December News: Holiday Party, Preserving Neighborhoods, and Air Quality at 91st Street

I hope you had a healthy and happy Thanksgiving, as we did. We celebrated a very special holiday with our NYCHA residents, with Lexington Houses residents receiving new stoves from my office's funding (and an untimely gas outage was fixed ahead of Thanksgiving) and free turkeys from the New York Common Pantry for the residents of Robins Plaza and Stanley Isaacs and Holmes Towers.

As the holiday season continues, we are partnering with Chabad Upper East Side to provide free menorahs that you can pick up from our office. And of course, I invite you to join us at our holiday party on Thursday, December 17, 5pm-7pm, in our District Office at 244 E 93rd Street. I hope you can attend, and please remember to RSVP.

This month we kept up the campaign against superscrapers, including in testimony on the Mayor’s zoning proposals, held a public hearing on legislation to recover $1.6 billion in outstanding debt to the city, and passed a law I introduced.

Here on the East Side, we continued the battle against the East 91st Street Marine Transfer Station with a bill requiring air quality monitoring, announced a master plan for the East River Esplanade from 62nd Street to 78th Street and are giving you a chance to decide how we spend over $1 million in City Council District 5 funding at Carl Schurz Park at a visioning session on December 15.

I hope to see you at my office for First Friday or Policy Night or at our rent freeze screening on Roosevelt Island on Monday, December 7. And as we approach the new year, please save January 10 at 1pm on your calendar for our annual State of the District event.

I am thankful to have this amazing job as your council member. What are you most thankful for this holiday season?

Sincerely, 

Ben Kallos

TABLE of CONTENTS 

  1. Building and Preserving Neighborhoods for All New Yorkers
  2. Recovering $1.6 Billion in Debt to the City
  3. Marine Transfer Station Air Quality
  4. Getting "Dark Money" Out of Our Elections
  5. A Happy Thanksgiving at NYCHA

HOUSING and ZONING

  1. Do You Qualify to Have Your Rent Frozen?
  2. $2.6 Billion for Supportive Housing
  3. Identifying Affordable Housing Hidden by Bad Landlords
  4. Worst Landlords
  5. Preserving an Historic House at 412 E 85th Street

PARKS, PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION, and the ENVIRONMENT

  1. New Playground for Carl Schurz Park
  2. East River Esplanade Visioning
  3. FDR Renovations Completed
  4. Funding for the Second Avenue Subway
  5. Beyond Coal

GOOD GOVERNMENT and EQUALITY

  1. Passing a Law to Make Standardize Locations
  2. Fight for $15
  3. Clean Slate

HEALTH       

  1. Medicare Update and Enrollment
  2. Cooking with Kallos
  3. American-Italian Cancer Dinner
  4. LGBT Center

COMMUNITY 

  1. 86th Street Business Improvement District
  2. Community Board Applications
  3. Free Menorahs in My District Office
  4. Papal Appeal
  5. Big Apple Circus
  6. Gifford Miller’s Portrait at City Hall

OFFICE UPDATES

  1. Legislative Corner
  2. In the Neighborhood
  3. Volunteer
  4. Here to Help
  5. Legal Clinics
  6. Mobile District Hours
  7. Ben in Your Building
  8. City Council Events

COMMUNITY RESOURCES

  1. Free Storage Bins for E-Waste Recycling
  2. Organics Collection
  3. Emergency Snow Laborers Needed
  4. Lenox Hill Neighborhood House, Advance Directives Project
  5. Citizen's Committee Neighborhood Grants
  6. Bike New York
  7. Jewish Association Serving the Aging
  8. Community Events

 

Building and Preserving Neighborhoods for All New Yorkers

We expanded our coalition against superscrapers in residential neighborhoods to groups in other areas faced with the same spectre of tall buildings that will stand out of context and block out light and air. Together we marched to bring more attention to the fight, as covered in the New York PostHuffington Post. and AM New York.

I also moderated a panel discussion on superscrapers for Manhattan Neighborhood Network with the Sutton Area Community’s Dieter Selig, FRIENDS of the Upper East Side Historic District’s Rachel Levy, and the Municipal Art Society’s Mike Ernst. Watch the trailer now and tune into Manhattan Neighborhood Network on tomorrow, Wednesday, December 2, at 9pm (TWC 34 & 1995, RCN 82, FiOS 33 or streaming live).

Superscrapers must also be part of the conversation as we consider the Mayor’s proposed city-wide amendments to our zoning code: Zoning for Quality and Affordability (ZQA) and Mandatory Inclusionary Housing (MIH).

I testified along with many of you at Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer’s public hearing on these proposals, calling for height caps on buildings in residential neighborhoods and special restrictions on towers that would cast shadow on public parks. As covered in the New York Post, I also testified that we need to incentivize and require a broad range of mixed-income housing to accommodate middle class New Yorkers and create truly diverse and inclusive communities. 

You can read or watch my testimony or read the letter from Manhattan electeds to the City Planning Commission outlaying our concerns.

Sign the Petition to Stop Super Scrapers.

Recovering $1.6 Billion in Debt to the City

The Committee on Governmental Operations, which I chair, held a joint oversight and legislative hearing with the Committee on Finance aiming to settle $1.6 billion in outstanding debt owed to the City as a result of unpaid fines for small offenses such as leaving the sidewalk dirty outside of your property, incorrect garbage placement leading to a street obstruction, or conducting construction before or after permitted hours. 

