June News: Voter Bill Passed, Anti-Corruption Reforms Advanced, Pre-K Seats Added

 
Friend,
 
With summer on its way, May and June are the time to get things done in the neighborhood and at the City Council. This past month, we passed a bill to give voters all the information they need on their phone or online, which could have helped prevent April's election problems. We held a hearing with oversight of the City's deed restrictions policies that led to the widely scrutinized deals around a nursing home on Rivington Street and a cultural center on St. Nicholas Avenue. And our anti-corruption campaign finance reform legislative package won the critical support of the Mayor.
 
On the local level, we won 90 additional Universal Pre-Kindergarten seats in the district, through partnership with the Department of Education. The Department of Buildings granted a stop work order on the building planned to be the tallest skyscraper on the Upper East Side, following a letter I sent with Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer calling into question its legality. And with the warm weather here, we relaunched our bike safety program with Council Member Dan Garodnick and expanded it to cover all of Community Board 8 and the 17th Precinct in Community Board 6.
 
This month, we will continue the community visioning process for John Finley Walk, hold the second public meeting for the 86th Stereet Business Improvement District --which is rapidly gaining support from local property owners, businesses, and residents -- host a town hall on Roosevelt Island, and inaugurate the summer months by bringing back Cooking with Kallos.
 
I hope I will see you at any of these exciting events, and don't forget: Tomorrow is First Friday! Come to my office between 8AM and 10AM for a conversation with me and your neighbors. And as always, you can also join me for Policy Night, Mobile Hours, Legal Clinics; or I can come to you for "Ben In Your Building" or at your co-op or condo annual meeting.
 
Regards,
 
 
Ben Kallos
Council Member
 
 

SPECIAL EVENTS:

June 7, 6PM
John Finley Walk Visioning

June 8, 8AM - 10AM
86th Street Business Improvement District Public Meeting

June 28, 6:30 PM
Roosevelt Island Town Hall

June 25, 11AM - 1PM
Queensboro Oval Gathering

UPCOMING EVENTS:

June 13 & 28, 10AM - 3PM
Free Legal Assistance

June 25, 10AM
Cooking with Kallos

MONTHLY EVENTS:

June 3, 8AM - 10AM
First Friday

June 14, 6PM
Policy Night

June 23, 6PM
CitiBike Street Skills

Headlines 

  1. Deed Restrictions, Rivington, St. Nicholas and More
  2. Voter Information Portal Passes New York City Council 
  3. Administration Announces Support for Our Campaign Finance Reform Package
  4. Open Budget in New York City Achieved
  5. Building Automatic Benefits
  6. Stop Work Order for the UES’ Tallest Skyscraper
  7. East 86th Street Business Improvement District Holds Initial Public Meeting
  8. More Pre-K Seats for UES and Roosevelt Island

Housing and Preservation

  1. Calling for a Rent Rollback
  2. Rallying to Stop Superscrapers
  3. Working to Restore Gas at Yorkshire Towers
  4. Historic Districts Council Grassroots Preservation Award

Transportation, Parks and the Environment 

  1. Bike Safety Program Expands
  2. Community Board 8 Bike Lanes Vote
  3. Bike Month: Free Helmet Giveaway, Bike to Work Day, 5 Boro Bike Tour and More
  4. Free Reusable Bags to Prepare for Single-Use Bag Reduction Law
  5. CB8 Speaks: The Queensboro Oval
  6. Making the Most of Our Waterfront
  7. Support Our Conservancies

Health and Nutrition

  1. School Food
  2. Health Policy Colloquium
  3. Funding the Emergency Food Assistance Program

Governmental Operations and Technology

  1. Nearly Half Billion Dollars in Savings 
  2. Seminar on Ethics in Politics
  3. A Digital Playbook for NYC
  4. Open Summit
  5. Attend PDF 2016

Community

  1. Roosevelt Island Town Hall
  2. East 72nd Street Neighborhood Association
  3. 40th Anniversary of Roosevelt Island Tram
  4. Cooking with Kallos
  5. New Commanding Officers at the 19th and 17th Precincts
  6. Fighting for Building Service Workers at The Hamilton
  7. Light Up Literacy Culminating Event 
  8. Crane Safety
  9. Criminal Justice Reform Act
  10. CKJ Shabbat
  11. Summer Youth Programs
  12. Asphalt Green Big Swim
  13. The Tank
  14. Thai Ministry of Finance
  15. Join me for Street Fairs and Parades this Summer

Office Updates

  1. Summer Reading Challenge
  2. Join Coro’s Immigrant Civic Leadership Program
  3. In the Neighborhood
  4. Legislative Corner
  5. Legal Clinics
  6. Here to Help
  7. Mobile District Hours
  8. Ben in Your Building
  9. City Council Events
  10. Community Events
  11. Community Resources

TOP HEADLINES

Deed Restrictions, Rivington, St. Nicholas and More

 

 

 

 

 

 

Recent reports relating to the lifting of deed restrictions at a nursing home on Rivington Street and a cultural center on St. Nicholas Avenue have brought attention to the Department of Citywide Administrative Services (“DCAS”), a little known agency recently covered in WSJ, which I oversee as Chair of the Committee on Governmental Operations. CBS2 News’ Marcia Kramer and the Wall Street Journal covered the Executive Budget hearing that I co-chaired with Finance Chair Julissa Ferreras-Copeland in which I pushed DCAS to “come clean” and was shocked to learn that there were 13 or 14 more deed restriction alterations in the pipeline that had been put on hold. Watch on CBS2.

To bring more transparency to the deed restriction process, I joined Borough President Gale Brewer and Council Member Margaret Chin in introducing a bill that would require the City to publicly report on these deals before they are final. And as the New York Post reported, we also restated that the City must share with the public the documents that led to the Rivington decision. This month I plan to hold another hearing, this time specifically dedicated to deed restrictions and to getting answers on both deals. Read more about our bill in the Daily News.

Voter Information Portal Passes New York City Council 

Just weeks after more than 120,000 voters in Brooklyn were reportedly disenfranchised in April’s Presidential primary, the City Council passed the Voter Information Portal (VIP) bill I authored. If it had been law at the time of the Primary, the portal could have prevented most of the problems that occurred by providing voters with the information they needed to know online and on their phones. This legislation will also allow voters to verify that their votes were counted after an election.

 The Voter Information Portal (“VIP”) will improve voter engagement and prevent disenfranchisement by giving residents the ability to:

  • Verify registration, eligibility, party affiliation, and voting history;
  • Learn what is in on the ballot and where to vote;
  • Subscribe and manage electronic alerts for upcoming deadlines;
  • Update registration information online; and
  • Track an absentee ballot from request to receipt.

If you want to learn more about this bill, as well as two resolutions we also passed calling on the state legislature to pass new voting laws, read our press release.

I also held a hearing as Chair of the Committee on Governmental Operations, covered in the Gotham Gazette, where we discussed the Board of Elections’ budget and what needs to change to avoid election problems like this one in the future. Before the election, I had previously warned that the Board’s budget for this coming fiscal year is set too low. Did you have difficulty voting?

Administration Announces Support for Our Campaign Finance Reform Package

The New York Daily News and the New York Post reported that the de Blasio Administration has come out in support of the Campaign Finance Reform legislative package that I introduced late last year. This legislative reform package was recommended by the New York City Campaign Finance Board in its 2013 Post-Election Report and is designed to protect New York City’s highly successful small-dollar matching campaign finance system from an onslaught of dark money and special interests in City elections by broadening the "doing business" definitions to include the owners of companies and no longer matching funds they bundle, as well as providing early determinations and payments of public matching funds.

