THE CITY is an independent, nonprofit news outlet dedicated to hard-hitting reporting that serves the people of New York.
Reporting For
New Yorkers

ARTICLES BY: Rachel Holliday Smith

Rachel covers Manhattan for THE CITY. She is proud to have previously worked for WNYC, DNAinfo and NY1 News. Her writing has appeared in The New York Times, Curbed New York, Gotham Gazette and others.

  1. clean break

    ‘Essential’ Laundromats Under Strain as NYC’s Wash Culture Shifts

    Laundries are closing or cutting hours. Workers are falling ill. And New Yorkers without washers are learning how to clean clothes during an outbreak.

    clean break

  2. need to know

    April’s Rent Is Due But I’ve Lost Income. What Are My Options?

    New York has an eviction moratorium, but what does that mean for paying rent? And what’s this talk about a freeze? Here’s what tenants need to know.

    need to know

  3. helping hands

    How Can I Donate Supplies to New York Hospitals in Need?

    New Yorkers with masks, gloves and other equipment reached out to us for guidance on how to get them to medical workers. Here’s what we learned.

    helping hands

  4. helping hands

    To Fight Mask Shortage, Motorcycle Fleet Rolls Donations to Doctors

    The New York chapter of Masks for Docs is up and running. Their first mission brought in a cache of safety supplies from Montauk.

    helping hands

  5. visas

    Immigration Change Leaves Language School Students in Limbo Amid Crisis

    The LISMA school lost a key federal certification, putting visa-holders at risk. Now, students are scrambling as city shuts down for coronavirus.


  6. collective action

    Court’s Halt on Filings Gives Partial Reprieve on New York Debt Collection

    Advocates have called for a moratorium during the COVID-19 outbreak. The state courts and a debt purchasing trade group are offering some relief.

    collective action

  7. collective action

    Creditors Are Still Calling in People’s Debts. Advocates Beg Cuomo: Stop Them

    Lenders are going after consumer and business borrowers through New York’s courts as virus crisis worsens. Now activists are demanding a moratorium.

    collective action

  8. health

    As Symptoms Spread, Hasidic Leaders Sound the Alarm: ‘A Fire Is Burning’

    Many Brooklyn yeshivas have closed, but some synagogues are open. A rabbinical court told seniors to stay home. But some reportedly are already sick.


  9. health

    Mask Shortage at Bellevue and Other City-Run Hospitals Alarms Staff

    There aren’t enough N95 masks, the best defense against coronavirus. Staffers say they’re being forced to reuse them or rely on less effective models.


  10. housing

    Courts Offer Chance to Delay Eviction and Other Cases Over Illness

    New Yorkers will be able to request deferments due to “flu-like symptoms” or possible coronavirus exposure starting Friday, court officials said.


  11. volunteering

    How Can You Help During the Crisis? New Yorkers Get Creative

    Some charities badly need volunteers and blood donations are down as coronavirus spreads in NYC. A check — or a check-in with a neighbor works, too.


  12. congress

    Yang Gang Effect Boosts New York Candidates Pushing Universal Basic Income

    Eight state congressional hopefuls are promising stipends for all. Candidates include James Felton Keith, challenger to Rep. Adriano Espaillat.


  13. counting on

    As Census Efforts Ramp Up, Coronavirus Fears Complicate the Game Plan

    Census forms for the big count will be sent out in two weeks and amid coronavirus worries following the city’s first diagnosis this weekend.

    counting on

  14. borrow trouble

    New York Businesses Struggle With Debts After Reform Left Them Out

    Gov. Cuomo outlawed high-interest cash advances for out-of-state companies that clogged state courts. But New Yorkers are still fair game.

    borrow trouble

  15. representation

    Manhattan Community Boards Are Missing Hispanics, Young People — and Renters

    Here’s what we know about the demographics of Manhattan’s 12 community boards, thanks to detailed information collected by BP Gale Brewer’s team.


