June News

This month we fought and won some big and small victories. None of these victories could have happened without a strong partnership between the community and my office. What we can accomplish working together represents so much more than what I can accomplish alone. 

I worked with the Sutton Area Community organized around stopping a 900 story superscraper and won a resolution in support from Community Board 6; fought alongside parents on Roosevelt Island in a citywide coalition to restore funding for summer programs for thousands of children; and saw Zero Waste adopted in the City's long term plan, something I have advocated for with the community since before my election. Zero Waste will make the already obsolete garbage dump even more so when we send no trash to landfills in 2030. None of these fights are over, but together we can win.

Will you join the fight? Meet me for First Friday, lead the change at Policy Night, or organize neighbors for Ben in Your Building, so we can mobilize for victory!

Have a happy, healthy June.


Ben Kallos

Table of Contents
1. Fighting Superscrapers
2. Fighting the Marine Transfer Station
3. Winning Back Funding for Summer Youth Programs
4. Pesticides in Parks
5. Fighting Child Hunger: Lunch for Learning and Breakfast After The Bell
6. Crossing Guards and School Safety Agents
7. Debate Tournament at Julia Richman Educational Complex
8. Roosevelt Island Law Enforcement Explorers
9. Roosevelt Island Town Hall and Restoring Funds
10. Shop Second Avenue
11. Construction at 89th and 1st
12. Fighting Identity Theft
13. Preserving Landmarks
14. Cyber Bullying
15. Fourth of July Fireworks
16. UES Historic Districts Scavenger Hunt
17. Jewish Heritage Month
18. NY Cares Day of Service
19. Street Fairs
20. Adopt-A-Planter
Affordable Housing
21. Calling for a Rent Freeze in 2015
22. Rally to Strengthen Rent Laws
23. 5% Reduction in Street Homelessness
24. $33 Million for NYCHA In District
25. Vision Zero: Year One
26. Safe Biking
27. Citi Bike Locations
Upgrading Government
28. Internet Week
29. Getting Money out of Politics
30. GovTech Profiles
31. $70 million Broadband Pledge
32. Transparency Commission
33. Civic Hall Law Day
Office Updates
34. Summer Reading Challenge
35. SUNY Albany Communications Department Commencement
36. Honoring The Nation for 150 Years
37. Celebrating the Arts with the Tank
38. Central Park Medical Unit New Ambulances
39. Celebrate Israel
40. In the Neighborhood
41. Summer Internship with New Hours Available
42. Here to Help
43. Ben in Your Building
44. Legislative Corner
Community Resources
45. Affordable Housing
46. Bike New York
47. Free Assistance with Life-Planning Documents
48. New York Council for the Humanities Reading & Discussion Program
49. Tree Census
50. City Council Events
51. Community Events

Fighting Superscrapers

I have been leading the community in a big fight against a 900-foot luxury megatower that could be coming to Sutton Place. Our Town covered the fight in an article entitled “Drawing a Line at Sutton Place.” 

The article states:

"Kallos said just because a development is as of right does not mean the community cannot push back against a project they’re opposed to. A zoning change by City Planning would trump a developer’s right to build as large as they want in an R10 area."

We acted fast. Around April 1, I found out about the project and thought it was a bad April Fools joke. When I realized it wasn't, I shared it with Our Town, where the information appeared on April 7. That same month, on April 21, I published an opinion editorial opposing the luxury megatower trend that blocks light and air for our communities. On May 6, a resolution passed the land use committee of CB6, and on May 13, the resolution passed the full board. Then it was sent to Department of City Planning for consideration.

I will be meeting 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 are interested. 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

Fighting the Marine Transfer Station

Zero Waste

I have long advocated for our city to aim for zero waste and  was pleased when the Mayor announced that zero waste was in his OneNYC plan, a series of policy goals for a better city. However, this laudable goal is completely at odds with building costly Marine Transfer Stations that will soon become obsolete under the plan.

The Daily News covered a recent letter I sent to the Mayor along with a citywide coalition including Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, State Senator Liz Krueger, Assembly Member William Colton, Assembly Member Rebecca Seawright, Council Member Dan Garodnick and Council Member Mark Treyger, requesting that he stop building Marine Transfer Stations in residential neighborhoods and instead focus his efforts on achieving the zero waste goal.

Move the Ramp 

 I joined Asphalt Green for a Zumba class in front of City Hall, where we called on Mayor Bill de Blasio to move the ramp. In response to my questioning, the administration has said that a decision on the ramp is expected shortly. Regardless of the placement of the ramp, this is still the wrong place for a garbage dump and I will continue to fight.

