May Newsletter

With the promise of warm weather this month I continue to focus on improving quality of life, fighting corruption, and a budget that is responsive to you.

Nearly 2,000 residents turned out to vote in person or online on how to spend $1 million as part of Participatory Budgeting, investing your tax dollars in Science Technology Engineering and Math (STEM) education with green roofs for two schools, laptops for ten schools. Read the results and more information below.

We’ve focused on quality of life by cleaning up our streets, improving city management, launching free public wifi, helping our homeless, and passing new enforcement laws. Quality of life legislation I authored was signed into law to recover $1.6 billion and prevent businesses from repeatedly leaving trash on the streets, engaging in dangerous construction, or excessive noise. As chair of the Committee on Governmental Operations, I am working to address the Board of Elections’ presidential primary failures, as covered by the New York Times, and the improper sale of a nursing home at 45 Rivington Street.

Good news came to 86th Street, as I announced twice-a-day trash pickup with Sanitation Commissioner Kathryn Garcia and our work with community and business leaders to form an 86th Street Business Improvement District for a full and sustainable solution made substantial progress. Come to support a Business Improvement District (BID) to clean up East 86th Street once and for all at a public meeting on Wednesday, May 18.

This month I hope you will join us to learn about your rights as a tenant and how to reduce rent stabilized rents with a rent roll back at our housing forum on May 19. As always join me monthly for First Friday, Policy Night, Mobile Hours, Legal Clinics; or I can come to you for "Ben In Your Building" or at your cooperative or condominium annual meeting.

How did you celebrate your Easter, Passover or Spring Break?

Regards,

Ben Kallos
Council Member

 

SPECIAL EVENTS:

May 18, 6PM
86th Street Business Improvement District Public Meeting

May 19, 6PM
Housing Forum:
Tenants Rights, SCRIE/DRIE and Rent Guidelines Board Rent Rollback

UPCOMING EVENTS:

May 6, 1PM
Life Planning Session

May 14, 11AM
Free Bike Helmets

May 16, 10AM - 3PM
Free Legal Assistance

MONTHLY EVENTS:

May 6, 8AM - 10AM
First Friday

May 10, 6PM
Policy Night

May 26, 6PM
CitiBike Street Skills

Top Headlines

  1. Results of Your $1 Million
  2. Quality of Life Legislation Passed and Signed Into Law
  3. Universal Pre-K, Second Round Applications
  4. Fighting Patronage at the Board of Elections
  5. Investigating the Rivington Sale
  6. $15 Minimum Wage and Paid Family Leave
  7. Budget Response from Council
  8. Happy Passover

Quality of Life

  1. Twice a Day Trash Pickup Comes to 86th Street
  2. Clean Up 86th Street with a Business Improvement District
  3. Fighting to Clean Up 72nd Street
  4. Measuring the Management of the City
  5. Revamping How We Help the Homeless

Affordable Housing

  1. Calling for a Rent Rollback
  2. Housing Forum: Tenants Rights, SCRIE/DRIE and Rent Guidelines Board Rent Rollback
  3. Stop Superscrapers
  4. Affordable Housing Registration and Online Database

Transportation

  1. Free Helmets, Commercial Bike Safety, and Safe Cycling
  2. Crosstown Bike Lanes
  3. $276 Million for Bridges including the 59th Street Bridge
  4. Unveiling LinkNYC: Free Public WiFi

Environment

  1. Earth Day Recap
  2. Single-Use Plastic Bag Reduction
  3. East River Esplanade Task Force Update

Jobs and Equality

  1. Crane Safety
  2. 32BJ SEIU Security Workers Rally and March
  3. Mass Verizon Rally
  4. Women’s Issues Committee

Community

  1. Destination: Upper East Side
  2. Top 5 for Constituent Service
  3. Chapin School Expansion
  4. Fighting the Marine Transfer Station
  5. Four Freedoms Park Welcomes 500,000th Visitor
  6. Blue Dragon Unveiling
  7. Roosevelt Island is New a Literary Landmark
  8. Proclamation Celebrating 40 Years of the Jewish Community Relations Council
  9. Proclamation for ASPCA’s 150th Anniversary
  10. Join the New York City Youth Council
  11. Attend Open Summit & an Evolving Approach to Open Data
  12. BONUS: Time Travel

Office Updates

  1. In the Neighborhood
  2. Legislative Corner
  3. Legal Clinic
  4. Mobile District Hours
  5. Ben in Your Building

Events and Community Resources

  1. City Council Events
  2. Events Funded by My Office
  3. Community Events
  4. Community Resources

 

Results of Your $1 Million

Nearly 2,000 East Side and Roosevelt Island residents came out to vote last month on how to spend $1 million improving our community through Participatory Budgeting. Congratulations to  the top vote getters:

  • $500,000 – 802 votes – Green Roof at P.S. 290  the Manhattan New School (MNS)
  • $350,000 – 768 votes – Laptop Carts for 10 schools on the Upper East Side P.S. 77, P.S 198, P.S 290, P.S/I.S 217, M. 225, Eleanor Roosevelt, Urban Academy, Vanguard, Manhattan International and Life Sciences serving over 5,000 students.

The third highest vote getter, which exceeded the $1 million for Participatory budgeting was: $500,000 – 751 votes – Green Roof at P.S/I.S. 217.

Due to the strong showing of support for Green Roofs two years in a row, I will allocate the full $500,000 for the Green Roof at P.S./I.S. 217, which combines with last year’s allocation of $500,000, and funding from Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer to fully fund this project and begin scoping. Read coverage of how Participatory is helping Upper East Side schools on DNAinfo or view the full results at BenKallos.com

Quality of Life Legislation Passed and Signed Into Law

The City Council passed and Mayor De Blasio signed into law legislation I authored to improve quality of life in New York City. Every day I receive calls, emails, and tweets about quality of life problems like trash on sidewalks, excessive noise before or after hours, and dangerous construction or building conditions. A 311 complaint might result in a violation being issued, but many of those violations were difficult to collect and were often ignored or written off by bad actors and repeat offenders, to the tune of $1.6 billion that went uncollected.

Introductions 810-A and 812-A, which I authored, and 807-A, which I co-sponsored with Council Member Julissa Ferreras-Copeland, will help identify who is responsible for harming quality of life so we can hold them accountable and consider outstanding or repeat violations before issuing new permits, licenses, and registrations necessary to do business. This will force bad actors to change their behavior so they no longer harm everybody’s quality of life. To find out more about this package of legislation you can read the release on BenKallos.com or learn more in the Daily News.

Universal Pre-K, Second Round Applications

If your child was born in 2012 and you live in New York City, you can choose to participate in Round 2 of Pre-K Admissions beginning May 2, 2016. Round 2 will include new pre-K programs and programs that still have available seats – and anyone can apply, including:

  • Families who have already applied to pre-K
  • Families who accept their main round pre-K offer
  • Families who have not yet applied to pre-K

Please apply now at nyc.gov/prek email me at upkatbenkallos [dot] com (upkatbenkallos [dot] com) once you apply so we can add you to our list of families in need of UPK.

Following reporting by WNYC in 2014 that Yorkville, Lenox Hill and Roosevelt Island had 2,118 four-year-olds and only 123 pre-K seats, we've been working with parents to pressure the Department of Education to open more seats in my Council District. We successfully doubled the number of seats at P.S./I.S. 217 on Roosevelt Island last year and as of this year have nearly quadrupled the number of seats. Thank you to Eva Bosbach along with the Roosevelt Island Parents Network as well as Ariel Chesler and Jack Moran on the East Side whom we are working with to open new seats in the Council District.

We are actively seeking parents to help us organize other families in need of seats as well as providers with whom parents are comfortable in order to expand the number of Pre-K seats in the district, email me today at upkatbenkallos [dot] com (upkatbenkallos [dot] com).

Fighting Patronage at the Board of Elections

During the Presidential Primary, many voters had trouble at the polls, and The New York Times covered my concern with this latest mishap from the Board of Elections (BOE). Nearly 125,000 people were purged from the voter rolls in Brooklyn alone, leaving thousands of voters potentially disenfranchised. This, coupled with polls opening late or closing early and poorly trained poll workers, is symptomatic of the Board’s patronage system, which I had discussed with the Times earlier in the month, when the BOE wasted $200,000 on misprinted absentee ballots.

As the Gotham Gazette reported, since I first took office I have worked reform the BOE, including revamping the way the agency operates and demanding it establish key civil service positions with merit-based hiring instead of appointments decided by patronage. I will also continue to fight for legislation I introduced, which would create a voting portal where history and registration status could be accessed online by all voters. Read the details of my proposed legislation at BenKallos.com

Investigating the Rivington Sale

Wall Street JournalThe Wall Street Journal covered how the Department of Citywide Administrative Services (DCAS), a little known agency with tremendous power, is at the center of a controversial land deal that left many wondering how it could have been approved. DCAS sells and purchases $1 billion worth of goods and services on behalf of New York City, including real estate. The Rivington House on the Lower East Side had a deed restriction requiring the property to be owned by a non-profit for the purposes of providing nursing care. Last year, the City lifted the deed restriction and sold the property for $16 million. The new buyer then netted a profit of $77 million by quickly selling the property to real estate developers, who intend to demolish the nursing home in order to build luxury condos. Now both the Comptroller and the Attorney General are launching investigations into how this could have happened.