I first raised this issue in the Council in May, 2014, when we discovered this debt with the Department of Finance (DOF). Several legal barriers stand in the way of the City recovering these taxpayer dollars, and Finance Committee Chair Julissa Ferreras and I have introduced a package of legislation to ease the process, including Intro 810, which would allow City agencies to revokes licenses and permits from property owners who are repeat offenders or have large unpaid debts.

Marine Transfer Station Air Quality 

The NY Daily News covered a bill I co-authored with Council Member Dan Garodnick that would require air quality monitoring near marine transfer stations. We hope that the bill, which we drafted in partnership with Pledge to Protect, will bring more attention to the dangerous effect the 91st Street Marine Transfer Station would have on our residential community, if built. 

The city would require the Department of Health to install air quality monitors outside of stations and take readings every hour for nitrogen dioxide, carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide, lead and ozone, and was introduced with the support of Council Members Mark Treyger and Vincent Gentile who represent marine transfer stations in Brooklyn.

Getting “Dark Money” Out of Our Elections

I introduced a package of legislation to protect New York City’s landmark small-dollar matching campaign finance system from an onslaught of dark money and special interests in City elections by expanding "doing business" definitions to include owners of companies that own companies and no longer matching funds they bundle as well as providing early determinations and payments of public funds. The package, which was covered in the Daily News, includes bills sponsored by Council Members Jumaane Williams, Andy King, and Fernando Cabrera, and we plan to hold a public hearing on the bills in the Committee on Governmental Operations soon.

A Happy Thanksgiving at NYCHA

In October, all residents of Lexington Houses received new fridges and stoves paid for by member item funding from my office, but a few weeks later, one of the buildings on site lost gas due to a mechanical failure. We were able to work with NYCHA and City Council Speaker Melissa Mark Viverito, who represents NYCHA buildings that were also affected by the outage, to restore the gas in time for Thanksgiving.

I would also like to extend a very special thank you to the New York Common Pantry, Holmes Towers Tenant President Sandra Perez, the Stanley Isaacs Neighborhood Center and their Naturally Occurring Retirement Community for working with my office to donate and distribute turkeys to the residents of Robins Plaza ad Stanley Isaacs and Holmes Towers. It was a truly rewarding and special day, ensuring that none of our NYCHA residents missed out on the delicious holiday tradition. Our goal is to make sure every one of our NYCHA residents has a turkey. If you did not receive one this year, please contact our office to register with the Common Pantry today, so you can receive groceries every few weeks and a turkey next Thanksgiving.

 

HOUSING and ZONING 

Do You Qualify to Have Your Rent Frozen?

Are you at least 62 years of age? Then you may be eligible to have your rent frozen through the NYC Rent Freeze Program (SCRIE). We are hosting a screening and application session for this program with the Roosevelt Island Senior Association on Monday, December 7, 10am - 2pm, at 546 Main Street #1. If you, a friend, or family member is interested in applying, Community Service Society will be available to assist. Please call my office at 212-860-1950 to learn what documentation you will need and to RSVP.

$2.6 Billion for Supportive Housing

The only way to permanently address our homelessness crisis is to find a place for the homeless to live. I joined the Mayor as he announced a $2.6 billion investment to build 15,000 units of supportive housing over the next 15 years. Supportive housing provides on-site service to people who may need support to live independently, including formerly homeless families or individuals, people with HIV/AIDS or physical disabilities, ex-offenders, people with mental illness or with histories of substances abuse and young people aging out of foster care who are in danger of joining 220,000 thousand disconnected youth who are not in school or employed. Supportive housing is a far better alternative to leaving our homeless on our streets. You can help our homeless off the streets by suggesting an appropriate site in our neighborhood.

Identifying Affordable Housing Hidden by Bad Landlords

ProPublica exposed the scale of “affordable” apartments left unregistered by landlords who received tax breaks to build them, in an article I was featured in. Nearly half of the 15,000 rental buildings receiving subsidies were not listed despite the fact that over $100 million in property tax reductions were received. This is not acceptable and I plan to work with Housing Commissioner Vicki Been to get these apartments registered so they will stay affordable for New Yorkers. Find out if your building might be rent stabilized.

Worst Landlords

I joined Public Advocate Letitia “Tish” James as she released her Worst Landlords List, a resource for tenants to address abuse by landlords who break any number of New York City’s rent laws. As the city experiences major housing insecurity, we cannot let bad landlords take advantage of tenants and their safety. Hopefully you have a safe and comfortable living situation, but if not, see if your landlord is on the list.

Preserving an Historic House at 412 E 85th Street

I testified alongside FRIENDS of the Upper East Side Historic Districts at the the Landmarks Preservation Commission backlog hearing, where I supported the landmarking of 412 E 85th Street House. The house is an amazing reminder of Yorkville’s agrarian past, and it’s wood frame structure is something that should be preserved. 

Thank you to FRIENDS’ Rachel Levy for leading their work to preserve this building and so much of our community. Read my testimony.