By enacting these reforms, we would strengthen the voice of the people over corporate interests in our City’s elections by improving a campaign finance system that matches small dollar contributions with public dollars. Do you support these legislative reforms?

Open Budget in New York City Achieved 

New York City’s $82 billion budget is now “open” and available for everyone to download as a spreadsheet and review, as covered by Politico earlier this month. Not too long after I introduced legislation with Finance Chair Julissa Ferreras-Copeland calling on the City to publish 

a detailed machine and human readable version of budget online, Mayor de Blasio 

and the Office of Management and Budget announced that it had come true. Thanks to Speaker Melissa Mark Viverito and Finance Chair Julissa Ferreras-Copeland for their partnership in advocating for an Open Budget and Mayor de Blasio for making it a priority and now a reality. You can learn more in our joint release. To view the City’s budget, visit the Open Data Portal

Building Automatic Benefits

Last summer, The New York Times covered Automatic Benefits legislation that I introduced to close the gap between New Yorkers who are eligible for benefits like SNAP and those who actually receive them, after seeing so many constituents encounter difficulties with the enrollment and re-application processes. As we continue to push this important legislation forward, I have also been working on many fronts to develop technological, policy, and community-based solutions to this problem.

Now you can help build the future by joining a free course currently being offered at NYU Tandon School of Engineering’s GovLab that I will coach with Beth Noveck, an alumna of the Obama Administration who wrote the White House Open Government policy and is the Co-Founder and Director of GovLab and its MacArthur Research Network on Opening Governance. The legislation I introduced if adopted into law will help fix some of the problems around automatic benefits. Learn more or sign up for the class: http://govlabacademy.org/innovations-in-automatic-benefits-for-citizens-detail.html

Stop Work Order for the UES’ Tallest Skyscraper

The New York Times reported that the Department of Buildings issued a stop work order for 180 East 88th Street which, at 521 feet, was planned to be the tallest building north of 72nd Street. The

stop work order followed coverage in the Times of a letter I sent the previous week with Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, arguing the building violated the law.


Developer Ordered to Stop Work on Upper East Side Luxury Apartment Tower
By J. David Goodman, May 25 2016

Councilman Ben Kallos and the Manhattan borough president, Gale A. Brewer, who are Democrats and who sent a letter to the city last week flagging the zoning irregularities at the building site and requesting a stop-work order, praised the city’s decision. “I am glad we won before it was too late,” Mr. Kallos said.

This stop work order is a rare victory for residents in the battle against developers and skyscrapers. Thank you to Community Board 8 ManhattanCarnegie Hill NeighborsFRIENDS of the Upper East Side Historic Districts, and George M. Janes & Associates for their partnership on this precedent-setting victory. Learn more in the New York Times, my letter with Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, or from our press releases, and join us by signing the petition to stop superscrapers: benkallos.com/petition/stopsuperscrapers

East 86th Street Business Improvement District Holds Initial Public Meeting 

In May, we held our first public informational meeting for the Business Improvement District (BID) surrounding East 86th Street to clean up the neighborhood. The first public meeting open to all was a success with attendance by local property owners, store owners, and residents. The BID is the only sustainable solution for the trash created by more than 20.7 million visitors to the corridor each year. 

The BID would provide funds to supplement public services such as trash pickup, street sweeping, and homeless outreach. You can help support the BID by getting commercial property owners to complete a statement of support at BenKallos.com/BID/support

Last month, we announced twice a day trash can pick-up by the City in response to a request I made of Sanitation Department Commissioner Kathryn Garcia. In the last weeks the twice a day trash pickup has improved the cleanliness situation on the commercial corridor. However, with complaints continuing, we need a BID to supplement city services and provide a sustainable solution to improve East 86th Street. 

Join us at our next public meeting for the Business Improvement District:
Wednesday, June 8, 2016, 8AM - 10 AM
Shake Shack, 154 East 86th Street
RSVP

More Pre-K Seats for UES and Roosevelt Island 

Ninety more four year olds will have free pre-kindergarten seats on the Upper East Side and Roosevelt Island, as covered by DNAinfo. We have been working together with parents to identify new providers to open Universal Pre-Kindergarten (UPK) classrooms

 to meet our district’s need, following reporting by WNYC in 2014 that Yorkville, Lenox Hill, and Roosevelt Island had 2,118 four year olds and only 123 Pre-Kindergarten seats. We have worked with community coalitions like the Roosevelt Island Parents Network as well as the Department of Education to identify parents with four year olds who pledged to send their children to UPK and with schools and providers to become UPK locations.

During this year’s round of budget hearings, I continued to call on the Administration to provide more school seats in the district. At the last hearing, the Department of Education told us that more than 2,500 parents in my district applied for only 515 seats, but asserted that the Upper East Side has no need for additional school seats. The Department of Education (DOE) has identified a need for 82,811 new seats citywide. However, only 44,348 new seats are funded, unchanged from last year. We need to set our goals higher citywide, and on the East Side, that starts with UPK.

Of the 90 new seats, 54 will be at the Roosevelt Island Day Nursery and 36 seats will be at the Manhattan Schoolhouse on the Upper East Side. These new seats bring the total number of UPK seats to 515 and represent a 20% increase over the 425 seats offered on the Upper East Side and Roosevelt Island for the school year starting in September of 2016. The work is not finished. If you are in need of a Universal Pre-K seat please email upkatbenkallos [dot] com

HOUSING AND PRESERVATION

Calling for a Rent Rollback

A lively scene was captured by DNAinfo at a preliminary vote of the Rent Guidelines Board on May 3, 2016, as I joined over a hundred protesters calling on for a rent roll back for all rent stabilized apartments. The Board ultimately voted 5-4 to consider rent increases on one-year leases between 0 and 2 percent, though it could still enact a rent rollback in the final vote. 

Tenants and activists from the Rent Justice Coalition marched and chanted with me demanding that the Board not just freeze rents, but roll them back to make up for years of too-high increases. Last year's first-ever freeze for rent-stabilized apartments was a victory that I and these activists groups want to build on. We hope that a recent report by the Board stating that the price of operating a rent-stabilized apartment has decreased 1.2% because heating fuel expenses have decreased by 41.2% will add support to our cause. 

We hosted a forum to discuss these issues and to provide information to tenants about whether they are eligible for the NYC Rent Freeze Program (SCRIE and DRIE). Thank you to the Rent Justice Coalition, Community Service Society, New York City Department of Finance, Borough President Brewer, and Senator Krueger for their partnership as well as Congress Member Carolyn Maloney, Council Member Dan Garodnick, and Assembly Members Rebecca Seawright and Dan Quart for the co-sponsorship that helped make the forum a success. Watch the video at BenKallos.com/videos

Join the fight for a rent rollback by telling your story: 
Rent Guidelines Board’s Manhattan Public Hearing
Monday June 20, 2pm-8pm
Great Hall, Cooper Union, 7 East 7th Street

Are you rent stabilized? Do you support a rent rollback?

Rallying to Stop Superscrapers

I joined the East River Fifties Alliance (ERFA) in a rally featured in Manhattan Express, to push the City Planning Commission to approve the rezoning application we submitted for the Sutton Area neighborhood. ERFA has for months now been fighting to change existing zoning that would allow for a 900 foot superscraper to be built in the middle of this residential neighborhood. Deputy Manhattan Borough President Aldrin Bonilla, Marianna Vaidman Stone from Council Member Dan Garodnick’s office and I addressed a crowd of Sutton Area residents in demanding that the rezoning of this neighborhood be approved as soon as possible. You can you watch the rally on BenKallos.com and sign the petition at BenKallos.com/petition/stopsuperscrapers

Working to Restore Gas at Yorkshire Towers 


Over 700 residents of Yorkshire Towers on East 86th Street have been without cooking gas in their apartments for several weeks now, as you may have read in the New York Times. Con Edison turned off the gas line several weeks ago after discovering illegal conditions in the building. My office’s constituent service team has been working with Senator Liz Krueger’s office, tenants, Con Edison, and the building’s management to speed along the process and get the gas back on. Whether you are a tenant of Yorkshire Towers or anywhere where you’ve lost utilities, please let me know so I can help.