To join the fight, please sign up at BenKallos.com/MTS

Winning Back Funding for Summer Youth Programs

After the Mayor pulled funding from summer programs including the Roosevelt Island Beacon program and the Stanley Isaacs SONYC Program, I mobilized quickly to request from Mayor de Blasio and the Department of Youth and Community Development that the funding be restored. I joined with Council Member Mathieu Eugene, Chair of the Committee on Youth Services, and 29 other members to call on the Mayor to reverse the decision, as covered in the Daily News, joined an education hearing on the issue, and rallied at City Hall to protect the programs.

Our efforts were a success! You can read about it in the New York Times and the Roosevelt Islander. Roosevelt Island and East Side families can rest easy knowing that the beacon program will be fully funded this year. Without these funds, 124 students who had already been accepted into the Roosevelt Island program alone would have been turned away. I will always fight for the you and your families to have low-cost, high-quality summer activities.


Pesticides in Parks

“No toxic pesticides! Use only natural pesticides!”

That was the chant from PS 290 First Grade and Kindergarten classes. Under the guidance of teacher Paula Rogovin, the students have been advocating to do away with harmful synthetic pesticides in city parks, and replace them instead with EPA-preferred natural pesticides. You will not want to miss this video to see how great our public schools are and the passion of our young activists. You can also read our press release or see coverage on WFUV and NY Environment Report.

Fighting Child Hunger: Lunch for Learning and Breakfast After The Bell 

One in four New York City children is food insecure, and efforts are underway to change that in schools. Last year, $6.25 million was allocated for a pilot program providing school lunches for free to 170,000 middle school students.  It has been a success, increasing participation by 10,000 middle school children. This year, the program should expand to all 1.1 million public school students to eliminate the stigma associated with being on free or reduced lunch and increase participation rates. This budget season, I join Public Advocate Letitia James in calling on the Mayor to expand the budget for free school lunch.

As covered in the Wall Street Journal, I introduced legislation requiring schools to report on their school breakfast use rates and efforts, which would get us one step forward in our fight to get universal breakfast after the bell. Only 35% of students who eat free school lunch also eat school breakfast. This program must also be funded in our city budget. At the education committee budget hearing, I asked the Chancellor tough questions about the low participation rates for free student meals.

If you agree, please join the social media campaign letting me know why you think there should be no stigma at any school with the hashtag #lunch4learning. You can hold a sign like I am doing on the right, pictured with my Communications Director Sarah, my Legislative Director Paul and my Scheduler and Community Liaison Taylor.

Crossing Guards and School Safety Agents

All students should be safe during the school day. I am strongly advocating for the budget to include additional funds for school crossing guards to keep our children safe. 

Additionally, I am a co-sponsor on Intro 65, which allows any school to request and receive a School Safety Agent. Families must feel confident that when they drop their children off at school, he or she will be cared for.

Debate Tournament at Julia Richman Educational Complex

Children across the City came to participate in the New York City Urban Debate League’s Kallos Debates all day on May 31 at the Julia Richman Educational Complex. This tournament was a great introduction to debate across the city and for schools in our community. To learn more or explore bringing debate to your school, please visit the Urban Debate League's website, debate.nyc


Roosevelt Island Law Enforcement Explorers 

After a 20-year-old was shot in the abdomen on April 25 in the Roosevelt Landings Complex, stakeholders came together to find a safe and productive outlet for young Roosevelt Islanders. Together, the 114th Precinct, The Public Safety Department and my office determined that The Law Enforcement Explorers Program would be a great community outlet. A May 27 event at Good Shepherd Center, co-sponsored by Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, State Senator Jose Serrano, Assembly Member Rebecca Seawright, the 114th Precinct, RIOC, the Roosevelt Island Residents Association Public Service Committee and the Public Safety Department, introduced young people to the program and helped sign them up. Read more in The Main Street Wire and The Roosevelt Islander. Please contact our office if you are interested in signing up.

Roosevelt Island Town Hall and Restoring Funds

I sent a letter to the Authorities Budget Office of NY State together with State Senator Jose Serrano and Assembly Member Rebecca Seawright requesting that they restore the Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation's public purpose funds, which are important resources for the community. After an investigation, they determined that they would restore the funds. At a Town Hall event on Roosevelt Island, we announced the restoration of the funds. I also discussed participatory budgeting results and the $500,000 won by PS/IS 217, the progress on the Roosevelt Island ferry, the Law Enforcement Explorers program, the summer youth funding cuts and the fight against superscrapers. You can watch the video on the Roosevelt Islander

Shop Second Avenue

Shop Second Avenue? Now there's an "App for That!" When the Second Avenue Subway starts it will bring in new prosperity, but until then it is up to us to shop small businesses suffering along the Second Avenue Subway construction. As a software developer, it was my pleasure to fund $10,000 for an app to help businesses along Second Avenue market locally and grow.