  16. home work

    What Is RAD? A Look at NYCHA’s Private Management Move

    More than 15,000 apartments will be privately operated under Rental Assistance Demonstration by year’s end — part of a target total of 62,000 units.

    home work

  17. representation

    Staten Island Pledges to Fix Failure to Track Community Board Diversity

    Borough President James Oddo said his office will collect race, gender and age info — after THE CITY revealed failure to comply with a legal mandate.


  18. representation

    Does Your Community Board Reflect You and Your Neighbors? Find Out.

    We analyzed the latest available demographic data of the city’s volunteer boards. Check out your neighborhood’s numbers and find out how to join.


  19. prosecution rests?

    Manhattan DA Vance Stumbles in Campaign Cash Race as He Mulls Re-Run

    Cy Vance’s opponents called for his resignation over sex crime case. He defended his office, but won’t say if he’ll seek reelection.

    prosecution rests?

  20. tale of two cities

    Mayor’s Affordable Housing Program Struggles to Integrate New Yorkers by Income

    Our analysis shows most new affordable housing is concentrated in poorest neighborhoods. Meanwhile, middle-income apartments go to wealthier areas.

    tale of two cities

  21. pier pressure

    Future of West Side Piers Hazy as Cuomo Pushes for Action

    The governor wants a sketched plan for Pier 40 and Pier 76 from the Hudson River Park Trust by May. What that may look like is anyone’s guess.

    pier pressure

  22. public safety

    As City Vows New Facade Crackdown, Old Violations Leave Buildings ‘Unsafe’

    More than 300 buildings — including the “Gossip Girl” hotel — lack safety measures following failed inspections, city records show.

    public safety

  23. taking flight

    A Peek at the Nellie Bly Memorial Set for Roosevelt Island

    Artist Amanda Matthews’ sculptures aim to represent faces of “women who had no visibility” that became the heart of Bly’s trailblazing reporting.

    taking flight

  24. clinic trial

    Local Concerns Over Cops Taking Mentally Ill to New ThriveNYC Clinics

    Two precincts in East Harlem and The Bronx will soon start sending people having psychiatric episodes to “diversion centers” they’ll be free to leave.

    clinic trial

  25. community power

    Judge Nixes Inwood Rezoning, Siding With Locals Against Mayoral Building Plan

    Decision requires the city to reboot neighborhood review with consideration of local concerns — including potential tenant displacement.

    community power

  26. community boards

    Embattled Community Board Leader Steps Aside After Bias Case

    Richard Lewis withdrew from the chairmanship of Manhattan Community Board 12 following an investigation that found he displayed gender bias.

    community boards

  27. housing

    Tenants Sue for Repairs at Embattled East Side Public Housing Complexes

    Residents of the Holmes and Isaacs Towers in Yorkville want a judge to correct “years of neglect,” while NYCHA mulls selling air rights to raise cash.


  28. housing

    Seniors Fight Homeless Charity Pushing Them Out on Street

    Council Speaker Corey Johnson and others vow to aid elderly in the Hell’s Kitchen residence run by a nonprofit tied to pet food magnate Leonard Stern.


  29. housing

    Manhattan Seniors Pushed Out as Building Goes Up for Sale

    Amid a housing crisis for elderly New Yorkers, reps for The Riverview in Hell’s Kitchen says it couldn’t find seniors to fill the 80-unit building.


  30. flight plan

    How Bird-Friendly Building Rules Will Fly in New York

    The City Council is set to make the skyline safer for our feathered friends. Here’s how the law will work for new construction and major renovations.

    flight plan

  31. move it

    Locals Sue to Force Tow Pound Off the West Side Waterfront

    A neighborhood group wants more action from the NYPD to make way for an expansion of Hudson River Park on Pier 76.

    move it

  32. class action

    Wall Street Rent Fight Spurs New Class-Action Suit as Landlord Seeks SCOTUS Help

    Tenants in a big Financial District apartment building are pushing for rent-stabilized leases they say are owed in exchange for a tax break.

    class action

  33. curb appeal

    Landlord Looks to Supreme Court in Downtown Rent Overcharge Fight

    Lawyers for Clipper Equity have asked the high court to review a June ruling by the NYS Court of Appeals, which found tenants were due rebates.

