New York CIty Council Member Ben Kallos


Public health is a necessity in a City as large as ours. All of us from infants to seniors should have access to quality health care. We must support our health institutions and provide preventative health care services such as immunizations to lower expensive treatment costs. Cutting vital health care services from our budget has historically only increased treatment costs in the long term. Through proper support and preventative health care services we can make our City a healthier place to live.

WCBS 2 Debate Continues To Swirl About Return To In-Person Classes For All Public School Students This Fall by Vanessa Murdock

Debate Continues To Swirl About Return To In-Person Classes For All Public School Students This Fall

As CBS2’s Vanessa Murdock reports, September will be a big month for Lily, 5, and her mom Jennifer Rescalvo. Lily starts kindergarten and says she can’t wait for the playground.

Jennifer says she’s ready for full time in-person learning.

“She needs that interaction with other kids,” she said.

“The plan is to get them back in action. I don’t want to go through what I go through already last year,” said parent Rafet Olian.

Olian needs a break, and 6-year-old Sami is excited to go back.


“I can see all my friends and read,” Sami said.

“Our health care leadership has been very, very clear; our kids suffer when they are not in school,” Mayor Bill de Blasio saidTuesday.

De Blasio said in-person learning will get students back on track with their education, offer support to heal post-pandemic, and provide the food so many New York City School students rely on. The mayor says there’s enough room for all students to safely return to in-person learning.

“That three-foot rule is there now; we will make it work,” he said. “We proved that our gold standard of health and safety measures works.”

De Blasio added safety standards won’t change, but circumstances have.

“A huge number of people have now been vaccinated. A much, much better environment than what we had to deal with last year,” he said.

Despite the positive outlook projected by the mayor, the City Council education committee wants the DOE to “offer a fall remote option.”

Council member and public school dad Ben Kallos says parents are asking for it.

New York Times N.Y.C. Bans Pesticides in Parks With Push From Unlikely Force: Children by Anna Barnard

N.Y.C. Bans Pesticides in Parks With Push From Unlikely Force: Children

The bill’s passage came on Earth Day amid a flurry of environmental initiatives. But Ben Kallos, the district’s council member, said “a bunch of kindergartners” persuaded him to propose a city ban on pesticides in 2014. “It went nowhere,” he said.

Mr. Kallos said he tried everything as climate change pushed environmental issues higher on the agenda. He recalled holding “the best, cutest hearing ever” in 2017. Children mobbed the floor of the council chambers singing “This Land Is Your Land.”

Still, he said, City Hall and the Parks Department were resistant. But as word of the bill spread, public-housing residents and environmental groups teamed up with Ms. Rogovin’s students and their parents in a widening circle — and eventually signed up enough Council sponsors for a veto-proof majority.

Ms. Rogovin, 73, stuck with the mission even after she retired in 2018 after 44 years of teaching, and as her original kindergarten activists were entering puberty.

AM New York Nurses rally at hospitals in Manhattan seeking new laws for ‘Safe Staffing’ by Dean Moses

Nurses rally at hospitals in Manhattan seeking new laws for ‘Safe Staffing’

Nurses and advocates chanted, “Never again!” during Tuesday’s rally, where were joined by elected officials such as Comptroller Scott Stringer, City Council Speaker Corey Johnson, City Council Member Carlina Rivera, and City Council Member Ben Kallos, among others. 

According to the NYSNA, at Mount Sinai’s main campus and Sinai West, workers are continuing to report chronic short staffing and a lack of supplies, with managers rationing PPE. They also stated that NewYork-Presbyterian has increased bed capacity within the Critical Care Units, Step Down and Med Surg units to handle any increase in COVID-19 patients as well as continuing lucrative elective procedures.

Upper East Side Patch UES University To Build New Biotech Hub With $9M City Grant by Nick Garber

UES University To Build New Biotech Hub With $9M City Grant

Rockefeller University will build a life-sciences hub on its Upper East Side campus, part of the mayor's push for new public health spaces.

UPPER EAST SIDE, NY — Rockefeller University will build a new life-sciences hub on its Upper East Side campus as part of a citywide push to make New York the "public health capital of the world," Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Thursday.

The $9 million grant to Rockefeller will help it convert some of its existing academic research labs into a new incubator for life-science companies, dubbed the Tri-Institutional Translational Center for Therapeutics.

The $9 million grant to Rockefeller University will help it convert existing research labs on its Upper East Side campus into a new incubator for life-science companies.

City officials said the 26,000-square-foot facility will be the first of its kind among the Upper East Side's collection of biomedical institutions, and will link up with Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center and Weil Cornell Medicine to conduct research.

The facility has been years in the making, according to City Councilmember Ben Kallos, who began meeting with Rockefeller University to discuss the incubator space shortly after taking office in 2014.

""Biotech will own the future and if we learned any lesson in 2020, it is that New York City needs to become a hub for this industry as soon as possible," Kallos said in a statement. "These biotech centers will create thousands of good-paying jobs and have the potential to be crucial in discovering life-saving cures and treatments for diseases right here on the Upper East Side"

The city funding will cover only part of the cost of the new labs and Rockefeller will need to raise the rest, Kallos's office said.

