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Gotham Gazette
Samar Khurshid

Council Member Ben Kallos, chair of the governmental operations committee, has been pushing the city to do better for years and, at his request, the latest reports now show spending information by general categories of appropriation. But, he points out, the report still fails to connect budgeting with agency goals, despite being mandated by the city charter. “The MMR should be treated as an investment document,” Kallos said in a phone interview, “and spending should be tied to specific programmatic performance goals so New York City residents know how their tax dollars are being spent and can advocate for them to be increased or decreased.”


City Land
Jonothon Sizemore

Council Member Elizabeth Crowley was combative when questioning Chandler. Citing the Committee’s report, Crowley noted that while permits issued by the DOB were up 15 percent from 2014 to 2016, fatalities had gone up 100 percent in that same time. She laid blame for the rise in deaths on a “lapse in safety standards and supervision on the behalf of the DOB.” Crowley, sponsor of the prevailing wage bill, was baffled that the DOB would oppose requiring prevailing wages and apprenticeship training, which she pointed out that the School Construction Authority already requires for all its developments.

Council Member Benjamin Kallos expressed concerns over DOB’s testimony against apprenticeship programs. Kallos noted, and DOB conceded, that there are apprenticeship programs offered in a range of languages other than English, so language may not be such a bar. Further, when asked how many programs require a G.E.D. or its equivalent, the DOB was unable to provide an answer because it did not track such things. Kallos asked DOB to reconsider its position based on the lack of data to back the DOB’s assertions.


1010 WINS
Al Jones

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The Department of Sanitation and City Councilman Ben Kallos were handing out free reusable bags to help residents prepare for the implementation of a new ‘carryout bag law.’

However, the law is not without opposition.

Walking out the Fairway market on East 86th Street, Chris told 1010 WINS’ Al Jones that he likes the reusable bags, and uses them all the time. He also runs a delivery service.


New York Daily News
Kenneth Lovett

"New York City is in the midst of a homelessness crisis that is severely impacting our most vulnerable residents, with currently 23,365 children are living in our city's shelter system," Kallos said. "We should be doing everything we can to prevent more families from ending up in already crowded shelters."

Hevesi's plan previously has been backed by 111 state Assembly members from both parties, a group of eight breakaway Senate Democrats who help make up a leadership coalition with the Republicans, and a range of other public officials.

Hevesi has said his plan would cost the state and feds $450 million, but it would ultimately save taxpayers tens of millions of dollars by relying less on costly shelters. It would also be a big savings for the city, he has said.


Reveal Center For Investigative Reporting
Miranda S. Spivack

The business model has worked well for the company, which was founded in the paper era in 1934, and has helped countless residents who want to find information about their community’s laws and see how they compare with others.

“We don’t believe we own these codes,” Wolf said. “We believe we are a service provider. We take the raw ordinances and put the codes online.”

The information, he says, doesn’t belong to his company. “It is not our information; it is the public’s information.”

New York City recently became a client of American Legal Publishing.

Ben Kallos, a city council member who helped nudge the city toward embracing a new system for publishing its laws, said making laws easily available to the public should be a no-brainer.

“If it is just out there and publicly available, residents can actually read laws, interact with them and use them and be empowered.”


The Real Deal
Kathryn Brenzel

One of the more contentious bills would require construction workers involved in projects of a certain size that receive $1 million or more in any kind of government assistance to receive state-approved training. Contractors would be required to participate in apprenticeship programs approved by the New York State Department of Labor if working on projects that are 100,000 square feet or more or have 50 or more residential units. A similar bill was introduced in 2013, but was revived by Council member Ben Kallos. Kallos noted on Wednesday that since 2012, 72 percent of construction-related accidents occurred on sites where contractors didn’t participate in apprenticeship programs.

“No one should die from a construction accident that could have been prevented with proper education, apprenticeship, and protections for a worker’s right to say no to a dangerous situation,” he said in a statement.

Brian Sampson, president of the New York chapter of Associated Builders and Contractors, a nonunion organization, said the bill wrongly equates the apprenticeship programs with safety. He argued that the law would force workers to either join a union — since unions already participate in the programs — or apply for a program independently, which can take six to 18 months. He said this is likely to put hundreds of workers out of jobs.


City Land
Editorial Board

Occupying a prominent site that formerly hosted the Vanderbilt mansion at the south end of Grand Army Plaza, the building was designed Ely Jacques Kahn in a Modern Classical style. Bergdorf Goodman was among the original tenants, and grew to become one of the City’s iconic department stores, ultimately purchasing the entire building.