 

PARKS, PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION AND THE ENVIRONMENT

New Playground for Carl Schurz Park

The Parks Department has begun the design process for improving the Carl Schurz Park Playground. On October 29th they held a scope meeting with local residents and stakeholders, but attendance was low. We are thankful to the Parks Department for agreeing to host another meeting, to ensure that we receive input from all stakeholders and interested residents. This meeting will be held at 6pm on December 15 at the Chapin School at 100 East End Avenue in the East end of the Gordon Room. Please come and share your ideas so they can be considered in the schematic design. We especially encourage parents of childern who use the park to attend. As always please remember to RSVP.

East River Esplanade Visioning

I co-chair the East River Esplanade Taskforce with Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, and over the past two years, I have led an effort with Rockefeller University and Hospital for Special Surgery (HSS) to create a master plan for 62nd Street to 78th Street that will reshape that section of the Esplanade once implemented. 

On November 19th, we presented the plan at a visioning session, and community members gave feedback at the session on features including benches, lighting, and sound barriers. The plan includes funding for noise barriers to shut out noise from the FDR, plantings to green the Esplanade, water for irrigation and a water fountain, and a trust for maintenance of this stretch of the Esplanade in perpetuity. HSS' investment follows Rockefeller’s $8 million infrastructure investment and a $1 million trust and the $35 million that I negotiated into the City budget for Esplanade repairs. 

FDR Renovations Completed

I joined the Mayor and Transportation Commissioner Polly Trottenberg at the completion of the FDR paving project the Department of Transportation undertook this year. At the event, we discussed the importance of driver awareness around work zones, an important measure in reducing vehicular injuries and fatalities as we continue our goal of vision zero. I am pleased that these improvements, which many of you requested, are complete.

Funding for the Second Avenue Subway

Although the initial MTA capital plan agreement included full funding for the Second Avenue Subway, it was later reporter that $1 billion was subsequently cut from the project by the MTA.

I stood with Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, Comptroller Scott Stringer, Manhattan Borough President Brewer, Council Member Dan Garodnick, Assembly Member Robert Rodriguez and other elected and community leaders to express our frustration with the cut, which would force the MTA to miss out on federal funding. Following the press conference, we met with MTA Chair Thomas Prendergast and will continue to fight to make sure this project does not stop before reaching East Harlem.

Beyond Coal

The Global Climate Change talks will take place in Paris next month are a great step forward to combat climate change. Last month I stood on the steps of City Hall with Senator Liz Krueger and the Sierra Club in support of their campaign to phase out coal by 2020 in our state. New York should continue the transformation away from coal and fossil fuel powered energy, in order to reach the visionary and ambitious benchmark of 80% GHG reduction by 2050, to which the Governor has committed. We know from the Roosevelt Island Tidal Energy (RITE) project that clean energy can be a reality in New York.

 

GOOD GOVERNMENT and EQUALITY

Passing a Law to Standardize Locations

New York City has a revolutionary Open Data Law, but much of the data we release is hard to use, in part because there is no standard for how the data is formatted. We passed a bill I introduced, Local Law 108/2015, to standardize address and geospatial information on the Open Data Portal by requiring it to follow a format set by the technical standards manual, and requires the inclusion of geospatial reference data that corresponds with the address. This will make it easier for policy makers, journalists, and tech entrepreneurs to identify and fix problems in our city.  

Fight for $15

I joined Governor Cuomo at a rally for a $15 minimum wage last month, where he announced that the state would lead the way by extending this basic wage to all state employees. It was an inspiring gathering where those who work hard demanded a livable wage. Register your support for a $15 minimum wage.

Clean Slate 

On November 17 I joined District Attorney Cy Vance as he announced his Clean Slate Program.

The program was available to those facing arrest on warrants for charges such as disorderly conduct, public consumption of alcohol, marijuana possession and other low level crimes. 

 

HEALTH

Medicare Update and Enrollment

We hosted a presentation by the Medicare Rights Center and enrolled seniors for health care. You can access the Medicare Rights Center's resources if you have questions about eligibility or enrollment.

Cooking With Kallos

I was excited to bring Cooking with Kallos to the seniors at the Lenox Hill Neighborhood House on November 4th. I joined Lenox Hill’s Executive Chef, Lynn Loflin, to cook up barley pilaf with fresh ingredients from Grow NYC. What is your favorite recipe made from fresh foods?

American-Italian Cancer Foundation Benefit 

Each November, the American-Italian Cancer Foundation hosts its Annual Benefit Dinner and Auctions, its primary fundraiser to support its living save initiatives, such as its Mobile, No-Cost Breast Cancer Screening Program and its International Post-Doctoral Research Fellowship Program. At the dinner, which raised over $1.5 million, I presented a proclamation on behalf of the City Council recognizing the American-Italian Cancer Foundation for the 35th anniversary of their work supporting cancer research, education, and control in the United States and Italy.

LGBT Center

I toured NYC’s Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Community Center with Executive Director, Glennda Testone. The Center offers LGBT communities in NYC health and wellness programs; arts, entertainment and cultural events; recovery, wellness, parenthood and family support services. If you’re interested in their services you can call them at 212-620-7310 or visit at 208 West 13th Street 365 days a year.

 

COMMUNITY

86th Street Business Improvement District

My office is leading the push for a Business Improvement District (BID) on East 86th Street and the surrounding areas. This month, we sent a District Needs Survey to local property owners and residents. 

