Stop Super-Scrapers

Join our fight against buildings of unlimited heights in residential neighborhoods

Legislation

Read, vote and comment on my legislation

Opposing the Marine Transfer Station

Marine Transfer Stations must not be placed in residential neighborhoods or existing...

Livable Streets

Safer streets for pedestrians, cyclists, and drivers ...

A Vision for the Esplanade

Investing in our open space and waterfront

Join Our Open Policy Platform

Vote, comment, improve upon, or suggest your own solutions for a better city.

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

Newsletter is Back and There's a Lot of Good News to Share

Dear Neighbor,

The newsletter is back! We send the newsletter once a month so we don't clutter your mailbox and keep you up to date on everything going on in the community, as well as opportunities to influence government decisions by making your voice heard.

Thank you to all the residents who came out to the polls in the Primary and General Elections, where we won with 7,847 votes at 75% and 22,514 votes at 81% respectively. This is a testament to our partnership and shows that empowering residents helps to govern honestly and inclusively—and it's the best way to get things done.

During the blackout period when we could not send government newsletters because of our pending elections, we won Universal School Lunch, launched ferry service and opened Cornell Tech on Roosevelt Island, rolled out bus countdown clocks, broke ground on $35 million in improvements to the East River Esplanade, signed tenant safety legislation I authored into law, and I was even recognized as one of the best Council Members by City and State.

Last month we broke ground on $1 million in renovations to the East River Esplanade in partnership with the Hospital for Special Surgery, cut the ribbon on a new laboratory building with Memorial Sloan Kettering, made progress on rezoning Sutton to stop supertall skyscrapers, passed two bills so that schools ensure no child goes hungry and train teachers to support GSAs, passed legislation to open the city's $85 billion budget and welcomed the Technion Israel Institute of Technology world tour.

As November starts I would like to wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving and take this opportunity to invite everyone to my annual holiday party on Tuesday, December 5th, 5-7pm. RSVP

Regards,


Ben Kallos
Council Member

 

 

SPECIAL EVENTS

November 27
9:45AM - 11PM
Medicare Open Enrollment Event

November 27
6:30PM-8:30PM
Community Town Hall, Cornell Tech on Roosevelt Island

November 30
6:30PM
College Affordability Excelsior Scholarship Forum

December 7
7:30PM
Mayor's Town Hall

January 7
1PM-3PM
State of the District 

DISTRICT OFFICE EVENTS

November 14
6PM – 7PM
Brainstorming with Ben

November 30
6:30PM-7PM
CitiBike Street Skills Class

December  5
5PM – 7PM
Holiday Party

SUMMER HIGHLIGHTS

  1. August
  2. September
  3. October

OVERDEVELOPMENT

  1. Sutton Rezoning at City Planning Commission
  2. Scaffolding Bill Gets Hearing
  3. Marijuana Smoking at 180 East 88th Street
  4. Height Protections for Upper East Side

EDUCATION

  1. Ensuring No Child Goes Hungry (Bill Passed)
  2. Support GSAs in Public Schools (Bill Passed)
  3. Silicon Island: Technion Israel Institute of Technology World Tour
  4. Fighting to Fund Hunter Science Campus Construction

PARKS & ENVIRONMENT

  1. Breaking Ground on East River Esplanade Construction at HSS
  2. It's My Park Day
  3. Banning Toxic Pesticides from Parks
  4. Climate Works for All Building Retrofits

PUBLIC HEALTH

  1. New MSK Center for Laboratory Medicine Ribbon Cutting
  2. Senior Health Fair Success
  3. American Academy Committee on Nutrition and Obesity
  4. Asphalt Green Swim Meet

GOOD GOVERNMENT

  1. Open Budget (Bill Passed)
  2. Oversight of Mayor's Management
  3. Questioning City Technology Costs

TRANSPORTATION

  1. Plan to Fight Double Parking and Move Deliveries Off-Hours
  2. Bike Safety Helmet Fitting
  3. Bernie, Bill and Ben

COMMUNITY

  1. Protesting Gun Violence with Congress Member Maloney
  2. Know Your Rights for Immigrants at Islamic Cultural Center
  3. Eastside Taskforce for Homeless Outreach
  4. Youth Action March
  5. Building Service Worker Helping Hand Award
  6. Honoring former Community Board Chair David Liston
  7. Halloween Neighborhood Celebrations

OFFICE UPDATES

  1. Legislative Corner
  2. Free Legal Clinics
  3. Here to Help
  4. Ben in Your Building

EVENTS 

  1. City Council Events
  2. Community Board Meetings
  3. New York City Police Department
  4. Community Events For Adults
  5. Community Events For Children

Updates

Press Coverage
The Real Deal
Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Meanwhile, ERFA proposed its rezoning plan to limit the heights of buildings and create a new inclusionary housing zone that would allow developers to build up to 350 feet if they include affordable units in their projects. The proposal has garnered the support of Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, City Council members Dan Garodnick and Ben Kallos and state Sen. Liz Krueger, but it has not yet received the crucial approval from City Planning.

