September News: Fighting superscrapers, bike safety, and you decide on $1 million

The New York Times has covered our on going fight against the superscraper at Sutton 58 and a new fight that I am helping to lead to preserve our neighborhoods and landmarks

Bike safety program results are in following my summer launch ahead of Citi Bike expansion to the Upper East Side. My constituents can get $25 off an annual membership by visiting and are encouraged to take advantage ofa free 90-minute Citi Bike safety class taught by Bike New York monthly in my District Office that comes with a free day pass or a free month added to your annual membership.

The summer was busy and I hope you'll enjoy getting caught up in this newsletter, as we look ahead to the fall please be sure to join me for First Friday (on September 11 for the Labor Day weekend), the annual Town Hall with city agencies, and our annual Emergency Preparedness Month event where you can get a free Go Bag or Go Bag Kit.

Summer may be over, but I hope you took some time to relax or if you are anything like me, catch up on work. What are you looking forward to this fall?


Ben Kallos

Please Note: First Friday has been moved to Friday, September 11 to accommodate the Labor Day weekend.

Table of Contents
1. Fighting Superscrapers

2. Landmarks Preservation Fight Ahead
3. Bike Safety Program
4. Citi Bike Stations Moved & Safety Training
5. Ramp Moves as DEC Considers Impact on Air Quality
6. Decide How to Spend $1 Million in the Community
Good Government

7. Hero For Reform
8. City Record Online
9. Electronic Filing to Save Time and Money
10. Automatic Benefits to Help Low-Income New Yorkers
11. Improving 311
12. Affordable Housing
13. Healthy Happy Meals

14. Cooking with Kallos
15. Emergency Preparedness Event
16. Trash Walk
17. Boating with Ben
18. Summer Reading Celebration
19. Lexington Houses Family Day

20. Making Kids Smile
21. Penn & Teller Honored
Office Updates
22. Fall Interns
23. Here to Help
24. Mobile District Hours
25. Ben in Your Building
Community Resources
26. Bike New York
27. Jewish Association Serving the Aging
28. City Council Events
29. Community Events

Fighting Superscrapers

Our fight against super scrapers is getting attention and gaining support. In July, my forum "How to Fight Superscrapers," that you can watch online, was covered in DNAinfo,New York Observer, and The Real Deal.

The New York Times wrote an excellent story on August 19 about our fight against the 900-foot tower at 58th Street.

“This is about preserving our residential neighborhoods and the light and air for the people who live there,” Mr. Kallos said. “The community is finally fighting back against superscrapers.”

If you haven't already, please sign my petitions:
Sutton Area megatower:, or

Landmarks Preservation Fight Ahead
As The New York Times wrote in “Preservationists Fight Bill Setting Time Limit on Landmarks Decisions in New York” I am part of leading a coalition with Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, Friends of the Upper East Side Historic DistrictsHistoric Districts Council, and some 60 preservationist groups from all over this city in opposition to new legislation that would weaken the city’s historic Landmarks Law on its 50th Anniversary.

“‘We don’t want to create a situation where landlords can game the system and run out the clock,’ said Councilman Ben Kallos, a Democrat from the Upper East Side of Manhattan, who is a member of the Landmarks Subcommittee and an opponent of the bill.” Read more in The New York Times.
Please email me with your support or to let me know that you will join me and preservationist from all over the city in voicing your opposition at 11am on September 9 in the City Hall Chambers.

 Bike Safety Program: 50% Increase in Enforcement
The results are in from the Bike Safety Program that I launched in June with program partners at the NYPD, Department of Transportation, Bike New York, Citi Bike, and Transportation Alternatives, which you can watch online
 The NYPD presented new statistics from the summer initiative, including a 52% increase in enforcement year-to-date and an 18% decrease in bike and vehicle collisions year-to-date. They've also increased distribution of education safety materials, including 8,000 in August. The Department of Transportation noted they have given away 10,500 bells and 10,100 lights since the program started in 2008. I also joined DOT in distributing free lights and bells heavily trafficked bike lane at the corner of 1st Avenue and 60th Street on August 19.