The combined $38 million in grants announced Thursday are part of LifeSciNYC, a $500 million initiative launched by the de Blasio administration in 2016 to grow the city's life-sciences industry over the next 10 years.

De Blasio's administration has also backed a controversial proposal to greatly expand the New York Blood Center on East 67th Street, which officials said would help the city recover from the coronavirus pandemic by adding thousands of square feet of new lab space. Some neighbors, however, have opposed the plan due to its size and impact on the surrounding blocks.

Rockefeller University, whose York Avenue campus stretches between 63rd and 68th streets, opened four new buildings on a platform above the FDR Drive in 2019.

One of the nation's most prestigious research institutions, Rockefeller's faculty have won 26 Nobel Prizes.

"The combined research strengths of three world-leading biomedical institutions provides an unparalleled foundation to ensure the success of the new Tri-Institutional Translational Center for Therapeutics," Rockefeller President Richard P. Lifton said in a statement.

"By consolidating existing collaborations and providing much-needed biotech incubator space into the bargain, this new center will focus the boldest biomedical science in the world on solving today's most challenging medical problems – while also growing the fast-emerging biotech sector in New York City."

New York County Politics MANH Lawmakers on the Move, May 19, 2020 by New York County Politics

MANH Lawmakers on the Move, May 19, 2020

Kallos, Powers, Brewer Urge de Blasio to Open Streets, Sidewalks to Restaurants

Council Member Ben Kallos

Council Member Ben Kallos

Yesterday, Councilmembers Ben Kallos (D-Yorkville, Lenox Hill) and Keith Powers (D-Upper East Side, Carnegie Hill) and Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer (D) wrote a letter to Mayor Bill de Blasio (D), urging him to open streets and sidewalks to restaurants to facilitate social distancing.

The letter followed reports that Upper East Side bars have been serving patrons who were gathering outside the establishments without regard for social distancing guidelines. The lawmakers suggested that to fix the problem, the City’s streets should adapt to make following those guidelines easier.

“We are all in this together,” they wrote. “It is not working to confine New Yorkers to narrow sidewalks and rely on enforcement to prevent crowding. The best way to keep New Yorkers safe is to reorder our streets for social distancing.”

Read the full letter here.

StreetsBlog Shake Shack Steals Public Space in Tribeca as More Lawmakers Demand Open Streets for Restaurant Revival by Gersh Kuntzman

Shake Shack Steals Public Space in Tribeca as More Lawmakers Demand Open Streets for Restaurant Revival

Council Member Ben Kallos of the Upper East Side joined the fight on Sunday, firing off a letter to the mayor demanding the removal of parking so that restaurants in his district could operate safely. Kallos said his concern came after watching crowds gather outside restaurants in his neighborhood during the warm weekend.

“I have long thought about the fact that on a given street with 5,000 to 10,000 people living on it, there are 50 parking spots — which means that 50 people prevent 5,000 to 10,000 people from having complete streets with bike lanes, bus lanes and micromobility,” Kallos told Streetsblog on Monday. “But now people are engaging in risky behavior, so let’s create safe spaces to reduce the risk of behavior they’re going to engage in anyway.”

Kallos likened it to the city’s distribution of free condoms.

Upper East Side Patch Outdoor Cafes May Solve Overcrowded UES Sidewalks: Lawmakers by Brendan Krisel

Outdoor Cafes May Solve Overcrowded UES Sidewalks: Lawmakers

New York City should create open space for businesses to establish outdoor cafes where customers can safely take in a meal or drink outdoors while remaining at a safe distance from others, City Councilmembers Ben Kallos and Keith Powers wrote in a letter to Mayor Bill de Blasio this week. Both lawmakers said that restaurant owners will continue to risk fines and create dangerous, crowded situations if the city's approach does not change.

"Rather than rely on enforcement or fine individuals and small businesses that may already be hurting financially from the pandemic, we should adapt our city's streets to allow for and encourage safe practices. Without granting businesses a better option, we are afraid restaurants and bars may just take the risk and pay whatever violations may be issued as a cost of doing business rather than shutter their doors permanently," Kallos and Powers wrote.

New York County Politics East Side Lawmakers Talk Coronavirus in Virtual Town Hall by Ayse Kelce

East Side Lawmakers Talk Coronavirus in Virtual Town Hall

Electeds on the Upper East Side are continuing the citywide effort to keep local government connected with its constituents during the worst crisis the City has seen in recent memory.

Last Tuesday, Councilmember Ben Kallos (D-Upper East Side, Midtown, El Barrio and Roosevelt Island) brought together NYC Health Commissioner Oxiris Barbot, a senior analyst at NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, and a plethora of Upper East Side electeds in a virtual town hall via Zoom to talk about the coronavirus.

Among the other electeds in attendance were U.S. Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens), Assemblymember Rebecca Seawright (D- Upper East Side, Yorkville, Roosevelt Island), State Senator Liz Krueger (D-Upper East Side, Lenox Hill), Council Member Keith Powers (D-Upper East Side, Carnegie Hill) and Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer (D).