Support Hyperallergic’s independent arts journalism. Become a Member »

Support Hyperallergic’s independent arts journalism.

I like Nate Silver’s work, I really do. His blog FiveThirtyEight.com kept me sane for most of the 2008 election cycle, particularly when the results were far from certain. His latest project for New York Magazine to statistically rank the city’s neighborhoods has all of New York in a frizzy as partisans argue that their neighborhood was robbed of the title (West Village ranked #24 and Chelsea #26), while others have been surprised (ummm…Sunnyside is #3 and Greenpoint is #5?).

But true to form, statistician Silver was thorough and exacting in his work and he used a varied group group of criteria, including housing, schools, crime, nightlife, to devise his list — tony Park Slope comes in at number one.

Williamsburg, where I live, clocked in at #20, probably because the boundaries Silver chose were just plain bizarre (when did the Morgan Avenue L stop become Williamsburg?) … but that’s another argument.

Yesterday, he posted the specific measures he used in each category but one bullet point in particular in the “Health and Wellness” category jumped out at me.

Between “street cleanliness” and “frequency of pedestrian & bicycle accidents” is this: “counts of rodents, potholes and graffiti.” What!? Graffiti is being lumped in with potholes and rodents? Are you kidding me?

I moved to Williamsburg partly because of the excellent street art (which I’m sure the city’s bureaucracy groups together with graffiti) and here he groups it together with vermin and a road nuissance (is that the city’s categorization too?).

It made me realize that those of us who champion street art — and its contribution to the cultural texture of the city — have a lot of work to do.

The Latest

Hrag Vartanian

Hrag Vartanian is editor-in-chief and co-founder of Hyperallergic. You can follow him at @hragv.