courtesy of Mike G.K.