A Snapshot of NYC's Prolific Complainers & their Complaints

Malina Welman, Mollie Jutkowitz

Our project illuminates the density of all complaints on celebration/parade days in New York City with the most complaints issued to 311 in 2013: Halloween, St. Patrick's Day, and Cinco de Mayo. As a control variable we also included a random day in NYC, on a non-major or recognized celebratory day. Additionally included is the land use and its assessed value of our study area, spanning from West 4th Street to Worth Street with the bounds of Avenue of the Americas and Broadway. Who complains, where complaints are located, and what kinds of complaints are issued are all considered in understanding the "why" in New York's prolific complaining culture. The parade events do not take place within the study area, yet the amount of complaints on Halloween, St. Patrick's Day, and Cinco de Mayo are markedly higher than on the control day. The complaints from all four days vary in type, with no particularly dominant sort of complaint present. The locations of complaints are of all different land uses and assessed lot values. Are the public's natural surveillance skills more keen on these days or is its general disposition more finicky and driven by indignation for the festivity's created atmosphere? The extent to which privilege and the "right to complain" are intertwined with the number of complaints in one pocket of NYC versus another unfolds more to the story of the complaint culture facilitated by the City's 311 Services.