This follows my previous work in which I surveyed 60,000 households on dangerous intersections, released the Livable Streets report identifying dangerous intersections, leading to the DOT's Manhattan Pedestrian Safety plan that prioritized three Avenues and multiple intersections on the Upper East Side. The bike safety program expands on my Commercial Bike Safety program to include recreational and commuter cyclist in our educational outreach.
Learn more about the Bike Safety Program and all of my plans on bike safety to
Citi Bike Stations Moved & Safety Training

Citi Bike's bike share locations up to 86th Street have been announced and are being installed now through the third week in September. The locations were chosen by you, the community, at numerous public sessions and requests for input online and through my mailed and electronic newsletter. Using your suggestions, we were able to help improve Citi Bike locations in the community, moving locations from East 72nd between 1st and York and East 84th street. For more information, you can find meon Fox5 with Ernie Anastos discussing Citi Bike or read The Daily News coverage of the opening of new Citi Bike stations on the Upper East Side.
 As Citi Bike expands we are working to make sure that these riders will be among the safest people on the road by providing a monthly free 90-minute bike safety class taught by Bike New York with a free day pass or a free additional month for existing members. The next Citi Bike Safety class will be on September 24 at 6:30pm in my District Office, RSVP Now!

Join Citi Bike before September 30th and receive $25 off your annual membership using this link for my constituents: 
 Ramp Moves as DEC Considers Impact on Air Quality

As reported in the New York Daily News, the ramp will move one block north to protect the 35,000 children from all over New York City who play at Asphalt Green and the local community. I supported moving the ramp and was pleased to work with the community and fellow elected officials to make this happen.We will continue to fight for further ways to mitigate harm the Marine Transfer Station would bring to the community, but I still remain opposed to this or any Marine Transfer Station in any residential community like ours.

That is why I submitted a written comment to the DEC asking them not to renew the air permit so that the MTS cannot operate. You can read my full submission online at As covered in DNAinfo, I worked with community groups and residents to ensure many of us submitted comment, and I am proud to say that thousands of people made their voices heard -- including me.

To see more about the dangers presented by the MTS, please watch Alexandra Summa’s “Garbage Kills” from IconicNYC. She discusses just how dangerous it is to have so many garbage trucks in the area. We can only stop the Marine Transfer Station if we work together.

Decide How to Spend $1 Million in the Community

Participatory budgeting is back! Each year, I set aside one million dollars for the community to vote on.DNAinfo profiled how participatory budgeting works in our neighborhood as we launched for this year. The public sessions began in August at Good Shepherd on Roosevelt Island, at Knickerbocker and at Stanley Isaacs.

The next events will be:
11:30am, Sunday, September 13 at the Lenox Hill Neighborhood House RSVP
1:30pm, Saturday, September 19 at Lexington Houses RSVP

Come learn more about Participatory Budgeting and how you can get involved in determining how $1 million of your taxpayer dollars get spent. We are seeking ideas and delegates to champion projects and become involved in the process. I hope to see you there. To learn more, please visit

 Good Government
Hero For Reform

You may have missed the story Heroes and Villains:Naming the Names of Council Members Who Do the Right Thing on Lulus, and Those Who Don’t” in the New York Daily News on August 2 about which council members did and did not accept added compensation for committee duties, called lulus. Only 11 of the 51 members of the City Council turned down the bonuses from Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito. I was proud to be one of them and to be named a hero by the Daily News. I made it a campaign promise that I would never accept what the Daily News calls “in effect, legally buying votes.” Thank you to theDaily News for holding council members accountable for their actions in accepting the bonuses.

City Record Online

You have a chance to be heard on issues like new sidewalk cafes, construction contracts, and more. The most important newspaper you aren’t reading is the City Record – and it’s now online because of the law I authored, making it easier than ever for you check out. The City Record includes information on all public hearings, whether it is about zoning changes or a new bar opening on your block. Check outCapital New York’s coverage of putting the City Record online and to learn more, please

Electronic Filing to Save Time and Money

The New York Post recently covered my focus on modernizing our government after they identified $1.2 million in waste in our Law Department, and I’m already working fixing it. The article pointed out just how much money could be saved by electronic filing, instead of wasting money delivering paperwork by hand. We rely on our press as the Fourth Estate, and must be responsive to fixing problems they, or anyone, identifies.

Automatic Benefits to Help Low-Income New Yorkers

Beth Noveck, the first Director of the Open Government Initiative for President Obama and the White House, wrote in Governing about my efforts to automate all benefits for which they are eligible simply by filing a tax return or applying for one benefit. Instead of confusing paperwork, New Yorkers will get the help they need from the government to get out of poverty and it will reduce administrative costs at the same time. Read more in Governing or The New York Times, and on

Affordable Housing

I delivered remarks at the NYCHA Annual Plan public hearing on August 11 calling for 100% affordable housing on any new building on existing NYCHA developments.

