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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.”


Collin Mixson

The plague of pointless scaffolding encrusting Downtown sidewalks for years on end may finally have a cure.

Property owners would have six months to shore up their aging buildings and then take down sidewalk sheds, or else face “heavy penalties” under a new bill introduced by Councilmember Ben Kallos.

Area residents living under the shadow of the sidewalk sheds that have loomed over Downtown for years were overjoyed upon learning that the Upper East Side legislator is attempting to tackle the root of so many of Downtown’s quality-of-life issues, according to the president of the Financial District Neighborhood Association

“I think this is a great starting point, and it’s laudable that someone is doing this,” said Patrick Kennell.

The bill gives landlords three months to complete construction that requires scaffolding or sidewalk sheds for the job, along with an option to apply for an additional three-month extension. After that period expires, however, the city would be entitled to step in to complete any remaining work and take down the scaffolding, before kicking the bill back to the property owners for any costs incurred by the city — likely in the form of liens or by garnishing landlords’ rent earnings, according to Kallos spokesman Josh Jamieson.


Gotham Gazette
Ben Max

The governmental operations committee is headed by Council Member Ben Kallos, who is more knowledgeable about the campaign finance system than Council Member Alan Maisel, the chair of the standards and ethics committee -- somethign Maisel acknowledged in a prior interview with Gotham Gazette. Kallos has expressed concerns about some of the second package of bills, including around bill details and process.


City Land
Jonathon Sizemore

Ten bills will be aired for public opinion to place restrictions on and revamp the processes of the Board of Standards and Appeals. On December 6, 2016, Council Member Ben Kallos introduced five new bills regarding the oversight and operations of the Board of Standards and Appeals at the City Council’s stated meeting. The Board of Standards and Appeals, which was originally created to be an independent board tasked with granting “relief” from the zoning code, is empowered by the Zoning Resolution and primarily reviews and decides applications for variances and special permits.


The Real Deal

The City Council will discuss 10 bills Wednesday aimed at tightening the rules that allow property owners to bend zoning regulations.

Council member Ben Kallos is sponsoring the proposed bills that will target the Board of Standards and Appeals, Crain’s reported. The board is able to approve applications from landlords who argue they need to surpass zoning laws in order to make a profit from a development. In some cases, according to the publication, owners ask that a height restriction be relaxed so that revenue-generating apartments can be built. In other circumstances an owner may say that a lot is oddly shaped and it is therefore impossible to conform to zoning laws.

In 2011, the board approved 97 percent of applications that came before it, many of which had been opposed at the local council level. Kallos believes the board is too lenient.


Editorial Board

New York City Councilman Ben Kallos explained,  “New Yorkers want to get where they are going fast. Everyone hates traffic jams, especially when they are for road work, but no one is actually there doing the work. It’s about making sure we are only impeding traffic and causing traffic when we absolutely need to.”


Gotham Gazette
Samar Khurshid

New York City Council Member Ben Kallos, chair of the governmental operations committee, is an avid social media user who often solicits questions through Twitter during committee hearings. He’s well aware of the intersection of technology and governance and the issues that can arise with an elected representative’s use of social media. “Its pretty confusing to the public because they don’t know who to tweet sometimes,” he said of his own experience with separate accounts for official and campaign purposes. “So I have to spend double duty making sure I’m managing both, paying attention to both and ensuring that whether a constituent tweets my campaign or government [account], they get the services they need.”

He said officials should generally ensure that the distinctions between accounts are clear and they “respond from the right places and retweet from the right places.”

“It can be a little bit of a minefield,” Kallos said, “but you just have to be extra cautious.”


Kimberly M. Aquilina

A bill introduced in City Council on Tuesday gives a timeline for when scaffolding has to come down or the building owner has to pay up.

The bill would set a 90-day deadline for building owners to fix a dangerous condition, according to Kallos' office. Another 90 days could be requested if an extension is required.

After the deadline, the city would finish the construction work or repairs and the building owner would have to foot the bill.


Editorial Board

But sidewalk sheds have been known to overstay their welcome, like a drunken uncle, sometimes sticking around for a dozen years or more, providing magnets for drug dealers, homeless people, trash, and worse. To remedy the situation, city councilman Ben Kallos, who represents the Upper East Side, proposed a new law on Tuesday that would give building owners three months, with the possibility of a three-month extension, to make repairs and remove scaffolding and sidewalk sheds, the New York Times reports. If the work is not completed in that time, the city will step in to do it, and charge the owner for the work.


