Spring Bulletin 2017

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Download Newsletter in PDF

Democracy works best when residents are empowered to have an impact on the decisions of government. Over my three years in office, I hope you have had an opportunity to make your voice heard at First Friday, Brainstorming with Ben, Ben-In-Your-Building, a neighborhood meeting, in a petition or by calling or emailing me. Here is just some of what we’ve accomplished together:

  • 14 laws passed to make government more transparent and honest, to improve democracy, and to improve quality of life
  • 523 pre-kindergarten seats added to the district
  • 57,000+ square feet of park space opened to the public
  • 35,000 children protected by moving the Marine Transfer Station ramp from Asphalt Green
  • $47 million secured for parks in the neighborhood from City Council district funds, the City Budget and private partnerships
  • $6.8 million invested in STEM education in our local public schools and free lunch for all middle schools
  • Rent frozen for more than 1 million rent stabilized tenants in the city 2 years in a row through advocacy at RGB
  • Over 19,480 violations issued to unsafe drivers and bikers for safer streets in 2016

Thank you for your partnership. Countless community leaders and residents have helped, and together we have accomplished so much. Make your voice heard with monthly updates at BenKallos.com/subscribe


Ben Kallos
Council Member District 5




The New York Times
City Officials Are Questioned Over Changes to Nursing Home’s Deed

“Councilman Ben Kallos of Manhattan asked why Mr. Shorris had not followed up to make sure his decision — that the center should remain a nursing home — had been observed.”

As chair of the Committee on Governmental Operations I held a six-hour hearing with fellow co-chair Gentile and Speaker Mark Viverito, to finally learn what really happened at the Rivington nursing home. After deed restrictions were lifted, the property was sold becoming luxury condos. By questioning City Hall officials under oath and in public, we got a detailed account of what went wrong and passed a law to prevent it from happening again.




The Wall Street Journal
Community Groups on Manhattan’s East Side Fight Proposed 950-foot Tower

“I want to stop the march of 1,000-foot towers into residential neighborhoods,” said Kallos.

We’ve submitted a re-zoning application with the community, led by the East River Fifties Alliance (ERFA), with Borough President Brewer, State Senator Krueger and Council Member Garodnick. We hope to rezone the Sutton Area with height caps of 210 feet for luxury development and 260 feet for affordable housing. Join the fight at BenKallos.com/Petition/SuttonPlace


The Wall Street Journal
Alchemy and the Art of New York City Property Development

“Six feet doesn’t make a difference, an unbuildable 10-foot lot must not give rise to an illegal skyscraper,” said Kallos.

A new legal challenge to “new” construction plans for 180 East 88th Street was brought by Carnegie Hill Neighbors, Borough President Brewer, State Senator Krueger, and me to stop the creation and use of a loophole in the law to allow skyscrapers in this residential neighborhood. Join the fight at BenKallos.com/Petition/StopSuperScrapers




The New York Times
Sidewalk Scaffolding, the Unwanted Neighbor, Is Under Scrutiny

“I was irritated by the fact that everywhere I went in the city, there was scaffolding. It’s one thing to put it up for safety, it’s another to just leave it up without doing any work,” said Kallos

Nearly 9,000 scaffolds that entomb almost 200 miles of the City’s sidewalks could come down under my new legislation. Scaffolding is supposed to be temporary to protect pedestrians from dangerous conditions. Unfortunately because it can be cheaper to leave scaffolding up than to complete the work, many have stayed up for years, attracting crime and providing makeshift homes for the homeless. My bill would require work to happen non-stop and give property owners months to get work done or else the city would do the work and make bad landlords pay


We’re making progress getting the East 80s cleaned up after purchasing and installing 38 new large trash cans and working with the Department of Sanitation to implement twice-a-day trash pickup. With conditions improving, but still not good enough, I continue to work to get a Business Improvement District (BID) organized that will help with:

  • Street Basket
  • Trash Pickup
  • Street Sweeping
  • Graffiti Removal
  • Snow Removal
  • Tree Pit Plantings & Cleaning

Learn more at BenKallos.com/BID



Opening the Queensboro Oval

I led an effort alongside Community Board 8 Parks Committee co-chairs Evans and Price to open the Queensboro Oval to the public. For generations this 1.25-acre park under the 59th Street Bridge off York Avenue has had a private tennis bubble for most of the year at rates of $180/hr. After organizing a protest and launching a petition with support from Congress Member Maloney, Borough President Brewer, Senator Krueger, Assembly Members Quart and Seawright and Council Member Garodnick, we are now working with Parks Commissioner Silver to open the park. Add your name in support at BenKallos.com/petition/oval

Opening the 90th Street Pier

We added more than 3,000 square feet of park space to the Upper East Side with Parks Commissioner Silver by opening the 90th Street Pier. As co-chair of the East River Esplanade Taskforce with Congress Member Carolyn Maloney, I advocated along with Senator Serrano, Assembly Member Rodriguez and Friends of the East River Esplanade, successfully collaborating to open piers along the waterfront to the public. Learn more at BenKallos.com/Parks

