THE MISSION
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: Reuven Blau

Reuven is a reporter for THE CITY. He previously worked at the Daily News, NY Post and The Chief-Leader.

  1. health care

    Family Caregivers Seek Tax Credit to Help Pay for Aides and Supplies

    The state would reimburse relatives up to $3,500 annually for costs incurred taking care of ailing loved ones, under a bill to boost unpaid helpers.

    health care

  2. a call to action

    City’s Delayed Response on 911 Overhaul Declared an Emergency

    Lawmakers and advocates demand action, saying snagged plans for a temporary texting system and a comprehensive digital upgrade put lives at risk.

    a call to action

  3. stand back

    Buildings Commish Backs off Order for Q-Train Neighbors to Inspect Subway Walls

    After THE CITY’s report and an MTA intervention, city bureaucrats say homeowners can ignore citations for failing to inspect a busy transit trench.

    stand back

  4. wall of confusion

    Brooklyn Homeowners Wall-Eyed at City Demand They Inspect Q-Train Trench

    Flatbush and Ditmas Park residents aghast at Department of Buildings order for reports on century-old walls they say are the MTA’s responsibility.

    wall of confusion

  5. second chances

    Proposed State Parole Overhaul Gains Wider Backing

    The New York State Bar Association is endorsing a push to eliminate jailing for minor technical parole violations.

    second chances

  6. options trading

    Ranked Choice Voting Could Change How NYC Elections Get Fought and Won

    New tiered balloting system is likely to win approval — and lead to unexpected alliances between candidates usually at each others’ throats.

    options trading

  7. jails

    City Jails Board Issues Proposed New Solitary Rules After Delay

    Isolation of inmates would be limited — but not eliminated — under a long-fought Board of Correction plan that spurred a public battle with City Hall.

    jails

  8. jails

    Jail Guards Using Violent Force More Often, Monitor Says, in ‘Toxic Environment’

    Department of Correction cited for violations of court pact to reduce head blows and other pain-inflicting acts by “hyper-confrontational” officers.

    jails

  9. behind bars

    Prison Payout Little Solace After 22 Months in Solitary Confinement

    Bronx man receives $200,000 settlement, years later. But it won’t end the “permanent headache” he says he got during a fracas with guards.

    behind bars

  10. jails

    Layleen Polanco’s Family Accuses City of Stalling on Lawsuit

    The de Blasio administration seeks a delay pending probe into the transgender woman’s death at Rikers Island. Her family is furious.

    jails

  11. jails

    De Blasio Ousts Key Solitary Confinement Foe as Reform Nears

    Bryanne Hamill loses her Board of Correction seat amid wrangling over putting limits on isolating inmates in city jails, sources said.

    jails

  12. text block

    City’s Delayed Response Time Threatens to Snag 911 Overhaul

    Two-plus years in, officials haven’t picked a firm to digitize the emergency system — meaning a delay to at least mid-2024, THE CITY has learned.

    text block

  13. justice

    Deadlocked Parole Panels Leave Prisoners in Limbo

    Staffing shortages of commissioners lead to split decisions on hundreds of cases for early release, forcing costly and emotionally draining do-overs.

    justice

  14. dun wrong

    Debt Collectors Put Translations on Hold, Foiling Immigrants

    City’s “Lost in Translation” report finds many firms break promises to conduct calls and send materials in languages other than English.

    dun wrong

  15. vote fraught

    City Board of Elections Lags in Submitting Early-Voting Security Plan

    Elections officials say the NYPD will monitor the 61 early voting sites 24/7, but a formal security plan remains to be seen.

    vote fraught

  16. jails

    Jailers Should Call Detainees by Name, Council Bill Demands

    Measure aims to bring reforms to the proposed post-Rikers Island borough lockups — but correction officers and some inmate advocates aren’t happy.

    jails

  17. vote fraught

    Board of Elections Hustles to Fix Late Start on Early Voting Rollout

    Early voting in New York debuts Oct. 26. But the city Board of Elections apparently blew a state deadline to let voters know where to cast ballots.

    vote fraught

  18. text block

    Text-to-911 Caught in Life-or-Death Battle Between NYPD and Tech Agency

    Delays in new emergency technology stem from bitter standoffs over system testing failures and how much human help computers need to catch all calls.

    text block

  19. 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!

