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A magnifying glass reveals a jail cell otherwise obscured by static.
Be a Jail Watchdog

New York Focus has published thousands of pages of county jail oversight records. Browse them in our database.

Chris Gelardi and Eliza Fawcett   ·   February 23, 2024
Chief Judge Rowan Wilson sits on the Court of Appeals bench.
New York’s Top Court Just Narrowed the Case That Spelled Doom for Bloomberg’s Soda Ban

While the United States Supreme Court seeks to restrict the government’s ability to regulate, the New York Court of Appeals is broadening it.

Sam Mellins   ·   November 28, 2023
Resorts World Catskills casino in front of a bright, gray sky
As New York City Casinos Loom, a Catskills Community Fears for Its Future

With crowds bussed in from New York City, Resorts World Catskills gave a boost to the local economy. What happens when competition moves in downstate?

Arabella Saunders   ·   September 11, 2023
The back of an open prison transport van
He Was Sick, So They Sent Him to Prison

New York jails can transfer people with mental illnesses to maximum security prisons, even while they’re legally innocent.

Chris Gelardi   ·   December 21, 2023
New NYPD officers smile amid blue and white confetti at police academy graduation ceremony.
NYPD Instructs Officers to Tase, Pepper Spray People Experiencing Debunked Syndrome

Police training materials link the discredited “excited delirium syndrome” to synthetic marijuana use.

Chris Gelardi   ·   December 12, 2023
A magnifying glass reveals a jail cell otherwise obscured by static.
Be a Jail Watchdog

New York Focus has published thousands of pages of county jail oversight records. Browse them in our database.

Chris Gelardi and Eliza Fawcett   ·   February 23, 2024
Governor Hochul in a hard hat
Hochul Is Ready to Start Weaning New York Off Gas

The governor and the Senate have aligned on large swathes of the NY HEAT Act. The Assembly might be ready to move on it, too.

Colin Kinniburgh   ·   January 22, 2024
A New York City subway on the left, and highway traffic on the right.
Flush With Biden’s Infrastructure Cash, New York Is Choosing Highways Over Public Transit

The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law directed billions toward public transit in New York, but the state is choosing to spend billions more on highways.

Sam Mellins   ·   February 5, 2024
A green welcome sign superimposed over an aerial suburban shot reads "WELCOME TO Greenburgh," with Greenburgh crossed out, and replaced with "Edgemont."
How One Wealthy Neighborhood Got Itself Exempted From State Law

Westchester’s Edgemont community wants to secede from its town — and has scored a legal carveout to let it.

Sam Mellins   ·   January 22, 2024
Park Slope Neighbors Seek to Block New Apartment Buildings on Industrial Site

A laundry company wants to turn its factory into 13-story apartment buildings, sparking the latest in a series of fierce zoning fights.

Sam Mellins   ·   December 20, 2023
A man in a crowd holds a sign reading "New York Stands With Israel" and bearing the logos of several nonprofit groups.
New York Charities Send Combat Gear to West Bank Settlements

Israeli settlers have unleashed a wave of violence on Palestinians. With tax-deductible donations, New Yorkers can help equip them to carry it out.

Chris Gelardi   ·   November 16, 2023
Governor Kathy Hochul, wearing a red turtleneck and blazer, sits at a table with other officials.
Hochul’s Plan to Close Prisons Faces a Fight

New York’s incarcerated population has been declining for decades. Why is it so hard for prison closures to keep pace?

Eliza Fawcett   ·   February 20, 2024
An upwards-pointing arrow made of a hundred-dollar bill, against a background of an energy bill.
Why Your Energy Bills Are Going Up

New York’s labyrinthine “rate case” process, explained.

Colin Kinniburgh   ·   August 7, 2023
Kathy Hochul stares into the camera while signing papers
Despite State Emergency, New York Has Resettled Zero Migrant Families Through Flagship Program

As a humanitarian crisis deepens, the state’s $25 million solution is off to a slow start. An in-depth look at the opaque program reveals a raft of logistical hurdles and strict eligibility requirements.

Andrew Giambrone   ·   August 29, 2023
Combative Bronx Judge Faces Calls for Removal

Acting Supreme Court Justice Ralph Fabrizio has faced formal complaints for berating and threatening lawyers in more than a dozen incidents.