Historic Districts Council Grassroots Preservation Award

I was honored to receive a Grassroots Preservation Award from the Historic Districts Council (HDC). This is an organization that I have great respect for because of all the work they do to keep New York quintessentially New York. HDC has been a valuable partner while I have been in office, contributing to my fight against over-development. In the 2 years and 5 months since I was elected, I have worked with HDC on more issues than we ever could have expected, including:

  • Protecting the First Avenue Estates’ landmark status from appeal;
  • Stopping the Landmarks Mass De-calendaring;
  • Fighting Introduction 775, the bill that would shorten the landmarking timeline and institute five year landmarking moratoria;
  • Protecting the Sliver Law, Mid-Block, and Historic Districts from MIH/ZQA; and
  • Landmarking the Wooden House at 412 East 85th Street;

I would like to thank HDC for the award, and I look forward to many more opportunities to work together to help keep historic districts in New York City alive and well. It was also a pleasure to be joined at the event by local residents, friends, and community board members, including Elizabeth Ashby, David Halpern, Michele Birnbaum, Charles Whitman, and the East 79th Street Neighborhood Association’s Betty Cooper Wallerstein.

TRANSPORTATION, PARKS, AND THE ENVIRONMENT

Bike Safety Program Expands

May marked bike month and the expansion of the Upper East Side’s “Bike Safety” program with Council Member Dan Garodnick, as reported in Our Town. The program, which I launched over the past two years to serve my district from 59th to 96th Street, will expand to Midtown East and now cover 30th Street to 96th Street. Since the summer of 2015, the Bike Safety program has succeeded in its goal of helping pedestrians and cyclists safely enjoy city streets, as covered by CBS, NBC, Our Town, and amNY. Following last August’s Bike Safety program, the NYPD’s 19th Precinct reported a year-to-date 15% decrease in bike and pedestrian collisions. The expansion of the Bike Safety program counts on the cooperation of New York Police Department’s (NYPD)17th and 19th Precincts, the NYPD Transit Bureau, the Department of TransportationCiti Bike (Motivate)Transportation Alternatives, and Bike New York. You can learn more in our release or Our Town.

Community Board 8 Bike Lanes Proposal

As you may know, over the past seven months, Community Board 8 has discussed options for cross-town bike lanes intended to bring order to the Upper East Side’s side streets so that pedestrians, cyclists, and drivers can safely share the street. In December of last year, the board voted to request a proposal for cross-town lanes from the Department of Transportation. The resulting proposal, which does not take away any parking or vehicular traffic lanes, has been debated over three public Transportation Committee meetings and one full board meeting.

This month, the Transportation Committee discussed both the original proposal, as well as an alternative proposal, and ultimately voted in favor of a mix of the two, with lanes proposed for: 70th and 71st, 77th and 78th, and 84th and 85th. At the May full board meeting the resolution did not pass, and the Community Board did not pass any resolution weighing in on the bike lane proposals. The Department of Transportation continues to move forward with a plan based on the public comments that were given. To stay updated on bike lanes, please check forthcoming newsletters.

Bike Month: Free Helmet Giveaway, Bike to Work Day, 5 Boro Bike Tour and More

In the spirit of safe cycling, we commemorated Bike Month with a number of events and programs to support biking an alternative mode of transportation that is safe for everybody. Included in those events and programs were:

  • Free Helmet Giveaway. With funding from my office, the Department of Transportation gave away free stylish helmets to keep over one hundred Upper East Side residents safe on the road.
  • “Bike to Work Day”. I joined over a dozen fellow Council Members as we rode our bikes to City Hall in an effort to call attention to maintaining bike infrastructure throughout the City that is safe and efficient for all commuters.
  • 5 Boro Bike Tour. I joined over 32,000 bike riders for the 39th annual New York City Bike Tour. I had the pleasure of making opening remarks alongside WPIX weather man Mr. G. The 5 Boro Bike Tour is organized by our bike safety partner, Bike New York, and covers some 40 miles. Bike New York is a long time partner of my office that does great work in New York City such as training for safety skills and distributing safety equipment.
  • Earn a Bike. If you take a series of Bike New York bike skills and safety classes, you will be eligible for a free bike. Learn more!
  • Roosevelt Island Bike Summer Camp. The Summer Program from Bike New York offers campers a course in the basics of riding a bike. Email Kristina Sepulveda @ ksepulvedaatbike [dot] nyc as soon as possible to register your Summer Camp group for a slot.
  • Most Bike-related Constituent Service Cases. This month I also had the honor winning Call NYC’s Most Service Case Award for the work my office does every month with the community involving bicycles.

Free Reusable Bags to Prepare for Single-Use Bag Reduction Law

Please stop by my District Office for your free reusable bag courtesy of the Citizen’s Committee for New York City. In May, as the Natural Resource Defense Council (NRDC) reported, I voted in favor of the Single-Use Bag Reduction, which passed the Council and has been signed into law. The law will go into effect on October 1, 2016, though it will not be enforced until April 2017, giving New Yorkers and grocery stores time to get in the habit of saving the planet one bag at a time.

Since I signed on as an early cosponsor of the bill, we have been working to prepare the Upper East Side for this change. My office held many events over the past year where we gave away over 500 free, reuseable bags. Recently, we hosted an Earth Day kick-off event where we gave away the bags as well as important information on recycling and other ways to reduce our impact on the environment. 

I supported the move to reusable bags because New York has a responsibility to not only do its part, but to lead in reducing our impact on global climate change. Reducing the amount of plastic we put into the waste stream is a significant way to do that. On a more local level, New York City creates far too much trash, and that is directly impacting the Upper East Side. In addition to the unsightly plastic bags stuck in trees or floating down the street, they are also contributing to the landfill waste that would be sent to the proposed Marine Transfer Station, which I continue to oppose. Currently, plastic bags account for 7,500 garbage truck trips every year. As we consider the threat of garbage trucks driving through densely populated areas of the Upper East Side, we need to do everything we can to reduce the need for trucks and achieve the goal of Zero Waste, for a more sustainable and greener city.

If you are interested in bringing electronics recycling, textile recycling, or composting to your building, please let me know.

CB8 Speaks: The Queensboro Oval

I had the opportunity to join Community Board 8 Parks & Recreation Committee Co-Chairs Peggy Price and Susan Evans on an episode of CB8 Speaks to discuss ongoing efforts to return the Queensboro Oval to the public as a park, a subject that has received special attention recently and garnered many supporters for the cause. The Oval, a park measuring 1.2 acres on York Avenue between 58th and 59th Street is currently rented to a private tennis club that charges high fees for use of its courts, generating modest revenue of $2.2 million a year for the City. According to a 2015 study by New Yorkers for Parks, District 5 ranked fifth worst in the ratio of land area to parks space out of all 51 Council districts. If there is land that is designated as park land, it should be a park. I join Community Board 8 in asking the Parks Department to return the space to the community as a park. 

Join the Community Board 8 Parks & Recreation Committee to fight for the return of the Queensboro Oval to the public:
Saturday, June 25th 11A.M - 1P.M
Queensboro Oval, York Avenue between 58th and 59th Streets
RSVP

The event will include live music from local bands, childrens activities, and free raffles of sports equipment from NY Metro Sports.