As Chief of Staff to Jonathan Bing in 2007, I helped launch the Shop 2nd Ave campaign to support small businesses in our area. Now, as Council Member, it is up to us to ensure they remain here, to benefit from the economic prosperity that will come with the completion of the Second Avenue Subway in December 2016.

Thank you to Council Member Dan Garodnick for also investing in the app and Nancy Ploeger of the Manhattan Chamber of Commerce for her leadership and partnership with city government to support small business. To find it, search for "2nd ave shopper" in the app store.

Construction at 89th and 1st 

No one should have to be disturbed by loud construction at all hours, but that is just what’s happening at 89th and 1st.  As covered in DNAInfo, I wrote a letter to the Department of Buildings demanding that they limit hours of construction and am currently in talks with them. Indeed, construction noise is a major problem throughout the district. Therefore, I am looking into legislative options to limit the After Hours Variances that can greatly affect quality of life. 

Fighting Identity Theft

On May 5, we partnered with Attorney General Eric Schneiderman's office on preventing identity theft and what to do if you feel you have been scammed. Assistant Attorney General In Charge, Gary Brown, presented. The event was co-sponsored by Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, State Senator Liz Krueger, Assembly Members Dan Quart and Rebecca Seawright and Council Member Dan Garodnick. If you were unable to attend, you can visit the Attorney General's site to learn more about fighting identity theft.

Preserving Landmarks

When the city tried to eliminate nearly 100 landmarks from consideration, I joined preservation advocacy groups such as Historic Districts Council and Friends of the Upper East Side Historic Districts to fight back. I recently submitted comment to the Landmarks Preservation Commission urging them not to cut our historic landmarks. You can read more in Our Town.

Cyber Bullying
Cyber Bullying is never acceptable, and it can happen at any age. My office held a forum for seniors on protecting oneself against cyber bullying at Stanley Isaacs Senior Center on May 4, co-sponsored with Older Adults Technology Services. 

Fourth of July Fireworks

Macy's Fourth of July fireworks will be over the East River this year, meaning many more residents in Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens will be able to view them. One great viewing spot? Roosevelt Island! Read more in the press release.

UES Historic Districts Scavenger Hunt

On May 9, the Yorkville Scavenger Hunt drew a big crowd. For so many participants, the chance to celebrate and learn more about our historic neighborhood was a thrill. I am proud to support Friend of the Upper East Side Historic Districts in their important work.

Jewish Heritage Month

Dr. Ruth joined us at City Hall to celebrate Jewish Heritage in an event I co-sponsored with Speaker Melissa Mark Viverito and other colleagues. This was one of many great events celebrating the diverse heritage of our city each year.

NY Cares Day of Service

The teenage volunteers at NY Cares spent their Day of Service at the 67th Street Library Branch, a gem of the community. I joined for the great activities run by the volunteers. This day demonstrated the special and giving qualities of our community. Thanks to all who participated.

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. Last weekend, we went to the Third Avenue Street fair. If you know of or are putting on a street fair and would like my office to attend, please contact us. 


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.

Affordable Housing

Calling for a Rent Freeze in 2015

This year, I have been advocating that the Rent Guidelines pass a rent freeze on rent-regulated or stabilized units. For too long, the balance has been in favor of landlords, even as wages have stagnated. Now, it is time for tenants to have a fair shot. This year, that means a rent freeze or even a rent rollback for struggling New Yorkers.

Rally to Strengthen Rent Laws

I stood with tenants at a rally to tell Albany that they MUST renew and strengthen our city’s rent laws. Millions of units for low- and middle-income New Yorkers would be threatened if Albany lawmakers did not renew the regulations governing rental units. We sent a clear message to Albany: New York City’s tenants need strong rent laws.

5% Reduction in Street Homelessness

Great news: According to the annual HOPE (Homeless Outreach Population Estimate) count, street homelessness is down by 5%!

It was my pleasure to participate in the annual HOPE count, an all-night event where we canvassed neighborhoods to determine the number of homeless New Yorkers sleeping outside, so the Department of Homeless Services can help them find shelter and administer services. To read more about how you can help the homeless, please have a look at my opinion editorial in Our Town.

