According the population census conducted in 2000, the total population of District 13 is 106, 120. However it has been observed that the population of the region has been on the rise. The people in the district live in different locations. These locations include; the Coney Island the Brighton Beach, Bensonhurst, Gravesend, Bath Beach, Homecrest and the Sea Gate.
The Coney Island is an urban residential neighborhood located in the Southwestern side of Brooklyn in New York City. The Coney Island is around 4 miles long and half a mile wide. The Coney Island creek that separated Coney Island from Brooklyn was filled up in the last century making Coney island a peninsular. The region is a coast area with many beaches and amusement parks. Coney Island is famous as a vacation destination because of its beaches and amusements parks located close to Manhattan. The island is also a residential area with over 52,000 people living there. The major neighborhoods in Coney Island are Sea Gate, Brighton Beach, Manhattan Beach, and Gravesend. The residential areas in Coney Island are middle class with a few high-end gated estates. The Middle class residential areas are concentrated in high-rise apartment blocks. Coney Island is served by utilities from the greater New York City area and has excellent transport services including the subway and regular buses.
Gravesend is found on the north of the peninsula. Just like in Brighton and Coney Island, there are weekend changes of lines as well as the time schedules, making it hard for the residents to transit. Bath Beach is located on the north of Coney Island and Belt Parkway. There has been an increase in population in this area ever since the Beltway Park was constructed. The Bensonhurst was named after the Benson family farm. The Benson family was part of the cabbage-end and potato-growing areas of the New Utrecht. (Bloomberg, 2012)
Brighton Beach is among the busiest residential and business center in New York City. The Brighton Beach has various establishments such as banks, restaurants, pop stores, clothing stores and many others. A greater percentage of those people who live in Bright Beach are the former USSR and the elderly longtime residents. From Brighton Beach to the West 37th street, there is a Riegelmann Boardwalk running al through to the entrance of the Sea Gate. The Sea Gate serves the purpose of uniting all the neighborhoods of District 13 during the months of warm weather. The Sea Gate is on the western side of the peninsula. The area is made up of beautiful homes, some dating back a century. The Homecrest region is also located on the northern peninsula. All the regions experience sounds of waves as they wash the shore.
Prominent geographical features
The most prominent geographical features in Coney Island are the beaches. The beach makes Coney Island a tourist destination especially in summer. The beach at Coney Island is used by Coney Island Brighton Beach Open Water Swimmers (CIBBOWS) in summer and the Coney Island Polar Bear Club in the winter. The Coney Island creek which separated Coney Island from Brooklyn has been filled up in the areas occupied by the Belt Parkway and the Verrazano-narrows Bridge. Beaches carry the health risk of injuries such as drowning or attack from animals such as stingrays. During the summer months when there are many visitors at the beach, there are volunteer lifeguards and ambulances on the standby. These measures have reduced the number of injuries reported in the beaches.
The Brighton Beach offers a serene environment for the establishment of hotels that attract tourists, especially during the summer. The huge Oceana housing development makes it a perfect travel destination. The prominent features in Sea Gate are the sandy beaches that attract tourist. The prominent feature in Gravesend is the park, Gravesend Park. Bath Beach just like other beaches has beautiful scenery capable of attracting tourist. The prominent feature in Bensonhurst is the Bensonhurst-by-the-sea amusement park. The amusement park had racetracks as well as luxurious hotels making it attractive. Homecrest also has attractive beaches that are washed by the waves of the ocean. (Bloomberg, 2012)
The total housing Units in District 13 is 43,889. The units are shared by all the regions in the district. The predominant type of housing in Coney Island is apartments with over 62% of households owning the houses they live. Population in Coney Island is not evenly distributed. Large areas of Coney Island are zoned for use as amusement parks and contain no residential areas. Majority of the people live in around thirty apartment blocks that are 18 to 24 stories each. These apartment blocks have the highest density of people with the gated estates having the lowest density of people. The average household size in Coney Island is 2.6 people. 51% of all households in Coney Island are families with 36% of all households consisting of married couples (NYC, 2010). There are many blocks in Coney Island filled with vacant buildings and burned out buildings. The vacant and burned out buildings are a health hazard for the Coney Island community. Burned out buildings are ideal for the growth of moss and accumulation of dust which can lead to allergies. Some neighborhoods in Coney Island such as Sea gate and Breezy Point Cooperative are private communities with gate and fence town houses.