"Under the NextGeneration NYCHA plan, land owned by NYCHA is being used for new developments — what is being called infill development. Land is a valuable commodity, and a finite resource. New York City is 309 square miles or 197,760 acres with NYCHA occupying 2,473 acres, about 1.25%, and currently providing affordable housing to nearly 5% of the very low-income who live here. Once we sell that land, lease it, or give it away for market rate luxury development, it’s gone forever, and we won’t ever get it back. Given our current extreme shortage of affordable housing, we must ensure that we leverage city-owned property for the maximum possible gain, which means 100% affordable housing."


Healthy Happy Meals

There was a renewed interest in my "Healthy Happy Meals" bill after NYU released a study in the American Journal of Preventative Medicine confirming that my legislation could help kids eat healthier reducing the number of calories, fat and sodium they eat while earning restaurants more revenue. The study shows how science can inform better public policy and generated national coverage inForbes and on CBS News.

Cooking with Kallos

I was excited to get back out to 94th Street Greenmarket on August 23 for another Cooking with Kallos event. I was joined this time by my former Director of Food Policy and Chef Amanda Melpolder to cook up corn and other end-of-summer recipes with fresh produce available right from the greenmarket. What is your favorite recipe?



Annual Town Hall

Council Member Kallos will host his annual town hall featuring speakers from MTA Transit, MTA Capital Construction, and the Department of Parks and Recreation. The Department of Transportation, Department of Homeless Services, and Department of Sanitation have also been invited.

6:30pm, Thursday, September 17, 2015
Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center
430 East 67th Street
New York, NY 10065


Emergency Preparedness Event

On September 30, I will be giving away 100 Go Bags and 100 Go Bag Kits with the Office of Emergency Management as part of Emergency Preparedness Month at a forum at 7PM at the Stanley M. Isaacs Neighborhood Center at 415 East 93rd Street, which is part of a NYCHA development damaged during Super Storm Sandy. Please RSVP Now as Go Bags will be handed out first come, first served in order ofRSVP.

Trash Walk

One of the most common complaints I hear is about overstuffed garbage cans. I took a walk down 86th Street with the Department of Sanitation in August to work with them to fix the problem. If you see overflowing garbage cans, please call 311 and contact my office at 212-860-1950 to report it.

Boating with Ben

If you’re looking for a fun, free, and unique workout, then East River C.R.E.W. is for you. I got a chance to go out for a row on the East River with the nonprofit organization on August 18. It was a beautiful day to row out to Mill Rock and enjoy a unique view of the 5th District. The group meets every Tuesday at 4:30pm on the southbound FDR service road between 95th and 96th Streets, with departures from 96th Street on the Esplanade from 5pm until sunset.

Summer Reading Celebration

As kids head back to school, my summer reading program wrapped up with a celebration honoring over 75 children who read five books from the NYPL reading list. We handed out certificates – and some high-fives – at 232 East 103rd Street. Thanks to all the children who took part in the program, and I hope you developed a love of reading which will continue straight through until next summer’s program.

If your child participated in the summer reading program make sure to contact us and check

Improving 311

Thank you to the folks at 311 for taking me on a tour of their facility at 59 Maiden Lane in Lower Manhattan on August 18. Executive Director Joe Morrisroe was gracious enough to introduce us to one of the hardest-working staffs in the whole city, and even let me listen in on calls as they happened. Having an outlet for the public to request non-emergency government services is vital to improving our city.

Lexington Houses Family Day

I joined the Lexington Houses on Family Day as I took part in their Beautification Day on August 29. We spent time cleaning up the area, and yes, they even let me touch a paint brush. Thanks to Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito and everyone who came out to help in the clean-up.

Let me know if I can join your tenant association, or help you find one, to improve your neighborhood.

Making Them Smile

Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center was gracious enough to let me visit their Clown Care program on August 25, where I got to meet their “doctors in humorolgy.” In partnership with Big Apple Circus, the Department of Pediatrics welcomes clowns to their center to try to bring a few smiles to a very difficult period in the child’s life.

Ronald McDonald House on East 73rd Street also welcomed me for a tour. The organization supports families as their children struggle with cancer diagnoses. And they do it at just $35 per night.

Penn & Teller

It was an honor to present world famous magician duo Penn & Teller with a proclamation to honor the 40th anniversary of the pair’s formation. Penn & Teller have redefined magic with the addition of comedy in their act. While the two may be famous for performing in Las Vegas, they have deep New York roots. 