$33 Million for NYCHA In District

NYCHA Centers across the city are receiving a total of $3 billion in federal funds to make Hurricane Sandy repairs and fortify against the next storm, including $33 million coming to Stanley Isaacs. I worked to identify funds coming from FEMA at a recent oversight hearing. Thanks to NYCHA Manhattan South and Stanley Isaacs Tenants Association Ms. Rose Bergin and Property Manager Mr. Diaz for their diligent efforts to help plan for the funds. There will be union jobs opening to NYCHA residents, with a priority on local hiring, to complete the repairs. Please contact my office if you are interested in applying.


Vision Zero: Year One 

In the first year of Vision Zero, pedestrian deaths were reduced from 180 to 138—the safest in our city’s history. The City Council passed, and I voted for, a series of laws in support of Vision Zero, including lowering the Speed Limit to 25. Here on the East Side, a traffic report I authored on dangerous intersections contributed to the Department of Transportation’s Pedestrian Safety Action Plan. We have made enormous progress, and we must continue until no pedestrians die in city streets. 

Safe Biking: Bike To Work, Tours and Commercial Cycling Safety

The 5-Boro Bike Tour is a great way to get exercise and see the city. I had a great time taking part in the event this year with colleagues such as Council Member and Transportation Committee Chair Ydanis Rodriguez, Council Member Antonio Reynoso and Department of Transportation Commissioner Polly Trottenberg. Later in the month, I also joined colleagues for “Bike to Work Day,” in celebration of the environmentally friendly commute. I had a great day celebrating Bike New York's excellent programs on Roosevelt Island. Thanks to every member of the community that I spoke with on the wonderful day. I look forward to working more with Bike New York to promote safe cycling. If you missed it, please have a look at my opinion editorial on safer commercial cycling from last year. I am committed to ensuring all pedestrians, cyclists and drivers can get where they are going safely.  

Citi Bike Locations

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.

Upgrading Government

Internet Week

Internet Week in New York City brings together a bright and enthusiastic crowd to discuss the future of our wired city. I participated in two panels, one on eGovernment with Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, and one on programming civic tech tools with the GovLab’s Chief Innovation Officer Arnaud Sahuguet. Check out the video of the egovernment talk.

Getting Money out of Politics

As covered in Gotham Gazette, I introduced a resolution to amend the constitution to limit spending on political campaigns, bringing New York City into the nationwide movement to stop the unrestrained flood of money into politics. Ever since Citizens United v FEC and McCutcheon v FEC, there has been a huge rise in campaign spending—increasing the clout of special interests and raising the barrier to participation for regular citizens. It is time to change that.

GovTech Profiles

GovTech profiled some of the ways I am trying to upgrade government to make it more transparent, open and technologically savvy. From implementing transparency laws that were already passed to posting legislation online, I am proud to be one of the New York City leaders helping to set the example when it comes to digitally engaged local government.  GovTech also covered the organization I chair, the Free Law Founders, and the strides we are making towards more open cities. 

$70 million Broadband Pledge

Mayor de Blasio committed to invest $70 million to ensure our lowest-income New Yorkers have access to broadband. Ensuring everyone in our city has access to the world’s library of knowledge is deeply important. You can read my statement in support.

Transparency Commission

The Commission on Public Information and Communication was recently re-launched by Public Advocate Letitia James. It was an honor to have been appointed by my colleagues to represent the City Council on the Commission, whose aim is to improve transparency across city agencies.

Civic Hall Law Day

Laws belong to the people. This simple principle was recognized and celebrated at Civic Hall last month, bringing together New Yorkers of all kinds to champion the freedom of law. Whether it is making all of our laws accessible for free online or opening up city notices to the public, I will keep working to make sure you have full access to public information. 

Office Updates

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. 

SUNY Albany Communications Department Commencement

I returned to my alma mater to deliver the commencement to the Communications Department graduates at SUNY Albany. Seeing a crowd of bright, energetic young people ready to create change in the world was inspiring. You can read my remarks from the event.

Honoring The Nation for 150 Years

The Nation Magazine has been a voice outside of the mainstream for 150 years. It was my honor to present a city proclamation to The Nation and its current editor, Katrina vanden Heuvel, for excellence and social justice. I presented alongside Congress Member Jerry Nadler, State Senator Gustavo Rivera, Assembly Member Richard Gottfried and Council Member Brad Lander. You can read the full proclamation on TheNation.com.

Celebrating the Arts with the Tank

Arts deserve recognition and celebration. With the Tank, a nonprofit supporting the arts and artists here in New York City, it was a pleasure to honor Lucy Alibar, author of Beasts of the Southern Wild, and chashama, which provides affordable art spaces to nourish creativity, with an official city proclamation for their incredible work. 