The vernacular Italianate 412 East 85th Street House was built circa 1860, and is a rare surviving wood-framed house on Manhattan’s Upper East Side. The house has had a series of owners, and undergone some minor alterations, but remains largely intact. The house’s owners, Catherine De Vido and Susan Jordan, supported landmark designation. Council Member Ben Kallos, Gale Brewer, and preservationist organizations also urged Landmarks to designate the property.

The Harlem Branch of the YMCA, now the Jackie Robinson YMCA Youth Center, was completed in 1919 to designs by architect John Jackson. At the time of its construction, YMCAs were racially segregated, and the Harlem Branch was built for the use of African Americans. The building served as a center for Harlem intellectual and social life, and Harlem Renaissance luminaries such as Langston Hughes, Richard Wright and Paul Robeson are associated with the YMCA. There was no opposition to designation on the November 12thhearing. Chair Srinivasan said the cultural and social history associated with the building made it “a standout.”

Citi Bike has seen nearly 37 million trips completed since its inception in 2013, with few serious injuries and no deaths—but with more riders joining the bike share, they see further safety measures as a necessary step. (Learn everything you need to be a safer rider with the Bicycling Complete Book of Road Cycling Skills.)

“As Citi Bike ridership soars even during the dark winter months, it is important that we look for new innovative ways to keep pedestrians, cyclists, and drivers safe,” said Council Member Ben Kallos in a press release. “By testing out the Blaze Laserlights, the city is showing its commitment to safety in our streets.”


Mobile Marketing Magazine
Tim Maytom

“As Citi Bike ridership soars even during the dark winter months, it is important that we look for new innovative ways to keep pedestrians, cyclists and drivers safe,” said city council member Ben Kallos. “By testing out the Blaze Laserlights the city is showing its commitment to safety in our streets.”


New York Times
Lawrence Downes


A bill introduced last month by City Council member Ben Kallos would try to end this ridiculous time warp. It would require building owners to finish repair work in six months, so that sheds can be removed. If work on a building ever stopped for seven or more consecutive days, landlords would have to take the sheds down or risk being fined.


Village Voice
Stephen Miller

Council Member Ben Kallos, who represents Roosevelt Island and the Upper East Side, said his grandfather used the vehicular elevator while serving as a doctor at Coler-Goldwater Hospital. Kallos first remembers taking the tram with elementary school classmates in the 1980s. “We had a birthday party on Roosevelt Island, and that’s the first time I remember going there,” he said. “At the time, the only way you were going to get there was on the tram.”

The tram served as an '80s backdrop not only for Kallos’s childhood memories, but also for high-flying scenes in the cheesy 1981 Sylvester Stallone thriller Nighthawks, where Sly’s character pilots a helicopter in a bid to rescue hostages held in one of the tram cabins.

Finally, the subway opened in 1989. The next year, the city came to an interim agreement with the Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation, the state authority that manages the island, to continue operating the tram, which remained popular.

The New York City subway is the lifeblood of the city, outgoing MTA chairman Thomas Prendergast said the other night—that is, the sort of circulatory system that people tend to move through, drift through like blood cells (5,650,610 each weekday, to be precise), not a place they move to. On New Year’s Eve, it was the opposite: six stories down was the figurative height of urban accomplishment, a gleaming destination unto itself. The crazy idea of launching the Second Avenue Subway at a New Year's Eve party inside a subway station—of launching the subway at all, on deadline—was Governor Cuomo's, said the governor, who was standing on a dais above a crowd of well-dressed revelers and not far from a black sign hanging on the wall that said, miraculously, in white Helvetica letters, “72 STREET. 24 HOUR BOOTH.”

“I said to my family, I said, ‘You know how about this for an idea? We have a New Year’s Eve party in the new subway station.’ And they gave me that look, like you know, ‘There’s crazy Dad again!’ But, I said, ‘This is unlike any subway station you’ve ever seen. You look at this mezzanine level, which subway stations normally don’t have. It’s open, it’s airy. You look at the public art that is in all these stations, it is amazing." Here, the walls were decorated with amusing, live-size mosaic portraits of everyday New Yorkers by artist Vic Muniz, including one of a couple of bulky, bearded Brooklynites holding hands. Cuomo did not mention that, nor did he acknowledge another obvious amazement: the station was litter-free, with not a rat in sight.
Noah Hurowitz

The rezoning proposal is currently being reviewed by the Department of City Planning, and the group expects an answer on whether the city will move forward with a uniform land-use review process, or ULURP, in the next few weeks.