Office Updates

Fall Interns

Interns and fellows at our Council office learn firsthand about city government, work closely with senior staff and are encouraged to pursue a project of their own choosing. Interns can work regular business hours or nights and weekends with a focus on attending events. If you would like to join the team, please send a resume and cover letter to internshipatbenkallos [dot] com.
Here to Help

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

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

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

Mobile District Hours

Get assistance wherever you are located. Please join us at mobile district hours from 2-5 p.m.:

  • Stanley Isaacs Neighborhood Center, 415 East 93rd Street
    Second Tuesday of the Month
  • Lexington Houses, 1773 Third Avenue
    Second Wednesday of the Month
  • Lenox Hill Neighborhood House, 331 East 70th Street
    Fourth Tuesday of the Month
  • Roosevelt Island Senior Center, 546 Main Street
    Fourth Wednesday of the Month

Appointments after 5 p.m. available upon request.

Ben in Your Building

The "Ben in Your Building Program" is a chance to discuss issues of importance to you and your neighbors in person, in your home. If you gather 10 or more friends, I will come to you. Last month, I went to two buildings to discuss matters of importance in the neighborhood, including efforts to fight the marine transfer station, sanitation and condo owner issues. Please call 212-860-1950 or email scheduleratbenkallos [dot] com in order to schedule a "Ben in Your Building" event.

City Council Events

9/8: Policy Night
6:00-7:00 p.m., Second Tuesday of the Month, District Office at 244 East 93rd St.

If you are looking to become more involved in your community, please consider joining a District Five policy committee. Committees include education, environment, senior services and more. Please call 212-860-1950 or RSVP online.

9/11: First Friday (Note Special Date)
8am-10am, District Office, 244 East 93rd Street

Come in to the office and meet me with me and my staff as we get a chance to answer some of your questions.

9/13: Participatory Budgeting at Lenox Hill
11:30am, Sunday, September 13 at the Lenox Hill Neighborhood House 

9/17: Annual Town Hall
6:30pm, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, 430 East 67th Street

Council Member Kallos will host his annual town hall featuring speakers from MTA Transit, MTA Capital Construction, and the Department of Parks and Recreation. The Department of Transportation, Department of Homeless Services, and Department of Sanitation have also been invited.

9/19: Participatory Budgeting at Lexington Houses
1:30pm, Lexington Houses 

9/24: Citi Bike Safety Class
6:30pm, District Office, 244 East 93rd Street

Participants will receive a free day pass or an additional month on an annual Citi Bike membership.

9/30: Emergency Preparedness Event
7pm, Stanley M. Isaacs Neighborhood Center, 415 East 93rd Street

Council Member Ben Kallos will be handing out 100 Go Bags and 100 Go Bag Kits with the Commissionr of OEM as part of Emergency Preparedness Month. First come, first served based on order of RSVP Required.

Community Resources

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.

Jewish Association Serving the Aging

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

Community Events

9/3: Screening of Sullivan's Travels (1941) at the 96th Street Library
3pm, 112 E 96th St, New York, NY 10128

Sullivan’s Travel, 1941, 90 min., b&w, directed by Preston Sturges. A short film will precede the feature. Starring Veronica Lake, Joel McCrea, Robert Warwick, William Demarest, Franklin Pangborn, Porter Hall. A Hollywood director tires of comedy and goes out to find real life. Learn more at

9/5: ACC Pet Adoption Event at Manhattan Veterinary Group
12pm-4pm, Manhattan Veterinary Group, 240 E 80th St. New York, NY 10075

ACC’s Mobile Adoption Center will be at Manhattan Veterinary Group with great cats and dogs looking for loving homes! Animal Care Centers of NYC (ACC) adoptions include vaccinations, spay/neuter, a pre-registered microchip, an identification tag, and a certificate for a free initial exam at a participating veterinarian.

9/6: Electronics Recycling Day         
10am-4pm, Outside Church of the Heavenly Rest, 2 East 90th Street

The 8th Annual Carnegie Hill Electronics Recycling Day will take place Saturday, September 6. Drop off your old, unwanted electronics in front of the Church of the Heavenly Rest at 90th Street and Fifth Avenue between 10:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. RSVP by emailing chnatcarnegiehillneighbors [dot] org.   

9/6: No-cost Breast Cancer Screenings
10am-4:30pm, Times Square Church, 257 West 51st Street, New York, NY 10019

The American-Italian Cancer Foundation’s (AICF) mobile, No-Cost Breast Cancer Screening Program provides mammograms and clinical breast exams to uninsured and medically underserved New York City women.