Central Park Medical Unit New Ambulances

Two life-saving ambulances from the Central Park Medical Unit, an all-volunteer ambulance service providing emergency assistance throughout Central Park, were lost in a garage fire. I joined the dedication of two new ambulances--a special height so they can serve Central Park specifically--that will protect and save many more New Yorkers. 

Celebrate Israel

Each year, the Celebrate Israel Parade is a highlight. I have been marching since I was a yeshiva student at Park East Day School and with my synagogue, and now I continue to march as a member of the New York City Council. I was proud to celebrate Israel, as always.

In the Neighborhood

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

CB6, CB8, CB11, 19th Precinct, Holmes Towers Tenants Association, Stanley Isaac's Tenants Association, East 79th Street Neighborhood Association, the UES Historic District Scavenger Hunt, Carnegie Hill Neighbors Annual Spring Benefit, the Spring Benefit for Friends of the East River Esplanade, NDI’s In-School Program at PS 183, 92Y Annual Gala, and many co-op boards and shareholders meetings. 

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 Internship with New Hours Available

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. If you or someone you know is interested in applying to an internship with my government office, please email internshipatbenkallos [dot] com (internshipatbenkallos [dot] com) with a resume and cover letter. Visit BenKallos.com/fellowship to learn more.

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.

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) in order to schedule a "Ben in Your Building" event.

Legislative Corner

This month, I cosponsored two bills that are now law:
Local Law 2015/040, introduced by Council Member Ferreras-Copeland, improves the Department of Finance’s (DOF) efforts in addressing landlord and tenant questions on the Senior Citizen Rent Increase Exemption (SCRIE) program by creating a central position in the department to coordinate inquiries and oversee the training of staff. Our seniors deserve a department that responds to questions about SCRIE promptly and comprehensively, and this bill will greatly improve the department’s performance.

Local Law 2015/041, introduced by Council Member Torres, creates a ride sharing program for the City’s fleet of vehicles and mandates reductions in the overall fleet. This bill saves taxpayer money by reducing the number of vehicles the City purchases and cuts down on the space required to park vehicles when not in use.

Community Resources

Affordable Housing

Looking for an affordable apartment? Visit NYC Housing Connect and sign up to receive information on affordable housing units accepting applications, including 235 units at West 42nd Street.

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.

Free Assistance with Life-Planning Documents 

Volunteers of Legal Service is offering assistance to Manhattan seniors of modest means with the preparation of life-planning documents, including wills, powers of attorney, and medical advance directives. Please contact our office to learn more.

New York Council for the Humanities Reading & Discussion Program

The New York Council for the Humanities is currently accepting applications for their Reading & Discussion Programs for Adults, which seek to bring together community members for critical discussion of texts on a variety of themes. Tax-exempt organizations are encouraged to apply to host a program in which participants will discuss texts focusing on one of seven themes, over the course of four to six sessions. Before applying, one must also select a scholar-facilitator, who will guide the discussion. Learn more here, applications are due on June 12 for the Fall 2015 program. 

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.

City Council Events

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

6/5: First Friday
8am-10am, First Friday of the Month, District Office at 244 East 93rd St.
Please join me for my next First Friday event. This is a chance for me to meet you in person to discuss what's important to you and how to make our neighborhood a better place to live. Please 
RSVP online or call 212-860-1950. I look forward to seeing you there.

6/9: Policy Night 
6:00-7:00pm, 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.

6/16 and 6/17: Council Member Ben Kallos' Upper East Side Public School Art Show
On View: 10a.m.-5:00p.m. both days, Sotheby's, 1334 York Avenue
Recognition Ceremony 6:00p.m.-7:00p.m.

Come see student art and celebrate our creative public schools. Each school can submit up to 50 pieces of 2-D artwork. All artwork must be framed or mounted on posterboard. Schools must drop off the art at the Robert Louis Stevenson School at 419 E 66th St (drop off at 67th Street gym), June 10 & 11, 8-9 a.m. and 3-4 p.m. RSVP online.

6/28: Pride Parade
Step Off: 12 p.m., Begins at 36th St. & Fifth Ave., Ends at Christopher & Greenwich Streets
Would you like to march with me and my office at the annual pride parade? Please contact scheduleratBenKallos [dot] com to join us!

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

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
Every Thursday, 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!

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.

Community Events

6/1: CIVITAS East River Esplanade Community Education Meeting
6:30pm-8:30pm, Hunter College, 2180 3rd Avenue at 119th Street
Community meeting on Phase III of the CIVITAS East River Esplanade initiative. Mathews Nielsen Landscape Architects will be discussing potential options for a temporary re-opening of Pier 107. CIVITAS will present an update on the CIVITAS, Harbor School/Harbor Foundation collaboration to measure the East Harlem ecological baseline with the goal of predicting aquaculture uplift with a living shoreline. Please RSVP to
infoatcivitasnyc [dot] org or by calling 212-996-0745.

