July Newsletter

What a month!

Between some blockbuster Supreme Court decisions, the city budget passing, a rent freeze triumph, the DEC finally opening up its comment period on the ill-conceived 91st Street Marine Transfer station and the announcement of a long-planned bike safety blitz, it all seemed to come together in June.

In July, we will hold a forum on superscrapers and how we can fight them as well as one on local jobs to repair NYCHA. I hope you will join us.

Now that July Fourth is just around the corner, I am looking forward to celebrating our country's progress with family and friends. I will proudly watch the fireworks knowing that healthcare is protected for those most in need and LGBTQ Americans can marry who they love. (Speaking of fireworks, they will be taking place over the East River this year, and should be visible from both the East Side and Roosevelt Island.)

How will you celebrate July Fourth? As always, feel free to send me a note letting me know your plans. Happy Independence Day, and have a great month!

Sincerely,


Ben Kallos

Table of Contents
1. Calling on the DEC to the Stop the MTS
2. We Won a Rent Freeze
3. Bike Safety Blitz
4. Fighting Superscrapers
5. Celebrating Marriage Equality
6. A Win for Landmarks
7. Jobs Forum for NYCHA and Low-Income Residents
8. LegislationLab
9. Improving Quality of Life
10. A Budget for all New Yorkers
11. Participatory Budgeting for Roosevelt Island and Lexington Houses
Education
12. Annual Public School Sotheby's Art Show
13. Council Member for a Day
14. Fighting Pesticides with PS 290
15. Meet our Newest Community Board Members
16. Graduation Speeches

Transportation
17. Safer Sidewalks for Seniors and Disabled New Yorkers
18. Citi Bike Locations and Safety

Community
19. Cornell Tech Groundbreaking
20. Tour of Roosevelt Island with Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul
21. Second Avenue Subway Progress
22. Second Avenue Shopper App
23. 125 Years of Park East and 85 Years of Rabbi Arthur Schneier
24. Roosevelt Island Lamppost Dedication
25. Street Fairs
26. Adopt-A-Planter
27. Cooking with Kallos

Upgrading Government
28. Where's my FiOS?
29. Fighting Corruption at the Board of Elections
30. Intellibins
31. Insourcing IT jobs
32. Getting Laws Online the Right Way
33. Personal Democracy Forum

Office Updates
34. Legislative Corner
35. Summer Reading Challenge
36. In the Neighborhood
37. Summer Interns
38. Here to Help
39. Mobile District Hours
40. Ben in Your Building

Community Resources
41. Free Summer Meals
42. Affordable Housing
43. Bike New York
44. City Council Events
45. Community Events

Calling on DEC to Stop the MTS

On June 24th, the Department of Environmental Conservation opened up its 30-day public comment period on the 91st St. Marine Transfer Station permit. The call for comments is available at the DEC's site: http://www.dec.ny.gov/enb/20150624_reg2.html#262040000700013 

As covered in DNAInfo, we have an opportunity over the next 30 days to make our voices heard in opposition to the MTS and for Albany's Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) to serve its mandate to protect our community and the environment. I am pleased to say that I have already seen dozens of submissions sent to DEC, and I encourage you to keep them coming.

Here are a few issues of concern to me that you can use in your comments:
 

  • Air quality compared to other boroughs: The East Side already has among the worst air quality in the city--worse than the South Bronx and parts of Southern Brooklyn according to data from the city’s Health Department. Hundreds of trucks each day would only worsen the problem. Since the solid waste management plan was passed, the city has made an effort to reduce pollution--but the East Side's air quality has not improved.
  • Asthma rates: The Marine Transfer Station will be located just blocks away from East Harlem, which has some of the highest asthma rates in the city. Worse air quality can aggravate asthma symptoms and increase the rates of asthma.
  • Failure to adhere to Air Monitoring Program: In August 2014, I sent a letter with Congresswoman Maloney and my colleagues in government noting 25 instances between June 2nd and June 5th of that year in which air quality levels exceeded PM (particulate matter) 10, the point at which construction would be required to stop. The DEC should put effort into ensuring the current rules are being enforced before renewing.

Please send letters of opposition to:
Iver M Anderson
NYSDEC Region 2 Headquarters
47-40 21st St
Long Island City, NY 11101-5407
DEP [dot] R2atdec [dot] ny [dot] gov

Please copy me at bkallosatbenkallos [dot] com (BKallosatBenKallos [dot] com)bkallosatbenkallos [dot] com (.)

We Won a Rent Freeze

We fought for and won a rent freeze for rent-stabilized units through a vote of the Rent Guidelines Board. This is a huge relief for tenants in tough economic times. As wages have stagnated, rents have risen and landlord profits have gone up, New York City renters have never stopped fighting for their rights.