Making the Most of Our Waterfront

New York City is blessed with a beautiful network of waterfronts; on the East Side and Roosevelt Island we can appreciate how wonderful an asset that is. But we need to work to make the most of these public areas, which is why I have been working to rejuvinate and reform the city's Waterfront Management Advisory Board. This month, Council Member Debi Rose chaired a hearing of the Waterfronts Committee where we discussed a bill I introduced with Chair Rose to make the Board active once more and more effective than it was before. Thank you to all of the environmental, recreational, and economic groups who came out in support of this initative. Read the bill to learn more.

Support Our Conservancies

I joined Friends of the East River Esplanade for their annual gala and the Sutton Place Parks Conservancy for their Spring Garden Party in support of our invaluable public parks.

This year, we supported the launch and funding for conservancies for Ruppert and Sutton Parks. These new groups join the long-standing and invaluable conservancies we work with at Carl Schurz, St. Catherine’s, John Jay and the East River Esplanade. Conservancies are invaluable in protecting our all-too-limited park space. I hope in the next year we can launch a conservancy for Stanley Isaacs, thereby achieving my goal of having a conservancy for each and every park in my district. If you want to learn more about what I am doing to help the parks in District 5 then visit http://benkallos.com/parks

HEALTH AND NUTRITION

School Food

I had the opportunity to join a panel of experts to discuss food policy in New York City Public Schools. The discussion was organized by New York State Health Foundation and activists from Lunch 4 Learning. Although we have made progress over the past two years in expanding our free lunch program, New York City is missing out on a huge opportunity to bring Universal Free Lunch to every student in every public school. No child in this wealthy city should have to go to school hungry or worry about where their next meal is coming from. If you want to learn more about what my office is doing in relation to food policy visit benkallos.com/food

This month also at an Education Committee  Executive Budget hearing I had the opportunity to ask Chancellor Farina poignant questions about how many seats Universal-Pre-K seats are available in the Upper East Side and when we will be getting more.  Watch my questioning of Chancellor Farina at BenKallos.com/videos

Health Policy Colloquium

 

Doctors, Nurses, Hospital Administrators, Medical Students and I gathered at Weill Cornell Medical College for a colloquium where I lectured on food and health policy this month. Among the topics discussed were health legislation I have introduced including Automatic Benefits and Healthy Happy Meals as well as budget advocacy for breakfast after the bell and universal free school lunch. Our government would be better if policy was better informed by the research of academic experts, a gap I am working to bridge. Are you a policy expert who is interested in turning the results of your research into public policy?

Funding the Emergency Food Assistance Program

No one should go hungry in one of the wealthiest cities in the world. Approximately 550,000 New Yorkers who qualify for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) are not getting it, and the Emergency Food Assistance network provides a crucial safety net for those who are at risk of going hungry. This is why I spoke at a press conference and signed onto a letter calling for the Mayor to include $22 million in baseline funding for the Emergency Food Assistance Program (EFAP). The Upper East Side, which is first in the city for SNAP under-enrollment is a prime example of why funding for food programs needs to be at a minimum of $22 million for FY 2017.

GOVERNMENTAL OPERATIONS AND TECHNOLOGY

Nearly Half Billion Dollars in Savings 

Crain’s New York covered a $430 million reduction in planned spending over the next five years for judgments and claims, money paid out by the City in lawsuit settlements and judgments. This followed three budgets of pressing the Law Department and the Office of Management and Budget to provide a return on investment (ROI) for tax payers funding of new attorneys to defend frivolous lawsuits and handle cases from start to finish. Read more in our release or in Crain’s New York.

Seminar on Ethics in Politics

I joined the New York City Conflicts of Interest Board (COIB) to teach a continuing legal education (CLE) session at New York Law School. The panel also featured Lee Welling, Assistant Corporation Counsel, NYC Law Department, Alex Kipp, Director of Training, COIB and Julia Davis, Director of Annual Disclosure and Special Counsel, COIB, and Politico’s Laura Nahmias. In the panel I discussed the evolution of transparency in government and what is to come. I look forward to continuing to work with the Conflicts of Interest Board to minimize the appearance and actual conflict of interest while using increased transparency to restore faith in government. 

A Digital Playbook for NYC

As Politico reported, I joined Mayor de Blasio, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer and the Huffington Post‘s Arianna Huffington at Civic Hall where the Mayor unveiled New York City’s “Digital Playbook,” a website meant to outline the city’s intentions for how residents interact with city services. Two examples of how the Playbook has been used are HOME-STAT and the Pre-K Find and Apply Tool. The Playbook was designed with the help of several elected officials including Speaker Mark-Viverito, Gale Brewer and me, as well as with organizations like the Bangladesh-American Community Council, the Brite Leadership Coalition, the Metropolitan Council on Jewish Poverty, the Central Family Life Center, Adhikaar, Make the Road NY and MASA.

Read more in Politico. Thank you to Mayor de Blasio for taking our input and giving recognition at the event. Explore the Digital Playbook.

Open Summit 

I joined the CEO of Red Hat Linux Jim Whitehurst, former Khan Academy faculty, and stellar speakers from all over country for the inaugural “Open Summit: An Open Conversation for Education” at NYU, where attendees participated in a dialogue about open initiatives across higher education. I joined,Nicole Allen the Director of Open Education,Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition,Simon Hodson,

Executive Director,Committee on Data for Science and Technology and Margaret Mellinger,Director of Emerging Technologies and Services,Oregon State University Library to call on policy experts in academia to participate in policy making and for academic institutions to add participation in policy making, legislation and laws passed as a strong measure for evaluation for rewards such as tenure. Are you an academic expert interested in vetting outcomes from proposed legislation or seeing your research become reality?

Attend PDF 2016, Personal Democracy Forum

Please join me and Katie Benner, technology reporter for the New York Times, Betsy Aoki, senior program manager at Bing elections, and many more for this year’s Personal Democracy Forum 2016 on June 9 and 10. This forum is an annual conference that brings together 1,000 top technologists, campaigners, and government officials to discuss the power technology can bring togovernment. A couple topics that will be discussed this year are Data Privacy and Civil Rights Algorithmic Accountability. I will speak on a panel on “Open Data Policy and Practice: A Tale of Two Citie” with  Vyki EnglertSarah HenryBen KallosGale BrewerMelissa Mark-ViveritoDavid Eaves Register for the forum by clicking here

Civic Hall Personal Democracy Forum 2016
NYU Skirball Center 566 LaGuardia Place New York, NY 10012
June 9-10
$650.00 Register Now

COMMUNITY

Roosevelt Island Town Hall

Join me, Senator Jose Serrano, Assembly Member Seawright, and more elected officials.
Roosevelt Island Town Hall
6:30PM – 8PM, Tuesday, June 28
Good Shepherd, 543 Main Street
RSVP

Roosevelt Islanders are also invited to the next a Cornell Tech Town Hall on Wednesday, June 13, 6:30PM – 8PM at the Island Park Theater Club.

East 72nd Street Neighborhood Association

The East 72nd Street Neighborhood Association has just launched with its first meeting, 

where representatives of the NYPD presented on public safety and the MTA presented on Second Avenue Subway and Streetscape, select bus service, sanitation, and many other issues affecting the area. I am proud to be a founding member of the association and offer my 

congratulations and thanks to Valerie Mason, Liz Patrick, and everybody involved for this major step forward in organizing their community. Get involved at e72na.com and follow them on Facebook and Twitter @E72NA. Do you live on or near East 72nd Street and will you be joining?