The process, which would begin as soon as DCP certifies the application, would take months to complete, requiring reviews by Community Board 6, the Manhattan Borough President, the City Planning Commission, and City Council.

But the proposal already has the support of key figures in that process, including Borough President Gale Brewer, CB6, and city council members including Ben Kallos and Dan Garodnick.


New York Times
Emma G. Fitzsimmons

Even Yorkville’s city councilman, Ben Kallos, 35, who grew up in the neighborhood, is weighing how he and his wife can afford to stay in the district. He said there was little he could do to slow rising rents.

“Where I have to place much of my focus is on helping rent-regulated tenants stay in their apartment and exercise their rights,” said Mr. Kallos, a Democrat who has also pushed to set a height limit on so-called superscrapers in the neighborhoods he represents.

Austin Finan, a spokesman for Mr. de Blasio, a Democrat, said the administration’s top priority remained protecting affordable housing and building new units.

PhotoWorkers on Second Avenue between East 69th and East 70th Streets, completing work on the 72nd Street station. CreditDave Sanders for The New York Times

“We pursue that goal in every neighborhood in the city, including on the Upper East Side,” Mr. Finan said.

Across the United States, good transit access often leads to higher real estate prices, with home values near rapid transit in Boston, Chicago, Minneapolis-St. Paul, Phoenix and San Francisco far outpacing other properties during the last recession, according to a report by the American Public Transportation Association.


Gotham Gazette
Ben Max

Per the de Blasio administration, “only 43 percent of working New Yorkers have access to a plan that can help them save for retirement,” but they are often subject to large fees, and “even those who have started to save do not have much: 40 percent of New Yorkers between the ages of 50 and 64 have less than $10,000 saved for retirement.”

The city-focused ruling from the Department of Labor, which applies only to municipalities of a certain size, comes after DOL paved the way for state-run programs earlier this year. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo already has a commission studying the issue. A state program could supercede a city one, though it would also depend on the details of the programs if the city were to launch one before the state. It is too early to tell which level of government will act first. In the city, Public Advocate James and City Council Member Ben Kallos are expected to lead on introducing legislation at the City Council, and the bill would likely go through Kallos' governmental operations committee.


City Land
Jonathon Sizemore

The site for the skyscraper forms an L-shape, wrapping around several existing buildings and fronting both Third Avenue and 88th Street. Last year the developer carved out a lot measuring four by twenty-two feet on the development’s 88th Street front. Doing so allowed the owner to avoid strict zoning requirements, including height limits for narrow buildings between two low-rise buildings. The move also allowed the owner to designate space on the side facing 88th Street as a required rear yard, when in practice it would serve as an entrance to the skyscraper. The Department of Buildings approved the carve-out.

In May 2016, after construction had begun, the scheme came to the notice of Council Member Ben Kallos who, with Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, requestedthat Buildings immediately stop construction at the site for a review. Together, they called the 88 square-foot lot “the smallest created in modern times” and “unbuildable” with “no legitimate purpose.” Buildings stopped construction at the site shortly after.

Working with the City, the developer proposed increasing the carved out lot to ten by twenty-two feet. On October 27, 2016, Buildings approved the increased size, stating that the agency considered the now larger lot “developable.”


Wall Street Journal
Josh Barbanel

Carnegie Hill Neighbors, a preservation group said it planned to file an administrative appeal, and is preparing to go to court if necessary to stop the project.

“I am not sure what kind of building you can build on a 10-by-22-foot lot but I sure wouldn’t want to live there,’ said Council member Ben Kallos, a Manhattan Democrat, who is opposing the project.


Queens Chronicle
Ryan Brady

Sick of the Board of Standards and Appeals approving projects contrary to their wishes, members of Queens civic associations are highly supportive of a 10-bill package before the City Council to make the agency more transparent.

A hearing on the bills, some of which were introduced by Councilman Ben Kallos (D-Manhattan) this month and others of which were introduced before, was held on Dec. 14.

Some of the measures that stand out include a bill that would create a $25,000 fine for lying on an application; one that would require the agency to reference arguments made by community and borough boards and the City Planning Commission in its decisions; and another that would mandate the creation of a map showing locations where variances and special permits have been granted.


Upper East Side Patch,NYC
Brendan Krisel

Three City Council members — Jumaane Williams, Ben Kallos and Carlos Mechaca — released a statement offering their condolences to the worker's families and pledging to make sure developers are held accountable when a job site is unsafe.