6/1: National Conference of Puerto Rican Women - New York Chapter 2015 Academic Scholarship Deadline
The National Conference of Puerto Rican Women is the only national non-profit organization with chapters in cities across the US dedicated to promoting the full participation of Puerto Rican women and other Latinas in their economic, social and political life in the US and Puerto Rico. Awards will be presented at the Annual NACOPRW-NY Scholarship Awards Gala on Saturday, October 17, 2015. For more information, please visit

6/3: Under the Bus - A Book Talk with Caroline Fredrickson
12pm - 2pm, Brennan Center for Justice, 161 Avenue of the Americas, 12th Floor
Join the Brennan Center for Justice for a book talk with Caroline Fredrickson, President of the American Constitution Society, on her new book Under the Bus: How Working Women Are Being Run Over and the inadequacies of the current legal system in protecting women in the workforce. RSVP here, and contact Mikayla Terrell at mikayla [dot] terrellatnyu [dot] edu or 646-292-8368 with questions. 

6/3: East Harlem Job Expo
10am-5pm, reception 6pm-8pm, Mt. Carmel Event Space, 448 East 116th Street
For more information, please call
347-586-9188 or send a message to eastharlemexpoatgmail [dot] com (eastharlemexpoatgmail [dot] com).

6/4: Democratizing Schools with Participatory Budgeting Free Webinar
To RSVP, please visit

6/4: East 79th Street Neighborhood Association Meeting

6pm, Temple Shaaray Tefila, 250 East 79th Street (2nd Avenue)

19th Precinct Police report on neighborhood safety, including bike, vehicle and pedestrian accident stats; guest speaker: Council Member Dan Garodnick; elected officials/representatives reports and updates; the next meeting will be in September.


6/4: Minnie’s Land Audobon’s Home at 155th Street

6:30pm, Hosteling International, 891 Amsterdam Avenue (103rd Street)

Presentation by Matthew Spady. For more information, please visit here or call 212-666-9774.


6/5: CPR classes on Roosevelt Island

5:00pm-8:00pm, tram and subway areas (at outdoor summer movie nights before sunset, beginning 6/27)

For more information, please contact Sharon Williams at 203-247-6759 or ricprhandsonlyathotmail [dot] com.

6/6, 6/13, 6/20, 6/27: Matinee Movies
12:30pm, Church of the Holy Trinity, 341 East 87th Street
Every Saturday, join Health Advocates for Older People for a matinee movie screening. Learn more at hafop.org
June 6Birdman
June 13Secretariat
June 20Ida
June 27: Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb


6/6: 21st Annual First Avenue Street Fair Festival

12pm-5pm, Between 69th Street and 79th Street along 1st Avenue


6/6 and 6/13: 5th Annual Hamilton Heights-Sugar Hill Cultural Festival and “Pinkster” Marketplace

12pm-6pm, Hamilton Place between 143rd and 142nd Street

Three blocks of children’s activities: art workshop, storytelling, street games, basketball, face painting, pony rides., Recorded music provided by DJ Mike Doelho, Live performances: Marjorie Eliot, Solomon Hicks & Solomon Hicks Band of Brothers, Whitney Marchelle Jackson, Wendy Hilliard Gymnastics Foundation, American Scores, Harlem Swings, Maritri Garrett, Rachel Arac. For more information, please visit here.


6/7, 6/14, 6/21, 6/28: Music in the West Side Community Garden

6pm-7pm, West 89th Street between Columbus and Amsterdam Avenues

6/7: Charles Weaver (Baroque lute); 6/14: Geoff Burke (jazz alto saxophone, quartet); 6/21: Rolf Schlute and Jeanne Ommerle (internationally-known classical violinist and soprano with pianist Jim Winn); 6/28: Lew Tabackin (internationally-known jazz tenor saxophonist, trio).


6/8: Presley and Melody presents Superheroes and Story Songs

3pm, Webster Library, 1465 York Avenue

Interactive musical delivering the performing arts in creative, hands-on musical experiences for kids of all ages. Children become “stars on stage” in this unique and creative concert experience. Original songs are specifically created for each theme and age group attending performance.


6/8: Free Technology Training, Career Development for New York City Young Adults and Internship Opportunities

3pm-4pm, Macaulay Honors College, Lecture Hall, 35 West 67th Street

Learn more about the NPower Technology Service Corps and their application process. To register, please visit here.


