N.Y. Today: Vaccination Disparities

What you need to know for Wednesday.

Stark Disparities in Vaccine Rollout by ZIP Code

By Troy Closson


It's Wednesday.

Weather: Mostly sunny, with a brisk breeze. High in the low 30s. Get ready for heavy snow tomorrow.

Alternate-side parking: Suspended for Ash Wednesday.


James Estrin/The New York Times

About 5 percent of people in the East New York neighborhood of Brooklyn have received at least one vaccine dose. But in some areas on the Upper West Side, the percentage is four times higher.

On Tuesday, health officials released new vaccination data by ZIP code that illustrates stark inequalities in the local and national rollout: Wealthier areas of Manhattan and Staten Island with more white residents have received shots at much higher rates than low-income communities of color in Brooklyn, Queens and the South Bronx.


"A lot of this is about underlying painful disparities," Mayor Bill de Blasio said at a news conference on Tuesday. "Folks who have more privilege are best able to navigate this process."

Here's what you need to know about the new data:

Troubling differences are evident in the rollout.

More than 10 percent of adult New Yorkers have now received at least one vaccine dose, Mr. de Blasio said.


But in areas like City Island in the Bronx and Breezy Point in Queens, more than 40 percent of adults have received at least one dose.

Across the city, vaccination rates in places with higher median household incomes, including Little Neck in Queens, often outpaced less well-off neighborhoods, like Brownsville in Brooklyn and Hunts Point in the Bronx.

Some areas hardest hit by the virus are lagging behind.

In one ZIP code that includes parts of the Fordham, Kingsbridge and University Heights neighborhoods of the Bronx, the seven-day average rate of positive test results is over 13 percent.

But only 7 percent of adults there have received at least one shot, and similar trends exist citywide — though the data did not note the proportion of residents who were eligible for the vaccine.

The numbers underscore broader equity concerns.

Mr. de Blasio said on Tuesday that vaccination sites continued to open in areas with the greatest need and that a larger supply doses would increase the "ability to address disparity."

But some health experts and city lawmakers continue to worry that the numbers indicate a flawed rollout and that obstacles to vaccination that people living in underserved neighborhoods face have not been fully addressed.

Data released last month by the city showed that Black and Latino residents had been receiving far fewer doses than white residents, although the figures were incomplete.

From The Times

The Mini Crossword: Here is today's puzzle.

What we're reading

A survey of more than 400 businesses found that 92 percent of restaurants could not pay full rent in December. [Eater New York]

Community members and advocates are concerned that the pandemic has caused a dramatic rise in drug overdoses. [The City]

Mount Sinai Health System canceled scores of appointments for first doses of the coronavirus vaccine. [Gothamist]

And finally: Mapping Black history in New York City

The Crown Heights residence of the first Black woman to serve in Congress.

The home of a Black Army unit from Harlem that fought under French command in World War I.

A segregated school building in Williamsburg where several prominent Black educators taught.

All three sites are featured on an online map that highlights locations across each borough with particular historical and cultural significance for Black New Yorkers. The map, released last week by the city's Landmarks Preservation Commission, contains more than 100 entries, including buildings linked to eminent musicians of the 1960s, influential institutions like the Abyssinian Baptist Church, the city's oldest known Black burial ground and areas with abolitionist roots.

The project includes short descriptions and additional context about Black history in New York over decades, spotlighting moments from before 1865 through 1990.

The map "is not an exhaustive list," the commission noted, but is intended to serve as a living document and will continue to be updated.

"This is the kind of information that should be part of every school curriculum and every New Yorker's education," said the city's first lady, Chirlane McCray, adding that she hoped young people in particular would be "encouraged to explore the rich history of their own families and neighborhoods."

It's Wednesday — learn more.

Metropolitan Diary: At Bergdorf's

Dear Diary:

When I was a child growing up on Long Island in the 1960s, my mother often took my sister and me into Manhattan on Saturdays to shop.

Once, when I was about 8, we were alone in an elevator at Bergdorf Goodman. The elevator stopped, and a well-dressed older woman got on.

My mother leaned down.

"Cliff," she whispered in my ear, "I think that's Gloria Swanson."

The elevator continued up a few floors in silence. As my mother and I got off, the woman turned to us and flashed a dazzling smile.

"Yes it is, isn't it?" she said, just as the door closed.

— Clifford Michaelson

[Editor's note: We erroneously ran the same Metropolitan Diary on Monday and Tuesday; thanks to the eagle-eyed readers who pointed it out. Read the one we missed below.]


Dear Diary:

I was on my way back from a run in Central Park, and I decided to take a roundabout way home. Meandering down Madison Avenue, I was intrigued to see a small line of people waiting at a corner.

I walked over to find out what they were waiting for so patiently, and I saw that they were outside a small bookstore. Looking over all of the covers in the window, I longed to go inside too.

After waiting for a while, I was allowed in, and I spent a glorious half-hour examining as many of the spines and reading as many of the backs of books as I could. I chose a few to buy and bring home as newly prized possessions.

When I went to check out, I saw the old cash register, which was shaped sort of like a typewriter. A feeling of déjà vu washed over me, but I brushed it away.

When I got home and inspected my purchases, a bookmark fell out of one of them: the Corner Bookstore.

I went to my bookshelf, where I knew I'd find the very same bookmark, but a version that was crumpled and worn from five years of use.

I had stumbled on that store once before: When I first moved to New York and was having a tough day. I'd wandered in out of the blue, and I had left feeling refreshed then as well.

— Katie Perkowski

New York Today is published weekdays around 6 a.m. You can also find it at nytoday.com.

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