As chair of the Committee on Governmental Operations, which has oversight over DCAS, I will hold a hearing on the transaction so we can learn what happened, who is responsible, and how we can prevent this from happening again. If you know of any other instances where the government has given away property at less than fair market value, please consider testifying at the coming hearing and blow the whistle by emailing me at BKallosatBenKallos [dot] com

$15 Minimum Wage and Paid Family Leave

Since I was a candidate for City Council I have been fighting for a $15 an hour minimum wage. I have proudly joined the “Fight for 15” and Paid Family Leave movements at rallies all over New York City, advocating alongside Governor Andrew Cuomo to raise the minimum wage and pass Paid Family Leave legislation. As the Daily News covered this month, state legislators successfully passed a bill that would gradually raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour and put into place Paid Family Leave. This announcement will change the lives of many New Yorkers and for that I want to thank Governor Cuomo and our brothers and sisters in labor for their leadership and dedication to these issues.

Budget Response from Council

The City Council sent its response to the Mayor’s Fiscal Year 2017 Preliminary Budget and Mayor’s Management Report (PMMR). The response called for several changes, for which I have advocated strongly, including:

  • Restructuring the P/MMR so that it captures a clear, representative, and comprehensive picture of services and performance.
  • Budget Reserves must be increased in times of economic prosperity to plan for times of economic hardship. Having won a $500 million allocation in last year’s budget, I advocated to continue to fight for increases in the City’s rainy day funds.
  • Open Budget transparency is the hallmark of good government and I have advocated for OMB to publish all applicable documents in open formats.
  • Eliminate All School Lunch Fees because in one of the wealthiest cities in the world, no child should go hungry in school.
  • Improving Civic Education in New York City Schools because even before I was elected I have registered high school seniors and ran mock elections for students.
  • Transparency of the Five-Year School Capital Plan for proper oversight, every project should include the estimated or actual cost, the location or site, and the planned start date or completion date.
  • Civilianize 200 Positions at the Police Department by hiring civilians to perform NYPD’s administrative and clerical duties, so that more uniformed personnel will be available to perform critical public safety functions in our communities.
  • Hire More School Crossing Guards to protect our children on crowded streets.

Over the next month, the Council will review and hold hearings on the Executive Budget to evaluate whether our proposals have been funded.

Happy Passover

Passover is a time to celebrate freedom in all its forms. I joined my staff for our annual multi-cultural Seder. Inspired by President Obama’s Seder that began in 2008 on the campaign trail and has continued to this day, ours began in 2013 and continues through today. It was a great opportunity to reflect on the values of openness, freedom and progress, which inspire me everyday as I represent you in the City Council. How did you spend your Easter, Passover or Spring break?

 

 

QUALITY OF LIFE

Twice a Day Trash Pickup Comes to 86th Street

I announced with Sanitation Commissioner Kathryn Garcia that twice a day trash bin pick-up is coming to East 86th street, as covered by DNAinfo and WNBC. Local resident Andrew Fine who initially posted photos to Twitter of trash piling up on East 86th street responded to a tweet joining me monthly at “Policy Night” as we worked together to solve the problem. In response to Mr. Fine’s request, at a March City Council hearing, I asked Commissioner Garcia to give this heavily trafficked corridor more attention from the Sanitation Department. The Commissioner responded promptly by doubling trash pickup to twice a day, and I thank her for her quick action. Watch the press conference, read the release at BenKallos.com or learn more in DNAinfo.

Clean Up 86th Street with a Business Improvement District

As I have previously written, to fully and sustainably address 86th Street’s needs, we need to form a Business Improvement District for the area. You can read about the latest updates on that process in Manhattan Express. The businesses running the process have established a steering committee and the boundaries the BID will operate in as well as the financial structure of the coalition. To learn more, please attend a public meeting:

  • May 18th from 6pm-8pm at the Chapin School, 100 East End Avenue, RSVP, or
  • June 8th from 8am-10am at Shake Shack, 154 East 86th Street, RSVP

You can learn more at BenKallos.com/BID or go online to sign a statement of support at BenKallos.com/BID/support

Fighting to Clean Up 72nd Street

NBC News 4’s Andrew Siff covered the the sanitation situation on 72nd Street, where we have been working with local resident leaders Valerie Mason and Alice Allen to address overflowing trash cans, caused in part by the Second Avenue Subway construction. Missing and overflowing trash cans leading to trash on the street is not acceptable. My office recently spent $40,000 on 38 extra large trash bins for our neighborhood's busiest corners which should be coming any day now. If you see a trash can overflowing contact 311 and email me at bkallosatbenkallos [dot] com so we can get it cleaned up.

Measuring the Management of the City

The Wall Street Journal reported in December of last year my concerns that the Mayor’s Management Report, the key document used to manage the city, failed to set goals for many key measurements while setting contradictory goals for others, such as increasing the infant mortality rate. Earlier this year, the Preliminary Mayor’s Management Report (PMMR), an interim document used throughout the budget process, was released. This month we held another hearing, covered in the Gotham Gazette, to track our progress with improvements to the document and to further discuss how the Administration sets and reports on targets and goals.

I am pleased that this year’s PMMR was more transparent, but much more needs to be done to make this definition clearer and specific to each issue, so New Yorkers can understand the goals the Administration is setting for the city. I am encouraged that Mindy Tarlow, Director of the Mayor’s Office of Operations, remains open to further changes to achieve that goal. Watch the hearing or learn more in the Wall Street Journal or Gotham Gazette.

Revamping How We Help the Homeless

We can and must help our homeless off the streets. New York City is starting with investing in prevention, improving shelter conditions with increased safety and mental health support, and a focus on permanent housing. Ninety days is not much time to fix a longstanding problem, but the City has not waited, instead launching HOME-STAT and investing in mental health, job training, and enrichment for our city's most vulnerable. I was proud to stand with Mayor de Blasio and Commissioner Steve Banks as they announced Homeless Outreach & Mobile Engagement Street Action Teams initiative (HOME-STAT) and the results of the city’s 90-day review. Through this initiative, the city will proactively canvass the streets to provide shelter to homeless people, and immediate response teams will dispatch to locations where homeless people are seen and reported to 311. You can watch my comments at the press conference or learn more from the HOME-STAT and 90-day releases at BenKallos.com.

Here on the East Side, I co-founded the Eastside Taskforce for Homeless Outreach and Services (ETHOS) with local faith based organizations, service providers, and elected officials to coordinate homeless services in our community. If you are on the Upper East Side and your faith based organization is providing direct services to the homeless please consider joining the taskforce.

As of Christmas there were 23,416 children, 17,071 family members, and 12,845 single adults in our shelter system and more than 3,100 people on our streets. When you see someone who is homeless or panhandling, please don’t give them money, but call or use the 311 app (iOS / Android) to report it so that we can send an outreach team to offer them 3 meals a day and shelter. If requested, 311 will let you know the results of their outreach. Even if the person says “no,” if you keep calling, each interaction helps build a relationship that gets them closer to saying “yes” to our help.

 

AFFORDABLE HOUSING

Calling for a Rent Rollback

Community organizers and I rallied together calling on the Rent Guidelines Board (RGB) to roll back rents for all rent-stabilized tenants, as covered on 1010 Wins. In 2015, we won the first ever rent freeze from the RGB. This was a huge victory, but it is only a small respite for tenants who lived through far too-high increases over the past 20 years, when rent has outstripped inflation by 14%. The increases were particularly burdensome during the Bloomberg Administration, when rent increased significantly despite the economic recession. We need a roll back to correct for these increases so the more than 1 million stabilized apartments continue to be affordable for the residents living in them, and it was later reported in the Wall Street Journal that the numbers support our cause. Listen to a more in-depth conversation about the RGB on the Housing Notebook on WBAI.

Housing Forum: Tenants Rights, SCRIE/DRIE and Rent Guidelines Board Rent Rollback
Thursday, May 19, 2016, 6:00pm

Trevor Day School (Changed from Stanley Isaacs)
212 East 95th Street, New York, NY 10128
RSVP now

Learn about your rights as a tenant, how you can learn how to support a rent rollback, as well as hear presentations and ask questions about the Senior Citizen and Disabled Rent Increase Exemption. RSVP today at BenKallos.com.

Stop Superscrapers

The plans to build a superscraper at 58th Street and Sutton Place, which we have been fighting against for more than a year, began to further fall apart this March as the Bauhouse Group filed for bankruptcy following the foreclosure on the loans it took out to fund the project. As reported by Curbed, Bauhouse’s lender said our proposal to rezone the area was part of the reason it foreclosed on the loans, and the Wall Street Journal writes that it may be a bellwether of the fading high-end superscraper luxury condo market.