Sam Mellins and George Joseph   ·   October 6, 2023
Sign reads:
Grow your business here! 
Town of Riverhead Empire Zone 
631-208-0570
www.riverheadzone.com
As School Funding Runs Dry, Riverhead Residents Call to Shut Down Economic Development Org

A growing local faction is demanding that the IDA be dissolved.

Arabella Saunders   ·   October 11, 2023
Various figures hang up tarps in the rain at Bushwick City Farm.
Amid Autumn Upheaval, New York City Migrants Wonder Where They’ll Go Next

City policies have proven so volatile, even aid workers urged asylum seekers to get out of New York if they can.

Sophie Hurwitz and Sam Mellins   ·   October 3, 2023
A solar planel with wind turbines in its reflection, and hundred dollar bills fluttering in the air.
The Billion-Dollar Debate Splitting New York’s Renewable Energy Industry

A major wind and solar developer is defecting from industry ranks, arguing the state shouldn’t bail out struggling projects.

Colin Kinniburgh   ·   September 20, 2023
The Secret Memos New York Courts Refuse to Give Up

New York Focus revealed routine secret instructions used to guide judges’ decisions. Civil rights lawyers are suing to make them public.

Sam Mellins   ·   September 5, 2023
Window looking into a darkened foreclosed home. A yellow sign says "LENDER FORECLOSURE" and "PUBLIC HOME AUCTION." Smaller paper signs say "Warning No Trespassing" and note a lawn maintenance company.
After Foreclosing Homes, New York Towns Have to Pay Residents Back

New York municipalities used to keep the surplus from foreclosed homes sold at auction. Then the Supreme Court ruled it unconstitutional.

Arabella Saunders   ·   January 12, 2024
Court of Appeals judges stand and clap for Caitlin Halligan
New Pro-Defendant Decisions Signal Sea Change at New York’s Top Court

The rulings shed light on the leanings of Caitlin Halligan, the court’s newest judge and frequent tie-breaker.

Sam Mellins   ·   November 30, 2023
New York Governor Kathy Hochul sits at a large wooden table and signs papers in Albany, New York.
How the Governor Upends Bills Before Signing Them

With chapter amendments, governors can make major changes to pending laws. Kathy Hochul uses them more than any executive before her.

Chris Bragg and Sam Mellins   ·   January 17, 2024
“The Worst Prison in New York State”

The situation at Rikers is bad, but at Great Meadow Correctional Facility, a maximum security facility more than 200 miles north of New York City, it’s worse.

Victoria Law   ·   November 10, 2021
Could Unions Break New York’s Housing Impasse?

In California, getting labor on board was essential to addressing the housing crisis. In New York, unions say the governor has barely tried.

Sam Mellins   ·   September 18, 2023
Broome County jail from the exterior
‘Doom County Jail’: Dysfunction Plagues Program for Incarcerated Opioid Users

Men locked up in the Broome County jail describe an opioid treatment program so shoddy, they risk withdrawal, relapse, and overdose.

Spencer Norris   ·   September 27, 2023
Governor Kathy Hochul holds two signed bills, superimposed over a background showing the state of New York.
As It Happened: Kathy Hochul on the State of the State

The governor gave a preview of her budget priorities — and we looked out for 2024’s major fights. Follow along to see what we’re watching.

New York Focus   ·   January 9, 2024
Long Island Politicians Claim Victory for Hochul Wind Power Veto

Climate watchers say the state can’t meet its renewable energy goals without overriding local opposition.

Julia Rock   ·   October 26, 2023
Here’s Every Bill That Kathy Hochul Vetoed in 2023

One hundred and fifteen laws that almost were.

New York Focus   ·   January 3, 2024
As Overdose Deaths Mount in New York Prisons, Treatment Program Crawls

The prison department doesn’t track overdose deaths in its custody. A New York Focus analysis found that the overdose death rate has tripled.

Jake Neenan   ·   November 9, 2023
A Sysco truck against a background of logging
As Hochul Weighs Deforestation Bill, Sysco Steps in to Lobby

While Hochul considers a bill to pressure state contractors to stop deforestation, the massive food supplier is voicing concerns to her administration.