We organized powerfully; advocated strongly through letters, rallies and testimony; and made our voices heard. Earlier in the month, I proudly testified in favor of a freeze or rollback to bring much-needed relief to tenants. In a time of classic Albany dysfunction, New York City stood strong. Now, one million New York City homes do not have to worry about rising prices this year. That makes me a very proud New Yorker.

Bike Safety Blitz

I kicked off a bike safety blitz for the warmer months in partnership with the Department of Transportation, the New York Police Department (NYPD), Citi Bike (Motivate), Transportation Alternatives and Bike New York. On Tuesday, June 9, a 67-year-old woman named Mary Grace Belfi was struck by a cyclist who then fled the scene at 86th and First Avenue in the protected bicycle lane, bringing further urgency to the safe cycling program.

The blitz supplements my Livable Streets program, through which I released a report on dangerous intersections in the district, which was followed by the Department of Transportation's Pedestrian Safety Action Plan, and have made investments in transportation safety and infrastructure. We will be educating by distributing safety materials and safety equipment such as bells, lights and helmets; training cyclists on safe practices and rules; and enforcing against unsafe behavior.

You can read the press release with the full list of actions throughout the summer, or see coverage on Pix11, CBS2, or WNBC, or in amNY.

Fighting Superscrapers

I am continuing to advocate against the 90-story Sutton Area superscraper in partnership with the community. The forum with community stakeholders and experts is targeted not just towards Sutton Area but to all areas on the East Side facing megatowers and over-development. 

On July 23rd at Lenox Hill Neighborhood House, I will be holding a forum on the superscraper trend aimed at working together to stop it. To join us, please RSVP.

You can read my opinion editorial opposing this luxury megatower, and all superscrapers that block light air for our communities. On May 13, I worked with Community Board 6 to pass a resolution supporting rezoning Sutton Area to prevent superscrapers. I continue to meet with residents around the Sutton Area Community to hear directly from neighbors and organize the community against the proposal. If you host 10 or more neighbors in your building, I will be happy to join you. Please contact scheduleratbenkallos [dot] com (subject: Ben%20in%20Your%20Building%3A%20Sutton%20Place) (scheduleratbenkallos [dot] com) to schedule a time. I have been to six buildings in the area so far, and will keep going to as many as possible. If you would like to help, please sign the petition on my website and share it with your friends and neighbors: BenKallos.com/Petition/SuttonPlace

Celebrating Marriage Equality

On Friday, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of the right to marriage equality in all fifty states. This was a great and long overdue day for our nation, affirming the rights of LGBTQ Americans to marry who they love anywhere in our country. On Sunday, I marched in the Pride Parade with community members, Council Colleagues and Grand Marshal Sir Ian McKellen (who you might know as Gandalf or Magneto!). You can see more photographs on Facebook. The Pride Parade was even more jubilant than usual, as all who participated celebrated love and a step towards equal rights. Will you march with me next year?

A Win for Landmarks

Great news in the fight to preserve our city's historic sites: Landmarks Preservation Commission's has decided to hear all 95 sites that had once been decalendered. Landmarks won, and so did our city. We will be preserving our city's heritage and context for future generations, so they can see firsthand where we came from. The Landmarks Preservation Commission will be reviewing each and every landmark application on the merits, rather than de-calendaring en masse to lose a chunk of the city's history in one fell swoop. As one of the voices fighting for landmarks and preservation, I will continue to be an ardent advocate--whether it is advocating against de-calendaring to earn its postponement, asking the tough questions of the LPC or submitting comment to the committee in favor of landmarks.

Jobs Forum for NYCHA and Low-Income Residents

As announced earlier this year, $33 million in federal dollars will be invested in Stanley Isaacs as part of an aid package to rebuild after Sandy and protect against future storms. 15% of the labor costs of the $33 million in federal funds will go towards jobs for NYCHA and low-income residents for the repair and revitalization work.

On 7/22 at 7:00 p.m. at Stanley Isaacs (415 E 93rd St.), come learn more about the union jobs set aside in the federal funds for Sandy repair and how to apply for them. To join us, please RSVP.

LegislationLab

Please join me and your fellow New Yorkers at nyc.legislationlab.org to co-draft the laws of the City Council. This month, you can comment on help shape my bill to prevent landlords discrimination against tenants with housing court records. If this issue matters to you, please also join us at Policy Night on July 14th, where we can discuss priorities and strategies.
Using
nyc.legislationlab.org, you can vote, comment and propose changes to every article of the bill. I I will be working closely with you to empower you to be part of the democratic process and make your voice heard.