I have been proud to lead the effort to rezone this neighborhood and stop the superscraper with the East River Fifties Alliance, with co-applications to the Department of City Planning by Council Member Daniel Garodnick, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, and State Senator Liz Krueger. The new zoning plan for the Manhattan area between 52nd and 59th streets, east of 1st Avenue, will restrict supertowers and over-development in the neighborhood with a contextual height cap of up to 260 feet, incentives for schools, and a requirement for mandatory inclusionary housing. Sign the petition to stop the superscrapers now at BenKallos.com/petition/StopSuperScrapers

Affordable Housing Registration and Online Database

I joined the Business and Labor Coalition of New York (BALCONY) radio show, Common Ground, on 77WABC, to discuss affordable housing in New York City. I answered questions about the Mayor’s housing plan as well as my bill, Introduction 1015, to register up to 300,000 unregistered units of affordable housing and create a transparent, online database so New Yorkers can find these units. Fellow guest Lesyllee White, Executive VP and Marketing Director of the AFL-CIO’s Housing Investment Trust discussed the labor federation’s efforts to build new affordable units here in NYC.

Listen to the episode and turn your radio dial to 770 AM every Sunday at 10pm to hear Common Ground. I also discussed Introduction 1015 on the Met Council for Housing’s Housing Notebook on WBAI, which airs Monday nights at 8pm on 99.5 FM.

 

TRANSPORTATION

Free Helmets, Commercial Bike Safety, and Safe Cycling

Join us for a free bike helmet fitting and giveaway, sponsored by my office and the Department of Transportation (DOT). This is part of our ongoing efforts to improve bike safety.

Free Bike Helmet Fitting and Giveaway
Satruday, May 14, 11am - 2:30pm

St Catherine's Park, 1245 1st Avenue
RSVP

 

Our Town covered our annual training of over one hundred delivery bike workers on safety protocols and traffic laws with DOT. Free safety vests, lights, and bells were distributed to delivery cyclists from across the East Side as part of the ninety minute safety training, which was given in English, Spanish, and Chinese. Wearing a safety vest is the law, so if you see a delivery person without a vest, report it to 311 and then to my office. If they are wearing a vest and disobeying the law, report it to the restaurant, 311, and my office.

Since 2014 when my office started the Bike Safety Program, safety equipment has been distributed to hundreds of delivery workers, as part of a comprehensive programs to reduce cycling collisions and increase enforcement and education to make our streets safer. Last summer, I launched a Bike Safety Program, covered by Pix11, CBS2, WNBC, and amNY, to make it safer for pedestrians, cyclists, and motorists to share the road. We partnered with the Department of Transportation, the NYPD, Citi Bike, Transportation Alternatives and Bike New York to:

  • Distribute safety materials and safety equipment such as bells, lights, vests and helmets.
  • Trained cyclists on safe practices and rules of the road on the streets, in schools, parks and bike stores, and even in my office.
  • Increase traffic calming buy uniformed officers and enforcement against unsafe cyclist behavior.

Together, we can make our streets safer, and the program has shown results, with the NYPD’s 19th precinct stepping up enforcement by 52% and distributing safety materials to over 8,000 cyclists. This resulted in 18% fewer bike and vehicle collisions and 15% fewer bike and pedestrian collisions.

Crosstown Bike Lanes

The Department of Transportation (DOT) will be presenting to the Community Board 8 Transportation Committee for a third month on crosstown bicycle lanes (with no removal of parking spaces or vehicular travel lanes). The following original proposals and alternatives will be considered:

  • Upper 60s/Low 70s Corridor (Corridor A):
    • East 67th Street & East 68th Street (original DOT proposal)
    • East 70th Street & East 71st Street (alternative option)
  • Upper 70s Corridor (Corridor B):
  • East 77th Street & East 78th Street (original DOT proposal)
  • East 75th Street & East 76th Street (alternative option)
  • East 84th Street & East 85th Street (original DOT proposal)
  • East 81st Street & East 82nd Street (alternative option)
  • Low 80s Corridor (Corridor C):

Bike Lane Presentation at CB8M Transportation Committee
Wednesday, May 4, 2016, 6:30pm
Church of the Holy Trinity
316 East 88th Street, Draesal Hall
New York, NY

You can review DOT’s February presentation and March presentation ahead of the meeting. You can also review the proposal from CIVITAS, which supports the bike lanes, and whose alternatives were largely adopted by DOT. Please consider joining the conversation and if you wish to speak, please sign up at the beginning of the meeting. Thank you to all of those who have been participating for playing a key role in our democracy.

$276 Million for Bridges including the 59th Street Bridge

In a city where time is money, investments in transportation infrastructure mean more tax revenue and better worker efficiency. Commuting between Queens and the East Side will get safer and better for hundreds of thousands of walkers, riders, and drivers with more than a quarter of a billion dollars of investments in bridges, including the Mayor Ed Koch Queensboro Bridge. Thank you to Mayor de Blasio and DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg for their investment in our city's roads and bridges. Learn more from the Mayor’s Executive Budget.

Unveiling LinkNYC: Free Public WiFi

Since my campaign in 2013 and as long as I have been in office, I have advocated for Universal Broadband and using the “Reinvent the Payphone” initiative to provide free public WiFi. This month, as covered in DNAinfo, I was proud to announce, alongside representatives from the Administration and Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, that LinkNYC kiosks are up and running all along the Upper East Side. As Manhattan Express reported, the kiosks have replaced old payphone booths with free high-speed WiFi and tablets that allow users to make free phone calls within the United States. LinkNYC kiosks will spread all over Manhattan and to the outer boroughs in the coming months. Watch the press conference, read the release on BenKallos.com, learn more in DNAinfo or Manhattan Express, or visit LinkNYC to learn more about the program and how to use the free WiFi and calling.

 

ENVIRONMENT

Earth Day Recap

Over 150 residents joined our Earth Day Kickoff, where nonprofits and city agencies provide information and free giveaways to help our community reduce waste and carbon emissions, as well as access healthy food and green spaces. Attendees were treated to free reusable cloth bags, courtesy of Citizens Committee of New York City, and free Citi Bike day passes for #CarFreeNYC, among other freebies. Participants included the Department of Sanitation, GrowNYC, Upper Green Side, Bike New York, and the MTA. Thank you to all who attended and participated. Watch the forum online or learn more in the press release.

On Earth Day I also had the opportunity to get my hands dirty with GrowNYC and a corporate volunteer group of 10 from CookFox Architects, (designer of One Bryant Park). Lead by Senior Associate Susie Teal and Executive Director Gregory Morris, we assisted the Senior Gardeners at 415 East 93rd Street where Stanley Isaacs Senior Center members tend their garden with a "professional fine touch." One gardener in particular, Leroy Allen, has lovingly added his own landscaping genius to the garden by incorporating birdhouses and feeders so that diners in the cafeteria can enjoy nature from inside the building. You can join the fun year round by volunteering with GrowNYC at GrowNYC.org/volunteer

Single-Use Plastic Bag Reduction

The Daily News covered my hope that the “reusable bag” would become the official bag of New York City. As vice-chair of the Progressive Caucus and co-sponsor of Introduction 209-A, sponsored by Council Members Brad Lander and Margaret Chin, we hope to reduce the 9 billion single-use plastic bags that New Yorkers use every year by requiring supermarkets and retailers to include a small fee for single-use bags. Plastic bags are made out of petroleum, a fossil fuel, and are not recycled by New York City. Single-use plastic bags more often than not end up as litter and trash in our city’s parks, beaches, and streets. Next time you are outside, take a look at the number of plastic bags caught in our trees and email me at bkallosatbenkallos [dot] com with your count and your support for this legislation.

East River Esplanade Task Force Update

On April 4th, the East River Esplanade Task Force, co-Chaired by Congresswoman Maloney, met to discuss our progress in bringing the necessary improvements to the Esplanade through a $35 million investment from the City and a new public-private partnership with Rockefeller University, Hospital for Special Surgery, and Friends of the East River Esplanade. The Parks Department provided a detailed update of the progress on construction across the Esplanade. To learn more, visit BenKallos.com/Parks

 

JOBS AND EQUALITY

Crane Safety

The East Side has a sad history of crane collapses, and with the recent spate of construction accidents, I published an op-ed in Crain’s New York Business about the importance of having locally trained and experienced crane operators in New York City. For decades, New York City had an extremely rigorous licensing process, which was threatened when the Bloomberg Administration made testing rules more flexible. Thankfully, the city was sued and the more relaxed rules have been ruled illegal. New York is a uniquely dense environment and crane operators here need to be trained and experienced in this setting to prevent or at least reduce the destruction of future accidents. I previously introduced legislation to require more qualifications of crane-license applicants, not less, and tougher examinations, not weaker. No building is worth the loss of a human life.

32BJ SEIU Security Workers Rally and March

I joined hundreds of security workers rallying in support of 12,000 32BJ SEIU security workers, demanding a fair contract and $15 an hour ahead of an April 30th negotiating deadline. They keep us safe and we need to keep them secure with a living wage, access to health care, and a fair contract.

Mass Verizon Rally

For the second month in a row I joined Communication Workers of America (CWA) union in their efforts to get Verizon to negotiate fairly. Since April 13, 36,000 Verizon employees who keep our phone and internet services running have been on strike demanding that record profits for the mega corporation are used to keep good jobs with benefits in the United States and to not require employees to work at sites that are hundreds of miles from home for multiple months at a time. As the strike enters its third week, CWA can count on my support to force Verizon into negotiating fairly.

