Rebecca Nathanson

Rebecca Nathanson is a freelance journalist based in New York. She has written for Al Jazeera America, n+1,, The Nation, The Progressive,, The Village Voice, and more.

Recent Articles

New York Libraries Turn the Page on Public Control

To alleviate their funding woes and the wider affordable housing crisis, city libraries are selling off land to real-estate developers. Is this privatization gambit worth the risk? 

(Photo: AP/Mark Lennihan)
(Photo: AP/Mark Lennihan) People sit on the steps in front of the New York Public Library's main branch on October 5, 2016. I t’s about 11 o’clock on a Wednesday morning, and all of the computers are taken at the small library in Sunset Park, Brooklyn. Even so, with many local residents at school or work, there’s plenty of space elsewhere: Empty chairs remain at the long tables and only a handful of children occupy the kids’ section. But over the next few hours, schools will let out and offices will close and the heavily used library will return to its usual atmosphere: overflowing with patrons vying for computers or elbow room, and under-resourced by the city. Years of inadequate funding for New York City’s three library systems—Brooklyn Public Library (BPL), Queens Library, and New York Public Library (NYPL), which covers Manhattan, the Bronx, and Staten Island—have led to massive capital budget deficits. David Woloch, BPL’s executive vice-president for external affairs, estimates...

Can Affordable Housing Activists Save New York?

In the working-class Manhattan neighborhood of Inwood, community organizers who beat back plans for a high-rise luxury apartment building are taking their affordable housing campaign city-wide.

(Photo: Sipa USA via AP/Albin Lohr-Jones)
(Photo: Sipa USA via AP/Albin Lohr-Jones) Union and AARP representatives rally at City Hall in Manhattan on March 9, 2016, in support of Mayor Bill de Blasio's affordable housing and zoning plan. J oe Vazquez was leaving mass at Our Lady Queen of Martyrs church one Sunday in June when a stranger handed him a flyer for a community forum in his Manhattan neighborhood of Inwood. Vasquez, 34, had never taken part in anything he’d call political. But when he looked at the flyer and saw that the neighborhood where he had been born and raised could soon be rezoned for luxury high-rise apartments, he realized that his home—what he calls one of the last “relatively affordable” places in Manhattan—was in danger. The person who handed him that flyer was with a neighborhood coalition called Northern Manhattan Is Not For Sale (NMN4S). The group formed this year to fight for affordable housing and against gentrification in Inwood, a working-class neighborhood that covers Manhattan’s northern tip...