40th Anniversary of Roosevelt Island Tram 

The Roosevelt Island Tram, a must ride attraction for residents and tourists alike celebrated its 40th anniversary. I was proud to join Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation’s Susan G. Rosenthal, the Roosevelt Island Historic Society’s Judith Berdy, tram operators, and residents in celebrating this occasion. You can watch my remarks and most of the event.

Cooking with Kallos

Cooking with Kallos will return for the third year of slicing and dicing fresh fruits and vegetables, cooking up a recipe made up of the day’s best picks for you to eat. Come over to the Greenmarkets, sponsored by my office, and help me cook up some of GrowNYC’s best produce from local farms. 

Cooking with Kallos at 82nd Street Greenmarket
Saturday, June 25, 10AM – 11:30AM
82nd Street between York Avenue and First Avenue
RSVP

Cooking with Kallos at Stanley Isaacs Greenmarket
Sunday, July 10, 11AM – 1PM
First Avenue between 92nd and 93rd Streets
RSVP

New Commanding Officers at 19th and 17th Precincts

We officially welcomed new commanding officers to the 19th and 17th Precincts. As reported by Our Town, 23-year veteran of the NYPD and Deputy Inspector Clint McPherson was tapped to lead the 19th Precinct in early May. I have been incredibly impressed by Commanding Officer McPherson from his work at the 17th Precinct. I also had the pleasure of meeting 19-year NYPD veteran Captain Nicole Papamichael who will lead the 17th Precinct. I look forward to working with both of our precinct Commanding Officers to keep the East Side safe and informed.

Attend your local precinct community council meeting:

17th Precinct: Last Tuesday of the Month, 6PM, Sutton Place Synagogue, 225 East 51Street
19th Precinct: First Monday of the Month, 7PM, 153 East 67th Street
23rd Precinct: Third Thursday of the Month, 6PM, 164 East 102nd StreetPSA 5 (NYCHA): Last Tuesday of the Month, 6PM, 221 East 123rd Street 

Fighting for Building Service Workers at The Hamilton 

Building service workers open doors, accept packages, and make repairs for a majority of the residents of my district. We rely on them daily and we must do our part to protect them. 

The Hamilton is a building located on 1735 York Avenue, which has changed ownership from Glenwood to Bonjour, who have cut the pay in half and taken away benefits from these building service workers, many of whom have worked in their profession for decades. 

I joined 32BJ in standing up for these building service workers to help them following their years of helping us. Watch the event. Do you support our building service workers?

Light Up Literacy Culminating Event 

The children of Yorkville Community School (YCS) had a chance to show off their work as the Cultural After School Adventures program (CASA) by the 92nd Street Y, funded with $20,000 from my office. The exhibit included demonstrations of artwork with embedded circuits that lit up and video games programmed by the children. I was proud to join them and fund this program as we provide the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) education our children need for the future.

Seven other schools in the district have also requested and received CASA funding and we hope to report on those programs in our next newsletter.

Crane Safety

It was a pleasure to talk to members of Community Board 8 about two bills I introduced to improve crane safety. After two deadly crane accidents in the district, on March 16, 2008 on East 51st Street between Second and First Avenues, which claimed the lives of seven, and May 30th on East 91st Street and First Avenue, which claimed two more lives, it is imperative that as a city we look at what can be done to make cranes safer. These bills aim to make the use of cranes safer by making sure that operators are licensed and trained in the uniquely population dense conditions that New York City constructions is performed under. I want to thank Community Board 8 for their support of this legislation and the many union worker who came to the event to learned about crane operation safety. Learn more about the bills: Introduction 298 and Introduction 299.

Criminal Justice Reform Act

On May 25, the City Council voted on the Criminal Justice Reform Act, a package of eight bills I voted for that will improve how the City handles low level offenses and empower NYPD officers to use their judgment on whether a criminal or civil summons is most appropriate in each situation.

There has been a lot of misinformation about this package of legislation I'd like to clear up. Most importantly, offenses such as open containers of alcohol, littering, and unreasonable noise that were illegal before, remain illegal under the Criminal Justice Reform Act. The NYPD will still be able to issue criminal summonses and arrest people for these offenses. What the legislation does is require NYPD to set rules and issue guidance to officers to encourage the issuance of civil summons over criminal summonses.
Receiving a criminal summons can result in a number of harsh collateral consequences, including a permanent criminal record. A criminal record, even for an offense like littering, can cost someone a job, hinder their ability to get into college, and result in a denial of loans to buy a house or start a business. We can and will enforce quality of life offenses, but the best way for the City to do that is to send as many of these cases to civil court as the NYPD deems appropriate. This will also free up time and resources for the Criminal Courts to prosecute violent crimes and other serious offenses. Read more in the New York Times.

CKJ Shabbat 

As we celebrated Israel’s 68th birthday, I was proud to join Rabbi’s Weinstock and Kraus as well as more than one hundred members of Congregation Kehilath Jeshurun for “Friday Night Live” afternoon (“Minchah”), evening (“Maariv”), and welcoming the day of rest (“Kabbalat Shabbat”) services followed by dinner. During dinner I had the pleasure of discussing our chance to do our part to heal the world (“Tikkun Olam”), the importance of good deeds (“Mitzvahs”), and the role of Jewish values in my decision making as an elected official.

Whether it is just to help make a minyan (ten individuals necessary for certain Jewish prayers or services) or to draw more congregants to services, I am happy to join any synagogue, church, mosque, or other religious institution in the district for prayer and to give remarks or share reflections on the reading of the day.

Summer Youth Programs

The New York City Council’s Progressive Caucus rallied on the steps of City Hall calling for the de Blasio Administration to adequately fund the New York City Department of Youth and Community Development. The Department received 120,000 applications for summer employment but is only funded to hire 54,000 youths. Through funding from the City, State, and Federal government as well as non-profits and the private sector, enough money could be made available to expand this program by at least 50,000 more slots to ensure that at least 100,000 New York City youths are employed over the summer. Summer youth employment is an investment in providing our city’s youth with the job experience and skills they need for future employment.

Asphalt Green Big Swim

As City Limits reported, I joined Asphalt Green for their 21st annual Big Swim fundraiser. Asphalt Green is a longstanding pillar of the Upper East Side which provides access to sports and fitness programs for area residents. I was proud to have been a part of this highly successful fundraiser that generated $875,000 for the organization. Thank you to Executive Director Maggy Siegel and to featured guest, former Real Madrid and national Spanish soccer team star Raul Gonzalez Blanco for helping Asphalt Green raise this money. The money will serve to support Asphalt Green scholarships and Community programs that help over 33,000 New York City kids.

For nearly a decade I have been proud to support the arts by supporting The Tank, which provides free performance space for artists. As a Council Member, I now have the opportunity of supporting this great

 work and honoring two leaders in the arts with proclamations from Majority Leader Jimmy Van Bramer, 

the Cultural Committee Chair, and I at the annual spring benefit: 3 Legged Dog, an organization that provides performance space and support for local artists and Barutunde Thurston, a successful comedian, actor, producer for The Daily Show, and author of New York Times Best Seller How to Be Black. Are you an artist in my district in need of support for your work?

Thai Ministry of Finance 

The Thai Ministry of Finance’s Ms. Nitayaporn Imjai visited my office this month in coordination with the State Department to discuss transparency and ethics in government. Ms Imjai participated in May’s well-attended First Friday and we talked about my experience and ongoing efforts to bring more transparency to government. Ms. Imjai aims to implement more transparent and anti-corruption policies in her native Thailand.

Join me for Street Fairs and Parades this Summer

Throughout the summer, my staff and I will be at street fairs on the Upper East Side and Roosevelt Island, and in parades throughout the city. I encourage you to join us! This month we were at the 3rd Avenue Street Fair and Roosevelt Island Cherry Blossom Festival. In June and the coming months, come say “Hi!" at street fairs and let my office know if you would like to volunteer at a table or march with me in any of the upcoming parades!

