RIP: New York Real Estate Reporter S. Jhoanna Robledo

Brick Underground EIC was 46

At the bottom of page 48 of the July 24-Aug. 6 issue of New York magazine, an inscription reads: ‘Reporting by Margaret Rhodes, S. Jhoanna Robledo and Katy Schneider.’ The article credit is attached to a six-page look at some New Yorkers who’ve built outdoor showers and includes product guidance from The Strategist on how to follow in their bare footsteps.

It is the final New York magazine byline for Robledo, who died Wednesday at age 46 after a brief battle with cancer. Sine 2015, Robledo had been editor in chief of website Brick Underground, but she continued to occasionally contribute to New York magazine, where her real estate reporting career took hold. From a remembrance by senior editor Christopher Bonanos:

She came into the job here through the tiniest of back doors. In 2003, she cold-e-mailed us with a very small story about Fairway. The little item that came in was lively and ready to go, and ran the next week. Soon, she was doing stories for us of gradually increasing length and complexity. Jho was a good photographer, too, and her pictures occasionally accompanied her words here.

A year or two after that first story, when a staff writer went on a long-term leave, we asked her to step in temporarily and write about real estate, a subject she had covered in an earlier job. I hadn’t seen her in person for awhile when I made that call, and she paused for the briefest second to say, “Yes, except … I’m six months pregnant.” She instantly laid out a plan: She’d write for the next three months, and bank a few stories that could hold us through her post-natal recovery, and then jump back in as soon as she could get around again. I was skeptical, to be honest, but she persuaded me she could handle it. I’m not kidding when I say that she was so energetic and focused during those months that she probably could’ve gotten away with not telling me she’d had a baby.

The writer who Robledo was subbing for never came back, at which point she took over the position. Over at Brick Underground, the In Memoriam tribute captures Robledo’s energy and giving spirit:

Her integrity, curiosity and commitment to social justice ran through her work, whether it was her podcast (a former public radio reporter, she looked to inform New Yorkers about everything from affordable housing to surviving a literal trial by fire) or her exploration of NYC’s status as a sanctuary city. November’s election galvanized her to take action in the way she best knew how, shepherding into existence our “Immigrant New York” column.

Robledo was also a longtime freelance film critic for Common Sense Media, and is being remembered there by executive editor Betsy Bozdech. A memorial service will be held Monday, starting at 3 p.m., at the Church of the Blessed Sacrament at 152 West 71st Street in Manhattan. Robledo is survived by husband Will Wade and the couple’s three children. RIP.