$47 Million Secured to Rebuild the New Green Roofs East River Esplanade

When I came into office, the East River Esplanade was literally falling into the river. Working with Congress Member Maloney as co-chair of the East River Esplanade Taskforce, I have secured $35 million from the city budget to rebuild infrastructure from 60th to 125th Streets:

  • $500,000 to renovate John Finley Walk following recommendations of CIVITAS from 84th to 81st Streets
  • $12 million already rebuilt the crumbling stairwell from 81st to 78th Streets
  • $1 million from Hospital for Special Surgery for a master plan from 78th Street with irrigation and planters from 72nd to 70th Streets
  • $1 million from District 5 for irrigation and planters from 70th to 68th Streets
  • $9 million from Rockefeller University from 68th to 62nd Streets




Second Avenue is Ready to Roll

"It’s been 5 generations of New Yorkers living for the promise of the Second Avenue Subway. I am proud to be here when it is delivered,” said Kallos.

After nearly a decade of fighting alongside Congress Member Maloney to ensure the Second Avenue Subway stayed on track, I was glad to join Governor Cuomo and former MTA Chairman Prendergast to open the 86th Street station and take the inaugural ride.


I continue to fight for Select Bus Service on the Upper East Side. Following my advocacy, we won Select Bus Service for the M79. Once in effect, we will get off-board payment, bus clocks, and bigger buses without losing stops on the East Side. This has been a huge success for the M86 and we are excited for the improved service on 79th Street.


...Upper Eastside Residents Say Bus Service In Their Neighborhood Is Terrible

“Select bus service replaced limited bus service in 2010 and every single limited stop … got a Select bus stop except 72nd Street and we are just feeling left out,” said Council Member Ben Kallos.

In partnership with the East 72nd Street Neighborhood Association we launched a petition with 2,700 signatures to restore the M15 Select Bus Service (SBS) stop at East 72nd Street. I also joined State Senator Krueger in co-authoring a letter with Congress Member Maloney and Assembly Members Quart and Seawright demanding the MTA restore the stop. Join the fight at BenKallos.com/Petition/M15SBS


Bike Safety Results

Drivers, riders, bikers and pedestrians have all expressed concerns about their safety, so we’ve expanded our Bike Safety Program with Council Member Garodnick to cover the Upper East Side and Midtown East within the 17th and 19th precincts. Injuries are down for motorists and pedestrians. The program focuses on Education, Equipment and Enforcement including:

FREE Equipment with Education:

  • Vests, Lights and Bells for Delivery Bikes following
  • 2.5 hr training in English, Spanish and Chinese.
  • Lights and Bells for Recreational and Commuting Cyclists coupled with education.
  • Helmets following a fitting.
  • New Bikes for NYPD Bike Patrol.

Enforcement in 2016:

  • 17,615 moving violations issued to motor vehicles (6,123 for improper turns, 3,003 for running red lights and 1,450 for not yielding to pedestrians).
  • 1,865 summonses issued to bicycle riders for disobeying red lights and riding the wrong way or on sidewalks.
  • 70 seizures of electronic bikes.

We’ve also added a protected bike lane on 2nd Avenue and bike lanes to 70th & 71st and 77th & 78th Streets. Learn more at BenKallos.com/bikesafety




The New York Times
On Tenant Blacklist, Errors and Renters With Little Recourse

“No one should be condemned to being homeless just because they were in housing court,” said Kallos.

If you have ever been to housing court, even if you won, you are most likely on the “Tenant Blacklist.” To combat this problem, I introduced legislation with support of Senator Krueger and Assembly Member O’Donnell that would license tenant screening companies behind the “Tenant Blacklist” forcing them to report accurate and complete information regarding Housing Court cases or face steep fines and lawsuits.

How to Help the Homeless

Homelessness continues to rise with 23,365 children, 17,847 family members, 3,785 single women, and 9,873 single men in our shelters, and more than 2,794 people on the streets. I launched the Eastside Taskforce for Homeless Outreach and Services (ETHOS) with Borough President Brewer, Senator Krueger, Council Member Garodnick, Department of Social Services, community and faith leaders and service organizations. We hope to get unsheltered people living on the street the help they need. If you see one of our City’s most vulnerable on the street, please call 311 or use the 311 app to ask them to dispatch a “homeless outreach team.” They will ask where you saw the person, what they looked like, and offer report on whether the person accepts our city’s offer of shelter, three meals a day, health care, rehabilitation, and job training.



I am proud to have authored laws and resolutions that will improve quality of life, democracy, transparency in government and championed women’s issues.


  • Closing Campaign for One New York Loophole (Law 181 of ’16, co-prime sponsor) – by limiting contributions to non-profits controlled by elected officials and disclosing donors.
  • Quelling Special Interests Dollars (Law 167 of ‘16) – by ending the practice of matching funds bundled by lobbyists and special interests with public dollars.
  • Early Public Fund Payments (Law 168 of ‘16) – to help campaigns that take public dollars get on the ballot and reach voters.
  • Better Debates (Law 169 of ‘16) – by only including campaigns that are spending money to win.
  • Save Paper and Money on Voter Guide (Law 170 of ’16) – by allowing voters to opt-out of receiving mailers.
  • Same Day and Online Registration Advocacy (Res. 1061 of ’16) – to pass state constitutional amendment.


