About Raphael Helfand

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A Look Back at the Street Fight for a Complete Census Count in Central Queens

Christian Cassagnol. (Photo: Raphael Helfand)

The census ended yesterday, Oct. 15, after a Supreme Court ruling on Tuesday. The decision, which stayed an order from a lower court that would have allowed the count to continue until the end of the month, marks the end of a long fight for a complete count across the country. In Queens Community Board District 4, which presides over Elmhurst, Corona and Corona Heights, the stakes were especially high. CB4 district manager Christian Cassagnol and board member Kristen Gonzalez have pushed hard for outreach all year. The immigrant populations they represent have always been undercounted, leading to a lack of resources in their communities.

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The Pandemic Has Left Small Property Owners Feeling ‘Squeezed From Both Ends’

Tommy Laskaris in front of his home in Park Slope. (Photos: Raphael Helfand)

Isabel Pedras never wanted to be a landlord, but she inherited the honor nonetheless. She’s the daughter of Portuguese immigrants who built an 80-unit uptown empire on sweat and frugality. Her father worked construction jobs during the week and took bussing shifts on weekends, saving every penny he earned to buy his first property. He and his wife are proud of what they’ve built, but in recent years, they’ve found it harder to manage on their own, and Pedras has taken on a larger role. More →