6/8: Police Community Relations Dialogue

6pm-8pm, Children’s Aid Society, 103 East 101st Street (between Park and Lexington Avenues)

In response to recent events, the Manhattan Borough President’s Office is continuing our series of dialogues with a forum in East Harlem. The purpose of this meeting is to convene key stakeholders to engage in a structured, solutions-driven discussion with representatives from the youth, civic, faith-based, non-profit, business and law-enforcement sectors of the community. Participants will have the opportunity to voice their concerns, hopes and recommendations in small group discussions facilitated by community and law-enforcement leaders. Please RSVP with Ayisha Irfan at AIrfanatmanhattanbp [dot] nyc [dot] gov or 212-669-8300.

6/8: Meet the Author - Kathleen Connor: Vino, Vino, Vino!
3pm, Church of the Holy Trinity, 341 East 87th Street
Health Advocates for Older People will host a book talk by Kathleen Connor regarding her new book, Vino, Vino, Vino!, about four generations of an Italian-American family. Open to older adults over 60 years of age, please RSVP by calling 212-980-1700. Learn more at hafop.org

6/9: Managing Challenges: Better Balance is Crucial
1:30pm, Church of the Holy Trinity, 341 East 87th Street
Rebecca Woll from Before the Fall will lead a session on fall prevention and exercise to help improve balance, hosted by Health Advocates for Older People. Open to older adults over 60 years of age, please RSVP by calling 212-980-1700. Learn more athafop.org

6/9: Songs and Stories for Summer

3pm, Roosevelt Island Library, 524 Main Street

Summertime! Come and enjoy the very thought of summer - sun, water, picnics, vacations. Join JulieAnn for stories and songs that remind us to find a park or any patch of green and soak up summer while it’s here.


6/12 and 6/13: Demystifying Housing 2015 Conference Sponosored by P.A.L.A.N.T.E.

8am-5pm, Harlem State Office Building, 163 West 125th Street, 8th Floor

RSVP for any or all of the 34 housing workshops (i.e. rent, home ownership, HDFC, NYCHA, Sec. 8, TIL, ANCP, senior housing, Trusts/Wills/Estates) at 212-491-2541 or palanteatpalanteharlem [dot] org or here.


6/12: “Live your Best Life After 60” Panel Event

9am-2pm, St. Peter’s Church, 619 Lexington Avenue

Join us to meet new people, learn something new, and participate in fun and stimulating activities. Continental breakfast and lunch will be served. Space limited. Please RSVP to Lauren O’Neill at 212-218-0481 or loneillatlenoxhill [dot] org.

6/13: Taste of Sutton
Saturday, June 13, 2015, 12:30-3:30pm, 54th Street between 1st and 2nd Avenues
Enjoy a fun day with neighbors and savory tastings from our favorite restaurants! For tickets and more information: 

6/13: Roosevelt Island Day
All Day, Roosevelt Island
Join us for the festivities all day on Roosevelt Island. Every Saturday until Roosevelt Island Day, RIRA will be holding a blood drive at the Farmer's market. Stop by to donate!


6/14-6/21: National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene

Museum of Jewish Heritage, 36 Battery Place

For the first time ever, the major Jewish arts organizations of the world are coming together in New York City for eight days and nights jam-packed with great plays, concerts, films, and lectures to inspire and entertain you. For info and tickets, please visit here.


6/15: Housing/Eviction Prevention Clinic

10am-12pm, 331 East 70th Street

Walk-in clinic for evictions and other landlord/tenant issues, for tenants who live, work, or go to school on Manhattan’s East Side above 59th Street and on Roosevelt Island.


6/15: The Sword in the Stone

4pm, 96th Street Library, 112 East 96th Street

With Merlin’s guidance, young Arthur discovers that he is the only person who can pull an embedded sword from its massive stone pedestal. Recommended for children ages 5 and older. Presented by the Traveling Lantern Theatre Company.


6/16: Summer Garden Concerts at Mount Vernon Hotel Museum & Garden*

6pm, Mount Vernon Hotel Museum & Garden, 421 East 61st Street (Between First and York Avenues)

Listen to an historically-inspired harpsichord performance by Alexandra Dunbar, Artistic Director, Washington Heights Musical Society, while relaxing in the garden. Museum tour and cocktail included. Join as a Museum member and admission is free. $15 Adults, $5 children under 12, Babies under 1 free. For more information, please call 212-838-6878 or visit here.


6/16: MTA Second Avenue Subway Ask the Experts Session

6pm-7:30pm, Temple Israel, 112 East 75th Street

Ask the Experts is an informal session that gives attendees the opportunity to pose questions and raise issues directly to the subject matter experts, who in many cases can provide an answer right there.