Kallos, who helped co-found ERFA, said the group is made up of more than 2,000 people across 45 buildings in the area. The Council member said the rezoning effort is spurred by the fact that construction in his district is rampant and residents are seeing very little affordable housing created in the area.

 "You can literally walk anywhere in my district and see one construction site from another construction site,” said Kallos, who told TRD that he wanted to step in to prevent “another 432 Park Avenue” from towering over the city. “People in my district are getting development fatigue.”

 

Read more

Press Coverage
Upper East Side Patch
Tuesday, October 3, 2017

The renovations stem from a 2015 agreement between the Hospital for Special Surgery and the city. In June 2015, the city agreed to allow the hospital to expand its footprint on the Upper East Side in exchange for the esplanade improvements, City Councilman Ben Kallos said in a statement.

"Residents will finally be able to enjoy some peace and quiet, lush greenery and quench their thirst at a new water fountain, in a portion of the park that will be cared for by HSS forever. Sound barriers will quell the noise of passing vehicles, plants that died without water will grow green from irrigation, while residents will have a new water fountain," Kallos said in a statement.

Read more

Newsletter

As we welcome the autumn temperatures of October for those of you who celebrate Shannah Tova as I reflect during these days of awe, if I or my team have disappointed you, please let me know so that we may seek your forgiveness as we try to do better in the coming year.

It is deeply sad that October started out with the tragic and horrifically violent events in Las Vegas that took the lives of at least 59 people. I hope that this nation can finally adopt gun control and that this coming year be a blessed one filled with peace, health and joy.

September was a month with many timely hearings surrounding several pieces of legislation my office is trying to turn into law. Whether it is taking on construction noise, making Zero Waste by 2030 a law, banning toxic pesticides in our City’s parks or even supporting students with Gender-Sexuality Alliances in our schools, I have been working to improve our great City. 

Now that flu season is just around the corner I want to invite residents to our October Annual Senior Health Fair on Thursday, October 19 from 11am to 2pm at Lenox Hill Neighborhood House where No-Cost flu shots will be available to residents who RSVP.

If you are interested in the Participatory Budgeting process and being a key part of deciding how the community spends $1 million, now is the time to get involved and submit your ideas.  On Tuesday, October 17 at 6pm join us for a Participatory Budgeting Assembly at my District Office at 244 East 93rd Street RSVP.  If you can’t make it that day make sure to submit your ideas online.

Sincerely,


Ben Kallos

P.S. If you’d like to meet with me this month keep in mind that  First Friday is canceled in observance of Sukkot but you can still meet with me on specific policy ideas during Brain Storming with Ben on Tuesday, October 10, at 6pm RSVP.

SPECIAL EVENTS

October 19, 11am-2pm
Senior Health Fair

October 14, 11am-2:30pm
Free- Helmets and Fitting

October 17, 6pm-7pm
Participatory Budgeting Assembly

October 19, 11am-2pm
Senior Health Fair: FREE Flu Shots

DISTRICT OFFICE EVENTS

October 7, 8am-10am
First Friday

October 5, 12, 19 & 26
3:30pm-6:30pm
Fresh Food Box
(Outside District Office)

October 17, 6pm
Brainstorming With Ben

No First Friday in Observance Due to Religious Observance

EDUCATION

1. Free School Lunches
2. More Pre-Kindergarten Seats for UES
3. Roosevelt Island Cornell Tech Opening Ceremony
4. Child Center NY Beacon Celebrates First Day

LEGISLATION HEARD 

5. Free Childcare for Government Meetings
6. P.S 290 Students Lobby to Ban Pesticides in City Parks
7. Gender Sexuality Alliance Legislation Hearing
8. Environmental Committee Hearing on Noise in New York City
9. Hearing on Agencies Not Enforcing Quality of Life Violations
10.Zero Waste Hearing Codifying 1573 into Law

COMMUNITY 

11. East River Greenway Construction on Esplanade Announced
12. $959.00 Trash Cans
13. My Scaffolding Bill Would Help Businesses
14. Labor Day Parade
15. Asphalt Green Gets New Pool Filters
16. Annual Town Hall Recap and Thank You

Read more

Press Release
Monday, October 2, 2017

 New York, NY – Hospital for Special Surgery (HSS) President and CEO Louis A. Shapiro joined Council Member Ben Kallos, Co-Chair of the East River Esplanade Taskforce with Congress Member Carolyn Maloney, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, and NYC Parks Manhattan Commissioner Bill Castro for an official groundbreaking on renovations to the East River Esplanade from 70th to 72nd Streets by HSS. The revitalization and improvements by HSS to the East River Esplanade in this section were negotiated by Council Member Ben Kallos as part of the Uniform Land Use Review Procedure (ULURP) for new construction that was voted on and passed the City Council on July 23, 2015. 