Improving Quality of Life

The Daily News covered several bills I introduced with Council Member Julissa Ferreras that would increase accountability for violations that affect quality of life. These bills would ensure that such violations do not get missed or thrown out, and even allow licenses and permits to be taken away from businesses who do not pay fines for their violations in a timely manner. If these bills pass, I believe that quality of life will improve for all New Yorkers. For more information, you can read the press release.

A Budget for All New Yorkers

The FY2016 budget just passed, and it will make our city easier, better and safer. Citywide, here are some great improvements I was proud to support and fight for throughout the budget season:

Better education:

  • $17.9 million for "breakfast after the bell" to fight hunger for 339,000 children at 530 elementary schools. New York City will no longer be among last for major cities when it comes to participation in nutritious school breakfast. Read more in Gotham Gazette.
  • $12.7 million for renewal schools that offer city services and support for children that need it most.
  • $1.14 million to hire 80 more crossing guards so students can be safer traveling to and from school.

Public safety:

  • $170 million for the NYPD so that New Yorkers can be safer in our communities and against threats of terror to add more than 1,000 new officers and to move hundreds more officers from behind desks to the streets.

Fiscal responsibility:

  • $500 million for a Capital Stabilization Reserve to save during good times so we are protected in the long run. I advocated for this smart fiscal approach at multiple budget hearings this season.

You can read more details in a previous email I sent out on the budget. In addition, you can also find my district funding for schools, parks, senior centers and more in a searchable and downloadable format at http://www.benkallos.com/budget/results/2015-16

Participatory Budgeting for Roosevelt Island and Lexington Houses 

It was my pleasure to join PS/IS 217 students and Principal Mandana Beckman to plant milkweed in celebration of winning participatory budgeting funds for a green roof. The community came together to support the project, putting the students on a path to have an educational and recreational green roof for years to come.

On 7/15 at 10 a.m. at Lexington Houses, residents are invited to come meet NYCHA representatives and help pick the fridges and stoves that were voted on for participatory budgeting last year. RSVP.

Education

Annual Public School Sotheby's Art Show

An annual public school art show featuring student work at Sotheby's took place on June 16 and 17, organized by my office and PS 183. Participating schools included: PS 183, PS 77, PS 290, PS 151, Vanguard HS, PS 169, PS 6, PS 527, MS 177, and it was my pleasure to deliver certificates to all participating students. Creativity must be nurtured in schools by promoting the arts and the work of our public school children as an investment in them and their future. The Sotheby's show continues a rich tradition of having this event  in City Council District Five. I am proud to promote creativity by giving students a platform to share their work. Thanks to Principal Tara Napoleoni, Art Director Wan Ling Fahrer, teachers and parents, and students at PS183 for working so hard to make this happen, as well as the Sotheby’s staff. It is my goal to have every District Five School participate. Please let me know if you are interested by emailing //artshowatbenkallos [dot] com" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">artshowatbenkallos [dot] com

Council Member for a Day 

On June 10, two essay contest winners joined me to serve as Council Members for a Day. These fifth- and sixth-grade students joined me on the floor of the City Council during the stated meeting and learned firsthand about city government. Congratulations to Anabel Dennis and Allison Lee and thanks for being such great colleagues for a day! I look forward to next year's "Council Member for a Day" essay contest. Please contact my office if your class would like to participate.

Fighting Pesticides with PS 290

The students at PS 290, with whom I worked to introduce legislation to ban toxic pesticides, held a class play on the importance of safe parks and civic action. This was a joy to watch and I commend the students for their performance and hard work. I look forward to working with them to make real progress towards a safer and more environmentally friendly city.

Meet Our Newest Community Board Members 

As recently reported in The New York Times, New York City community boards are now accepting 16- and 17-year-old members. I sponsored a resolution in the City Council urging the adoption of this measure and am thrilled to welcome our newest members--including Zoe Markowitz, who I nominated to Community Board 8. Involvement in local government at an early age will prepare these young adults for a lifetime of civic participation. 

Graduation Speeches

I was honored to be asked to speak at many graduation ceremonies this month. I delivered speeches to the graduating classes of P.S. 198 Isadore E. Ida Straus, the Ella Baker School, P.S. 77 Lower Lab School, P.S. 290 Manhattan New School, Wagner Middle School, P.S. 151, P.S. 158, P.S. 183, East Side Middle School, P.S. 198, Roosevelt Island P.S./I.S. 217, Talent Unlimited High School, and Eleanor Roosevelt High School. Congratulations to all of the graduates and good luck with your future endeavors! If you would like me to attend a graduation this year or next year, please contact //scheduleratbenkallos [dot] com" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">scheduleratbenkallos [dot] com.