The BID comes in response from the concerns we have heard from the community over the state of the neighborhood’s central commercial corridor. The BID would provide funds to supplement services based on the results of the survey. Services could include sidewalk sweeping, trash pickup, Big Belly solar compactor maintenance, rodent control, public safety and small business support. You can read more on this push at DNAinfo, CityLand and Manhattan Express, and Our Town.

If you want to clean up 86th Street, the best thing you can do is get every store in the neighborhood to fill out this survey. The survey can be completed at BenKallos.com/BIDSurvey.

Community Board Applications

The Manhattan Borough President's office is currently accepting applications for Community Board memberships. Community Boards represent their neighborhoods on crucial issues including real estate development and land use, historic preservation and even liquor licenses. Serving as a volunteer Community Board member is an incredible opportunity to be on the front lines of our civic landscape. 

Since I took office, I have been working on reforms to make the Community Board a productive place for you to get involved in local issues. If you are interested in being a leader and representative of the Upper East Side we encourage you to start attending meetings and apply.

Free Menorahs in My District Office

In partnership with Chabad Upper East Side we are offering free menorahs at my district office for the holiday. Hanukkah begins Sunday, December 6 and ends Monday, December 14. Stop by any time ahead of the holiday between 9am and 5pm, Monday to Friday, if you need a menorah.

Papal Appeal

I sent a letter to Pope Francis thanking him for his historic and inspiring visit to our city and neighborhood, and bringing to his attention the recent closure of Our Lady of Peace Church. The closure of the church is undergoing a process of hierarchical recourse through which the Vatican is reviewing the decision. 

The Church was constructed in the 1880s served an influx of immigrants , has grown to be a staple of the neighborhood serving both spiritual and secular purposes, including, Alcoholics Anonymous, City Harvest, and the Yorkville Common Pantry. I hope His Holiness and the Vatican can keep this parish, a NYC institution and landmark, open for the community. 

Big Apple Circus

Even when there is lots of work done to be done, we can’t forget it is the holiday season and time to have some fun. This month I was bestowed the unique honor of guest ringmaster of the Big Apple Circus for a day, when the audience was filled with children from local schools and community programs

In addition to providing a great show, the Big Apple Circus brings happiness and smiles to sick children, at-risk youth, and other vulnerable members of our community. It is my pleasure to support their work through member item funding and was a joy to act as the guest ringmaster at their show. I encourage you to watch me take center stage at this community spectacular.

Gifford Miller’s Portrait in City Hall

A portrait of former City Council Speaker, and representative of this council district, Gifford Miller was unveiled at City Hall last month. Come visit for a tour and see this new edition.

 

OFFICE UPDATES

Legislative Corner

In addition to the bills we introduced and passed this month, discussed above, this year's Veterans Day was particularly special, as we voted to establish a new City Agency dedicated to our veterans. We owe it to our soldiers to make sure they have access to the opportunities they fight to protect. If you are a veteran, or know one who is experiencing health, housing, or employment difficulty I encourage you to contact my office. We thank you for your service.

In the Neighborhood

This month I had the pleasure of meeting and catching up with many of you at community meetings and events. A few to mention are: Eleanor Roosevelt High School's International Dinner, Stanley Isaacs Tenants Association, Holmes Towers Tenants Association, Sutton Area Community Association, East 79th Street Neighborhood Association, Community Board 11, Community Board 8, Lenox Hill Neighborhood House's Thanksgiving Dinner Dance for Older Adults, SEIU 32BJ’s Building Service Worker Awards, Platform Cooperativism, Reception at the 92Y Honoring Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks, and Stanley Isaacs Thanksgiving Celebration.

If you want me to visit your event in the community, please email scheduleratbenkallos [dot] com.

Volunteer

Volunteers at our Council office learn firsthand about city government and work closely with the East Side and Roosevelt Island Communities. Volunteers can work regular business hours or nights and weekends with a focus on attending events and community organizing. If you would like to join the team or have further questions please email internshipatbenkallos [dot] com.

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 with any unresolved 311 complaints.

Legal Clinics

Family Law and Domestic Violence Clinic (new!) 
Second Monday, 2-6pm, District Office
The Urban Justice Center will hold a free family law and domestic violence clinic. Call my office in advance to reserve an appointment.

Housing Clinics
First and third Monday, every Thursday, 3-6pm, District Office
Eviction Intervention Services and CUNY School of Law provide free housing law consultations. Call for your appointment.

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 2-5pm:

  • Stanley Isaacs Neighborhood Center, 415 East 93rd Street, 2nd Tuesday
  • Lexington Houses, 1773 Third Avenue, 2nd 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 call 212-860-1950 or email scheduleratbenkallos [dot] com in order to schedule a "Ben in Your Building" event.

City Council Events

12/4: First Friday
8am - 10am, District Office, 244 East 93rd Street
Come into the office and meet me with me and my staff as we get a chance to answer some of your questions.
RSVP

12/7: Rent Freeze Screening
10am – 2pm, Roosevelt Island Seniors Association, 546 Main Street #1
Are you at least 62 years of age? Then you may be eligible to have your rent frozen through the NYC Rent Freeze Program (SCRIE). If you, a friend, or family member is interested in applying, Community Service Society will be available to assist. Please call my office at 212-860-1950 in advance to RSVP and ensure that you bring the correct documentation needed.