Read more

Press Coverage
CNBC
Saturday, September 30, 2017

Free lunch for all from CNBC.

Giving out lunch based on this criterion has led to what some observers have branded as "lunch shaming." As a result, many kids chose to skip lunch to avoid bullying.

New York City Council member Ben Kallos knows that effect all too well. He grew up in the Upper East Side section of Manhattan, which is known to be very wealthy, and attended the Bronx High School of Science. However, he stood out among his classmates.

"Not only did I come from a single parent household, but a multi-generational household, which meant I was eligible for free or reduced lunch," Ben Kallos, NYC Council member told CNBC's "On the Money."

He added that every day his friends would go out and buy lunch instead of staying in the cafeteria. So he had to make a choice between friends and food.

"I would tell them I wasn't hungry, when the truth is, I was starving," Kallos said.

"Every single child will be treated the same. No one will have to worry if their family can afford it…and we'll actually be giving kids an even start to life," said Kallos.

Read more

Press Release
Saturday, September 30, 2017

100 million initiative comes as part of administration-wide push to complete a contiguous 32-mile waterfront pedestrian promenade and bikeway around Manhattan

NEW YORK—As part of City Hall in your Borough week in Manhattan, Mayor Bill de Blasio today announced that the formal design process for a new section of the Manhattan Waterfront Greenway between East 61st Street and East 53rd Street will officially kick off next week. The Mayor was joined by local officials to tour a portion of the existing greenway and discussing plans for its expansion. Construction of the new segment will commence in 2019, with completion expected in 2022.

Read more

Press Coverage
Upper East Side Patch
Friday, September 29, 2017

UPPER EAST SIDE, NY — The Olympic-sized pool at Upper East Side fitness center Asphalt Green has reopened after a three-week project to install a new water filtration system, the center announced this week.

The 50-meter pool has serviced more than nine million New Yorkers since it opened in 1993, but was using its original water filters, a spokesman for Asphalt Green told Patch. Upper East Side City Councilman Ben Kallos secured more than $600,000 for new Neptune Benson Defender filters for the pool.

The new system will keep the pool cleaner and require less maintenance by filtering a whopping 2.6 million gallons of water per day, an Asphalt Green spokesman said.

Read more

Press Coverage
City Limits
Thursday, September 28, 2017

(New York, N.Y.) – New York City sports and fitness nonprofit Asphalt Greenreopened its Upper East Side Olympic-size swimming pool earlier this month, after a three-week shutdown to install new pool filters for the first time since it opened in 1993.

The eco-friendly, energy-efficient Neptune Benson Defender filters require less maintenance, and keep the water cleaner, filtering 2.6 million gallons per day. New York City Council Member Ben Kallos led the effort to secure City funding for the project, which cost $698,000.

“Council Member Kallos continues to be a valued supporter of Asphalt Green’s mission to help New Yorkers of all ages and backgrounds live active, healthy lifestyles through sports and fitness,” said Maggy Siegel, Executive Director of Asphalt Green. “We are tremendously grateful for the Council’s funding for our new eco-friendly pool filters, which will make our water cleaner for the thousands of children and adults who use our pool each month.”

“Asphalt Green is one of my favorite places on the Upper East Side to exercise, and now it has likely the cleanest pool in all of New York City thanks to the new, state-of-the-art filters and renovation,” said Council Member Ben Kallos, who provided $100,000 and advocated for an additional $513,000 from Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito in discretionary funding for the improvements. “Asphalt Green is one of the unique neighborhood jewels that make the Upper East Side a special place to live, and that is why I am proud of the investment my office made to keep the facility running better than ever for residents and Olympians alike.”

Read more

Press Coverage
Our Town
Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Parents interested in participating in local government might soon receive free child care provided by the city under proposed legislation by Council Member Ben Kallos.

Raised by a single mother, Kallos hopes the option of child care will eliminate barriers to participation by parents, and in turn increase women’s involvement in government. Women make up less than 25 percent of the New York City Council.

“I think people feel like democracy is broken,” said Kallos, who offers free child care at his annual events. “If we want to build an inclusive democracy here in New York City, it means offering free child care when we want to hear from any New Yorker who has children.”

The idea was brought to Kallos by several parents in the district, including Community Board 8 member Sarah Chu, a new mother.

“Before I became a parent, I often wondered why more parents didn’t attend our meetings,” said Chu. “Parents have a clear and present interest in the democratic process on behalf of their children. Adopting this legislation is important because it tells parents that their engagement in civic life is necessary and valued.”

Read more