  • Reforming Waterfront Management (Law 96 of ’16) – resuscitates an advisory board for advocates, experts, and all levels of government to use and protect over 500 miles of shoreline.



  • Catching Scofflaws (Law 48 of ‘16)
  • Stopping Repeat Offenders (Law 47 or ‘16)


  • Prohibiting Outside Income (Law 20 of ‘16)
  • Eliminating “Legal Bribery” (Res. 980 of ‘16)
  • Voter Information Portal (Law 65 of ‘16)
  • Pro-Voter Law Expansion (Law 63 of ‘14)
  • Online Voter Guide (Law 43 of ‘14)
  • Teens on Community Board (Res. 115 of ‘14)



  • Open Legislation (Res. 184 of ‘14, cosponsor)
  • Law Online (Law 37 of ‘14, co-prime sponsor)
  • City Record Online (Law 38 of ‘14)
  • Open Mapping (Law 108 of ‘15)

Women’s Issues:

  • National Women’s History Museum (Res. 354 of ‘14)

Learn more and comment at BenKallos.com/legislation



We continue to fight the Marine Transfer Station and thanks to your support we’ve already accomplished:

  • Ensured zoned trash pickup is done fairly to protect the East Side;
  • Brought attention to dangers of garbage trucks in residential neighborhoods following tragic death of local resident hit by a garbage truck;
  • Moved the ramp one block north to protect 35,000 children from all over the city who play at Asphalt Green in partnership with P2P and the local community;
  • Introduced air quality monitoring legislation to protect us from pollution;
  • Forced commitments from DSNY under oath to limit use to only 1,800 of the total 5,200 tons per day capacity, keeping more than 300 garbage trucks off our streets;
  • Advocated for and secured funding for guardrails on garbage trucks and other large city vehicles;
  • Advocated for and won a citywide goal of zero waste to make Marine Transfer-to-landfill obsolete by 2030;
  • Exposed high costs increasing from $93/ton to $278/ton for a total price tag of $632 million;
  • Built a three borough coalition against garbage dumps in residential neighborhoods.

Join the fight at BenKallos.com/MTS



New Green Roofs

My office allocated $3.1 million to fund Green Roofs to expand educational space at public schools in the district including P.S. 151, P.S./I.S. 217, P.S. 290, and M.S. 114.

More Seats for Universal Pre-K (UPK)

We’ve added 523 seats to the Upper East Side on top of the 123 we started with in 2014 for a total of 646. We continue to work with parents, schools, providers and the Department of Education to open more seats. If your child will be turning 4 soon, please email UPKatbenkallos [dot] com.

Supporting Arts Education

As a lover of the arts, I am proud to host an annual public school art show featuring student work at Sotheby’s. Learn more at BenKallos.com/ArtShow



Each year residents in my district ages 14 and older get to vote on how to spend one million dollars in the community through Participatory Budgeting. The ballot is decided and the process is run by residents just like you who volunteer as Delegates. Learn more at BenKallos.com/PB


District Office, 244 E. 93rd St.

Weekdays, 3/27 - 3/31, 9AM – 5PM

Sunday, 4/2, 11AM – 4PM


Saturday, 3/25, 10AM – 2PM, E. 82nd St. Greenmarket

Sunday, 3/26, 10AM – 2PM, Carl Schurz Park

Monday, 3/27, 7AM – 10AM, P.S. 198/77, 1700 Third Ave. 4PM – 7PM, E. 86th St. Lexington Subway (Southeast Corner)

Tuesday, 3/28, 7AM – 10AM, M79 Bus at York Ave. 4PM – 7PM, E. 72nd St. Second Ave. Subway (Southeast Corner)

Wednesday, 3/29, 7AM – 10AM, P.S. 183, 419 E. 66th St. 4PM – 7PM, Tramway Plaza at E. 59th St.

Thursday, 3/30, 7AM - 10AM, M86 Bus at York Ave. 11AM – 2PM, Eleanor Roosevelt H.S., 411 E. 76th St. 4PM – 7PM, F train at Roosevelt Island

Friday, 3/31, 7AM – 10AM, E. 86th St. 2nd Ave. Subway

Saturday, 4/1, 10AM – 2PM, E. 67th St. Greenmarket


First Friday, 8AM-10AM, District Office. Join me and your neighbors for a conversation.

Brainstorm with Ben, 2nd Tuesday, 6PM-7PM, District Office. Organize to make your ideas a reality. 

Ben in Your Building, Gather 10 neighbors and I will come to you!


Earth Day, April 20, 6PM

Knickerbocker Plaza Community Room, 1763 2nd Ave.

Tenants' Rights Forum, May 18, 6PM

Julia Richman, 317 E. 67th St. 

Overdevelopment Forum, June 8, 6PM

Lenox Hill Nieghborhood House, 331 East 70th St.

Roosevelt Island Town Hall, June 22, 6PM

Good Shepherd, 543 Main Street, Roosevelt Island

RSVP at BenKallos.com/Events

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