Julia Rock   ·   November 27, 2023
A line of unemployment seekers waits in a San Francisco benefits office during the Great Depression in a black-and-white image. Color clipart of a chatbot is overlayed on the left side
Unemployed New Yorkers Can’t Reach Human Agents at the Labor Department

A Rochester man lost his job while his daughter went through cancer treatment. He’s struggled to communicate with the DOL for months.

Maxwell Parrott   ·   December 5, 2023
A group of people with signed saying "no rate hikes"
Amid Billing Fiasco, Hudson Valley Utility Pushes for Steep Gas and Electric Rate Hike

Hudson Valley legislators and advocates are urging the state to reject the double-digit hike, arguing it could illegally stick customers with the bill for the company’s own mess.

Julia Rock   ·   November 14, 2023
A sand pit among tall green grasses
The Unstoppable Sand Land

How a Hamptons mine, in defiance of New York’s top court, keeps trucking out precious piles of sand.

Colin Kinniburgh   ·   September 13, 2023
A collage of book covers, including Richard Wright's Native Son
What You Can’t Read Behind Bars in New York

As book banning sparks outrage in schools and libraries, the censorship of classics like Native Son persists in New York prisons.

Rebecca McCray   ·   January 24, 2024
A headshot of acting prison commissioner Daniel Martuscello III overlayed on a group of corrections officers standing in a row.
New Prison Chief Is a Son of the System

For Daniel Martuscello III, New York prisons are a family business.

Chris Gelardi   ·   June 28, 2023
New York’s Ties to Israel Bring the Gaza War Home

Even as experts warn of mass ethnic cleansing in Gaza, New York politicians have remained unwavering in their support for Israel since the Hamas attack. They’ve been less vocal about their state’s ties to the occupation of Palestine.

Chris Gelardi and Julia Rock   ·   October 19, 2023
New York State Governor Kathy Hochul stands in front of American flags and behind a podium reading "Our New York, Our Future."
Hochul Sparks Outcry With Proposed Cash Transfer From Legal Aid Fund

Her administration says the fund won’t be harmed. Legal experts question whether she can take it at all.

Sam Mellins   ·   February 7, 2024
NYPD Vans in front of the New York County Surrogate's Court at 31 Chambers Street.
Police Discipline Comes Before the Court of Appeals

The state’s top court will settle disputes between Rochester, Syracuse, New York City, and their police unions next week in three cases that could reshape police discipline across the state.

Nathan Porceng   ·   October 13, 2023
A digital illustration shows two rolls of $100 bills spewing natural gas emissions over a blue sky.
Hidden Subsidies Prop Up New York’s Fossil Fuel Industry

The state wants to phase out fossil fuels. Localities have given over a billion dollars in tax breaks to help keep them around.

Colin Kinniburgh and Julia Rock   ·   February 2, 2024
New York City Governor Kathy Hochul stands behind a podium reading "Combatting the Opioid Epidemic"
In Upstate New York, Treatment for Opioid Addiction Gets Harder to Find

The average New Yorker has to travel nearly 10 miles to access methadone, a New York Focus analysis found. Upstate, they have to go even further.

Spencer Norris   ·   January 23, 2024
A woman in a purple dress and a black head covering opens a door to show a sunny world outside.
Adams Administration Shelter Policy Disproportionately Evicts African Migrants

Migrants from Mauritania and Senegal were the most likely to receive eviction notices, but not the most populous groups in shelters, a New York Focus analysis found.

Churchill Ndonwie   ·   February 15, 2024
They Were Supposed to Be Free. Why Are They Locked Up?

New York has kept hundreds of people convicted of sex offenses in prison long past their release dates.

Chris Gelardi   ·   October 17, 2023
How to Dump Dark Money in New York Elections — And Get Away With It

A “ghost entity” linked to Tom Suozzi spent $2 million attacking Kathy Hochul. Then the Board of Elections started an investigation, and it disappeared.

Chris Bragg   ·   January 8, 2024
How Unelected Local Officials Dole Out Wind and Solar Tax Breaks

County and municipal economic development agencies play a key role in New York’s wind and solar buildout — but some say it’s not their job.

Julia Rock   ·   November 7, 2023