Women’s Issues Committee

Gotham Gazette analyzed public policy approaches to Women’s Issues in New York City. As the only male member of the Women’s Issues Committee of the City Council, I believe that women’s issues are everyone’s issues, and we need a focused effort on issues like reproductive health and pay equity in order for everybody to rise together. Read the article in the Gotham Gazette.

 

COMMUNITY

Destination: Upper East Side

AM New York reporter Melisa Stumpf wrote an excellent piece on life in the East 70s, with its art spaces, cultural and literary spaces, and parks along the East River. I love living on the East Side, and as I told the paper, “You’ve got everything you’re looking for without having to leave the neighborhood: great food, great entertainment and great shopping.” Read more in AM New York.

Top 5 for Constituent Service

My office was ranked in the top 5 of 51 for the amount of constituent service we do. What's most important to me is the quality of each case we take on, which is why our constituent services team is led by a licensed social worker who works with graduate students in social work to connect you with the resources and help you need. If you see something in the city that needs fixing, call 311 and then our office with the 311 service number. If your issue is more complex, please reach out to us directly at 212-860-1950 or email me at BKallosatBenKallos [dot] com

Chapin School Expansion

We have worked closely with the Chapin School, community leaders, and local residents to ameliorate the construction noise and other effects of Chapin’s expansion project. When we first met with Chapin regarding the project, I asked them to form a Construction Coordination Committee (CCC) to provide a forum for community collaboration. I attended the second meeting of the CCC, where I listened to residents affected by the project and worked with them and the school to establish solutions that could be instituted immediately. Thank you to Chapin for being so willing to work with us and the community and to local residents Lisa Paule and Cynthia Kramer for their leadership on the issue.

Some of the key points we delivered through the CCC that Chapin is working to address are:

  • A two-week look ahead, with resident input.
  • Additional noise mitigation measures, including the installation of sound attenuation blankets and an insulated enclosure around certain equipment.
  • Decreased noisy activity in the evening.
  • Working with residents to agree on a feasible cut-off for external activities.
  • Steps taken to ensure access to Time Warner Cable is not affected while construction is happening.
  • To ease congestion, construction trucks will not double park their trucks on 84th street.
  • Chapin began instructing parents in May 2015 to drop their kids at York Avenue, and used staff to guide them to the school; following the meeting the school now is exploring additional measures to reduce student drop-off traffic and will report on those efforts at the next CCC meeting.
  • Chapin is also looking at solutions to prevent cars from driving onto the sidewalk as a result of the lane closure, and I as indicated at the meeting, my office will work with the school and neighbors to assist this effort.

Fighting the Marine Transfer Station

We continue to fight the Marine Transfer Station and thanks to your support we’ve already accomplished:

  • Moved the ramp one block north to protect 35,000 children from all over the city who play at Asphalt Green, which was done in partnership with P2P and the local community;
  • Introduced air quality monitoring legislation to protect us from pollution;
  • Forced commitments from DSNY under oath to limit use to only 1,800 of the total 5,200 tons per day capacity, keeping more than 300 garbage trucks off our streets;
  • Advocated and secured funding for guardrails on garbage trucks and other large city vehicles;
  • Advocated for and won a citywide goal of zero waste to make Marine Transfer-to-landfill obsolete by 2030;
  • Exposed high costs increasing from $93/ton to $278/ton for a total price tag of $632 million;
  • Built a three borough coalition against garbage dumps in residential neighborhoods;
  • Raised traffic safety concerns following the death of a NYCHA resident when she was struck by a garbage truck on First Avenue where the city plans to send hundreds more garbage trucks;

As we continue to fight this ill-conceived Marine Transfer Station,  you can join and stay updated on the fight at BenKallos.com/MTS

Four Freedoms Park Welcomes 500,000th Visitor

Inaugurated in 2012, Roosevelt Island’s beautiful Four Freedoms Park welcomed its 500,000th visitor this month. I had the honor of celebrating this occasion alongside Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney and Assembly Member Rebecca Seawright. Four Freedoms Park is named after President Franklin Delano Roosevelt's famous 1941 State of the Union speech in which he named freedom of Speech and Religion as well as freedom from Fear and Want as four essential human freedoms. These four freedoms are embodied by Roosevelt Island and New York City and have been an inspiration to all the park’s visitors. I am proud to be a supporter of this park through $10,000 dollars in discretionary spending and I encourage everyone to spend of couple of hours at this gorgeous park so we can soon celebrate the 1,000,000th visitor. Learn more at FDRFourFreedomsPark.org

Blue Dragon Unveiling

I joined the unveiling ceremony of the new Blue Dragon Children’s Sculpture at Southside Park on Roosevelt Island. The sculpture was donated by Swedish artists Ulla and Gustav Kraitz, who said, “This is a sculpture that asks to be touched and is an invitation to all children to please come up and touch it.” Read more and watch the video on the Roosevelt Islander blog or DNAInfo.

Roosevelt Island is New a Literary Landmark

Reading can take you places, like nothing else can. Last year I was proud to join the Empire State Center for the Book in dedicating Carl Schurz Park as a Literary Landmark on the 50th Anniversary of “Harriet the Spy.” In order to promote literacy, I have sponsored and challenged the Empire State Center for the Book to find and dedicate more literary landmarks throughout my Council District. Following years of hard work by the Center, we have a return on our investment with the designation of the Roosevelt Island Library as a Literary Landmark on behalf of Roosevelt Island as the setting of many prominent works of literature like Horatio Alger’s Ragged Dick, Stephen Crane’s Maggie: A Girl of the Street, and Eugene O’Neill’s The Hairy Ape. You can watch the dedication, read coverage in the Roosevelt Islander, or borrow these books and more from the Roosevelt Island library today. If you know of an unrecognized literary landmark in our neighborhood, please let me know at bkallosatbenkallos [dot] com.

Proclamation Celebrating 40 Years of the Jewish Community Relations Council

As Vice Chair of the Jewish Caucus in the New York City Council, I was proud to present a Proclamation celebrating 40 years of the Jewish Community Relations Council of New York (JCRC). For 40 years JCRC has protected the vitality of the diverse metropolitan area Jewish community while serving New Yorkers of all backgrounds and faiths. You can learn more about their work by visiting JCRCny.org.

Proclamation for ASPCA’s 150th Anniversary

The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), headquartered on the Upper East Side, turned 150 years old on April 10. Two million members strong nationwide, the ASPCA is a model for other nonprofits in longevity and achievement. I adopted by my first cat, Smokey, from the ASPCA when I was 12, and I cared for him until I turned 26. It was a pleasure to co-sponsor a proclamation on behalf of the New York City Council honoring this organization for all of the work it does representing our loved ones who cannot represent themselves. Learn how you can volunteer or adopt a pet now at ASPCA.org.

Join the New York City Youth Council

Do you know a young leader who lives in Council District 5 and is interested in helping their community? The New York City Youth Council is a partnership between the New York City Council and the Coro New York Leadership Center to elevate youth voice in decision making related to policy and practice. This opportunity is open to a diverse group of high school students from the Upper East Side & Roosevelt Island. Members of the New York City Youth Council will learn about how their government works, build their leadership skills, and partner with City Council Members and their staff to bring their ideas and perspectives to city policies. For more information about the program please visit CoroNewYork.org, email me at bkallosatbenkallos [dot] com and complete the interest form.

Attend Open Summit & an Evolving Approach to Open Data

Please join me, the CEO of Red Hat, former Khan Academy faculty, and stellar speakers from all over country for this year’s “Open Summit: An Open Conversation for Education” at NYU, where you can participate in a dialogue about open initiatives across higher education. The event is the “first multi-discipline summit on openness in higher ed.” Openness has become the “new standard” for content, software or discipline-based initiatives in higher education. Open source software, open education, open educational resources, open access publishing, open analytics, open data, open science and open humanities have matured to challenge, even dominate, the global educational landscape.

Open Summit: An Open Conversation for Education
NYU Kinnel Center for University Life
60 Washington Square South, New York, NY 10012
Register Now for $250.

You can also catch up on what the City is doing to better take advantage of open data, in an article from the Gotham Gazette.

Bonus: Time Travel to Save City Quadrillion Dollars

This April Fool’s Day I announced the introduction of a very important bill to study time travel, as covered by Politico: "Investment of tax dollars into time travel, will provide an infinite return on investment as we are able to avoid calamity by altering our timeline. So long as we do not create a portal to the alternate timelines we destroy, we should all be fine." Read the full release.

 

CITY COUNCIL UPDATES

In The Neighborhood

This month I attended many community meetings and events, including: Community Board 8, Community Board 11, East 79th Street Neighborhood Association, 23rd Precinct Community Council, the Manhattan Student Leadership Council, P.S. 527’s Spring Benefit, P.S. 198 School Tour, Trevor Day School’s Seniors Open Forum, Lenox Hill Neighborhood House’s Gala, JCRC’s 40th Anniversary Gala, DC37’s Annual City Council Breakfast, Citizen’s Budget Commission, Tavern on the Green’s Reopening Reception, 520 East 86th Street Ben in Your Building, and 415 East 85th Street Annual Shareholders Meeting. Please send invitations for your upcoming event to scheduleratbenkallos [dot] com.