Street Fairs in June:

  • Saturday, June 4: First Avenue Festival (our table: 1st Avenue between 78th and 79th)
  • Saturday, June 11: PS 198 Spring Carnival and Street Fair

Parades in June:

  • Sunday, June 5: Celebrate Israel Day Parade
  • Sunday, June 26: Pride Parade

 

OFFICE UPDATES

Summer Reading Challenge

As a student, I was always more inclined to work with computers than to read books. In fact, because of learning struggles, I faced challenges catching up with my peers in reading and writing. When I discovered science fiction, I learned to love literature — and started to spend lots of time at New York City’s world-class public libraries. Now, I want to share that passion for books with you and your family. 

Join my summer reading challenge: Students in grades K - 12 who read five books from the New York Public Library Summer Reading List for their age will be honored at an end-of-summer ceremony and receive a certificate from my office. Email BKallosatBenKallos [dot] com or call 212-860-1950 to sign up.

NYPL kids book list: http://kids.nypl.org/book-lists

NYPL teen book list: http://www.summerreadingnys.org/teens/teens-booklists/

Join Coro’s Immigrant Civic Leadership Program

Coro will provide ICLP participants with a deeper understanding of policy and decision making in the city as well the skills to lead change in their organizations and communities. Meets Jul 2016 through Jan 2017. Application deadline 6/13. Questions about the program can be directed to Kristen Illes, killesatcoronewyork [dot] org.

In the Neighborhood

As May brought warmer temperatures, I had the pleasure of spending my evenings and weekends with constituents at community events. A few include 19th Precinct Community Council, Community Board 8 Transportation Committee, Public Safety Committee and Full Board, Community Board 6 Full Board, 340 East 74th Street Annual Meeting, 401 East 65th Street Annual Meeting, East 79th Street Neighborhood Association, Sutton Place Parks Conservancy Garden Party, East 72nd Street Neighborhood Association, the Great Street Meet, the Big Swim Kickoff, Yorkville Community School’s ‘Toast of the Town’ Auction, Friends of the East River Esplanade Annual Benefit, and PS 198 Annual Auction.

Legislative Corner 

This month, I co-sponsored two bills that became law.

The first, Local Law 56 of 2016, brings equity to the filing fees for construction of new buildings and alterations to existing buildings. New Yorkers complain everyday about large new developments that violate noise and safety rules, requiring the city to use more resources on inspections and enforcement. This law raises the fees on large developments and lowers them for one and two family homes. It means that the Department of Buildings will finally have the funding it needs to perform the inspections new, large developments need, resulting in safer construction. 

The second, Local Law 55 of 2016, will help law enforcement and elected officials better identify and send resources to high crime areas. The report required by this law will identify a comprehensive list of the 35 highest crime areas of the City and involve law enforcement as well as social service agencies in solutions.

Legal Clinics

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

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

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

Here to Help

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

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

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

Mobile District Hours

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

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

Ben in Your Building

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

 

City Council Events

6/1: Mobile Legal Help Center with NYLAG
12-5pm, Outside District Office, 244 East 93rd Street
Staff from New York Legal Assistance Group (NYLAG) will provide free legal assistance on civil issues related to: Housing (tenant only), Foreclosure, Public Benefits, Disability Benefits, Healthcare Benefits, Identity Theft, Debt Management, Consumer Credit, Immigration, Domestic Violence, Divorce, Custody and Visitation, Child support, Employment, Superstorm Sandy, and Advance Planning. Please make an appointment by calling our office at 212-860-1950 or RSVP here and we will reach out. Walk-ins will be taken based on availability.

6/3: First Friday
8-10am, District Office, 244 East 93rd Street
Please RSVP.

6/7: John Finley Walk Community Visioning Session
6-8pm, The Chapin School, 100 East End
Join CIVITAS to discuss improvements you would like to see to John Finley Walk on the East River Esplanade.\

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

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

6/14: Policy Night
6-7pm, District Office, 244 East 93rd Street
Please RSVP.

6/23: Citi Bike Street Skills Class
6pm, District Office, 244 East 93rd Street
Citi Bike Members receive an extra month on their Membership. Non-Members receive a free day pass or a discount on a yearly membership.

6/26: Shred-a-Thon
11am-2pm, 92nd Street Greenmarket
Out-of-Date Documents... Letters You’d Rather Forget...Shredded To Miniscule Fragments! FREE!! Plus... Eye glasses, corks, batteries, and compost! Hosted by Assembly Member Rebecca Seawright and Upper Green Side

6/28: Roosevelt Island Town Hall
6:30-8pm, Good Shepherd Community Center, 543 Main Street    
Hear updates from me, Senator Jose Serrano, Assembly Member Rebecca Seawright, and more elected officials and have an opportunity to discuss neighborhood topics or concerns.

Community Events

Every Wednesday: Health Advocates for Older People: Strengthen and Tone Your Muscles and Bones
11am-12pm, Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church, 7 W 55th Street
Safe, gentle exercise for seniors using weights if desired.

Every Monday: Health Advocates for Older People: Mah Jong Classes
1:30-3:30pm, Church of the Holy Trinity, 341 E 87th Street
Introductory classes for beginners.

6/2: Film - Night After Night, 1932
2pm, 96th Street New York Public Library, 112 E 96th St
NIGHT AFTER NIGHT, 1934, 73 min., b&w, directed by ARCHIE MAYO. A short film will precede the feature.
About: A successful ex-boxer buys a high-class speakeasy and falls for a rich society girl. Starring GEORGE RAFT, CONSTANCE CUMMINGS, WYNNE GIBSON, MAE WEST, Alison Skipworth, Roscoe Karns, Louis Calhern, Bradley Page, Al Hill, Harry Wallace, George Templeton, Marty Martyn, Tom Kennedy. ADMISSION FREE

6/3: Artisanal Cider Tasting
6-8pm, Mount Vernon Hotel Museum & Garden, 421 East 61st Street
Cider was locally-made and a popular beverage in the 19th century. Join us in the garden for an evening of cider tastings from an array of both local cider vendors and distributors of European ciders. Co-sponsored by City Wine Gallery and Miso Hoppy Craft Beers. Tickets are $30 Adults or $25 Museum Members and include tastings and snacks to complement the distinct cider flavors. To purchase tickets call the Museum at 212-838-6878.

6/3, 6/10, 6/17, 6/24: Hatha Yoga with Keren
6-7pm, Franklin D. Roosevelt Four Freedoms Park, 1 FDR Four Freedoms Park, Roosevelt Island
This drop-in, energizing, open-level hatha class is suited for all abilities and focuses on proper alignment and breath. Bring your own mat. Suggested donation of $5; no registration required. Free for members.   

6/4, 6/11, 6/18, 6/25: English Conversation Group
11am-1pm, 67th Street New York Public Library, 328 E 67th St
Talk with native speakers and other language learners about current events, New York City, family life, holidays, and much more. For adults 16 years old or older. This program is provided in partnership with New York Cares, a leading volunteer organization that helps people find easy ways to make meaningful, rewarding contributions to their communities. Led by New York Cares volunteers, this program provides an opportunity for intermediate level ESOL speakers to practice speaking English and improve their conversational skills. Note: No registration necessary.

6/2, 6/7, 6/9, 6/14, 6/16, & 6/20: FastTrac GrowthVenture for Established Neighborhood Businesses
6-9pm, New York Institute of Technology, 26 W 61st Street
Learn to stay on top of the changing economy! NYC Business Solutions has provided a program that targets topics such as driving sales, building your team, reexamining the market, commercial lease education and negotiation, create an actionable plan for strategic growth for long-standing small businesses.