Transportation

Safer Sidewalks for Seniors and Disabled New Yorkers

I joined advocates from the senior and disabled communities to call for improvements to hazardous sidewalk conditions and propose new legislation to fix crumbling curb cuts. My bill mandates that if property owners fail to perform needed sidewalk repairs, the city will issue penalties and then step in to provide the fixes and bill the party responsible. There are 889,219 New Yorkers with disabilities and nearly one million residents 65 or older, and every single one deserves the right to navigate the city safely. I will keep fighting for this important legislation to pass. You can read the press release or watch the video.

Citi Bike Locations  and Safety

Thanks to all those who offered suggestions as to Citi Bike stations. Using your suggestions, we have been able to help optimize Citi Bike locations in the community in the proposals DOT has made so far. If you still have feedback or concerns, please contact my office as soon as possible. I will pass it along to Department of Transportation and continue to advocate on your behalf. I also held a Citi Bike Safety course at my office to teach residents about safe practices and the rules of the road. 


 

Community

Cornell Tech Groundbreaking

On June 16, I attended the groundbreaking for the Cornell Tech campus on Roosevelt Island along with Mayor de Blasio and former mayor Michael Bloomberg. This new campus, when it opens in 2017, will teach 2,000 graduate engineering students. As both a software developer and a representative for Roosevelt Island, I am excited that the future of technology and the jobs it will grow will be occurring in my district. I also look forward to working with them to ensure that they are a good neighbor to the community. You can find more information about the new campus and the groundbreaking in amNewYork.

Tour of Roosevelt Island with Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul

After the groundbreaking, Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul and I toured Roosevelt Island Senior Center and small businesses together. It was my pleasure to show her around the Island and introduce to some of the great things it has to offer.

Second Avenue Subway Progress

As covered in the Daily News and Our Town, I joined Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney and Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer to urge progress for the Second Avenue Subway. The MTA is still on track to open this much-needed infrastructure project in December 2016, but we need to shine a light on the project to ensure that happens. 

Second Avenue Shopper App

Businesses along Second Avenue may be struggling due to the construction of the Second Avenue Subway Line, but now there’s an app for that! Developed by LiquidTalent, the 2ndAveShopper app is designed to offer deals from merchants on Second Avenue between 62nd and 97th Streets. Read more about the app in a recent article in Our Town, and download the app for free if you own an iPhone or Android smartphone.

125 Years of Park East and 85 Years of Rabbi Arthur Schneier

It was an honor to celebrate 125 years of the Park East Synagogue as well as Rabbi Arthur Schneier's 85th Birthday by delivering a proclamation with Council Member Dan Garodnick. In the spring, I also had the opportunity to honor Toby Einsidler, who taught me the fundamental tenets of Judaism, for 35 years of service. I attended Park East Day School growing up, and this institution is just as invaluable to me as it is to our whole community. Thanks to both Park East, Rabbi Schneier and Toby Einsidler for so many years of service and excellence.

Roosevelt Island Lamppost Dedication

Thanks to the Roosevelt Island Historical Society for uncovering a historic lamppost from the Queensboro bridge! It was great to join the dedication and witness the revitalization of a piece of our city's history. The event was covered in DNAinfo.

Street Fairs

Street Fair season has begun—and I hope you get outside to enjoy our neighborhood and maybe a street snack. If you do, you will see my table offering information, services and more. If you know of or are putting on a street fair and would like my office to attend, please contact us. 

Adopt-A-Planter

Have you noticed that the plantings along First Avenue are looking greener? That's in part because of my office's Adopt-A-Planter program in partnership with Upper Green Side and its leader, Sarah Gallagher. If you wish to exercise your green thumb on our city streets, please contact my office.

Cooking with Kallos

Cooking with Kallos is back! I will demonstrate how to cook an easy, healthy meal at the 82nd Street Greenmarket at 11 a.m. on July 25th. RSVP today. There will be another date at the 94th Street Greenmarket in August.
 

Upgrading Government

Where's my FiOS?

In 2008, New York City made a deal with Verizon to give every resident access to a fiber-optic broadband connection by July 2014. This month, the city audited Verizon's progress, and found that they had failed to keep their promise. Far too many New Yorkers are living with a slow or expensive home internet connection, even those who--like me!--requested FiOS. You can read more in the Register or the Consumerist.

I call on Verizon to do what is right and make good on its promises so that all New Yorkers can access fiber-optic Internet. In the meantime, share your story and take action if you are one of the many New Yorkers who wants FiOS and can't get it: https://actionnetwork.org/forms/what-fios-cant-get-it?source=Kallos

Fighting Corruption at the Board of Elections

As Chair of the Committee on Governmental Operations, with oversight over the Board of Elections, I have consistently fought corruption, nepotism and overspending at the agency. Now, managers are giving themselves pay raises right after the budget is agreed upon: That's not good government. I call on the BOE to make key changes, such as publicly posting for top jobs, before giving themselves raises. You can read my full response in the Daily News.