The joint statement reads:

"We're saddened to offer our prayers of peace and comfort to the family and friends of yet another young man who lost his life on a New York City construction site. If it is even possible to make such news worse, getting it during the holiday season must be unimaginable. My thoughts are with them.


Gotham Gazette
Ben Max

The de Blasio administration is bringing in a new chief administrative officer to work under First Deputy Mayor Tony Shorris starting January 1. Laura Anglin, who comes to City Hall after serving as president of the Commission on Independent Colleges and Universities for the last seven years, “will support the work of a number of City agencies,” according to the December 15 press release announcing her hire.

Those agencies include several within Shorris’ 30-agency portfolio, the vastness of which was a key point of contention at a City Council oversight hearing in September. At that hearing, which focused on the administratioan’s mistakes in removing deed restrictions on Rivington House, City Council Member Ben Kallos asked Shorris a series of questions about the structure of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s upper management and whether the first deputy mayor has too much on his plate. Kallos indicated that he believes de Blasio should have a deputy mayor for operations like some of his predecessors.


Our Town
Madeleine Thompson

Council Member Ben Kallos, who represents the area, said some restaurants may count fines for e-bikes as part of the cost of doing business. “I’ve made a very simple request going on two years now saying ‘I’d like [residents] to no longer accept deliveries from people who show up with e-bikes,” he said. “Ultimately I think that if a restaurant gets fined $100, that’s the cost of doing business but if they lose 100 customers in a night, that has an impact.” While his office did not assist in the data collection of data, Kallos said he fully supports the idea of the survey and would suggest it to other communities that feel they have a commercial cycling problem. “Hopefully other neighborhood associations in this district, as well as around the city, will see this as a model and start working so that instead of just complaining about e-bikes people are actually empowered to do something about it,” he said.

Mason said her organization isn’t “against cyclists,” and was quick to say she didn’t want to resort to ending her patronage at the poorer scoring restaurants. Mason was recently hit by an electric bike in Queens, and wants everything possible to be done to increase her neighborhood’s safety. Ideally, Mason would like to see the Department of Health include adherence to commercial cycling rules in their letter grades for restaurants. “We’re hoping that the restaurant community will be responsive,” she said. “We want to keep the restaurants in business.”
Shaye Weaver

If the DOB decides to uphold its decision, then the developer can appeal with the city's Board of Standards and Appeals.

The challenge against DDG's plans, which can be submitted by individuals or organizations, was filed by local group Carnegie Hill Neighbors as well as politicians including Brewer, Councilman Ben Kallos, State Senator Liz Krueger and the law firm Carter Ledyard & Milburn. 

Their petition argues that DDG has made no changes to resolve zoning issues raised when it first filed plans with the city.


Our Town
Madeleine Thompson

On Wednesday, Dec. 14, the City Council’s Committee on Governmental Operations discussed legislation that would, for example, slow the approval process for new developments in the BSA. Sponsored by Council Members Ben Kallos, James Van Bramer, Karen Koslowitz, Steven Matteo, Donovan Richards and Rosie Mendez, the legislation proposes to give communities more time and weight in BSA decisions. 


Wall Street Journal
Josh Barbanel

But community critics aren’t mollified. “Six feet doesn’t make a difference,” said New York City Council member Ben Kallos, a Manhattan Democrat. “An unbuildable 10-foot lot must not give rise to an illegal skyscraper," he said.


New York YIMBY
Rebbecca Baird-Remba

The City Council is trying to drag the Board of Standards and Appeals—the agency that decides zoning changes for many New York City developments—into the 21st century. The council’s Government Operations committee spent yesterday afternoon discussing bills that would force the agency to post zoning applications and decisions publicly, create a map of those decisions, and keep community boards and council members in the loop on applications.

The Board of Standards and Appeals consists of five commissioners appointed by the mayor. City law requires that the board must include one registered architect, one professional engineer, and one urban planner. While many pieces of the city’s land use process can be obscure, the BSA has steadfastly resisted oversight and transparency. Every year, dozens of developers file applications with the agency, seeking a minor change or exemption from zoning rules based on a “financial hardship.”


While summer is a great time to slow down, we also use it as a chance to catch up, with the introduction of legislation to protect hundreds of thousands from the “Tenant Blacklist,” fight patronage, and open city owned and operated spaces for the arts after hours, as well as passing legislation I authored into law to plan for climate change and a more resilient waterfront.