  20. text block

    Long-Promised Power to Text 911 Still Hasn’t Arrived on the Scene

    Missing a forecast early-2018 debut, the city lacks a life-saving emergency communications service in place in much of the state.

    text block

  21. rikers island

    City Jails Board Slow to Act on Solitary Reform, Critics Say

    A Board of Correction hearing on Tuesday drew calls to change New York City’s policies on solitary confinement but yielded no action.

    rikers island

  22. violence behind bars

    Rikers Guards’ Bad Decisions Led to Man’s Death, Suit Alleges

    Casey Holloway was strangled by a fellow inmate who should have been placed in a more secure unit for people with severe mental illness, family says.

    violence behind bars

  23. jails

    Layleen Polanco’s Death Inspires Bail Fund for Transgender Inmates

    The Emergency Release Fund has raised $10,000 and helped free six people so far. Polanco died in solitary on Rikers Island for want of $500 bail.

    jails

  24. street safety

    Out of Line: Missing Street Markings Defy Vision Zero Safety Crusade

    Nearly 2,000 road and bike lane-marking projects are classified as incomplete by the city Department of Transportation, some dating back to 2014.

    street safety

  25. criminal justice

    Brooklyn Jail on Fast Track to Shutdown

    Detention Complex looking to clear out within months, moving male inmates into Rikers’ female wing, say union sources.

    criminal justice

  26. epic

    Neverending Story: Brooklyn Library Revamp Drags On For 14 Years

    Patrons at the Rugby branch are relegated to a trailer and frustrations rise over the city’s longest ongoing library renovation project.

    epic

  27. solitary options

    Reimagining New York Jails Without Solitary Confinement

    A growing chorus of critics wants to strictly limit or ban isolation in the wake of Layleen Polanco’s death. But what are the alternatives?

    solitary options

  28. prisons

    Longest-Serving Woman Inmate’s Death Makes Her Case a Cause

    The death of Valerie Gaiter, who murdered an elderly Brooklyn couple in 1979, renews push to mandate parole hearings for prisoners over 55.

    prisons

  29. solitary confinement

    Layleen Polanco’s Mother Files Lawsuit Over Rikers Death

    Correction officials ignored the medical needs of the woman who died in solitary — and “took no action” to get her help, court papers charge.

    solitary confinement

  30. special report

    Gov. Cuomo’s Clemency Out of Grasp for Many Behind Bars

    Some 18 prisoners have walked free before becoming eligible for release, out of nearly 6,500 applications since the governor launched his mercy push.

    special report

  31. rikers island

    Medical Condition Should Have Kept Polanco From Solitary, Experts Say

    As Elizabeth Warren and others called for reform, former jail health experts said Layleen Polanco’s seizure disorder should have been a red flag.

    rikers island

  32. layleen polanco

    Layleen Polanco Died of Epileptic Seizure in Solitary, Autopsy Reveals

    The 27-year-old was on anti-seizure medication at Rikers Island. Her family lawyer charged she died of “indifference and neglect.”

    layleen polanco

  33. hard choices

    Jury’s Out on Prosecution of Parents Who Leave Kids in Cars

    Some DAs urge caution in pressing criminal charges like those against Juan Rodriguez in the death of his young twins in the Bronx.

    hard choices

  34. hot spots

    Sweltering City Jail Cells Need Air Conditioning, Says Board of Correction

    The BOC conducted surprise visits to jails this weekend and said City Hall must supply relief to inmates and staff before the next scorcher.