Intellibins

On Thursday, June 18, I joined social innovators for the beta-launch of an important new App – Intellibins – to enable and facilitate effective recycling choices and behaviors by citizens in New York City. The project team behind Intellibins received important mentoring in developing and refining their project through my GovLab Academy Coaching program – "Civic Tech for Local Legislatures and Legislators." Intellibins helps residents geolocate the nearest recycling points, and will soon have option to earn rewards and check in. You can read my press release for more information.

Insourcing IT Jobs 

In a nice upgrade, our city recently signed an agreement to in-source IT work when possible, saving up to $3.6 million this year. I am proud to have advocated for in-sourcing in the city budget at oversight hearings since I took office, and I look forward to seeing far more in-sourcing in future years. 

Getting Laws Online the Right Way

When the city first issued a request for proposals to put laws online, a law I passed with Council Member Brad Lander last year, they asked for a 10-year contract and offered an opportunity to make revenue off the site. After I intervened, they changed it to a 5-year contract--in keeping with the fast pace of technological change--and a promised no revenue off the site, which would have contradicted its mission. You can read more in Capital New York.

Personal Democracy Forum

On June 5, I participated in a panel at the Personal Democracy Forum about designing the digital legislature. The panel was moderated by Melissa Sandgren, a moderator at Yahoo, and also featured Emma Mulqueeny (Commissioner on the Speaker's Commission for Digital Democracy in the UK), Seamus Kraft, (the executive director for OpenGov Foundation), and David Moore (the executive director for the Participatory Politics Foundation). We had a great discussion about making technology available to the public that could help them easily navigate the confusing world of local politics. You can watch the panel in its entirety here.

Office Updates

Legislative Corner

This month, I cosponsored two bills that are now law:
 
The first, Local Law 51/2015, introduced by Speaker Mark-Viverito, creates a guide for building owners for modifications and improvements that may be made to dwelling units to allow tenants to safely remain in their homes for as long as possible as they age. The guide takes into account improving access for individuals with limited mobility, lighting, railings and grab bars, technological enhancements, and widening of doorways and hallways.  It’s important that we make it easier for those who have lived in a neighborhood for decades and made it what it is to remain in their homes as they age.
 
The second, 
Local Law 56/2015, introduced by Council Member Johnson, requires that side guards be phased in to all large vehicles in the City fleet and City-licensed trade waste hauling vehicles weighing over 10,000 pounds. Side guards are devices fit to the side of a truck that help prevent pedestrians and cyclists from falling into the exposed space between a vehicle’s axels. This bill will help reduce instances of serious injury and death on our City’s streets. 
 I advocated for funding for this throughout the budget season.

I am also a co-sponsor on legislation to advance the goal of Pension Funds for All with Public Advocate Letitia James and Council Member I. Daneek Miller. We held a hearing this month on the bill, which seeks to provide a retirement plan for every New Yorker. With trillions of dollars in deficits in public pension funds, and when private employers to provide retirement benefits, it only further drains public resources. Pensions for All is an important step forward for our city. 

Two bills also passed through my Governmental Operations Committee this month:

Local Law 064-2015 to amend the New York city charter, in relation to requiring an annual analysis of, and recommendations based on, OATH tribunal dismissals to make the agency more transparent.

Local Law 067-2015: A Local Law to amend the New York city charter, in relation to incorporating feedback from businesses into agency inspector customer service training to improve quality of life for small businesses.

Summer Reading Challenge

Join my summer reading challenge! Students who read five books from the NYPL lists (or your own school's list) will be honored at an end-of-summer ceremony and receive a certificate from our office. Thanks to all of last year's participants for their great work. Please visit BenKallos.com/ReadingChallenge to learn more and contact my office to sign up. 

In the Neighborhood

Here are just a few of the events I attended this month:

CB6, CB8, 17th Precinct, Holmes Towers Tenants Association, Lexington Houses Tenants Association, Stanley Isaac's Tenants Association, Sutton Area Community Association, the Four Freedoms Park Sunset Garden Party, PS 290s Family Celebration, Roosevelt Island Day, and Stanley Isaac's Scholarship Awards. I have also had the honor to attend many graduation ceremonies, Co-Op boards and shareholders meetings, and street fairs throughout District 5. 

Please contact scheduleratbenkallos [dot] com (scheduleratbenkallos [dot] com) if you would like me to come to your event. If I am free, I will happily attend.