You can prepare for hurricane season with storms like Hermine with the Office of Emergency Management and our Community Emergency Response Teams (CERT) on September 29 on Roosevelt Island where you can get your free “Go Bag” or “Go Bag Kit.” RSVP to reserve your free Go Bag.

Please join me for our annual Town Hall this September to learn and ask questions about Pre-Kindergarten seats in the district, the completion of the Second Avenue Subway, Bus Service, Parks Improvements, Bike Safety, and get your free reusable bag. RSVP to reserve your free reusable bag.

How was your summer?


Ben Kallos
Council Member

P.S. We will hold First Friday this month on September 9th.


September 15, 6pm
Town Hall

September 29, 6:30pm
Emergency Preparedness
(Go Bags Giveaway


September 9
First Friday

September 13, 6pm
Policy Night

September 12, 19 & 26
Participatory Budgeting Neighborhood Assemblies

September 1, 8, 15, 22 & 29
Fresh Food Box


  1. Fighting “Tenant Blacklist” by Regulating Screening Companies
  2. Fighting Patronage
  3. Waterfronts and Resiliency, An Advisory Board Re-Established
  4. Emergency Preparedness CERT, Go Bag Giveaway
  5. Town Hall


  1. Bill to Open City Owned Properties to the Arts
  2. ”Suicide Squad” Premiere Contest


  1. Moving the 91st Street Citi Bike Station
  2. Support Our Bus Drivers
  3. Gillen Brewer Students Take on Track Fires


  1. Suing to Protect Rent Freeze
  2. Register to Vote For President
  3. Supporting our Building Service Workers
  4. Girl Scouts Visit First Friday and Play Pokemon Go
  5. Preservation Pays, Challenge
  6. Participatory Budgeting:Neighborhood Assemblies Decided How to Spend $1 Million in the Community
  7. Adopt-A-Planter
  8. Fresh Food Box Continues at Office
  9. Affordable Rental Housing Opportunity, NYC Housing Connect
  10. Street Improvements Affect Available Parking
  11. Backing Folding Helmets


  1. Legislative Corner
  2. Legal Clinic
  3. Here to Help
  4. Mobile District Hours
  5. Ben In Your Building


    1. City Council Events
    2. Events Sponsored by My Office
    3. Community Events for Kids
    4. Community Events for Adults
    5. Resources

    I hope you had a chance to relax and enjoy yourself this month, maybe at Carl Schurz Park, where the New York Classical Theatre gave us our very own Shakespeare in the Park, with very well attended performances of A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

    We secured dozens of additional Pre-Kindergarten seats for the East Side, which allow four year olds to go to school in their own neighborhoods. I allocated $2 million this year  to revitalize the East River Esplanade. This adds to $45 million I have previously secured as Co-Chair of the East River Esplanade Task Force with Congress Member Carolyn Maloney. And in Ruppert Park, I helped fund Big Belly solar compactor trash cans to keep the park clean and pest free.

    The Department of Investigation released its independent query into why the city removed deed restrictions on the Rivington Street nursing home, allowing it to be turned into luxury condos. The report confirmed that the best interest of the city was not given due consideration in this deal. I plan to hold a Council hearing in the fall to ask more questions and discuss proposals for how we can prevent a similar deal from happening again.

    Don't forget on Thursdays from 3:30pm to 6:30pm, until November 17, you can get a GrowNYC Fresh Food Box full of farm fresh produce for only $12 at my district office (order the week before). There are only a few weeks left of the summer -- make sure you are outside enjoying them.


    Ben Kallos
    Council Member

    P.S. We will hold First Friday this month on August 12, not 5.

    August 20 & 21
    12pm – 4pm
    FDR Four Freedoms Park
    Imagination Playground & the Uni Project

    August 4
    6pm – 9pm
    FDR Four Freedoms Park
    Music at Sunset: Swing with Fleur Seule

    August 4, 11, 18 & 25
    3:30pm – 6:30pm:
    Fresh Food Box

    August 9
    Policy Night

    August 12
    First Friday

    August 25
    Citi Bike Skills Class



    1. Deed Restrictions Initial Investigation Findings
    2. More Pre-K seats to the Upper East Side
    3. Better Bus Service


    1. Investing Additional $2 Million in East River Esplanade
    2. Shakespeare in Our Park
    3. Cleaning Up Ruppert Park


