We can’t help it. We’re endlessly fascinated with the Health Department’s data. We learn so many interesting things! Like about the plummeting teen pregnancy rate (and corresponding drop in abortions). Or about where all the rats are hiding (in local restaurants!). And also where everyone who has super-strain gonorrhea lives (sorry, Crown Heights, but you’re number one). The more you know, right?
The latest interesting bit of info released by the DoH (via Gothamist) has to do with where all the binge drinkers in the city live. Why is this interesting information? Well, besides serving as a bit of a warning about where you’re most likely to find vomit puddles as you walk your dog on Sunday mornings, it’s also a good way to gauge your own drinking habits and see where you stand in comparison to other people in the city. After all it’s pretty easy to lose perspective about your own habits, or those of your immediate circle, and so maybe it will be helpful to see whether or not your drinking habits are the norm or an aberration that you should be worried about.
Or, you know, maybe you shouldn’t be worried at all because if you go by the DoH’s definition of binge drinkers (any man who has had 5 or more drinks in one sitting and any woman who has had 4 or more at any time during the last month) than maybe we should all start freaking right the fuck out because who doesn’t fit into that definition other than people who either don’t drink at all or, like, little tiny children? That’s crazy, right? That’s a crazy definition of a binge drinker? It’s equally as crazy as the Center for Disease Control’s definition of a problem drinker as being any man who has more than fifteen or more drinks a week, or any woman who has eight or more drinks a week. That seems a bit draconian, doesn’t it? Doesn’t it? We don’t know anymore! We know nothing!
Well, we maybe know nothing, but at least we’re not alone in knowing nothing about healthy drinking habits, because there are a lot of places in Brooklyn where people binge drink. In order, the top five Brooklyn neighborhoods where binge drinkers live are Greenpoint; Downtown Brooklyn/Brooklyn Heights/Park Slope (yeah, the DoH counts these very disparate ‘hoods as one place, so); Bed-Stuy/Crown Heights; East New York/New Lots; and Sunset Park. The neighborhoods with the smallest populations of binge drinkers are Flatbush; Canarsie/Flatlands; Bay Ridge/Bensonhurst; Coney Island; and Williamsburg/Bushwick. We know what you’re thinking, how can Williamsburg and Bushwick have the least amount of binge drinkers in the entire borough?! Has the world gone mad? Maybe! Or maybe these are the least useful kinds of statistics out there because they’re predicated on a definition of binge drinking that makes no practical sense. We don’t even know. We’re going to go drink some whiskey and do our part to keep up our zip code on the map. 11215, represent!
Follow Kristin Iversen on twitter @kmiversen