9/8:  Screening of Mad Max (1979) at the Roosevelt Island Library
6-8pm, 524 Main St, New York, NY 10044

Mad Max, 1979, Rated R. Max Rockatansky (Mel Gibson) is a tough cop trying to maintain order on the bad and bloody roads where outlaws rule, in a world that is gradually deteriorating into chaos. Watch as Max does battle with The Toe-Cutter and his gang of motorcycle maniacs, hunting them down in his V8 Interceptor, and find out what drives Max mad.  Learn more at

9/10: Screening of This Gun for Hire (1942) at the 96th Street Library
2pm, 112 E 96th St, New York, NY 10128

This Gun for Hire, 1942, 81 min., b&w, directed by Frank Tuttle. A short film will precede the feature. Starring Veronica Lake, Alan Ladd, Robert Preston, Laird Cregar, Tully Marshall, Marc Lawrence.  A professional killer becomes involved in a fifth columnist plot. Learn more at

9/16: Lincoln Center Local Free Screenings: Audra McDonald in Concert; Go Back Home
4-5pm, 67th Street Library, 328 E 67th St, New York, NY 10065

The unparalleled performer — a winner of five Tony and two Grammy Awards — takes center stage to sing her favorite songs. Learn more at

9/17: Screening of the Glass Key (1942) at the 96th Street Library
2pm, 112 E 96th St, New York, NY 10128

The Glass Key, 1942, 85 min., b&w, directed by Stuart Heisler. A short film will precede the feature. Starring Veronica Lake, Alan Ladd, Brian Donlevy, Bonita Granville, Richard Denning, Joseph Calleia. A slightly corrupt but good-natured politician is saved by his henchman from being implicated in a murder. Learn more at

9/23: Lincoln Center Local Free Screenings: Ring Them Bells! A Kander and Ebb Celebration
4-5pm, 67th Street Library, 328 E 67th St, New York, NY 10065

Ring them bells! Pianist Rob Fisher pays tribute to musical theater legends Kander and Ebb, the collaborators behind Cabaret, Chicago, and much more. Learn more at

9/24: Screening of the Blue Dahlia (1946) at the 96th Street Library
2pm, 112 E 96th St, New York, NY 10128

The Blue Dahlia, 1946, 96 min., b&w, directed by George Marshall. A short film will precede the feature. Starring Veronica Lake, Alan Ladd, William Bendix, Howard Da Silva, Doris Dowling, Tom Powers. A returning war veteran finds his faithless wife murdered and himself suspected. Learn more at

9/26: Dog Adoptions at Biscuits & Bath, Sutton Place
11am-3pm 1064 First Ave. (at 58th St.), New York, NY 10022                                             
Meet several great dogs up for adoption from ACC at Biscuits & Bath, Sutton Place! ACC adoptions include vaccinations, spay/neuter, a pre-registered microchip, an identification tag, and a certificate for a free initial exam at a participating veterinarian.

9/26: Screening of Focus (2015) at the Webster Library
2pm, 1465 York Ave, New York, NY 10075

Focus, 2015, 105 min., Rated R, Directed by John Requa & Glenn Ficarra. In the midst of veteran con man Nicky's latest scheme, a woman from his past -- now an accomplished femme fatale -- shows up and throws his plans for a loop. Learn more at

9/28:  Screening of Kid Flicks at the Yorkville Library
4pm, 1465 York Ave, New York, NY 10075

Join us in our community room for our children's film showing. Watch short films based on popular picture books. Showing:  Madeline, Band Concert, and Blueberries for Sal. All films are subject to last minute substitution. Learn more at

9/29: Screening of Fantastic Voyage (1966) at the Roosevelt Island Library
6-8pm, 524 Main St, New York, NY 10044

Fantastic Voyage, 1966, Rated PG. Starring; Stephen Boyd, Raquel Welch, Edmond O'Brien, and Donald Pleasence. A medical team is shrunk down to microscopic size along with a state of the art submarine and injected into a victim of an assassination attempt in order to try to save his life. Learn more at

9/29: The Twelfth Annual Ambassador to the Upper East Side Award
6:30pm, The Union Club, 101 East 69th Street

Friends of the Upper East Side Historic Districts will proudly present the Twelfth Annual Ambassador to the Upper East Side award to Peter Duchin. Learn more at

9/30: Section 8 & Public Housing Workshop
10am, Ceremonial Room, 5th floor, 90 Church Street

Brian Honan, Director, Office of Intergovernmental Relations, will present on NYCHA's Section 8 and Public Housing application process, remaining family member policy and work order practices.