Legislative Corner

This month I co-sponsored two bills that became law. Local Law 46 of 2016 requires agencies and the Department of Finance (DOF) to make reasonable efforts to learn the name of an individual who has committed a quality of life violation. Often, these violations are written generically to an “owner of”, which makes it difficult for DOF to collect on the fine and hold the violator responsible. Knowing the individual’s actual name will aid DOF in these efforts.

Local Law 45 of 2016 establishes a 90-day, temporary program to resolve outstanding quality of life violations. With certain conditions, the program permits those with outstanding fines to resolve their debts to the city by paying the base penalty while having the interest waived. This program will encourage those with outstanding debt to voluntarily come forward and either pay the debt in full or get on a payment plan.

Legal Clinics

Family Law and Domestic Violence Clinic
Second Monday, 2-6pm, District Office

Housing Clinics (New schedule!)
First and third Monday, second and fourth Thursday, 3-6pm, District Office

Please call my office at 212-860-1950 in advance to schedule your an appointment.

Here to Help

We are here to help. My social work team can help you find out what services you are eligible for, and assist you in your application. Some examples include:

  • Seniors: Medicare savings, Meals-on-Wheels, Access-A-Ride;
  • Housing: searching for affordable units, free legal housing clinic at my office;
  • Jobs: training and assistance, unemployment benefits;
  • Families: Universal Pre-K, Head Start, After-School programs;
  • Finances: cash assistance, tax credits, home energy assistance; and
  • Nutrition: WIC, free meals for all ages.

Please also call us at 212-860-1950 or email at bkallosatbenkallos [dot] com with any unresolved 311 complaints.

Mobile District Hours

Get assistance wherever in the district you are when we bring our office to you. Please join us at monthly mobile district hours from 2pm-5pm:

  • Stanley Isaacs Neighborhood Center, 415 East 93rd Street, 2nd Tuesday
  • Carter Burden Center for the Aging, 351 East 74th Street, 3rd Wednesday
  • Lenox Hill Neighborhood House, 331 East 70th Street, 4th Tuesday
  • Roosevelt Island Senior Center, 546 Main Street, 4th Wednesday

Ben in Your Building

The "Ben in Your Building Program" is a chance to discuss issues of importance to you and your neighbors in person, in your home. If you gather 10 or more friends, I will come to you. Over the past year, I have visited several buildings to discuss matters of importance in the neighborhood, including efforts to fight the marine transfer station, sanitation and condo owner issues. Please schedule a "Ben in Your Building" today by calling 212-860-1950 or email ScheduleratBenKallos [dot] com.

City Council Events
5/6: First Friday
8-10am, District Office, 244 East 93rd Street
Please RSVP.

5/6: VOLS Info Session
1-2pm, Stanley Isaacs Neighborhood Center, 415 East 93rd Street
Join Volunteers of Legal Services (VOLS) for an info session on life planning documents, including health care advance directives, powers of attorney, last wills and testaments, and burial planning. RSVP.

5/7: Manhattan Gun Buyback Program
10am-4pm, Salem United Methodist Church, 2190 Adam Clayton Junior Bloulevard
For information and regulations, see flyer.

5/10: Policy Night
6-7pm, District Office, 244 East 93rd Street
Please RSVP.

5/12: HIV Prevention Just Got Easier - A community forum on Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) and Post-Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP)
6pm, NYC Health + Hospitals/Metropolitan, 1901 First Avenue at 97th Street, 6th floor auditorium
Patients, staff, and members of our community are invited to learn about successful HIV prevention options from some of Metropolitan’s own medical experts.  Bring your questions. Get the facts. Light refreshments will be served. Space is limited. To RSVP or for more information, please contact metropolitancabatnychhc [dot] org

5/14: Bike Helmet Fitting
11am-2:30pm, St Catherine’s Park, 1245 1st Avenue  (Rain Site: 67th Street Library, 328 East 67th Street)
To receive a free helmet you must be present, learn how to fit it, and sign a waiver (parents must be present for children under 18). Please RSVP.

5/15: Historic Candy Tasting
1:30pm, Mount Vernon Hotel Museum and Garden, 421 East 61st Street
Have a delicious taste of history, when Susan Benjamin, author of “Sweet As Sin” talks about the history of candy, and leads a sweet and sinful candy tasting.  Signed copies of her new book are available. $20 Adults; $15 Members and Children under 12.

5/16: Mobile Legal Help Center with NYLAG
10am-3pm, Outside District Office, 244 East 93rd Street
Staff from New York Legal Assistance Group (NYLAG) will provide free legal assistance on civil issues related to: Housing (tenant only), Foreclosure, Public Benefits, Disability Benefits, Healthcare Benefits, Identity Theft, Debt Management, Consumer Credit, Immigration, Domestic Violence, Divorce, Custody and Visitation, Child support, Employment, Superstorm Sandy, and Advance Planning. Please make an appointment by calling our office at 212-860-1950 or RSVP here and we will reach out. Walk-ins will be taken based on availability.

5/18: 86th Street Business Improvement District Public Meeting
6-8pm, The Chapin School, 100 East End Avenue
Learn more about the Business Improvement District we have formed to clean up 86th Street and the surrounding areas. Please RSVP.

 5/18: Lunchtime Lecture: the Emergence and Popularity of Silhouettes in 19th century America
12:30-1:30pm, Mount Vernon Hotel Museum and Garden, 421 East 61st Street
Bring your lunch and listen to one of the most prominent kinds of “folk art” in early 19th century America. Free with admission.

5/19: Rent Freeze, Tenants Rights, and Rent Guidelines Board Forum
6-8pm, Trevor Day School, 312 East 95th Street
Join us to find out if you are eligible to freeze your rent, learn about tenants rights, and join the fight for a rent roll back for all rent-stabilized housing from the Rent Guidelines Board to follow last year’s historic rent freeze. RSVP

Events Funded by My Office

5/9: Preservation School - Buildings
6pm, Neighborhood Preservation Center, 232 East 11 Street, New York, NY 10003
The buildings of New York City are constructed using a wide variety of materials: terra-cotta, brick, brownstone, concrete and much more. Join Dan Allen, preservation architect, to learn how these materials are employed, how to identify them, and “scratch the surface” on their maintenance and conservation.

5/15: Historic Candy Tasting
1:30pm, Mount Vernon Hotel Museum and Garden, 421 East 61st Street
Have a delicious taste of history, when Susan Benjamin, author of “Sweet As Sin” talks about the history of candy, and leads a sweet and sinful candy tasting.  Signed copies of her new book are available. $20 Adults; $15 Members and Children under 12.

5/26: Citi Bike Skills Class
6pm, District Office, 244 East 93rd Street
Learn how to ride Citi Bike safely. Citi Bike members receive a free month on their annual membership and non-members receive a free day pass or $25 off an annual membership. RSVP.

6/1, 6/13, & 6/28: Mobile Legal Help Center with NYLAG
10am-3pm, Outside District Office, 244 East 93rd Street
Staff from New York Legal Assistance Group (NYLAG) will provide free legal assistance on civil issues related to: Housing (tenant only), Foreclosure, Public Benefits, Disability Benefits, Healthcare Benefits, Identity Theft, Debt Management, Consumer Credit, Immigration, Domestic Violence, Divorce, Custody and Visitation, Child support, Employment, Superstorm Sandy, and Advance Planning. Please make an appointment by calling our office at 212-860-1950. Walk-ins will be taken based on availability.

6/8: 86th Street Business Improvement District Public Meeting
8-10am, Shake Shack, 154 East 86th Street
Learn more about the Business Improvement District we have formed to clean up 86th Street and the surrounding areas. Please RSVP.

Community Events

5/2: Mystery Mondays: Book discussion featuring stories of suspense, secrets, and lies.
4pm, 67th Street New York Public Library, 328 E 67th St
During May’s meeting, readers will read The Kitchen God's Wife by Amy Tan.

5/2: Twitter Basics
1-3pm, 67th Street New York Public Library, 328 E 67th St
Do you tweet? Learn how to join the conversation by sharing photos, videos, and short messages with other users around the world. This event is first come, first served.

5/2: Vinyasa Yoga with Lauren
6-7pm, Franklin D. Roosevelt Four Freedoms Park, 1 FDR Four Freedoms Park, Roosevelt Island
This drop-in, open-level vinyasa class is suited for all abilities. Develop strength and flexibility as you flow through postures, coordinating movement with breath. Bring your own mat.
Suggested donation of $5; no registration required. Free for members.

5/3: The Seated Stage: Play Reading
5pm, 67th Street New York Public Library, 328 E 67th St
Do you love plays? Do you enjoy reading aloud? The NYPL’s play reading group meets once a month and participants take turns to read aloud from the selected play. In May they will read A Midsummer Night's Dream by William Shakespeare. Texts are supplied, so head over and read  with the group!