    1. Fresh Food Box
    2. Cooking with Kallos
    3. Reusable Bags
    4. Celebrating 40 Years of GrowNYC
    5. Kicking Off City of Water Day
    6. Catskill Challenge with Governor Cuomo
    7. Studying Microbes in Subways


    1. Pokémon Go “PokéStop” at Our Office
    2. Leading the Civic Revolution
    3. United Nations Civic Camp
    4. STEM Institute for Public School Teacher
    5. Free Course from NYU’s GovLab


    1. Citi Bike Expansion and Station Modifications
    2. Holmes Infill Update
    3. Honoring Our Constitution


    1. Perfect Attendance
    2. Legislative Corner
    3. Legal Clinic
    4. Here to Help
    5. Mobile District Hours
    6. Ben In Your Building


    1. City Council Events
    2. Events Funded by Our Office
    3. Community Events

    Dear Friend,

    This year's budget reflected years of hard work with hundreds of millions in savings, billions set aside for a rainy day and investments in our district's parks and public schools. I continue to fight to protect our tenants and preserve our neighborhoods helping rent stabilized tenants win a second consecutive rent freeze.

    As Co-Chair of the East River Esplanade Taskforce with Congress Member Carolyn Maloney, I've invested nearly $2 million in the Esplanade including adding irrigation, renovating, removing fences, and greening. I am also working with Community Board 8 to de-privatize our Queensboro Oval Park under the bridge and open it for the public, please circulate and sign the petition at

    The Department of Transportation (DOT) will be completing the CitiBike rollout above 86th street, reducing the size of some stations, and infilling with new stations, a process I look forward to working with you to ensure takes you into consideration. DOT will also be painting crosstown bike lanes without taking away any traffic lanes or parking. We are also working with the newly formed East 72nd Street Neighborhood Association to restore the East 72nd stop for M15 Select Bus Service, please circulate and sign the petition at

    As Chair of the Committee on Governmental Operations I continue to fight special interests with legislation to limit their influence, oversight hearings, and stopping lobbyists from running our elections.

    Stay-cation with me this July in the city and enjoy free Music at Sunset at Four Freedoms Park and A Midsummer Night's Dream at Carl Schurz Park, both supported with funding from my office and let me know what you think.

    On Thursdays from 3:30pm to 6:30pm, starting this July 7 running through November 17, you can now get a GrowNYC Fresh Food Box full of farm fresh produce for only $12 at my district office.

    Happy Fourth of July!


    Ben Kallos
    Council Member


    July 7, 14, 21, 28:
    3:30PM - 6:30PM
    Fresh Food Box

    July 10, 12PM
    Cooking with Kallos

    July 12, 14-17, 7PM
    A Midsummer Night's Dream

    July 16 & 17, 12PM - 4PM
    Imagination Playground

    July 21 & 28, 6PM
    Music at Sunset


    July 12, 6PM
    Policy Night

    July 28, 6:30PM
    CitiBike Street Skills Class


    1. Budget Savings & Transparency
    2. Council Member Item Funding
    3. Celebrating Pride and Controlling Guns
    4. Cleaning Up 86th Street New Trash Cans and BID
    5. Fighting to Protect Our Landmarks
    6. We Won Another Rent Freeze

    Transportation and Parks

    1. Crosstown Bike Lanes
    2. Bike Share Completion, Infill and Reduction
    3. Bike Safety
    4. Restore the M15 SBS Stop at 72nd Street
    5. Rally for the Queensboro Oval


    1. Pre-K Seats for the East Side and Roosevelt Island
    2. Chapin Reduces Hours of Construction
    3. Global Sampling Day
    4. Rockefeller University’s Expansion Begins
    5. Food Policy Award & Free School Lunch Support from Rachael Ray
    6. Cultural After School Adventures Performances
    7. Congratulations Graduates

    Good Government

    1. Fighting Special Interests
    2. Keeping Lobbyists from Running Elections
    3. Fighting Corruption at All Levels
    4. Public Comment and Analytics Bills
    5. Voter Information Portal Becomes Law
    6. One Job to Do: Voting


    1. Gender Pay Gap
    2. Free Feminine Hygiene Products
    3. Supporting the Striking Workers at the Hamilton
    4. Macy’s Fair Contract Rally
    5. Verizon Workers Strike Ends in Success
    6. Supporting Our Immigrant Families


    1. Get Your Fresh Food Box at My District Office
    2. Shakespeare in Our Park
    3. 180 East 88th Street Skyscraper Update
    4. Roosevelt Island Town Hall
    5. Literary Landmarks Dedicated to Remarque and Doctorow
    6. DOROT Turns 40
    7. Roosevelt Island Shabbat
    8. Street Fairs and Parades