The predominant type of housing in Brighton beach in the past was bungalows and one family houses. This type of housing was replaced condos. Sea gate is filled with beautiful homes. The homes are private, and the residents are required to pay due to the association of Sea Gate. Gravesend, the Homecrest, the Bath Beach and the Bensonhurst are partly made up of residential houses and partly hotels, due to the presence of the beaches.
Sewage and waste disposal Safety hazards
Different regions in District 13 have different ways of dealing with wastes. Coney Island receives utilities such as water, electricity, and sewerage services from the greater New York City. Access to clean water and sewerage services promotes hygiene and reduces the risk of dirt–borne diseases. Public health nurses should promote hygiene as a way of preventing disease. Open garbage reduces air quality, and public health nurses should lobby for policies against open dumping. Community health nurses can encourage environmental hygiene by championing environmental cleanups and community education on the need of clean environments.
The district 13 as a whole receives all the utilities like the Coney Island. However, the regions experience the problem of garbage disposal. The garbage is mostly thrown carelessly by passengers and motorist as they try to look for dumping sites. The challenge is being addressed by purchase of trucks that are left running along the Avenues so that people use them without the fear of stalling. However, the residents who neighbors these areas claim the practice is annoying. (Bloomberg, 2012)
Although there is lighting in many public places District 13, most blocks with vacant and burned down buildings have no lighting making it unsafe for people at night. Poor lighting can cause falls that may be fatal of cause injuries on people. Falls are a significant health concern for older members of the community. This is because older people have general muscle weakness and loss of body balance making them more susceptible to falls compared to younger people. Besides broken bones, falls result in injuries to the head, loss of self-confidence and a feeling of hopelessness. It is very for older people to get serious injuries from falls compared to younger people. Additionally, poor lighting encourages crime and gang activities.
District 13, just like other regions, have various features that threaten the residents. Due to the high crowds that characterize district 13, there are highly effective and reliable men and women. The men and women are located in various locations around the District 13, who are capable of giving faster assistance to any challenge that may arise. This is to ensure that the members of the public who visit recreational facilities are not endangered
The Coney Island residents work in diverse fields with majority being in the service sector. Working in the service sector minimizes the occupational hazards encountered by the residents of Coney Island unlike in other communities where the major occupations are in the manufacturing and mining sector. Additionally, there is reduced exposure to environmental hazards such as pollution and low air quality that come with heavy manufacturing and mining operations. However, being an urban area, Coney Island has heavy vehicle traffic and air pollution is a serious health concern for the community residents. Low air quality is a risk factor for asthma and pulmonary diseases including COPD.
Use of Safety Devices
The safety devices used at the community level depends with occupational and environmental hazards that exist. The major safety devices used in the Coney Island community include sunscreen during the summer, hearing aids and road markings. Specific groups of people within the Coney Island community use other safety devices such as skaters and football players who use helmets and joint padding, and floaters used in the beach by people who are not competent swimmers.
There is use of four-wheel-vehicles and unmarked cars for surveillance by policemen to provide protection to the member of the public in all the regions of district 13. There are standby fire engines to be used, in case of fire, by the fire department.
Although the number of amusement parks in Coney Island has reduced significantly, many parks are open for extended periods during the summer. These parks contribute to high noise levels (Kasson, 2011). There is gang activity in Coney Island mainly in the vacant and burnt down blocks. Gang activity affects health in a number of ways. Majority of gangs sells drugs encouraging drug abuse in the community. Drug abuse, alcohol and smoking reduce the quality of life and are risk factors in various diseases including liver cirrhosis, COPD and lung cancer. Gang activities include crime that leads to injuries and can be fatal. Besides noise and gang activity, low air quality during peak traffic hours is the other nuisance factor in Coney Island.
The water treatment plants that were established emit odor contaminates the environmental air and is a nuisance to those regions that border the plants, thus becoming a nuisance. The neglected areas are usually covered with bushes and become either breeding grounds or dumpsites thus becoming a nuisance.