5/3, 5/10, 5/17, 5/24, and 5/3: Baby Lap Sit for Pre-Walkers
10:15am, Yorkville Library Children's Room, 222 East 79th Street
Babies from birth to 18 months old (Pre-Walkers) and their parents/caregivers can enjoy great books, lively songs, and rhymes, and meet other babies in the neighborhood.
Programs are first come, first served and limited to 15 children and their caregivers.
Please note: There is no elevator available, and stroller parking is limited.

5/3, 5/10, 5/17, 5/24, and 5/3: Toddler Story Time
10:45am, Yorkville Library Children's Room, 222 East 79th Street
Toddlers from 18-36 months old (Walkers) and their parents/caregivers can enjoy great books, lively songs, and rhymes, and meet
other toddlers in the neighborhood.Programs are first come, first served and limited to 15 children and their caregivers.
Please note: There is no elevator available, and stroller parking is limited.

5/3, 5/10, 5/17, and 5/24: Castles!: A Medieval Building Series
4:00pm, Webster Library, 1465 York Ave Let’s go back to a time of lords, knights, jousting, and really large buildings called castles! Learn to create and build the different components of a castle with LEGO® bricks!

5/4, 5/11, 5/18, and 5/25: Read to Chucky, our New York Therapy Dog!
4:00pm, Yorkville Library Children's Room, 222 East 79th Street
Come read to our therapy dog Chucky! These licensed therapy dogs and their owners can't wait for you to come read them a story. Enjoy one-on-one, no-pressure reading time with a furry friend! Pre-registration is required for each 15-minute slot and opens 1 week in advance.

5/4, 5/11, 5/18, and 5/25: Preschool Program
10:30am, 96th Street New York Public Library, 112 E 96th St
Stories and films for young children.

5/4, 5/11, 5/18, and 5/25: Preschool Program
11:15am, 96th Street New York Public Library, 112 E 96th St
Stories and films for young children.

5/5: Women’s Writing Group
4:15pm-6:30pm, 67th Street New York Public Library, 328 E 67th St
Hannelore Hahn, who directed the International Women's Writing Guild for 37 years, hosts a monthly informal women’s writing & discussion group. Everyone welcome for discussion too!

5/5: Free Skin Cancer Screening
4-7pm, Memorial Sloan Kettering, 16 East 60th Street, 3rd Floor, Suite 302
This screening is by appointment only, to make an appointment call 646-888-6410.

5/5: Book Discussion Group - Whipping Boy: The forty year search for my twelve-year-old-bully by Allen Kurzweil
6:00pm, Webster Library Auditorium, 1465 York Ave
Join us Thursday, May 5, 2016 or the first Thursday of every other month at 6:00 pm. Admission is free. Book club participants must reserve copies of each title through the Library's catalog system.  You can reserve your copy by placing a hold on-line at www.nypl.org or visiting your local branch.

5/5, 5/12, and 5/19: Computer Tutoring Sessions (Evening)
5:30pm, 67th Street New York Public Library, 328 E 67th St
Join for a one-on-one tutoring sessions! The NYPL’s computer tutors can help you learn how to use a mouse, format a resume, set up an email address, post photos on the internet, start a blog, use Microsoft Office, and much more. Registration is required so call or stop by the branch to sign up for one of their help sessions and get a personal tutor at your service! Space is limited.

5/5, 5/12, 5/19, 5/26: Knitting and Crocheting
11:30am, Roosevelt Island Library, 524 Main St.
Bring your current project, your questions, your needles, and your yarn to the Knitters' Table every Thursday morning at 11:30 a.m. Beginners and experienced knitters and crocheters are all welcome!

5/5: Kids & Family Yoga with Jax
4-5pm, Franklin D. Roosevelt Four Freedoms Park, 1 FDR Four Freedoms Park, Roosevelt Island
Young yogis, ages 4-7, are invited to explore the art of yoga, building on basics that teach relaxation, self-esteem, strength, coordination, and flexibility. Bring your own mat.
Suggested donation of $5; no registration required. Free for members.

5/06: Hatha Yoga with Keren
6-7pm, Franklin D. Roosevelt Four Freedoms Park, 1 FDR Four Freedoms Park, Roosevelt Island
This drop-in, energizing, open-level hatha class is suited for all abilities and focuses on proper alignment and breath. Bring your own mat. Suggested donation of $5; no registration required. Free for members.   

5/7: NYS I Love My Park Day
10am-1pm, Franklin D. Roosevelt Four Freedoms Park, 1 FDR Four Freedoms Park, Roosevelt Island
I Love My Park Day heralds the start of spring with this statewide call to volunteer. Come celebrate the fifth annual statewide I Love My Park Day at Four Freedoms Park! Show your appreciation of NYS parks by volunteering to help keep the Park beautiful, clean, and welcoming.Ages 13+ Free; registration required at http://www.ptny.org/ilovemypark/
Water and light snacks will be provided

5/7: Jane’s Walk Tour in Partnership with Roosevelt House and MAS
10am-3pm, Franklin D. Roosevelt Four Freedoms Park, 1 FDR Four Freedoms Park, Roosevelt Island
To honor the legacy of Jane Jacobs, an urbanist and activist, join us for Jane’s Walk - a free educational walking tour offered in collaboration with Roosevelt House.
Free; no registration required.

5/7: Vinyasa Yoga with Jax
10-11am, Franklin D. Roosevelt Four Freedoms Park, 1 FDR Four Freedoms Park, Roosevelt Island
This drop-in, open-level vinyasa class is suited for all abilities. Develop strength and flexibility as you flow through postures, coordinating movement with breath. Bring your own mat.
Suggested donation of $5; no registration required. Free for members.

5/7, 5/14, and 5/21: Kids’ Coloring Club
10:00am, Yorkville Library Children's Room, 222 East 79th Street
Join us every Saturday morning from 10am-12pm for our Kids' Coloring Club -- children of all ages are invited to color coloring sheets featuring their favorite characters, seasonal designs, and more. Feel free to bring your favorite coloring book!

5/7, 5/14, and 5/21: Read to Fritz, our New York Therapy Dog!
11:00am, Yorkville Library Children's Room, 222 East 79th Street
Come read to our therapy dog Fritz! These licensed therapy dogs and their owners can't wait for you to come read them a story. Enjoy one-on-one, no-pressure reading time with a furry friend! Pre-registration is required for each 15-minute slot and opens 1 week in advance.

5/7, 5/14, and 5/21: English Conversation Group
11am-1pm, 67th Street New York Public Library, 328 E 67th St
Talk with native speakers and other language learners about current events, New York City, family life, holidays, and much more. For adults 16 years old or older. This program is provided in partnership with New York Cares, a leading volunteer organization that helps people find easy ways to make meaningful, rewarding contributions to their communities. Led by New York Cares volunteers, this program provides an opportunity for intermediate level ESOL speakers to practice speaking English and improve their conversational skills. No registration necessary.

5/7, 5/14, and 5/21: Computer Tutoring Sessions (Morning)
12pm, 67th Street New York Public Library, 328 E 67th St
Join for a one-on-one tutoring sessions! The NYPL’s computer tutors can help you learn how to use a mouse, format a resume, set up an email address, post photos on the internet, start a blog, use Microsoft Office, and much more. Registration is required so call or stop by the branch to sign up for one of their help sessions and get a personal tutor at your service! Space is limited.

5/7: ASP (Anatomy of Self-Protection) with Dino Blanche
3pm, 67th Street New York Public Library, 328 E 67th St
ASP (Anatomy of Self-Protection) is a method of learning self-protection. You don't need athletic agility, strength, speed, or brute force to effectively survive a life threatening attack. The human anatomy has 200 points, which are sensitive to pressure. Striking any of these vital areas in succession will create an irresistible spinal reex, which can render your attacker helpless. This workshop is great for women, LGBT individuals, and others.
This workshop will be facilitated by Dino Blanche, who has been a teacher of tai chi, jujitsu and self-defense for over 40 years.

5/7, 5/14, and 5/21: Computer Tutoring Sessions (Afternoon)
2pm, 67th Street New York Public Library, 328 E 67th St
Join for a one-on-one tutoring sessions! The NYPL’s computer tutors can help you learn how to use a mouse, format a resume, set up an email address, post photos on the internet, start a blog, use Microsoft Office, and much more. Registration is required so call or stop by the branch to sign up for one of their help sessions and get a personal tutor at your service! Space is limited.

5/9: MS Word 2010 for Beginners
1pm-3pm, 67th Street New York Public Library Computer Classroom, 328 E 67th St
Learn the basic features of Microsoft Word 2010, a word processing program you can use to create documents. Topics include: entering and editing text, saving files, and various formatting options. There is no prior registration, the class is first come, first served.

5/09: Preschool STEAM: Plants
4:00pm, Yorkville Library Meeting Room, 222 East 79th Street
Join us for Preschool STEAM: Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, & Math!In this series, we will explore different areas of STEAM through read-alouds, group demonstrations, and hands-on activities. This month's theme is plants! For children ages 3-6 and their caregivers. Registration required; limited to 12 children.
Please register in person or by calling 212-744-5824.

5/09: Vinyasa Yoga with Lauren
6-7pm, Franklin D. Roosevelt Four Freedoms Park, 1 FDR Four Freedoms Park, Roosevelt Island
This drop-in, open-level vinyasa class is suited for all abilities. Develop strength and flexibility as you flow through postures, coordinating movement with breath. Bring your own mat.Suggested donation of $5; no registration required. Free for members.

