New York’s 13th Congressional District holds the distinction of being the smallest and most densely populated congressional district in the United States. With a geographic area of 10.25 square land miles (and 2.75 square miles of water) and a population of approximately 740,000, it holds over 70,000 residents for every square land mile. The District includes the areas of East Harlem, a portion of the Upper West Side, Harlem, Hamilton Heights, Sugar Hill, Washington Heights, Fort George, Hudson Heights, Inwood (where Mr. Fenstermaker lives on Sherman Avenue), Marble Hill, and the Bronx communities of Kingsbridge east of Tibbets Avenue, the western portions of University Heights and Morris Heights, and all of Bedford Park, Norwood, and Fordham Manor.
Currently represented by retiring Congressman Charlie Rangel, the District has historically been seen as a stronghold for black politicians. Charlie has represented the District for 45 years, since 1971. Before him, political legend Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. represented the area for 26 years, from 1945 until Charlie Rangel replaced him in 1971. However, the demographics of the District have changed, forcing Mr. Rangel’s unexpected retirement.
The District is now approximately 52 percent Hispanic, with a large Dominican presence in Washington Heights and Inwood and a smaller Puerto Rican community in East Harlem. According to Ballotpedia, whites nearly outnumber blacks in the district, representing 24 percent of the District’s population, compared with the District’s black population, which comprises 31 percent of the District. The 13th District also holds the distinction as the congressional district with the highest percentage of its population which lives in buildings with 20 or more units (77 percent), the district with the highest percentage of voters who commute by public transportation (72 percent), and the highest percentage of voters who have no access to a vehicle (76 percent).