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About Ben Kallos

New York City Council Member Ben Kallos was praised by the New York Times for his “fresh ideas” and elected in 2013 to represent the Upper East Side, Midtown East, Roosevelt Island and East Harlem along with all 8.4 million New Yorkers in the New York City Council.  He grew up on the Upper East Side with his mother, who still lives in the neighborhood, and his grandparents, who fled anti-Semitism in Europe. As Vice-Chair of the Jewish Caucus he has been an ardent advocate for Israel and supporter of Jewish causes.

As Chair of the Governmental Operations Committee where he has sought to root out patronage, de-privatize government, eliminate billions in waste, expand elections, and to use technology to improve access to government.  He has become a leading advocate for education, affordable housing, public health, sustainable development and transportation improvements and safety.  His office is open and transparent, with constituents invited to decide on how to spend one million dollars on local projects in the district as well as to join him in a conversation on the First Friday of each month, or he will go to them if they can gather ten neighbors for “Ben In Your Building.”

Most Recent Newsletter

October 2016 News: Rivington, No Cost Flu Shots, IDNYC for Free Museum Memberships and more

Shannah Tovah and Happy New Year to those who celebrate and welcome to cooler temperatures and fall foliage for all. As I observe the Days of Awe between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, I ask your forgiveness. If I have disappointed you, please let me know so that I may earn your forgiveness and do better. May the coming months and year be a good one.

September finished with a six-hour hearing that I co-chaired to finally learn more about what really happened at the Rivington nursing home where deed restrictions were lifted, allowing the site to be become luxury condos. By questioning City Hall officials under oath and in public, we got a detailed account of what went wrong in an effort to ensure this doesn't happen again.

Improving bus service remains a priority. We met with MTA officials about bus service, petitioned for a 72nd Street stop on the M15-SBS, and are proposing bringing off-board payment to the M79. Please make your voice heard at Community Board 8.

As we enter flu season, please join me for my Annual Senior Health Fair on October 13 from 11am to 2pm at the Lenox Hill Neighborhood House, where you can get free flu shots, health screenings, learn about Identity theft prevention, and more. RSVP today at

You can also get a free IDNYC with a one year membership at NYC cultural institutions at the Roosevelt Island Senior Center, from the 11th to through the 17th (Monday 10am - 12pm & Tuesday – Friday from 9am to 5pm). Schedule an Appointment

There are six weeks left to get fresh fruits and vegetables from GrowNYC’s Fresh Food Box every Thursday, 3:30pm-6:30pm. Come by this Thursday to sign up for next week for just $12 while you still can.


Ben Kallos

P.S. Due to conflicts with the Jewish Holy Days on Tuesday evenings, there will be no Policy Night in October.


October 13, 11am-2pm
Senior Health Fair

October 11 - 14, 9am - 5pm
IDNYC Pop-up on Roosevelt Island
Schedule an Appointment


October 7, 8am-10am
First Friday

October 6, 13, 20 & 29
Fresh Food Box
(Outside District Office)

No Policy Night



Press Coverage
Gotham Gazette
Thursday, October 27, 2016

Council Member Ben Kallos, chair of the committee, posed questions aimed at debunking Schulkin’s claims about voter identification requirements. Ryan, in response, reiterated that New York State does not require any identification for voting, only a signature. Only in rare instances, first-time voters may be required to produce identification if their voter registration is incomplete.

When Kallos asked if Schulkin’s claims about voters being bussed to multiple polling sites held any water, Ryan said, “Those issues have never come to my attention, not during my time as a commissioner going back to 2010 or in the three-plus years that I’ve been the executive director.” The state attorney general’s office also told Gotham Gazette earlier this month that the AG’s office has not received complaints of widespread voter impersonation fraud that Schulkin mentioned.

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Press Release
Thursday, October 27, 2016

Council Member Ben Kallos Statement on Fire at 324 East 93rd Street
 New York, NY— The following statement is from City Council Member Ben Kallos (D, Manhattan):
“Early this morning, a six-alarm fire attacked several apartment buildings on 93rd Street between First and Second Avenues. Sixteen people were injured in the fire, one critically, and one person was found dead at the scene. My thoughts and prayers are with all of the victims, as well as their friends and families. I wish a speedy recovery to those who sustained injuries.
"The heroic actions of the New York City Fire Department and emergency responders saved lives this morning, and we thank them. Thank you also to the American Red Cross for helping displaced residents back on their feet on this cold and rainy day. "My office, which is located at 244 East 93rd Street, just across the street from where the fire occurred, is and has been available for any person displaced by the fire who needs a warm place to go or help with any emergency needs. First responders, Red Cross workers, and anyone needing a hand is welcome to stop by and use our facilities." ###

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Press Coverage
Gotham Gazette
Wednesday, October 26, 2016

City Council Member Ben Kallos, chair of the council’s Committee on Governmental Operations, which oversees the CFB, said in a statement last week that he hoped to see a “a thorough and open search for a new chair who will be independent, non-partisan, and non-political” in their role.