5/11: Movies Under the Stars Presents "Casablanca"
Sundown, Carl Schurz Park
Free

5/11: How to Write and (Eventually) Sell Your Book with Carlota Zimmerman
1:00pm, Roosevelt Island Library, 524 Main St.
Many of us have books inside of us, but we’re our own worst critics. We say that "one day," we'll write a book, but in this workshop, "one day" is today. The first part of a two-part workshop will give participants realistic tips in order to write a book from start to finish. In the second half of the workshop, we will focus on bringing that manuscript to publication, from networking to social media.

5/11: CancerSmart Talk - A Field in Motion: Fighting Cancer with Exercise
6-7:30pm, Memorial Sloan Kettering Rockefeller Research Laboratories, 430 East 67th Street
You can also watch via webcast. Please call 212-639-3074 or visit www.cancersmart.org to register for programs and to sign up to receive webcast details.

5/12: Medical Ethics Seminar Series
5:00pm, Weill Cornell Medical Center, Uris Faculty Room A-126, 1300 York Ave
Sridhar Venkatapuram, MSc, MPhil, PhD, Lecturer, Global Health and Philosophy
King's College, London. "Health Justice. An American Idea"

5/12: Film - Dancing Lady, 1933
2pm, 96th Street New York Public Library, 112 E 96th St
DANCING LADY, 1933, 92 min., b&w, directed by ROBERT Z. LEONARD. A short film will precede the feature.
Starring JOAN CRAWFORD, CLARK GABEL, GRANCHOT TONE, Fred Astaire (his first movie), May Robson, Winnie Lightner, Robert Benchley, Ted Healy and His Stooges, Arthur Jarrett, Grant Mitchell, Nelson Eddy, Maynard Holmes. An attractive dancer is rescued from jail by a rich man, who helps her with her first opportunity at a musical play on Broadway. ADMISSION FREE

5/12: Kids & Family Yoga with Jax
4-5pm, Franklin D. Roosevelt Four Freedoms Park, 1 FDR Four Freedoms Park, Roosevelt Island
Young yogis, ages 4-7, are invited to explore the art of yoga, building on basics that teach relaxation, self-esteem, strength, coordination, and flexibility. Bring your own mat.
Suggested donation of $5; no registration required. Free for members.

5/13: Hatha Yoga with Keren
6-7pm, Franklin D. Roosevelt Four Freedoms Park, 1 FDR Four Freedoms Park, Roosevelt Island
This drop-in, energizing, open-level hatha class is suited for all abilities and focuses on proper alignment and breath. Bring your own mat.Suggested donation of $5; no registration required. Free for members.   

5/14: Vinyasa Yoga with Jax
10-11am, Franklin D. Roosevelt Four Freedoms Park, 1 FDR Four Freedoms Park, Roosevelt Island
This drop-in, open-level vinyasa class is suited for all abilities. Develop strength and flexibility as you flow through postures,coordinating movement with breath. Bring your own mat.
Suggested donation of $5; no registration required. Free for members.

5/14: Conservancy Tour- Four Freedoms Park: Past, Present, and Future
1-1:45pm, Franklin D. Roosevelt Four Freedoms Park, 1 FDR Four Freedoms Park, Roosevelt Island
The memorial to President Franklin D. Roosevelt was announced by Governor Nelson Rockefeller and Mayor John Lindsay in 1973, and yet due to financial instability, the death of its architect Louis Kahn, and changes within NY State leadership, plans for the memorial were put aside. Discover the unique history of the Park's past, present, and future in this exciting tour.  Free; registration recommended.

5/14: Carl Schurz Park Volunteer Gardening
9:30am-12pm, 86th Street Mall at East End Avenue
Join your neighbors and pitch in! Volunteer as a CSPC gardener.
PLEASE NOTE: The Carl Schurz Park Volunteer Gardeners are an adult group that meets monthly to work in the park. Students or children who wish to participate must be accompanied by adults or parents who work along with them.

5/14: De-Cluttering Small Spaces with Jennifer Ryan
11:00am, Yorkville Library, 222 East 79th Street
Come join Jennifer Ryan Professional Organizer and Motivator and learn what to keep and how to keep it to live easier in your world with less clutter! Wardrobe basics and furniture suggestions will be part of our workshop. Come and create your new order.As Jennifer stated during a guest appearance on local radio, "In my experience and education, I have learned that my talents are in helping others create an organized life and build skills to stay organized." But more than just being born with it, Jennifer's qualifications are a result of 25 years experience in management and education in business and human development. With the belief that a home or office should welcome and sustain, not overwhelm and drain, Jennifer addresses both the mental and physical obstacles of getting organized.

5/15:The Upper East Side’s Czechoslovak Heritage: A Walking Tour
10:30am, Address will be provided after registration
Until the 1940s, a portion of Yorkville’s First Avenue was known as “Little Bohemia.” The heart of the area was home to Bohemian, Moravian, and Slovak immigrants who settled on the Upper East Side in the late 19th century. Join Joe Svehlak, tour guide and Czech-American, to hear about the Czech and Slovak immigrant experience, and see important remnants of this once vibrant community, including St. John Nepomucene Church, Jan Hus Presbyterian Church, Bohemian National Hall, and the gymnastic society’s Sokol Hall. Register online at www.friends-ues.com

5/16: 3rd Annual Esplanade Friends
Bar Felice, 1591 First Avenue at 83rd Street
Public art and flowers and music and dancers and unrelenting pressure for swift repairs and structural upgrades and the gorgeous improvements to come on the Rockefeller U and Hospital for Special Surgery segments…  Not to mention the resurrection of the 107th Pier!  We’ve all seen changes and how the vibrancy is returning to our wonderful Esplanade.  Save the date and be a part of keeping the great new energy flowing!!

5/16: Vinyasa Yoga with Lauren
6-7pm, Franklin D. Roosevelt Four Freedoms Park, 1 FDR Four Freedoms Park, Roosevelt Island
This drop-in, open-level vinyasa class is suited for all abilities. Develop strength and flexibility as you flow through postures, coordinating movement with breath. Bring your own mat.
Suggested donation of $5; no registration required. Free for members.

5/16: Advanced MS Word 2010
1pm-3pm, 67th Street New York Public Library Computer Classroom, 328 E 67th St
Explore more advanced features of Microsoft Word 2010. Topics include mail merge, tables, text boxes, headers and footers, footnotes and endnotes

5/17: Carnegie Hill Neighbors Annual Spring Benefit
6:30-9pm, The Otto Kahn Mansion, 1 East 91st Street
The Carnegie Hill Neighbors Annual Spring Benefit is right around the corner. This year it will take place at The Otto Kahn Mansion on Tuesday, May 17, 2016. This function is our most important fund-raising event of the year and is widely publicized. Tickets can be purchased on their website.. If you would like to get some information on making a donation towards our silent auction please call our office at 212-996-5520 or send an email to chnatcarnegiehillneighbors [dot] org.

5/18: An Hour of Wellness
2-3pm, The Brick Presbyterian Church, 62 East 92nd Street
Topics will include medication and you, reducing your stress and anxiety, and mindfulness. Free desserts, coffee, and tea. Call 212-289-5300 to reserve your seat.

5/19: Kids & Family Yoga with Jax
4-5pm, Franklin D. Roosevelt Four Freedoms Park, 1 FDR Four Freedoms Park, Roosevelt Island
Young yogis, ages 4-7, are invited to explore the art of yoga, building on basics that teach relaxation, self-esteem, strength, coordination, and flexibility. Bring your own mat.
Suggested donation of $5; no registration required. Free for members.

5/19: Music @NYPL presents: Opera with Anne Tormela
5:30pm, Webster Library, 1465 York Ave
Anne Tormela presents highlights of the most beloved opera, operetta, Broadway and popular classics.  Special requests welcomed! Presenter Brief Bio: A native New Yorker, Ms. Tormela specializes in bel canto, operatic and early music style.  Ms. Tormela is an accomplished concert recitalist and has performed all over the world in Germany, Italy, France, Sweden, Israel and the United States.  She is the Founder and Artistic Director of the Manhattan Lyric Opera; a company devoted to presenting concert versions of classic operas and operettas to organizations that world not normally has the resources to stage them. In addition to opera, Ms. Tormela has a fourth degree black belt in Taekwon Do, is an avid swimmer, practices yoga and plays the clarinet. She also speaks French, German and Italian.

5/19: Kids & Family Yoga with Jax
4-5pm, Franklin D. Roosevelt Four Freedoms Park, 1 FDR Four Freedoms Park, Roosevelt Island
Young yogis, ages 4-7, are invited to explore the art of yoga, building on basics that teach relaxation, self-esteem, strength, coordination, and flexibility. Bring your own mat.
Suggested donation of $5; no registration required. Free for members.

5/20: Hatha Yoga with Keren
6-7pm, Franklin D. Roosevelt Four Freedoms Park, 1 FDR Four Freedoms Park, Roosevelt Island
This drop-in, energizing, open-level hatha class is suited for all abilities and focuses on proper alignment and breath. Bring your own mat. Suggested donation of $5; no registration required. Free for members.   