12/8: Policy Night
6am - 7pm, District Office, 244 East 93rd Street
If you are looking to become more involved in your community, please consider joining a District Five policy committee. Committees include education, environment, senior services and more. Please call 212-860-1950 or RSVP online.

12/9: Citi Bike Safety Class
6:30pm - 8:00pm, District Office, 244 East 93rd Street
Citi Bike in conjunction with Bike New York will be teaching a free street skills safety class at the District Office. Participants will receive a free day pass or an additional month on an annual Citi Bike membership. Please call 212-860-1950 or RSVP online.

12/15: Carl Schurz Park Playground Visioning
6pm, Chapin School, 100 East End Ave
The Parks Department has begun the design process for improving the Carl Schurz Park Playground. On October 29th they held a scope meeting with local residents and stakeholders, but attendance was low. We are thankful to the Parks Department for agreeing to host another meeting, to ensure that we receive input from all stakeholders and interested residents. This meeting will be held at 6pm on December 15 at the Chapin School at 100 East End Avenue in the East end of the Gordon Room. Please come and share your ideas so they can be considered in the schematic design. We especially encourage parents of childern who use the park to attend. As always please remember to RSVP.

12/17: Holiday Party
5-7pm, District Office, 244 East 93rd Street
Join me and my staff to celebrate the holiday season, reflect on the past year’s work, and enjoy light refreshments. RSVP online or call 212-860-1950.

 

COMMUNITY RESOURCES

Free Storage Bins for E-Waste Recycling

The DSNY has a new program designed to deal with electronic waste. DSNY will visit your building to discuss how e-cycleNYC will work best in your building. Depending on the size and type of building, there are different services options.

When ready for service, call (212-437-4647) or email e-cycleNYCatdsny [dot] nyc [dot] gov. Use Apartment Programs Inquiry to sign up for e-cycleNYC or get more info about the program.

Organics Collection

If you are interested in Composting organic waste, NYC Organics Collection in your apartment building, submit an inquiry online. If you live in a large apartment building that is participating in the NYC Organics Collection program.

Emergency Snow Laborers Needed

Early registration has begun for emergency snow laborers for the upcoming snow season. Snow laborers are per diem workers who are called upon to remove snow and ice citywide from bus stops, crosswalks, fire hydrants and step streets in the City after heavy snowfalls. Individuals interested in registering with the DSNY can do so at their local district garage, weekdays between 7 a.m. and 3 p.m. The list of garage locations can be found at www.nyc.gov/sanitation. Snow laborers will be paid $13.50 per hour, and $20.25 per hour after 40 hours are worked in a week, an increase from the previous year. Applicants must be at least 18 years of age, be eligible to work in the United States, and capable of performing heavy physical labor. All applicants must bring:

  • Two small photos (1 ½ square)
  • Original and copy of two forms of identification
  • Social Security card

Please feel free to call my office with any further questions.

Lenox Hill Neighborhood House, Advance Directives Project

Our Volunteer Attorneys may be able to assist you with one-on-one counseling and individualized drafting of Advance Directives, including:

  • Health Care Proxies
  • Living Wills
  • Powers of Attorney
  • Simple, low-asset Wills

If you are interested in being screened for a possible appointment, please call our intake hotline at 212-218-0503 (choose option #4).

Citizen's Committee Neighborhood Grants

Have a great idea for a community or school improvement project? Citizens Committee awards grants of up to $3,000 to volunteer groups working on projects that address quality of life issues across NYC neighborhoods.

Never applied for a grant before? No problem! Our application is simple to fill out. The 2016 Neighborhood Grants are now available! Learn more and get started: www.CitizensNYC.org, GrantsatCitizensNYC [dot] org, 212-822-9563.

Bike New York

Bike New York free bike safety assemblies at schools, youth organizations and summer camps.   Any school or youth organization can contact Youth Programs Director, Zoe Cheswick, to schedule a free bike safety session for youth ages 5-18 atzcheswickatbike [dot] nyc or 212-870-2097.

Jewish Association Serving the Aging

JASA's popular NextAct programs engage hundreds of New York's best and brightest (age 55+) who want to explore interesting topics, meet peers, become activists, and make an impact in their communities through Sundays at JASA courses at John Jay College, Advocacy training through the Institute for Senior Action, Lectures and courses through the Ellie and Martin Lifton Institute of Judaic Studies, and volunteer opportunities. For more information contact nextactatjasa [dot] org or 212-273-5304, or visit www.jasa.org.

Community Events

12/1: Computer Basics: Shopping Online
5:00pm - 6:30pm, The New York Public Library, 328 E 67th St, New York, NY 10065

12/1: Orientation for Newly Hired Postdoctoral Researchers
12:30pm, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center Zuckerman Research Center 417 East 68th Street, New York, NY 10065
This orientation is for new Postdoctoral Researchers. This includes Research Fellows, Research Scholars, and Research Associates. Lunch will be provided.

12/1: Center for Studies in Physics and Biology Seminars
4:00pm, The Rockefeller University, 1230 York Avenue, New York, NY 10065 

12/1: Holiday Train Show
10:00am-6:00pm, New York Botanical Garden, 2600 Southern Blvd, Bronx, NY 10458
See enchanting model trains zip through a display of 150 landmarks, each re-created with bark, leaves, and other natural materials—all under the twinkling glow of the Enid A. Haupt Conservatory. Marvel at G-scale locomotives humming along among familiar sights such as the Brooklyn Bridge, Statue of Liberty, and Rockefeller Center—surprising at every turn—on nearly a half-mile of track.