    Office Updates

    1. Participatory Budgeting
    2. Summer Reading Challenge
    3. Join Coro’s New York City Youth Council
    4. In the Neighborhood
    5. Legislative Corner
    6. Legal Clinics
    7. Here to Help
    8. Mobile District Hours
    9. Ben in Your Building


    1. City Council Events
    2. Events Funded by Council Member Kallos
    3. Community Events
    4. Community Resources
    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.
    Ben Kallos
    Council Member


    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


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

    June 25, 10AM
    Cooking with Kallos


    June 3, 8AM - 10AM
    First Friday

    June 14, 6PM
    Policy Night

    June 23, 6PM
    CitiBike Street Skills


    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


    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

    With the promise of warm weather this month I continue to focus on improving quality of life, fighting corruption, and a budget that is responsive to you.

    Nearly 2,000 residents turned out to vote in person or online on how to spend $1 million as part of Participatory Budgeting, investing your tax dollars in Science Technology Engineering and Math (STEM) education with green roofs for two schools, laptops for ten schools. Read the results and more information below.

    We’ve focused on quality of life by cleaning up our streets, improving city management, launching free public wifi, helping our homeless, and passing new enforcement laws. Quality of life legislation I authored was signed into law to recover $1.6 billion and prevent businesses from repeatedly leaving trash on the streets, engaging in dangerous construction, or excessive noise. As chair of the Committee on Governmental Operations, I am working to address the Board of Elections’ presidential primary failures, as covered by the New York Times, and the improper sale of a nursing home at 45 Rivington Street.

    Good news came to 86th Street, as I announced twice-a-day trash pickup with Sanitation Commissioner Kathryn Garcia and our work with community and business leaders to form an 86th Street Business Improvement District for a full and sustainable solution made substantial progress. Come to support a Business Improvement District (BID) to clean up East 86th Street once and for all at a public meeting on Wednesday, May 18.

    This month I hope you will join us to learn about your rights as a tenant and how to reduce rent stabilized rents with a rent roll back at our housing forum on May 19. As always join me monthly for First Friday, Policy Night, Mobile Hours, Legal Clinics; or I can come to you for "Ben In Your Building" or at your cooperative or condominium annual meeting.

    How did you celebrate your Easter, Passover or Spring Break?


    Ben Kallos
    Council Member



    May 18, 6PM
    86th Street Business Improvement District Public Meeting

    May 19, 6PM
    Housing Forum:
    Tenants Rights, SCRIE/DRIE and Rent Guidelines Board Rent Rollback


    May 6, 1PM
    Life Planning Session

    May 14, 11AM
    Free Bike Helmets

    May 16, 10AM - 3PM
    Free Legal Assistance


    May 6, 8AM - 10AM
    First Friday

    May 10, 6PM
    Policy Night

    May 26, 6PM
    CitiBike Street Skills



    We continued our fight against the construction of the Marine Transfer Station as the tragic death of East Sider Jodi McGrath further substantiated concerns about garbage trucks driving down side streets in this dense residential neighborhood. `

    I introduced legislation this month to empower residents to engage our government and participate in our democracy. Government should work for its residents, not special interests. By reforming antiquated ballot access laws and making large campaign donations unnecessary, we can increase the pool of viable candidates for office and give voters real choice on the ballot. By centralizing the City’s websites and information into a single app through Single Sign On legislation, we are streamlining a vast bureaucracy and allowing residents to access the information they need. 

    On the affordable housing front, I helped negotiate significant amendments into the Mandatory Inclusionary Housing and Zoning for Quality and Affordability proposals and saw an encouraging update in our fight against the superscraper at Sutton Place. 

    Join more than 2,000 residents who have already voted in deciding how $1 Million is spent on projects in the community. Vote online today or in person in my office or at the remaining sites by April 3.

    For free reusable bags and helpful information, sign up for composting and electronics recycling in your building and much more at an Earth Day ForumWhat will your Earth Day resolution be?



    Ben Kallos
    Council Member

    P.S. I hope we will see you in my office this Friday, April 1st at First Friday. This is not a joke, but bring a good joke if you’ve got one.