5/20:Teens Take the Met
5-8pm The Metropolitan Museum of Art 1000 5th Avenue, New York, NY 10028
Teens across New York City will enjoy a special evening of creativity and culture at The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Created in collaboration with over 40 community partners, this semi-annual event is free for all teens between the ages of 13 and 18.

5/21: Vinyasa Yoga with Jax
10-11am, Franklin D. Roosevelt Four Freedoms Park, 1 FDR Four Freedoms Park, Roosevelt Island
This drop-in, open-level vinyasa class is suited for all abilities. Develop strength and flexibility as you flow through postures, coordinating movement with breath. Bring your own mat.
Suggested donation of $5; no registration required. Free for members.

5/21: Imagination Playground & the Uni Project
12-4pm, Franklin D. Roosevelt Four Freedoms Park, 1 FDR Four Freedoms Park, Roosevelt Island
Join for a fun-filled weekend with these family friendly events! At Imagination Playground, channel Louis Kahn by building whatever you imagine with oversized, architectural blocks on the lawn. At the Uni Project, our pop-up reading room, come sit, read, draw, and explore a curated collection of books and hands-on materials. Free; no registration required.

5/21: Roosevelt Island Circumnavigation Boat Tour in Partnership with AIANY
1:30-3:30pm, Franklin D. Roosevelt Four Freedoms Park, 1 FDR Four Freedoms Park, Roosevelt Island
Join the Four Freedoms Park Conservancy and the AIANY for a circumnavigation tour of Roosevelt island and discover the unique history of this island as it undergoes incredible changes. Classic Harbor Line's Yacht Manhattan will depart Manhattan from Chelsea Pier 62 and cruise up the East River to allow a full exploration of the island from a river perspective. 
$58 for adults / $42 for students $10 off for Conservancy & AIANY Members

5/22: Imagination Playground & the Uni Project
12-4pm, Franklin D. Roosevelt Four Freedoms Park, 1 FDR Four Freedoms Park, Roosevelt IslandJoin for a fun-filled weekend with these family friendly events! At Imagination Playground, channel Louis Kahn by building whatever you imagine with oversized, architectural blocks on the lawn. At the Uni Project, our pop-up reading room, come sit, read, draw, and explore a curated collection of books and hands-on materials. Free; no registration required.

5/23: Vinyasa Yoga with Lauren
6-7pm, Franklin D. Roosevelt Four Freedoms Park, 1 FDR Four Freedoms Park, Roosevelt Island
This drop-in, open-level vinyasa class is suited for all abilities. Develop strength and flexibility as you flow through postures, coordinating movement with breath. Bring your own mat. Suggested donation of $5; no registration required. Free for members.

5/23: Cell Phone Buying Guide: Smartphones
1-3pm, 67th Street New York Public Library Computer Classroom, 328 E 67th St
Learn about the differences in smartphones to determine which phone is the best one for you. This event is first come, first served.

5/23: Kid Flicks
4:00pm, Yorkville Library Meeting Room, 222 East 79th Street
Join us in our community room for our children's film showing. Watch short films based on popular picture books. The perfect way to meet up with friends and end a busy day. All films subject to last minute substitutions. Showing:  Blueberries for Sal, Frog and Toad Together, Donald's Nephew

5/24: CancerSmart Talk - Pioneering Surgery: A New Era and New Options
6-7:30pm, Memorial Sloan Kettering Rockefeller Research Laboratories, 430 East 67th Street
You can also watch via webcast. Please call 212-639-3074 or visit www.cancersmart.org to register for programs and to sign up to receive webcast details.

5/25: Senior Health and Fitness Day
10am, Memorial Sloan Kettering, 430 East 67th Street, Room 104
Memorial Sloan Kettering invites community residents to join the Geriatrics Service and Integrative Medicine departments for Senior Health & Fitness Day, a celebration for older adults, and their caregivers, who want instruction, support and motivation for exercising. The event is free. RSVP by May 20th to seniorhealthatmskcc [dot] org.

5/25: Diller-Quaile String Quartet Performance
3:00pm, Yorkville Library, 222 East 79th Street
As part of their Classical Access program geared towards children and families, the Diller-Quaile String Quartet will introduce three pieces to the listening audience.  Join us to hear Antonín Dvořák's String Quartet in F Major, “American,” and two sketches on American Indian themes from Charles Tomlinson Griffes. After the performance, children will be invited to try their hand at a small sample of instruments.

5/26: Kids & Family Yoga with Jax
4-5pm, Franklin D. Roosevelt Four Freedoms Park, 1 FDR Four Freedoms Park, Roosevelt Island 
Young yogis, ages 4-7, are invited to explore the art of yoga, building on basics that teach relaxation, self-esteem, strength, coordination, and flexibility. Bring your own mat. Suggested donation of $5; no registration required. Free for members.

5/27: Hatha Yoga with Keren
6-7pm, Franklin D. Roosevelt Four Freedoms Park, 1 FDR Four Freedoms Park, Roosevelt Island 
This drop-in, energizing, open-level hatha class is suited for all abilities and focuses on proper alignment and breath. Bring your own mat. Suggested donation of $5; no registration required. Free for members.   

5/28: Vinyasa Yoga with Jax
10-11am, Franklin D. Roosevelt Four Freedoms Park, 1 FDR Four Freedoms Park, Roosevelt Island 
This drop-in, open-level vinyasa class is suited for all abilities. Develop strength and flexibility as you flow through postures, coordinating movement with breath. Bring your own mat.Suggested donation of $5; no registration required. Free for members.

Community Resources

Early Childhood Literacy Resources
City’s First Readers is a City Council sponsored collaboration of nonprofit organizations that provides programs and services to build literacy skills for young children. The organization operates in all five boroughs fostering the literacy development of NYC children, ages 0-5. You can learn more about City’s First Readers and find a program near you by visiting http://www.citysfirstreaders.com/

Volunteers of Legal Service (VOLS) Elderly Project Legal Clinic
Volunteers of Legal Service, Inc. Elderly Project Legal Clinics on the Upper East Side  are held at the Carter Burden Center for the Aging (351 East 74th Street) on the second Friday at 2pm and at the Stanley Isaacs Senior Center (415 East 93rd Street) on the 3rd Friday at 10am. Contact information is as follows:
At Carter Burden: Velda Murad, LMSW at 212-879-7400 (fax 212-879-9864)
At Stanley Isaacs: Amy Loewenberg, LCSW, ACSW at 212-360-7620 ext. 112 (fax 212-360-7629)

El Museo del Barrio Group Visits for Schools
El Museo offers a variety of free guided visits facilitated by museum educators for grades Pre-K – 12. All of their programs are offered in English, Spanish, or as bilingual programs. K-12 Guided visits and hands-on workshops align with NYS Learning Standards, NYC Blueprint for the Arts, National Visual Arts Standards, and Common Core State Standards.During their inquiry-based guided visits, museum educators facilitate interactive discussions while encouraging observation and discovery, analysis and interpretation as well as the sharing of individual perspectives. Groups have the option of a sixty-minute art making workshop to enhance their guided visit. Hands-on workshops can include a variety of materials and forms such as printmaking, painting, collage, drawing, creative writing, and movement.For additional information and to book a visit please visit their website.

Metropolitan Coordinating Council on Jewish Poverty (Met Council) Hotline
Met Council provides immediate aid to people in crisis and creates pathways to self-sufficiency through: the largest kosher food pantry system in America, emergency financial assistance, domestic violence intervention, home repairs, homecare, benefits enrollment and affordable housing.You can call their hotline at 212-453-9539 to receive information and referrals, case management, and if necessary financial assistance to mitigate pending eviction or utility shut off.

DOROT – Serving Older Adults for 40 Years
Interested in participating in a lively discussion from the comfort of your own home? Join us on DOROT’s University Without Walls, our teleconference program that offers hundreds of classes and conversations each year on the arts, history, current events, wellness and more. Experts facilitate lively discussions and classes are always kept small so everyone can participate. DOROT offers a diverse range of programs for older adults, including our Door To Door program, where specially-trained travel companions escort seniors to medical appointments. To learn more, please visit our website at www.dorotusa.org or call 212-769-2850.

New York Foundation for Senior Citizens' Home Sharing Program
New York Foundation for Senior Citizens’ Home Sharing Program is a free service that matches compatible persons throughout New York City’s five boroughs in shared living arrangements in dwellings rented or owned by one of the participants. One of the persons participating in the match must be age 60 or older. Prospective “hosts”, who have a private bedroom available, are matched with responsible, compatible “guests” seeking suitable, affordable housing.  Guests contribute toward household expenses and in some cases may provide household services in exchange for free or reduced household contributions.  For more information, call 212-962-7559.

Respite Care Program
New York Foundation for Senior Citizens’ Respite Care Program provides affordable ($9.00 per hour), short-term home care by certified home attendants for frail elderly, 60 years of age or older, who live alone or whose caregivers require relief from their care-giving responsibilities. Services include personal care, meal preparation, shopping, escorting, light housekeeping and laundry.  For more information, call 212-962-7559.