12/2: Lincoln Center Local Presents Free Screenings: The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center
4:30pm - 5:30pm, The New York Public Library, 328 E 67th St, New York, NY 10065
This festive all-Mozart program features the exquisite Piano Trio in B-flat major, K. 502, the charming Horn Quintet in E-flat major, K. 407, and the exuberant Viola Quintet in C major.

12/2: Global Health Grand Rounds: Dr. Deborah Estrin
5:00pm - 6:00pm, NYP/Weill Cornell Medical Center ,413 East 69th St., New York, NY 10021
Title: "Small Data, Big Impact: Using Small Data to Fuel, Personalize, Sustain and Study Health Behavior." Deborah Estrin is a Professor of Computer Science at Cornell Tech in New York City and a Professor of Public Health at Weill Cornell Medical College. She is founder of the Health Tech Hub and directs the Small Data Lab at Cornell Tech, which develops new personal data APIs and applications for individuals to harvest the small data traces they generate daily. Estrin is also co-founder of the non-profit startup, Open mHealth.

12/3: Progress in Neuroscience Seminar Series
4:00pm - 5:00pm, NYP/Weill Cornell Medical Center, 1300 York Ave New York, NY 10065
Dr. Daniel Dombeck is visiting from Northwestern University and giving a lecture entitled, "Exploring the brain's navigation system with high-resolution imaging and virtual reality". Please join us!

12/3: Prostate Cancer: Meeting the Challenge
12:00pm, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, 430 East 67th Street, New York, NY 10065
For men newly diagnosed or recently finished with treatment. Meeting with other patients is an important source of support and information. Join us for a monthly discussion about issues important to you: choice of treatment, navigating the medical system, managing survivorship, PSA anxiety, fear of recurrence, concerns about incontinence and erectile dysfunction.

12/3: Arsenal Gallery Exhibition Opening: Wreath Interpretations
6:00pm-8:00pm, Arsenal, Central Park, 830 5th Ave, New York, NY 10065
Join NYC Parks for the opening reception of popular holiday exhibition Wreath Interpretations. Celebrate the holiday season with the 33rd annual exhibition of unique, unconventional wreaths.  A diverse selection of 50 fine artists, designers, and other spirited contributors enliven this ageless holiday symbol.  Venetian blinds, surge protectors, Q-tips, forged steel and lost winter gloves are among the many varied materials used to examine diverse themes ranging from jellyfish overpopulation to the upcoming presidential election.  This exhibition is an imaginative and enjoyable experience this holiday season. This event is free and open to the public.

12/4: Computer Tutoring Sessions
5:30pm, The New York Public Library, 328 E 67th St, New York, NY 10065
Tutors can help you with everything from learning how to use a mouse, formatting a resume, setting up an email address, and more. This program will run every following Thursday and Saturday for the month of December. Space is limited and registration is required. Call 212-734-1717 or stop by the branch to register. 

12/4: We Are New York (WANY) English Conversation Groups
10:30am, The New York Public Library, 524 Main Street New York, NY, 10044
We Are New York is an Emmy Award-winning half hour TV show created to help people practice English. Each story is about everyday situations, like going to the doctor or talking to your child's teacher. The characters speak slowly and clearly. Intermediate Level English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) learners will have the opportunity to learn English by watching We Are New York videos. Come to the library and meet other people who are practicing English, just like you. This program…

12/4 & 12/5: Holiday Candlelight Tours
6:15pm - 7:30pm, Mount Vernon Hotel Museum & Garden, 421 East 61st St, New York, NY 10065
Step into the holiday season of 1830, take a tour by the warm glow of candlelight, enjoy historic caroling, and sample traditional confections and beverages. On Friday, meet “Flora,” the kitchen help, and hear about her 1830s holiday preparations. On Saturday, listen to the PACC Recorder Consort perform holiday and period music. Reservations recommended. $20 Adults, $10 Members, $5 Children under 12.

12/4: Computer Tutoring Sessions
5:30pm, The New York Public Library, 328 E 67th St, New York, NY 10065
Tutors can help you with everything from learning how to use a mouse, formatting a resume, setting up an email address, and more. This program will run every following Thursday and Saturday for the month of December. Space is limited and registration is required. Call 212-734-1717 or stop by the branch to register.

12/4: Roosevelt Island Tree Lighting Ceremony
7:00pm, Blackwell House, 500 Main Street, New York, NY 10044
Join community members for a free celebration of our close-knit community, featuring performances by the Main Street Theatre & Dance Alliance, the Beacon Program, and the 116th Street Band. Also, don’t miss a visit from a very special guest! 

12/5: Holiday Cookie Decorating
1:00pm - 2:30pm, Franklin D. Roosevelt Four Freedoms Park, 1 FDR Four Freedoms Park, Roosevelt Island, NY 10044
Combine frostings and sprinkles to create festive edible treats for the holiday or for gifts! Learn how to creatively decorate holiday cookies from Great Performance's chefs, and take home your creations. Enjoy complimentary hot cocoa and hot cider while you decorate in our heated tent. All ages welcome. FREE! Pre-registration recommended.