    Starting Monday, March 28 through Thursday, March 31 you can request a digital ballot to vote online at

    Join more than 1,000 of your neighbors who have already cast their votes to decide on how to spend $1 million in our community today through April 3rd as part of Participatory Budgeting

    Anyone 14 or over can vote online or in person at our district office or a mobile voting site for the entirety of vote week.

    March 26th – April 3rd:
    Monday – Friday: 9:00AM – 6:00PM
    Saturday – Sunday: 11:00AM – 5:00PM


    Tomorrow, Friday, March 18 is the deadline to register to vote by mail at

    You decide on how to spend $1 million in our community starting March 26th through April 3rd as part of Participatory Budgeting.

    Dear Neighbor,

    All government should work like your kitchen sink’s faucet: you should be able to rely on it and not have to deal with bureaucracy to make it work. I spent my second year in office seeking to fix government so it works seamlessly to meet your needs and serve our community and city. In the past year my office and I:

    • Made government more transparent  with seven laws opening up the city’s  legislation, law, and elections.
    • Brought additional Pre-K seats to the  East Side and Roosevelt Island, as we  expanded to 60,000 seats citywide.  
    • Invested $5 million in STEM education  in our local public schools and  expanded free lunch citywide.
    • Secured $45 million from the city and  private institutions to revitalize the East   River Esplanade.
    • Moved the ramp to 92nd Street while  continuing to fight the Marine Transfer  Station.
    • Focused on changes to the  management of the city to improve  quality of life.

    Thank you for your partnership in making all of our shared goals a reality. We’ve proven over the past two years that together we can accomplish greatness. You can read more from my midterm report at


    Ben Kallos
    Council Member, District 5

    Download Newsletter in PDF

    Apply Now for Universal Pre-K, the deadline is THIS Wednesday, March 9, 2016.
    All New York City children born in 2012 are eligible to attend free, full-day Pre-K this upcoming fall. Sign up now at

    Please email me at upkatbenkallos [dot] com (subject: UPK) once you apply so we can add you to our list of families in need of UPK.

    More than 425 seats are currently available in my Council District for 2016-17 from the list below (or visit

    P.S. / I.S. 217 Roosevelt Island
    645 Main St, Roosevelt Island, NY 10044
    2016-17 Seats: 36 Full day

    Roosevelt Island Day Nursery (RIDN)
    405 Main Street, Roosevelt Island, NY 10044
    4 River Road, Roosevelt Island, NY 10044
    2016-17 Seats: Currently Seeking DOE Approval

    Renanim Manhattan
    336 East 61st St, Manhattan, NY 10065
    2016-17 Seats: 16 Full day

    East Side Elementary School, P.S. 267
    213 East 63rd St, Manhattan, NY 10065
    2016-17 Seats: 18 Full day

    Ella Baker School
    317 East 67th St, Manhattan, NY 10065
    2016-17 Seats: 54 Full day

    Lenox Hill Neighborhood House
    331 East 70th St, Manhattan, NY 10021
    2016-17 Seats: 80 Full day

    P.S. 158 Bayard Taylor
    1458 York Ave, Manhattan, NY 10075
    2016-17 Seats: 72 Full day

    Wee Care
    451 East 83rd Street, Manhattan, NY 10028
    2016-17 Seats: Currently Seeking DOE Approval

    Cassidy's Place
    419 East 86th St, Manhattan, NY 10028
    2016-17 Seats: 36 Full day and Half Day

    Eisman Day Nursery
    1794 First Ave, Manhattan, NY 10128
    2016-17 Seats: 39 Full day

    P.S. 198 Isador E Ida Straus
    1700 Third Ave, Manhattan, NY 10128
    2016-17 Seats: 54 Full day

    Lexington Children's Center
    115 East 98th St, Manhattan, NY 10029
    2016-17 Seats: 20 Full day

    Following reporting by WNYC in 2014 that Yorkville, Lenox Hill and Roosevelt Island had 2,118 four-year-olds and only 123 pre-K seats, we've been working with parents to pressure the Department of Education to open more seats in my Council District. We successfully doubled the number of seats at P.S./I.S. 217 on Roosevelt Island last year and as of this year have nearly quadrupled the number of seats that were originally reported by WNYC. Thank you to Eva Bosbach along with the Roosevelt Island Parents Network as well as Ariel Chesler and Jack Moran on the East Side whom we are working with to open new seats in the Council District.

    We are actively seeking parents to help us organize other families in need of seats as well as providers with whom parents are comfortable in order to expand the number of Pre-K seats in the district.

    Please Apply Now and Email upkatbenkallos [dot] com (subject: UPK) .