Summer Interns

Interns and fellows at our Council office learn firsthand about city government, work closely with senior staff and are encouraged to pursue a project of their own choosing. Interns can work regular business hours or nights and weekends with a focus on attending events.On June 7, the orientation for my office’s new summer interns was held. I am looking forward to a fun, educational, and productive summer. If you would like to join the team, please send a resume and cover letter to internshipatbenkallos [dot] com (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:

  • For 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: Food Stamps (SNAP), WIC, free meals for all ages.

Please also call me with any unresolved 311 complaints. Contact us at bkallosatbenkallos [dot] com or 212-860-1950 to get started.

Mobile District Hours

Get assistance wherever you are located. Please join us at mobile district hours (please note the new dates and hours):

Stanley Isaacs Neighborhood Center, 415 East 93rd Street
Second Tuesday of the Month, 2-5PM
Lexington Houses, 1773 Third Avenue
Second Wednesday of the Month, 2-5PM
Carter Burden Senior Center, 1484 1st Avenue
Third Wednesday of the Month, 2-5PM
Lenox Hill Neighborhood House, 331 East 70th Street
Fourth Tuesday of the Month, 2-5PM
Roosevelt Island Senior Center, 546 Main Street
Fourth Wednesday of the Month, 2-5PM

Appointments after 5 p.m. available upon request.

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. Last month, I went to two 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 (subject: Ben%20In%20Your%20Building) (scheduleratbenkallos [dot] com) in order to schedule a "Ben in Your Building" event.

Community Resources

Free Summer Meals

The Summer Meals program is officially underway, providing free meals for any children 18 and younger at spots all over NYC, and the program has some exciting new additions this year.  With a nifty new app (for Apple and Android platforms), the Department of Education’s SchoolFood just made it easier to find sites more suitable for you! The app has features that allow you to choose your venue of choice, such as NYC pools or parks, schools, libraries, NYCHA, and mobile trucks; lets you find a site for lunch, breakfast, or both; and it even shows you the menu for the day. To find completely free summer meal distribution sites, families can use the app or 311 or visit www.schoolfoodnyc.orgParents also may text “nycmeals” to 877-877.

In our district, the sites are as follows:

1. St. Catherine’s Park
E 67th St. (at 1st Ave.)
Serves lunch from 12 p.m.-1 p.m.
Open July 7th - August 21st
2. P.S./I.S. 217 Roosevelt Island
645 Main St.
Serves breakfast from 8 a.m. - 9:15 a.m. and lunch from 11 a.m. -1:15 p.m.
Open June 29th – September 4th
3. John Jay Pool
77th St. (at Cherokee Place)
Serves breakfast from 9 a.m. -10 a.m. and lunch from 12 p.m. -1 p.m.
Open June 27th – September 4th

Affordable Housing

Looking for an affordable apartment? Visit NYC Housing Connect and sign up to receive information on affordable housing units accepting applications. Apartments now accepting applications include 423 E 117th Street and Bridge 145 Apartments in Harlem.

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 at zcheswickatbike [dot] nyc or 212-870-2097.

City Council Events

Please Note: There will be no First Friday event for July because of the Federal Holiday on July 3rd.

7/14: Policy Night 
6:00-7:00 p.m., Second Tuesday of the Month, District Office at 244 East 93rd St.
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
RSVP online or call 212-860-1950.

7/15: Lexington Houses Fridges & Stoves Selection
10:00 a.m., Lexington Houses, 1539 Lexington Ave
Residents are invited to come meet NYCHA representatives and help pick the fridges and stoves that were voted on last year for participatory budgeting. RSVP.

7/22: NYCHA Repair Jobs Forum
7:00 p.m.,Stanley Isaacs, 415 E 93rd St.
Federal funds have been set aside for repair jobs for NYCHA residents to revitalize the economy and fortify NYCHA houses against future storms. Come learn more about these jobs and how to apply for them at at our information session.
RSVP online.

7/23: Superscrapers Forum
6:30 p.m., Lenox Hill Neighborhood House, 331 E 70th St.
Join us for a forum on superscrapers and what we can do as a community to prevent them
. RSVP.

7/25: 82nd Street Greenmarket market, Cooking with Kallos
10 a.m. prep, 11a.m. demonstration
Join me for another "Cooking with Kallos" event, where I demonstrate an easy, healthy meal at the Greenmarket.
RSVP.