12/5: Sisters in Crime Author Reading
2:00pm - 3:00pm, The New York Public Library, 328 E 67th St, New York, NY 10065
Join published mystery authors Cathi Stoler, Laura Joh Rowland, Catherine Maiorisi, and Cynthia Benjamin for a reading from their novels and short stories.  

12/6: Holiday Tree Lighting
5:00pm - 6:00pm, Carl Schurz Park Conservancy, 1483 York Avenue, New York, NY 10075
A cherished, family tradition: carols, Cantori choir, Orbital Brass, candlelight, candy canes, hot chocolate... and an evening your family will cherish for years to come. Held snow, rain or balmy weather!

12/6: Jazz Salon
2:30-5pm, Roosevelt Island Visual Art Association, 527 Main Street, New York, NY 10044

12/8: Computer Basics: Computer Bullying Guide.
5:00pm - 6:30pm,The New York Public Library, 328 E 67th St, New York, NY 10065

12/8: Music and Medicine Fall Concert
7:00pm, Caspary Auditorium at Rockefeller University 1230 York Avenue at 66th Street
Bizet - Jeux D’enfants, Richard Rodgers - Suite Of Songs, Beethoven - Symphony No. 7. Music And Medicine Orchestra, Kyunghun Kim, Conductor, Jeremy Hays, Soloist.General Admission Seating: $20 suggested donation per seat, $10 suggested donation for students.The Music and Medicine Orchestra is composed of musicians who are medical students, graduate students, residents, faculty, researchers, and staff from Weill Cornell Medical College, NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, Rockefeller University, Hospital for Special Surgery, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, and Columbia College of Physicians and Surgeons as well as musicians from The Juilliard School and friends of the Music and Medicine Initiative. Proceeds will benefit the Weill Cornell Center for the Performing Artist. For more information click here: http://weill.cornell.edu/music/.

12/8: Dorothy in the Land of Oz
4:00pm, The New York Public Library, 1465 York Ave, New York, NY 10075 
Dorothy is carried far from her humble home in Kansas, to a vivid and magical land called Oz. After a hair-raising encounter with a wicked Witch, she and Toto follow the yellow brick road to seek out the help of the Great and Powerful Wizard of Oz. On her journey she meets three unusual new friends who teach her wisdom, compassion, and courage. Presented by Traveling Lantern Theatre Company. For children ages 3 and older.

12/9: Lincoln Center Local presents Free Screenings: New York Philharmonic Opening Gala with Itzhak Perlman
4:30pm - 5:30pm, 328 E 67th St, New York, NY 10065

12/9: Phantom Breweries of the Upper East Side
6:30pm, Friends of the Upper East Side Historic Districts, Ryan’s Daughter, 350 East 85th Street, New York, NY
In the late 19th century, Yorkville was home to country’s largest beer production facility, Ehret’s Hell Gate Brewery on East 92nd Street, with neighboring Ruppert Brewery not far behind. The Doelger and Schaefer breweries in the East 50s compounded the area’s status as a center for suds. Today, few traces of this history remain. Join FRIENDS and architectural historian Francis Morrone for a discussion about the city’s old breweries and their cultural context. A tasting of local craft beers will follow the program.

12/10-12/13: The Yorkville Nutcracker 
Danny Kaye Playhouse on Hunter College, 695 Park Ave, New York, NY 10065
Set in 1885, The Yorkville Nutcracker takes the audience on an action-packed tour of Old New York's beloved landmarks including a holiday party at Gracie Mansion, dancing at the Crystal Palace at The New York Botanical Gardens, and ice skating in Central Park. Lavish sets and costumes, enchanting music and beautiful dancers ages 5-85 complete this wonderful holiday tradition! Tickets are available at the Danny Kaye Playhouse by calling (212) 772-4448 or visiting Dancespatrelle.org.

12/10: Make Jewelry with Jennifer Jacobs (teens).
4:00pm - 5:00pm, The New York Public Library, 328 E 67th St, New York, NY 10065
Make something with that extra sparkle! Take marbles and wire to make hip and funky bracelets, necklaces, and more. You'll be led by Jennifer Jacobs, who has been featured at Barney's New York! All materials will be provided. For ages 12 to 18 years old. 

12/10: Build a Better Body on a Budget
5:30pm, The New York Public Library, 1465 York Ave, New York, NY 10075 
One of the greatest misconceptions people have about living healthy lifestyle is that it somehow costs too much. Nothing could be further from the truth! It costs more to get hurt, learn why and how to build a better body on a budget.

12/10: A Gathering for Brain Tumor Survivors
1:00pm, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, 430 East 67th Street,  New York, NY 10065
In this open discussion and support group, the challenges and adjustments to life after treatment for primary brain tumor will be addressed. Common areas of concern include side effects from medications and treatment, seizure activity, fears of recurrence, and the impact this disease has on the entire family. Family members and caregivers are invited to attend. 

12/11: Lunchtime Lecture: Christmas in 1830
12:30pm, Mount Vernon Hotel Museum & Garden, 421 East 61st St, New York, NY 10065
Join us on the second Friday of the month for a brief thirty-minute lecture beginning at 12:30pm. Bring your lunch. Coffee and tea provided. Museum tour included after the lecture. Free with admission.