6/4, 6/11, 6/18, 6/25: Vinyasa Yoga with Jax
10am-11am, Franklin D. Roosevelt Four Freedoms Park, 1 FDR Four Freedoms Park, Roosevelt Island
This drop-in, open-level vinyasa class is suited for all abilities. Develop strength and flexibility as you flow through postures, coordinating movement with breath. Bring your own mat.
Suggested donation of $5; no registration required. Free for members.

6/4, 6/11, 6/18: English Conversation Program for Speakers of Other Languages
10:30am-12pm, Webster Library, 1465 York Avenue
Talk with library volunteers about current events, New York City, family life, holidays, and much more. Adults only, 16 years old or older. Please do not bring children to registration. Note: First come, first served.

6/4: Make 2016 Your Best Year Ever: Mid-Year Goal Setting with Barbara Phillips
2pm, 67th Street New York Public Library, 328 E 67th St

6/5: Jazz Salon
4pm, Roosevelt Island Visual Art Association, 527 Main St

6/6: MS Excel 2010 for Beginners
1pm, 67th Street New York Public Library, 328 E 67th St
No latecomers admitted.

6/6, 6/13, 6/20, 6/27: Castles! - A Medieval Building Series
3:30pm, 67th Street New York Public Library, 328 E 67th St
Let’s go back to a time of lords, knights, jousting, and really large buildings called castles! Learn to create and build the different components of a castle with LEGO® bricks! Week 1: Castle Curtain Walls. Week 2: Towers. Week 3: The Great Hall. Week 4: Combine and Create with Catapults. Program is first-come, first-served and limited to 15 participants.

6/6: Meditation for Body, Mind, and Soul
5:30pm, 67th Street New York Public Library, 328 E 67th St
The practice of meditation is an invaluable tool helping people reduce stress, gain a deeper sense of fulfillment in life, as well as foster greater physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being. Jim Rose M Ed Rutgers University and long time meditator will offer a practical technique of meditation that can positively impact your life. Through first hand demonstrations of this simple yet highly effective method, you will discover the key to deeper concentration, relaxation, and profound personal growth.

6/6, 6/13, 6/20, 6/27: Vinyasa Yoga with Lauren
6-7pm, Franklin D. Roosevelt Four Freedoms Park, 1 FDR Four Freedoms Park, Roosevelt Island
This drop-in, open-level vinyasa class is suited for all abilities. Develop strength and flexibility as you flow through postures, coordinating movement with breath. Bring your own mat. Suggested donation of $5; no registration required. Free for members.

6/7: A Pet Club Special: Fluffy, Friendly, and Fun
1:30pm, 341 E 87th Street
Anjellicle Cats, a premier rescue organization in New York, will talk about a new trend for seniors – having an easy-care furry friend to keep you company and purr.

6/7: Summer Garden Concert, Jazz Guitar
6pm, Mount Vernon Hotel Museum & Garden, 421 East 61st Street
Bill Wurtzel, renowned jazz guitarist who has performed worldwide, will delight audiences with class music fro the Great American Songbook. Museum tour, complimentary beverages, and historic cocktail tasting included.
$15 Adults, Members free, $5 Children under 12, Babies under 1 free

6/8: Jewelry Making with Jennifer Jacobs
2pm, Roosevelt Island Library, 524 Main St.
Make something with that extra sparkle! Take marbles and wire to make hip and funky bracelets, necklaces, and more. Jennifer's work has been featured at Barney's New York, so you know its fashion forward. All materials will be provided. Note: Open to Adults.

6/8: After School Magic - A Summer Reading Kick-Off Celebration
4pm, 96th Street New York Public Library, 112 E 96th St
A magic and juggling show that will not only have everyone laughing and and awing in amazement but is also designed to spark excitement about learning the skill sets exhibited in the show. All equipment is provided. Presented by Harrison Kramer.

6/8: Our Upper East Side: Story Exchange
5:30pm, 67th Street New York Public Library, 328 E 67th St
Hear some of the oral history project participants share their neighborhood stories, then share your own.  Hosted by Bridget Bartolini, creator of Five Boro Story Project.

6/9: Film - I’m No Angel, 1933
2pm, 96th Street New York Public Library, 112 E 96th St
I’M NO ANGEL, 1933, 87 min., b&w, directed by WESLEY RUGGLES. A short film will precede the feature. About: Tira works as a dancing beauty and lion tamer at a fair. Starring MAE WEST, CARY GRANT, GREGORY RATOFF, Edward Arnold, Ralf Harolde, Kent Taylor, Gertrude Michael, Russell Hopton, Derothy Peterson, William B. Davidson, Gertrude Howard, Libby Taylor. ADMISSION FREE

6/11: Volunteer Gardening
9:30am-12pm, 86th Street Mall at East End Avenue
Join your neighbors and pitch in! Volunteer as a CSPC gardener. The Carl Schurz Park Volunteer Gardeners are an adult group that meets monthly to work in the park. Students or children who wish to participate must be accompanied by adults or parents who work along with them.

6/11: Conservancy Tour: Four Freedoms Park: Past, Present, and Future
1-1:45pm, Franklin D. Roosevelt Four Freedoms Park, 1 FDR Four Freedoms Park, Roosevelt Island
The memorial to President Franklin D. Roosevelt was announced by Governor Nelson Rockefeller and Mayor John Lindsay in 1973, and yet due to financial instability, the death of its architect Louis Kahn, and changes within NY State leadership, plans for the memorial were put aside. Discover the unique history of the Park's past, present, and future in this exciting tour.  Free; registration recommended.

6/11: Handels' XERXES recital by New York Opera Forum
1-4pm, 96th Street New York Public Library, 112 E 96th St
New York Opera Forum performs the complete opera of XERXES  by George Frideric Handel. A live musical recital performed in concert with piano accompaniment. The musical program is cosponsored with New York Opera Forum which was founded by Richard Nechamkin in 1983 to give classically trained singers the opportunity to learn and perform standard operatic repertoire in the original languages. ADMISSION FREE.

6/12: Picnic in the Park (Local Ride) with Bike New York
10am, Central Park (W 67th St. and West Drive)
Enjoy 79th Street Greenmarket picnic provisions and a bike ride to the Little Red Lighthouse. Pre-register online for $20, or bring $25 cash to register on the day-of. Bike, helmet, and lock and key are required.

6/13: Advanced MS Excel 2010
1pm, 67th Street New York Public Library, 328 E 67th St
No latecomers admitted.

6/13: Wildlife at the Library - A Summer Reading Kick-Off Celebration
4pm, 67th Street New York Public Library, 328 E 67th St
Animals in the library? Join Andrew Simmons and his traveling zoo as he introduces you to a golden eagle, eagle owl, barn owl, alligator, black throat monitor, burmese python, canadian lynx. Learn about the fierce competitors in the wild.

6/14: Get Your Game On - A Summer Reading Kick-Off Celebration
2pm, Roosevelt Island Library, 524 Main St.
Interactive musical delivering the performing arts in creative, hands-on musical experiences for kids of all ages. Become a "star on stage" in this unique and creative concert experience. Original songs are specifically created for each theme and age group attending performance.Presented by Presley and Melody.