 

7/15: The New York Nobody Knows: Walking 6,000 Miles in the City
6:30pm, Museum of the City of New York, 1220 5th Ave, New York, NY 10029
Join sociologist, William Helmreich, and journalist Ariel Kaminer to discuss how New York City has changed since the 1970s. Co-sponsored by my office. To register please visit http://www.mcny.org/event/my-city-book-club-new-york-nobody-knows-walkin... " target="_blank">http://www.mcny.org/event/my-city-book-club-new-york-nobody-knows-walking-6000-miles-city 

Free Senior Fitness Classes, John Jay Park
Mondays and Wednesdays, 10 a.m. - 11 a.m. 

Thursdays and Fridays, 9:30am-10:30am

Please join us for FREE senior fitness classes in the John Jay bathhouse on Mondays and Wednesdays  from 10 a.m. - 11 a.m.

On Tuesdays and Thursdays, there will also be a 9:30 a.m. walking class, and a 10:30 a.m. yoga class. Please contact my office with any questions. For either of these two classes, please register online.

Exercising is a key to good health, and I hope you will join in for these free classes.

Special thanks to the East 79th Street Neighborhood Association, the Parks Department and the City Parks Foundation.

Free Legal Housing Clinics
First and Third Monday of the Month

We now host one clinic every first and third Monday of the month, and one clinic every Thursday from 2:30 to 6:00 p.m. If you have any legal questions regarding housing, please join us at either clinic to speak with a volunteer attorney. You must make an appointment in advance. Please call our office at 212-860-1950 or email us at InfoatBenKallos [dot] com to reserve a time slot. We look forward to assisting you!

Bike New York East Side Classes
Learn to Ride - Kids
Sunday, 07/12, 10:00 a.m.  - 12:00 p.m.    
Roosevelt Island Sportspark - 281 West Main Rd - Under the Queensboro Bridge

Register

Streets Skills Class
Wednesday, 07/08    7:30 p.m.  - 9:00 p.m.    
Manhattan, Bicycles NYC - 1400 3rd Ave (btwn 79/80 Sts)

Register

Community Events

Saturdays Year Round:   82nd Street/St. Stephen’s Greenmarket
9am–2pm, 
82nd Street between First and York 
Featuring a compost & Clothes Collection between 9 a.m. and 1 p.m.

Sundays, June 28th – November 22nd:  94th Street Greenmarket
9am-5pm, First Avenue between 94th & 96th Street
Greenmarket featuring a compost Collection from 9 a.m.–1 p.m. 

7/2: Stanley Isaacs Summer Kick-off Barbecue
11:30am, Stanley Isaacs Center, 415 E 93rd St, New York, NY 10128
 
7/3: Workshop at the Lenox Hill Neighborhood House
10am-11am, The Center at the Lenox Hill Neighborhood House, 343 E 70th St, New York, NY 10021
Learn about and discuss consumer debt, presented by the Legal Advocacy Department. Contact 212-744-5905 with any questions.
 
7/6: Mystery Lovers Monthly Book Discussion Group
4pm, New York Public Library, 328 E 67th St, New York, NY 10065
A Judgement in Stone, by Ruth Rendell. Please register in phone or in person. The contact number is 212-734-1717.
 
7/7: Reading Aloud
4pm, New York Public Library, 1465 York Ave, New York, NY 10075
A librarian will share favorite picture books, proving children with the wonder of books and the joy of reading. Ages 3-5.
 
7/8: Posters + Politics: The Art of Activism in New York
6:30pm, Museum of the City of New York, 1220 5th Ave, New York, NY 10029
Join a panel of leading artists for a discussion of three decades of political posters that address life in the city, from inequality in the art world and AIDS to housing and economic justice. To register please visit http://www.mcny.org/event/posters-politics-art-activism-new-york
 
7/8: Summer Sounds
7pm-8:30pm, Carl Schurz Park, John Finley Walk, E 86th St Mall
Nation Beat performs! A mix of New Orleans and South America. Bring a picnic! Limited seating available. 
 
7/9: Computer Tutoring Sessions:
5:30pm, New York Public Library, 328 E 67th St, New York, NY 10065
Join us for one-on-one tutoring sessions! Call or stop by the branch to sign up for one of our help sessions and get a personal tutor at your service! The contact number is 212-734-1717.
 
7/9: Film-Monsieur Beaucaire, 1946
2pm, New York Public Library, 112 E 96th St, New York, NY 10128
Free admission. Adult audience.
 
7/9: Three Ancient Myths and My Annoying Sister
2pm, New York Public Library, 222 E 79th St, New York, NY 10021
A reading presented by Urban Stages for children 6 and older.
 
7/11: Volunteer Gardening
9:30am-12:30pm, Carl Schurz Park Conservancy, 86th St Mall at East End Avenue
Join your neighbors and pitch in! The Carl Schurz Park Volunteer Gardeners are an adult group that meets monthly to work in the park.