12/12: New York Opera Forum presents live performance of Roberto Devereux by Donizetti
1:00pm - 4:00pm, The New York Public Library, 328 E 67th St, New York, NY 10065
The New York Opera Forum performs complete concert versions with piano accompaniment. This month's selection is Roberto Devereaux by Gaetano Donizetti.

12/12: Offsite Adoption Event
11:00am - 3:00pm, Animal Care & Control of NYC, 1064 First Avenue, New York, NY 10022

12/12: Preparing for New Year’s
1:00pm - 2:30pm, Franklin D. Roosevelt Four Freedoms Park, 1 FDR Four Freedoms Park, Roosevelt Island, NY 10044
Great Performances chefs show you how to make unique tasty bites direct from their holiday recipe repertoire. Go home with some tasty bites you made from scratch and recipes you can use anytime of the year. Enjoy complimentary hot cocoa and hot cider in our cozy heated tent. All ages welcome. FREE! Pre-registration recommended.

12/13: Second Sundays
2:00pm, Lenox Hill Neighborhood House Auditorium,331 East 70th Street, New York, NY 10021  
Audiences will experience the thunderous rhythms of the ancestral Japanese Taiko drums and the magical sounds of the bamboo flute at this exciting performance. Free to members of Lenox Hill Neighborhood House programs and children aged 12 and under; all others $5 suggested donation.

12/13: Mobile Adoption Center
12:00pm - 4:00pm, Animal Care & Control of NYC, VCA Manhattan Veterinary Group, 240 E 80th Street,New York, NY 10075

12/14: Shopping Online
1:00pm, The New York Public Library, 328 E 67th St, New York, NY 10065
Learn how to protect yourself when shopping online, as well as what services are available and how to take full advantage of them. First come, first served. 

12/14:  Stay Well Exercise
11:00am, The New York Public Library, 328 E 67th St, New York, NY 10065
Join us for a FREE, fun Stay Well exercise session. Stay Well volunteers certified by the NYC's Department for the aging will lead participants in a well-balanced series of exercises for seniors of all ability levels. Please wear loose comfortable clothing. Exercise equipment will be provided. All participants are required to sign a Physical Activity Consent/Release at the beginning of the class.

12/14: Drama Presentation “Through the Years”
1:15pm, Stanley M. Isaacs Neighborhood Center 

12/15: Cooking with Flora: Holiday Plum Pudding Workshop
6:30pm, Mount Vernon Hotel Museum & Garden, 421 East 61st St, New York, NY 10065
Join Flora Miller, head cook of the Mount Vernon Hotel, in making a boiled pudding from a historic recipe in preparation for the holidays. Beverages will be served with your pudding. RSVP required.

12/15: Computer Basics: Tablet Buying Guide
5:00pm - 6:30pm, The New York Public Library, 328 E 67th St, New York, NY 10065

12/17:Webster @ the Movies: STAR WARS THE CLONE WARS 
4:00pm, The New York Public Library,1465 York Ave, New York, NY 10075 
George Lucas continues his most popular franchise's legacy with Star Wars: The Clone Wars, a computer-animated 3-D film that takes place between Star Wars: Episode II and III. The first-ever animated feature from Lucasfilm Animation, this action-packed space adventure follows the heroic Jedi Knights as they attempt to maintain order and restore peace during a time of monumental galactic strife. 

12/17: Trevor Day School Neighborhood Event
4:00-5:30pm, Trevor Day School, 312 East 95th Street, New York, NY 10128
Join Trevor Day school and it's neighbors for a tour of the school and to welcome them to the Upper East Side.

12/18: December Storytime: Winter Weather
10:30am, Mount Vernon Hotel Museum & Garden, 421 East 61st St, New York, NY 10065
Historically-themed stories and crafts for ages 2-6. Free with adult admission. Every third Friday at 10:30am

12/19: Vision Workshop: Cultivating Happiness with Barbara Phillips
2:00pm - 3:30pm, The New York Public Library, 328 E 67th St, New York, NY 10065

12/19:Webster @ the Movies: FURIOUS 7
2:00pm, The New York Public Library,1465 York Ave, New York, NY 10075 
Webster’s @ The Movies Presents: FURIOUS 7 Saturday December 19TH, 2015 at 2pm Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel) and his tight-knit gang of street racers must battle the brother of a defeated nemesis and rescue a software genius from terrorists. The film is dedicated to series regular Paul Walker, who died halfway through production. Author: Violet LeVoit Universal Pictures Directed by James Wan Rated PG-13 140 minutes; 2015 © Copyright Swank Motion Pictures, Inc.

12/21: Cell Phone Buying Guide: Smartphones
1:00pm, The New York Public Library, 328 E 67th St, New York, NY 10065
Learn about the difference in smartphones to determine which phone is the best one for you. First come, first served. 

12/21: Life After Breast Cancer
2:00pm,Evelyn H. Lauder Breast Center 300 East 66th Street,  New York, NY 10065 
This drop-in support group is for women and men who have completed treatment for breast cancer. Discussion topics include coping with body image changes, understanding fears of recurrence and strategies for managing post treatment side effects.

12/23: Magic Tricks and the History of Deception 
4:00pm, The New York Public Library,1465 York Ave, New York, NY 10075 
Experience a jaw-dropping magic show, then learn how it's done. You'll be amazed not only at the magic, but also the science behind it! Presented by Bob Friedhoffer. For ages 12 to 18 years old.