    curb appeal

  34. conflict resolution

    Manhattan Community Board Leader Cited for Gender Bias

    Borough President Gale Brewer’s office found Richard Lewis removed women from leadership roles. But he’s not going anywhere.

    conflict resolution

  35. water bill

    How Lower East Side Coastal Plan Braces for Climate Change

    The City Council votes Thursday on the East Side Coastal Resiliency Project, which aims to save Lower Manhattan from rising waters.

    water bill

  36. pier pressure

    To Expand Hudson River Park, Tow Pound May Finally Get Hauled Off the Waterfront

    The NYPD is evaluating how it could relocate the notorious Pier 76 vehicle lot, making way for the park to grow and raise cash.

    pier pressure

  37. college try

    Big-Time Builders Line Up for Shot at Prime Manhattan CUNY Property

    “It screams for condos” said a rep for one developer eyeing money-making possibilities on prime John Jay College real estate.

    college try

  38. going national

    Tiffany Cabán Teams With Working Families Party in Transition

    Labor-aligned political group, under fire from Gov. Cuomo, looks to expand influence as criminal justice reform catalyst via rising star Cabán.

    going national

  39. gone phishing

    NYC Census Scam Fighters Gearing Up for 2020 Battle

    The first-ever digital count brings new risks. Among New York’s weapons to fight misinformation: libraries — and buying up URLs con artists covet.

    gone phishing

  40. bitter end

    How Manhattan’s City Bakery Crumbled, Under Weight of Debts

    While doing brisk business in sweet treats, the Union Square institution was embroiled in high-cost borrowing from an industry under state probe.

    bitter end

  41. jails

    What You Need to Know About the Rikers Replacement Vote

    The City Council is poised to OK four new borough-based jails Thursday. But the historic plan’s fate depends on a lot more than shuttering Rikers.


  42. locked out

    Chelsea ‘Women’s Building’ Backers Break Out of Prison Conversion

    Philanthropists from the Buffett family drop high-profile plans to turn the former Bayview Correctional Facility into a hub for female empowerment.

    locked out

  43. development class

    CUNY Vies to Cash in on Its Prime West Side Real Estate

    A former John Jay College building on Manhattan’s Amsterdam Avenue could make way for a lucrative private tower with new school facilities and more.

    development class

  44. new lease

    Lower Manhattan Tenants Sue for Refunds Over Landlord Tax Break Abuse

    Residents claim 10 Hanover Square owner overcharged them while reaping lucrative benefits. They’re among thousands who may be due years of back rent.

    new lease

  45. flight plan

    City Buildings Kill Thousands of Birds as Council Mulls ‘Friendly’ Facades

    Avian experts say up to 230,000 birds die annually in NYC collisions. Yet city and state lawmakers’ bills to end the carnage haven’t taken flight.

    flight plan

  46. block power

    With a New Clinic on Way, Neighbors Decry ‘Overburdened’ Harlem

    Mount Sinai pledge of no addiction treatment fails to satisfy foes of a mental health facility on a block contending with homelessness and drug use.

    block power

  47. welcome back bill!

    Mayor de Blasio’s Post-Presidential Campaign To-Do List

    From fixing the public housing mess to diversifying schools to property tax reform, the mayor is returning to a pile of pressing business.

    welcome back bill!

  48. welcome back bill!

    New Yorkers Give de Blasio His Marching Orders

    We spoke city residents with strong ideas on where the mayor should focus his energy, post-campaign. Here’s a sampling of responses.

    welcome back bill!

  49. making a splash

    East River Swimming Pool One Stroke Closer to Reality

    The Economic Development Corp. is seeking concepts for a self-filtering pool in on the Lower East Side’s shores.

    making a splash

  50. exclusion

    In Ritzy SoHo, a Crusade to Open the Door to Affordable Housing

    Mayor Bill de Blasio’s 300,000-unit program has yet to yield a single new low-cost apartment in Manhattan’s wealthiest neighborhood.


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