6/16: Film - Goin’ to Town, 1935
2pm, 96th Street New York Public Library, 112 E 96th St
GOIN’ TO TOWN, 1935, 74 min., b&w, directed by ALEXANDER HALL. A short film will precede the feature.
About: Cleo Borden is a former dance hall queen who has become newly rich.Starring MAE WEST, PAUL CAVANAGH, GILBERT EMERY, Marjorie Gateson, Tito Coral, Ivan Lebedeff, Fred Kohler, Monroe Owsley, Grant Withers, Luis Alberni, Lucio Villegas, Mona Rico, Wade Boteler, Paul Harvey, Joe Frye. ADMISSION FREE.

6/18: Ice Cream Garden Social
1pm – 3pm, Mount Vernon Hotel Museum & Garden, 421 East 61st Street
Explore a uniquely early 19th Century New York City pastime, Ice Cream Gardens. Join us for a Path Through History Weekend afternoon of ice cream making, period toys, games, and historical tunes in our garden.
$15 Adults; $10 Museum Members and Children under 12

6/18: Imagination Playground & the Uni Project
12-4pm, Franklin D. Roosevelt Four Freedoms Park, 1 FDR Four Freedoms Park, Roosevelt Island
Join for a fun-filled weekend with these family friendly events! At Imagination Playground, channel Louis Kahn by building whatever you imagine with oversized, architectural blocks on the lawn. At the Uni Project, our pop-up reading room, come sit, read, draw, and explore a curated collection of books and hands-on materials. Free; no registration required.·        

6/19: Imagination Playground & the Uni Project
12-4pm, Franklin D. Roosevelt Four Freedoms Park, 1 FDR Four Freedoms Park, Roosevelt Island
Join for a fun-filled weekend with these family friendly events! At Imagination Playground, channel Louis Kahn by building whatever you imagine with oversized, architectural blocks on the lawn. At the Uni Project, our pop-up reading room, come sit, read, draw, and explore a curated collection of books and hands-on materials. Free; no registration required.

6/20: Excel Skills - VLookUp and Pivot Tables
1pm, 67th Street New York Public Library, 328 E 67th St
No latecomers admitted.

6/21: Music @NYPL presents - Cady Finlayson and Vita Tanga
2pm, Yorkville Library, 222 East 79th Street
Join us for some spirited Irish music. Cady Finlayson offers a spirited fiddle show with a global twist, blending traditional Irish tunes with world rhythms and American folk music. She has performed in 33 states at venues including Carnegie Hall, Cleveland's State Theatre, Town Hall, and the Great Irish Fair. Her latest CD, "Irish Coffee" received a nomination for "Best Celtic CD of 2007" by the NAR lifestyle Awards. Cady performs both with her full band and as a duo with French guitarist Vita Tanga.

6/21: Summer Garden Concert, STOUT
6pm, Mount Vernon Hotel Museum & Garden, 421 East 61st Street
Frank Hendricks and Bob Conroy of STOUT will perform an evening of tavern tunes, combining hearty vocal harmonies and acoustic instruments. It will feature traditional American music, including popular songs of the 19th-century, drinking tunes, war tributes and sea chanteys, all encouraging you to sing along. Museum tour, complimentary beverages, and historic cocktail tasting included. $15 Adults, Free for Members, $5 Children under 12, Babies under 1 free

6/23: Are You Getting All Your Benefits
11am, 67th Street New York Public Library, 328 E 67th St
Find out if you are eligible for SNAP or SCRIE

6/23: Film - Go West Young Man, 1936
2pm, 96th Street New York Public Library, 112 E 96th St
GO WEST YOUNG MAN, 1936, 82 min., b&w, directed by HENRY HATHAWAY. A short film will precede the feature. About: Mavis Arden is a movie star stranded in the country. Starring MAE WEST, WARREN WILLIAM, RANDOLPH SCOTT, Alice Brady, Elizabeth Patterson, Lyle Talbot, Isabel Jewell, Margaret Perry, Etienne Girardot, Maynard Holmes, John Indrisano, Alyce Ardell, Nick Stewart. ADMISSION FREE.

6/23: Sensory Storytime for Children
4pm, 67th Street New York Public Library, 328 E 67th St
Ideal for children with autism spectrum disorders, sensory integration challenges or children who have difficulty sitting still. Advance registration required.

6/23: Bilingual Concert - A Summer Reading Kick-Off Celebration of All Ages
4pm, Yorkville Library 222 East 79th Street
Flor Bromley will play some of her favorite tunes in English and Spanish. With original songs and Archibald the puppet as her guest artist. Flor will create an interactive experience for children and families of all ages that will end in a big FIESTA. A perfect kick-off show for the season. Songs include “Crazy for Books/Amo los Libros” a song that encourages kids to read.

6/23: Motown Sound - The Music of Motown featuring Cody Childs
5:30pm, Webster Library, 1465 York Avenue
Pop and Jazz Vocalist Cody Childs, accompanied by Roxann McDade on keyboard, performs the music of Motown. The tribute includes historical notes on the beginnings of Motown based on the book titled “To Be Loved: The Music, the Magic, the Memories of Motown” by founder Berry Gordy, as well as a performance of Motown classics such as “My Girl”, “Please Mr. Postman”, “Stop in the Name of Love” “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough”, “Jimmy Mack” and many more.

6/25: New York Opera Forum Presents Xerxes by George Frederic Handel
1:30pm, 67th Street New York Public Library, 328 E 67th St

6/27: Photo Editing with PIXLR for Beginners
1pm, 67th Street New York Public Library, 328 E 67th St
No latecomers admitted.

6/28: Summer Garden Concert, Harp
6pm, Mount Vernon Hotel Museum & Garden, 421 East 61st Street
Sarah Loveland Gill, Juilliard and Mannes College of Music, will perform classical and Celtic music on her harp in the Museum garden. Just for fun, she’ll also play a pennywhistle tune for us. Museum tour, complimentary beverages, and historic cocktail tasting included. $15 Adults, Free for Members, $5 Children under 12, Babies under 1 free

6/30: Film - My Little Chickadee, 1940
2pm, 96th Street New York Public Library, 112 E 96th St
MY LITTLE CHICKADEE, 1940, 83 min., b&w, directed by EDWARD F. CLINE. A short film will precede the feature. About: Flower Belle Lee is suspected of illicit relations with the Masked Bandit, and run out of Little Bend. Starring MAE WEST, WC FIELDS, JOSEPH CALLEIA, Dick Foran, Ruth Donnelly, Margaret Hamilton, Donald Meek, Fuzzy Knight, Willard Robertson, George Moran, Jackie Searl, Fay Adler, Gene Austin, Russell Hall. ADMISSION FREE.

COMMUNITY RESOURCES

Positions Open at Participatory Budgeting Project

The Participatory Budgeting Project is hiring 4 new staff this summer, for fundraising, technology, and administration! The Participatory Budgeting team  growing, and we need your help to find superstars to help us deepen democracy with more responsive and equitable public budgets! If you know (or you are!) the right person for any of these positions, please share the job posting: participatorybudgeting.org/participate/jobs-internships/

The School Choice Group Announces the Michael Perelstein Memorial Scholarship Fund 2016

The School Choice Group,has partnered with The Parents of Accelerated Learners, NYC [PALNYC], to offer the 3rd annual Michael Perelstein Memorial Scholarship Fund for New York City based students from second through 12th grade.The scholarship awards children who show exceptional promise and passion for their unique individual interests and passions to include academic fields, sports, music, the arts, community service, entrepreneurship, technology, etc. This year the fund has increased to $25,000 and the awards extended through the high school grades. The Discover Your Passion™ Competition will award the grand prize winner $5000 toward his or her pursuit; there will be up to 9 more awardees, to receive appropriate support for their projects, for a total of $25,000.  Finalists will be selected from each of three age categories 2-5th grade; 6-8th grade; 9-12th grade. For complete information about the scholarship and to apply, see www.schoolchoicegroup.com