Matt James is keeping Rachael Kirkconnell very close by his side -- strolling around NYC -- as they attempt to bounce back as a couple after her racism scandal.
The former 'Bachelor' was hanging out Tuesday with Rachael in the Big Apple -- walking side by side on Manhattan's Lower East Side and even putting his arm around her back as they walked into a building.
Matt told People last week he was "focusing" on his relationship with Rachael, trying to make it work, and these shots show just how much energy he's pouring into it. An eyewitness tells us the couple was holding hands at one point.
He's still keeping a low profile, though, under a hoodie and sometimes a face mask. Kinda similar to what we saw a little more than a week after we saw them grabbing a beer with some friends in Santa Monica. Again, Matt was hiding out under a hoodie.
Despite all the public attention and pressure ... their NYC hangout sure looks like they're moving past the race issues. Even if 'Bachelor' nation hasn't since Matt rejected her during the 'After the Final Rose' ceremony.
As you know ... Rachael had posed for pics with sorority sisters at an antebellum-themed party, and also liked racially insensitive pics on IG, some featuring the Confederate flag.
Rachael made it clear she was still in love with Matt after the split, and all signs point to him being all-in for her as well.