Let me just start by saying that it’s amazing—almost overwhelming—how much data the City of New York collects, catalogues, and publicizes. Everything from the coordinates of every piece of street furniture to the holdings of the NYC Employee Retirement System (NYCERS) are available in machine-readable format at https://data.cityofnewyork.us. And they are all available through Socrata’s SODA API. The data are not organized perfectly—more on that later—but the sheer amount of it makes it an incredible tool if you can figure out how to harness it.
Naturally, I wanted to build another NYC-centric app, but what specifically? As my wife and I just moved from Brooklyn to Manhattan, I have been thinking a lot recently about housing, neighborhoods, and all the things that go along with being a part of a specific community in New York. So, it occurred to me that I should build an app that would help me look up all the information I needed (or was curious about) my new building and neighborhood.
The first group of data I make available in the app is sort of general information about the building you live in. It gets most of its information from the city’s Geoclient API:
- Address: pretty self-explanatory
- BBL: Building-block-boro code, one of NYC’s unique tax-parcel identifiers. Often necessary when interacting with city government.
- Condo Number: Unique number assigned to each Condominium in the city.
- Neighborhood: Official name of the neighborhood in which the address is located.
- Community District: NYC Planning Community District in which the address is located.*
- Police Precinct: NYPD precinct in which the address is located.*
- Fire Company: FDNY fire company (smallest division) that responds to the address.*
- School District: NYC Department of Education district in which the address is located.*
*The Community District, Police Precinct, Fire Company, and School District numbers all link to their appropriate webpages (uses regexp).
Two additional pieces of information come from the Department of Housing Preservation and Development’s (HPD) “Registration Contacts” dataset:
- Owned By: The listed owner of building.
- Services Managed By: The management company listed for the building.
This section shows the user all the 311 complaints and Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) violations on record for the building.
According to their website, 311 “provides access to non-emergency City services and information about City government programs.” It’s where most city residents file complaints about poor conditions in their homes or neighborhoods.
Complaints filed to HPD through 311 or other methods are investigated and, if a violation is found, it will be logged in their system and a notice of violation (NOV) will be sent to the entity required to repair it.
The APIs used in this section come from the “311 Service Requests from 2010 to Present” and “Housing Maintenance Code Violations” datasets, respectively.
Finally, the Zillow section provides financial information about the address provided:
Links to various sections of the Zillow entry on the address, including general information, graphs of its value over time, maps, and comparable units.
Zillow’s estimate of the value of the home.
Zillow’s estimate of what it should cost to rent the home.