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. 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!

  2. 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

  3. 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

  4. 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

  5. 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

  6. 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

  7. 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

  8. 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

  9. 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

  10. 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

  11. 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

  12. 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

  13. 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

  14. 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

  15. 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

  16. 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

  17. 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

  18. 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

  19. 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

  20. 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

  21. 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

  22. 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

  23. 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

  24. 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

  25. 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

  26. 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

  27. 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

  28. 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

  29. 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

  30. 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

  31. 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

  32. 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

  33. behind bars

    Pregnant Pause: Jail Officials Seek Safe Path for Body Scanners

    Correction brass vow to protect pregnant women from body scanners after doctors raise concerns. But how will they know who’s pregnant?

    behind bars

  34. rikers island

    Questions Over Why Layleen Polanco Was Jailed Amid $500 Bail

    Lawmakers demand answers in case of the transgender woman, who died in solitary confinement on Rikers Island while held on misdemeanor charges.

    rikers island

  35. key actions

    Prisoners Locked Out of State Criminal Justice Overhaul

    Bills calling for granting older inmates parole hearings and reining in solitary confinement languish late into the state Legislature’s session.

    key actions

  36. blocked

    Long-Awaited Revamp of State-Owned Brooklyn Building Collapses

    Why a prime Clinton Hill property remains derelict after 40 years amid failed efforts to turn the crumbling structure into affordable senior housing.

    blocked

  37. health

    Anti-Vaccine Rabbi Sits on Prominent Ultra-Orthodox Panel as Measles Spread

    Rabbi Shmuel Kamenetsky, who calls vaccines a “hoax,” is on the policy-making council of the influential Agudath Israel of America.

    health

  38. underfunded

    Struggling Nonprofits Urge Mayor de Blasio to Speed Up Late Payments

    As social service agencies struggle to pay bills, Robin Hood leads the charge on a call for an extra $106 million to cover key contracts.

    underfunded

  39. criminal justice

    A Fine Change: Civil Penalties May Soon Be Based on Income

    City Council Speaker Corey Johnson plans to introduce a “day fines” pilot program aimed at protecting low-income offenders from financial ruin.

    criminal justice

  40. running bill

    Progressive Promises: Bill de Blasio’s New York City Record

    The mayor of America’s biggest city touts accomplishments from Pre-K to policing as he readies for the campaign trail. Here’s how he’s delivered.

    running bill

  41. running bill

    Bill de Blasio’s Unfinished Business

    As he wages an expected presidential run, the mayor leaves some projects that are behind schedule or have deadlines looming. Here are seven to watch.

    running bill

  42. borrowed time

    Libraries Face Nearly $900 Million Shortfall to Fix Aging Buildings

    Problems at the city’s 220 branches range from leaky roofs to broken heaters. Library officials struggle on priorities as patrons feel the brunt.

    borrowed time

  43. worker safety

    One-Third of Construction Deaths Logged by Feds Go Uncounted by City

    The Buildings Dept. is charged with monitoring the city’s most lethal industry. But OSHA stats show stark differences in assessing deaths on the job.

    worker safety

  44. jails

    City Hall’s New Post-Rikers Island Jails Will Be Smaller

    The de Blasio administration aims to shrink its four planned new lockups, thanks to a bigger, faster reduction of the inmate population than expected.

    jails

  45. new order

    VOTING CHANGE: City Elections Could Become a Ranking Game of Thrones

    A staff report from the City Charter Commission calls for studying “Ranked Choice Voting” – potentially bringing a wildly new electoral system to NYC.

    new order

  46. behind bars

    ‘Unremitting’ Violence Against Inmates in City Jails Hits Three-Year High

    The use of force rate is 79% higher than in 2015, the federal monitor found. Oversight report also cites key “incremental” reforms underway.

    behind bars

  47. corrective measures

    Guarded Numbers: Probe Finds Vast Undercount of Violent Incidents at City Jails

    Correction Department stats on inmate brawls are “unreliable” — thanks to shoddy record-keeping and secret “coaching” of employees, a DOI probe found.

    corrective measures

  48. arrested

    Shift in State Law Could Spare Many Charged With Misdemeanors From Lockup

    Low-level offenses are likely to be given more leniency under provision tucked into Albany budget deal.

    arrested

  49. jails

    City Scrambles to Open Special Units for Mentally Ill Inmates

    Only three of nine new jail units promised in 2016 are operating. That’s raised concerns the city won’t complete the other six by its 2020 deadline.

    jails

  50. special report

    Bad Vets Rarely Face Punishment, Records Show

    Even veterinarians found to have practiced with “gross negligence” are often back at work within a few months.

    special report

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