7/12: : Shred-A-Thon 
First Avenue between 94th & 95th Streets, 11am-2pm
NO cardboard or handled shopping bags.
And please do remove paper clips and spiral bindings. 
NO HARDCOVER BOOKS. (Paperbacks accepted.)

7/14: On the Terrace: Sketch and Sip-Landscape
6pm-7:30pm, Museum of the City of New York, 1220 5th Ave, New York, NY 10029
Put pencil to paper and relax with drinks on our elegant Fifth Avenue terrace, overlooking the Central Park Conservatory Gardens. 
Simon Levenson, professional artist and instructor of last year's popular sold-out series, will guide you through the techniques of sketching. To register please visit http://www.mcny.org/event/terrace-sketch-and-sip-0
 
7/14: “Everything is Sculpture:” Isamu Noguchi
6:30pm, Museum of the City of New York, 1220 5th Ave, New York, NY 10029
Join Isamu Noguchi scholar Deborah Goldberg and curator Dakin Hart of The Noguchi Museum in Long Island City (opened by the artist in 1985) to explore the career of this legendary New York-based artist and designer. To register please visit http://www.mcny.org/event/everything-sculpture-isamu-noguchi-new-york
 
7/15: Game On
4pm, New York Public Library, 1465 York Ave, New York, NY 10075
Got the gaming moves? Show off your skills with the controller and challenge your friends to a game in the library. Take part in our tournaments! For teens 13-18.
 
7/15: Toddler Time
11am, 11:30am, and 11:45am, New York Public Library, 1465 York Ave, New York, NY 10075
Toddlers from birth to 3 years enjoy interactive stories, action songs, fingerplays, and spend time with other toddlers in the neighborhood. There is a limit of 15 children and their caregivers. First come first serve.
 
7/16: Film-Never Say Die, 1939
2pm, New York Public Library, 112 E 96th St, New York, NY 10128
Free admission. Adult audience.

7/18: Sunset Summer Salsa
4pm-7pm1 FDR Four Freedoms Park, Roosevelt Island, NY 10044
Rodney Lopez will teach the audience salsa, Cuban, and timba from 4-5pm. Ola Fresca will perform Latin, Cuban, and salsa music. Free.

7/22: Summer Sounds
7pm-8:30pm, Carl Schurz Park, John Finley Walk, E 86th St Mall
Swingtime Big Band. Bring a picnic! Limited seating available.
 
7/22: Uptown Bounce: The Kick-Off
6pm-9pm, Museum of the City of New York, 1220 5th Ave, New York, NY 10029
Join the City Museum and El Museo del Barrio for the kick-off event in our Uptown Bounce summer series—featuring music, gallery talks, art workshops, breakdancing, summer drinks, and local food. To register please visit http://www.mcny.org/bounce
 
7/23: Film-Road to Zanzibar, 1941
2pm, New York Public Library, 112 E 96th St, New York, NY 10128
Free admission. Adult audience.
 
7/25: New York Opera
2pm-4:30pm, New York Public Library, 112 E 96th St, New York, NY 10128
New York Opera Forum performs the complete opera of MARIA STUARDA by GAETANO DONIZETTI. A live musical recital performed in concert with piano accompaniment. Free admission.
 
7/27: Dylan Goes Electric!
6:30pm, Museum of the City of New York, 1220 5th Ave, New York, NY 10029
Fifty years ago this month, Bob Dylan "went electric" at the Newport Folk Festival, startling the audience and setting off a firestorm in the music industry. Join a panel of Dylan experts to reflect on Dylan's transformation in New York and Newport during the tumultuous 1960s. To register please http://www.mcny.org/event/dylan-goes-electric-new-york-newport
 
 
7/28: Sunset Film Festival
8:30pm, Hockey/Basketball court in the Carl Schurz Park
A screening of the movie “Frozen” with free popcorn and snow cones, first come first serve. Limited seating available.
 
7/30: Film-Road to Utopia, 1945
2pm, New York Public Library, 112 E 96th St, New York, NY 10128
Free admission. Adult audience.
 
7/30: How Rand Connected the Dots
6:30pm, Museum of the City of New York, 1220 5th Ave, New York, NY 10029
Join a distinguished panel of speakers as they discuss how Paul Rand revolutionized the American design scene of the 1930s with the influences of avant-garde art, architecture, and theory. To register please visit http://www.mcny.org/event/how-rand-connected-dots
 
Tree Census

The 2015 Tree Count has been announced by the New York City Parks Department, and you can protect NYC greenery by signing up to help. To assist counting trees in parts of the East Side, you can contact community groups Upper Green Side or Friends of the East River Esplanade at uppergreensideatgmail [dot] com or 212-759-6895.