In my email box today, I received a message from an anti-housing group, touting a study from the localize.city website* on sunlight on New York neighborhoods. The purpose of the study is to show which neighborhoods have the least sunlight.
The study found that 27 of the city’s allegedly darkest neighborhoods are in Manhattan. More interestingly, the list of most sunlight-deprived Manhattan neighborhoods includes some of the city’s richest areas: Midtown, the Financial District, Tribeca, Upper East Side, and the Upper West Side. By contrast, the list of Manhattan’s ten sunniest areas include not only a few well off areas (like Hudson Yards and Battery Park City) but less pricey areas like Marble Hill and Inwood.
Why does this matter? My interpretation of these facts is that people who can afford to live anywhere don’t really care very much about an extra hour or two of sunlight, which in turn suggests that sunlight is basically just an excuse to block new housing rather than something people actually care about in other contexts. To put the matter another way, New Yorkers may actually value shade over sunlight, if they care about the issue at all.
*I note that if you really do care about sunlight more than I am suggesting that most people do, you can search an individual address at the Localize website.