Potential for disaster
Coney Island is an East coast region that carries a high risk of Hurricanes (Scileppe & Donnely, 2007). Hurricanes cause extensive damage due to strong winds and flooding. In the 2012 hurricane season, Coney Island was devastated by Hurricane Sandy. The hurricane damaged amusement parks, led to the loss of power and interfered with transport services. The flooding in low-lying areas including subway tunnels in the New York Area was caused by the storm surge. Hurricanes can be fatal either from drowning in the flood water or from injuries received from objects in the strong winds. Flood water may be contaminated by sewage and reach the portable water sources increasing the risk of water-borne diseases. Additionally, crowding in the evacuee’s shelters during a hurricane increases the risk of infectious disease propagation. Apart from hurricanes, Coney Island carries reduced risks for other type’s disasters.
The hurricanes are not just a risk in the Coney Island; it is a risk in the rest of the regions of District 13 that border the ocean. There is thus, the need for emergency preparedness strategies to this possible disaster. The healthcare providers are well equipped so that they can give first aid services in case a natural disaster occurs. (Bloomberg, 2012)
Health Services and Health Resources – types and availability
The Department of Health provides health services including healthcare, health education, and resources in Coney Island and the rest of the regions of District 13. Health services are available in hospitals and clinics. The largest hospital in Coney Island is the Coney Island Hospital, which offers diverse services including ED, neurosurgery, orthopedic surgery, birthing, pediatric, inpatient and outpatient care services (NYC, 2010). In addition to Coney Island Hospital, there are numerous smaller hospitals and clinics in the entire District 13. A major barrier to accessing health services District 13 is paying for health services. Many Migrants in Coney Island have no health insurance and rely on ED services for primary health care. Accessibility is an aspect of quality care and barriers to accessing health services reduce the quality of care offered in Coney Island. However, there is improved funding on healthcare, a move that is meant to make healthcare cheaper and affordable to everybody. There is a need to offer an all-inclusive primary care as well as screening of major community health problems.
Another established hospital is found in Brighton Beach. It is called the Victory Memorial Hospital. It is located in the Brighton 6th street. Just like the Coney Island Hospital, it well equipped to handle many health cases. The Staten Island university Hospital gives medical services to the residents of Bath Beach and Bensonhurst.
Health education services
Health education services in Coney Island are available in hospitals, clinics and in schools. In Coney Island, health education services are conducted mainly by nurses but also by other health care workers. In Coney Island, health education services target health promotion and disease prevention, wellness, patient education, and available services. Nurses carry out health promotion education by targeting ways of reducing disease risk factors. Health education services in District 13 are available for common health challenges including obesity, hand washing and environmental hygiene, physical exercises, and proper diets. Wellness education campaigns cover self-efficacy for patients suffering from various chronic diseases such as diabetes, arthritis, and heart disease. Wellness education gives patients the knowledge and tools for self-care and is almost always carried out as part of patient education. Patient education has a greater scope and covers disease processes and available interventions. (Bloomberg, 2012)
Most regions of district 13 have higher infant mortality levels compared to the greater New York City and the country. Infant mortality rates can be reduced by effective prenatal care. Prenatal care is preventive and uses regular check-ups to control ill health in pregnant women and unborn babies. In Coney Island, prenatal services are available in hospitals and clinics. The services are widely available and affordable even for migrant populations who have no insurance. Despite availability of prenatal health services, a high infant mortality rates in Coney Island indicate that the available prenatal health services are not effective. Effective prenatal care is important in controlling maternal death rates, miscarriages and negative birth outcomes such as birth defects and low birth weight. The lack of proper education and nutrition for expectant women is a possible reason for high maternal death rates in District 13. The infant mortality rate in District 13 has been put at 11 deaths per 1000 live births. The district was ranked position two after District 17 which is leading in infant mortality rates. (Bloomberg, 2012)
John Shaw Billings, (1890). Vital Statistics of New York City and Brooklyn. United States Census office.
Michael R. Bloomberg, (2012). Community District Needs, Department of City Planning: Brooklyn.