    hot spots

  35. heat wave

    Con Ed’s Brooklyn Blackout Caught Many by Surprise

    The power shutdown for 30K came with scant notice, angering many — including de Blasio and Cuomo. The utility said it averted a bigger crisis.

    heat wave

  36. eric garner

    Mayor’s Garner-Inspired Cop Discipline Overhaul Questioned

    De Blasio’s plan to speed up internal NYPD probes could jeopardize criminal cases, say some lawyers and prosecutors — including the acting Queens DA.

    eric garner

  37. eric garner

    Eric Garner’s Mother Tells Mayor to ‘Stand Up’ After Feds Ditch Case

    De Blasio didn’t stick around City Hall for a rally with Garner’s family. But he changed how the NYPD will deal with police-involved deaths.

    eric garner

  38. driven to distraction

    Taxi Driver Drug Test Failures Soar Amid Growing Stress

    A spike in cab license revocations for marijuana, cocaine and other substances coincides with crushing financial pressures.

    driven to distraction

  39. running bill

    De Blasio Cross-Country Presidential Run Takes NYC Taxpayers for a $100K Ride

    The mayor and his wife’s NYPD security details have cost New Yorkers at least $100,000 in campaign travel so far, an analysis by THE CITY found.

    running bill

  40. cell plan

    BP Brewer Proposes Women’s Jail for Lockup with Central Park View

    The Manhattan borough president wants Rikers women moved into the Lincoln Correctional Facility, a prime property whose future has sparked debate.

    cell plan

  41. dog's best friend

    One Man’s Fight to Fix a Failed Veterinarian Discipline System

    After Harold Lehr’s best friend died following an MRI, the lack of accountability in pet treatment spurred him to push for “Oscar’s Law.”

    dog's best friend

  42. public housing

    Comptroller: Stop Playing Games with Playground Inspections

    City Comptroller Scott Stringer demanded the city’s Housing Authority inspect its nearly 800 playgrounds, following a report by THE CITY.

    public housing

  43. layleen polanco

    Rikers Island Solitary Unit Back in Use After Polanco Death

    Officials moved eight detainees into punitive segregation unit of women’s jail, despite growing calls to end the practice.

    layleen polanco

  44. layleen polanco

    Jail Oversight Board Floats Solitary Reforms After Polanco Death

    The Board of Correction, which oversees Rikers Island and other city jails, is mulling ideas to limit the use of so-called punitive segregation.

    layleen polanco

  45. public housing

    Sliding by: NYCHA Skips Playground Inspections, Records Show

    Workers shirked monthly reports, despite promise after Comptroller’s Office audit last year. Quick changes were vowed after inquiries by THE CITY.

    public housing

  46. layleen polanco

    Ten Miles From Stonewall: Polanco Death Haunts a Prideful Celebration

    Layleen Polanco, a transgender 27-year-old woman, died in a jail cell just as a month of rainbow-hued events celebrating LGBTQIA progress kicked off.

    layleen polanco

  47. layleen polanco

    Pols Call to End ‘Torture’ of Solitary Confinement in City Jails

    The death of Layleen Polanco at Rikers Island prompts a strong statement from City Council progressives who demand action amid a growing movement.

    layleen polanco

  48. layleen polanco

    Rikers Empties Women’s Solitary Unit After Polanco Death

    The 27-year-old transgender woman had been held there for nine days when she died following a hospital stay. The case is under investigation.

    layleen polanco

  49. layleen polanco

    Ballroom Family Mourns Layleen Polanco, Who Spent Week in Hospital While Jailed

    Layleen Polanco, the 27-year-old who died in solitary last week, was taken to Elmhurst Hospital for eight days just two weeks before her death.

    layleen polanco

  50. rikers island

    Two Days After Death of Transgender Woman in Jail, Another Detainee Died

    Jose Rivera, 54, had been in city jail custody for 33 days on a parole violation when he died Sunday. He never saw a lawyer.

    rikers island

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