The city is patting itself on the back for its letter-grading system today, claiming in a press release that of the 10,000 restaurants that have been graded, 57 percent have received "A"s (not including a certain Chelsea liquor store that gave itself top marks). Plus, 44 percent of restaurants that scored in the B-range during their initial inspection improved to an "A" during a follow-up, and 72 percent of restaurants initially in the C-range showed improvement. Never mind all those restaurants stuck in limbo. But, but, but!
Last week, the Times FiveThirtyEight blog graphed the grades and wondered whether it wasnt suspicious that they spiked around the twelve and thirteen score i.e., the top number of violation points you can be docked while still getting a "A": Given the subjective nature of the inspection process and the discretion that inspectors have to assign scores, the data suggest that inspectors may be disproportionately likely to assign restaurants a just-made-it A score than a just-missed B. If thats the case, were assuming restaurateurs will take it.