6/16, 6/18, and 6/22: SCRIE Clinics

6/16: 331 East 70th Street; 6/18: 343 East 70th Street; 6/22: St. Peter’s Church, 619 Lexington Avenue

Are you 62 years or older? Do you live in a rent-regulated apartment? Is your annual household income $50,000 or less? If so, you may be eligible for SCRIE, which will exempt you from most future rent increases. If you currently have SCRIE, remember that you must recertify for SCRIE every one to two years. To find out if you are eligible, or for assistance applying or recertifying for SCRIE, please call 212-218-0503 to schedule an appointment.


6/18 and 6/25: Wildlife Superheroes

6/18: 4pm, Webster Library, 1465 York Avenue; 6/25: 4pm Yorkville Library, 222 East 79th Street

Have you ever wondered why some of our most popular superheroes are often named after animals? Spiderman, Batman, and Aquaman all share traits with their particular animal namesake whether it be great strength, great stealth, or the ability to live underwater. A visit by a New Canaan Nature Center naturalist will give participants an up close look at several creatures with an array of “super” qualities that makes each a “wildlife superhero” in its own right. Come discover the story behind an assortment of animal ambassadors such as an owl or hawk, chinchilla, White’s Tree Frog, King Snake, lizard, or even a hedgehog. Recommended for audiences age 5 and up.


6/20: Relay for Life Roosevelt Island
10am-1pm, Octagon Field, Main Street, Across from the Fire Station
Visit RelayForLife.org/RooseveltIslandNY for more information on the race.

6/21: Make Music New York

4pm-7pm, Carl Schurz Park, East 86th Street and East End Avenue

Make Music New York is a live, free musical celebration with over 1,300 concerts on streets, sidewalks, and parks across the five boroughs. The Office of the Manhattan Borough President with the Carl Schurz Park Conservancy and the Department of Parks and Recreation has scheduled a concert in Carl Schurz Park. Refreshments are free. For more information, please visit here.


6/23: Summer Garden Concerts at Mount Vernon Hotel Museum & Garden*

6pm, Mount Vernon Hotel Museum & Garden, 421 East 61st Street (Between First and York Avenues)

Enjoy an evening of live tavern tunes with STOUT, combining hearty vocal harmonies and acoustic instruments, while relaxing in the garden. Museum tour and historic cocktail included. Join as a Museum member and admission is free. $15 Adults, $5 Children under 12, Babies under 1 free. For more information, please call 212-838-6878 or visit here.


6/24: New York City Regional Economic Development Council Training Workshop

2pm-4:30pm, New York Genome Center, 101 Avenue of the Americas

These workshops will provide an overview of the New York State Consolidated Funding Application (“CFA”) process, as well as information on how to access $750 million in State economic development funding from agency programs through one’s application for Round V of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo’s Regional Council initiative to stimulate job creation and economic grown. For more information, please visit here and register here.

6/24: Planning & Paying for Long-Term Care
2:30pm, Brick Church, 62 East 92nd Street
Join Health Advocates for Older People for a seminar on advance healthcare planning, led by attorney Martin Petroff. Open to older adults over 60 years of age, please RSVP by calling 212-980-1700. Learn more at hafop.org


6/25: Rhythm and Sound

4 pm, Yorkville Library, 222 East 79th Street

In this interactive workshop, our percussionist brings audience members to the stage to play percussive instruments from around the world. For children ages 4 and older. Presented by Urban Stages.


6/30: Summer Garden Concerts at Mount Vernon Hotel Museum & Garden*

6pm, Mount Vernon Hotel Museum & Garden, 421 East 61st Street (Between First and York Avenues)

Relax in the garden while listening to a live classical violin and cello program by the Turtle Bay Music School Faculty Members Isabel Fairbanks and Hilary Castle. Museum tour and historic cocktail included. Join as a Museum member and admission is free. $15 Adults, $5 Children under 12, Babies under 1 free. For more information, please call 212-838-6878 or visit here.


6/30: Regular Deadline for the FOLCS International Short Film Competition

Have an opinion on the legal system? On what “true justice” means? Is there a court case or a human rights issue you feel passionate about? Nos is your chance to share it through the FOLCS International Short Film Competition, a competition dedicated to filmmakers exploring the matters of law and justice in our society. Films should run no more than 25 minutes. Finalist shorts will be screened at the FOLCS Awards Night during the Annual Forum Film Festival in New York City in fall 2015. Contact erin [dot] bundraatfolcs [dot] org or visit here.