“It is of supreme importance that the next chair be someone who has the stature and integrity to not only stand up to candidates and any elected officials but guide the board through election years independently,” Kallos said.

Notably, de Blasio was faced with a somewhat similar choice when selecting a chair for a mandated commission to study and reccomend compensation levels for the city's elected officials. De Blasio chose Schwarz, Jr. in what was a universally applauded decision.

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Press Coverage
Brick Underground
Monday, October 24, 2016

The end result is that anyone who's ever been brought into housing court by their landlord ends up penalized, and tenants are discouraged from classic methods of protecting their rights, such as withholding rent. While there's been some movement to improve the lists—City Council memberBenjamin J. Kallos has introduced legislation to include more information about the actual cases, for instance—is there any reason we can't do away with this practice altogether?

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Press Coverage
Friends of the Upper East Side Historic Districts
Tuesday, March 15, 2016

By all accounts, 412 East 85th Street is already an unofficial neighborhood landmark, and a beloved fix­ture of FRIENDS’ educational walking tours. Vocal support by its owners, in addition to Council Member Ben Kallos, the Historic Districts Council, Municipal Art Society, New York Landmarks Conservancy, the Victorian Society in America, Carnegie Hill Neighbors, Community Board 8, and FRIENDS will help to ensure a positive outcome for the building. 

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Press Coverage
Upper East Side Patch,NYC
Thursday, October 20, 2016

The letter — signed by Councilman Ben Kallos, State Senator Liz Krueger, Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney and State Assembly members Dan Quart and Rebecca Seawright — listed several reasons why East 72nd Street deserves select bus service.

"With high bus-dependent populations, infrequent local service, crosstown bus service, hospitals, community support and opening of the Second Avenue Subway with a station at 72nd Street, now is the perfect opportunity to increase ridership by restoring M15 Select Bus Service at 72nd Street," read the letter.

During Wednesday night's meeting the board also voted to adopt a resolution to ask NYC Transit for increased local bus service to the stop for the next six months. Since select bus service was instituted on the M15 line, local bus service has deteriorated, in some cases being four times as slow as before select bus service, according to a press release.

“Residents feel abandoned by our buses. Watching five Select Buses go by what used to be a Limited stop makes seniors with limited mobility feel abandoned as they wait for a local bus that never seems to come,” said Kallos in a press release. “Seniors and children live in one-third of the households near 72nd Street and they must be able to rely on bus service to get where they are going.”

Although the community board was in overwhelming favor of both resolutions, the body is simply advisory. The ultimate decision on whether to extend select bus service to East 72nd Street must be made by NYC Transit.

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Press Release
Thursday, October 20, 2016
Rose Gill Hearn’s exemplary career in public service began over two decades ago in the United States Attorney’s Office, followed by tenure as the longest-serving commissioner of the Department of Investigation, and most recently as chair of the New York City Campaign Finance Board. Throughout her career, Chair Gill Hearn has fought corruption and held city employees and elected officials to the highest standard of integrity. Her legacy of fairness and accountability is one New Yorkers can be proud of and I thank her for her many years of service to the City of New York.
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Press Coverage
Wednesday, October 19, 2016

“The turnstiles should be a pathway to economic opportunity, not another barrier,” Raskin said. “It means people are not able to use public transportation to access jobs and economic opportunity and the life of the community. And that is wrong.”

Advocates, including Council Members Ben Kallos and Ydanis Rodriguez, said the city has enough money to pay for the program.

“That is a reasonable price to pay to keep the trains and buses accessible for every New Yorker who must depend on mass transit to get to work and job interviews, attend college and job training programs, obtain needed health care, and enable their families to take advantage of the richness of the city’s cultural life,” wrote the officials in a joint letter to the mayor signed by 27 council members.

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Press Coverage
Wall Street Journal
Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Councilman Ben Kallos, who heads the committee on governmental operations, said he hopes the mayor will appoint “a person of stature who can stand up to any elected official and any candidate, who is nonpartisan and nonpolitical.”

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