Upper East Side Patch,NYC
Brendan Krisel

City Councilman Ben Kallos, who represents the Upper East Side and parts of Midtown, proposed a new bill to wage war on the city's nearly 9,000 units of scaffolding — also known as sidewalk sheds — by placing strict regulations on how long scaffolding is allowed to stay up and by punishing people who opt to leave scaffolding up rather than finish inspections and construction projects.

If passed, the bill would require building owners take a scaffolding unit down within 90 days of its construction, according to a press release from Kallos' office. If needed, building owners could receive a 90 day extension to fix a dangerous condition.


New York Daily News
Erin Durkin

Construction sties that block roads and snarl traffic when no actual work is going on would face fines under a bill being introduced Tuesday in the City Council.

The legislation, sponsored by Councilman Ben Kallos, would require that roadblocks like traffic cones, barrels and Jersey barriers only be set up in the street for one hour before and one hour after work is underway.

Kallos (D-Manhattan, photo) said drivers often encounter traffic backups caused by construction barriers and road closures, only to find the site empty.

“New Yorkers want to get where they are going fast. Everyone hates traffic jams, especially when they are for road work, but no one is actually there doing the work,” he said. “It’s about making sure we are only impeding traffic and causing traffic when we absolutely need to.”


Crain's New York
Aaron Elstein

Sidewalk sheds, the unattractive steel-and-wood structures that pop up anytime a building is being built, repaired or has been deemed unsafe, have spread across the city like kudzu during the past decade. As Crain's described in a cover story earlier this year, approximately 190 miles of them are devouring sidewalk space, cutting off sunlight and hurting businesses trapped underneath.

But at long last, there may be relief for exasperated New Yorkers.

On Tuesday, City Councilman Ben Kallos introduced a bill that would require sheds to be taken down if no work is done on the building above for seven days, with exceptions for weather and other issues. The legislation would close a loophole that allows landlords to keep dormant sheds up forever, so long as the city's Department of Buildings grants a permit, which it routinely does. The bill would also let the city do the work and bill the property owner.

Laurent Delly, who has lived near a shed that has stood since 2004 at the corner of West 123rd Street and Lenox Avenue, called the bill great news for the city. "We would be pleased with a tangible solution to this chronic issue, which has affected all of us as New Yorkers for years," he said.


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) .

February marked my 35th birthday and there was no better way to spend it than with many of you at our First Friday meeting and celebration. Thank you to those who attended (I hope that you enjoyed the cake) and to everyone in District 5 who helps me love my job every day.

Last month, the New York Times covered a proposal I will introduce in the Council to provide 1.4 million New Yorkers working in the private sector with an opportunity to save for retirement. We also launched the Eastside Taskforce for Homeless Outreach and Services (ETHOS) and passed bold ethics reforms that will go a long way toward preventing corruption.

This month you have a chance to vote on how to spend $1 million in our community, at our Participatory Budgeting voting sites this month or by absentee ballot.

Will you commit to vote or request your absentee ballot today?

Ben Kallos
Council Member


March 4: First Friday

March 8: Policy Night

March 15: Investor Protection with the Attorney General’s Office

March 16: Protecting Immigrant Families from Scams with the District Attorney's Office

March 23 - April 2: Vote on Participatory Budgeting


  1. Retirement Security for All
  2. Homeless Taskforce Launched
  3. “United” U.S Senators Booker and Gillibrand
  4. Limiting Corruption with a Full Time Legislature
  5. Better Budget
  6. Participatory Budgeting: You Decide How to Spend $1 Million


  1. Stopping Superscrapers
  2. Affordable Housing Registration, Enforcement, and Application
  3. Fighting for More and Broader Affordability in Mayor's Housing Plan
  4. Construction Safety
  5. Smoke Alarm Giveaway


  1. Universal Pre-K
  2. Sotheby’s Art Show
  3. Chess in the Schools


  1. Crosstown Bike Lanes
  2. Rallying for Offshore Wind Energy
  3. Energy Town Hall
  4. Marine Transfer Station


  1. Fight for $15
  2. Freelance isn’t Free


  1. Elections Empowering Everyone
  2. “Automatic Benefits” Featured on Effective Radio
  3. Free and Open Source Software


  1. Legislative Corner
  2. In the Neighborhood
  3. Legal Clinic
  4. Mobile District Hours
  5. Ben In Your Building


  1. City Council Events
  2. Events Funded by My Office
  3. Community Events
  4. Community Resources

Dear Friend,

It has been two years, one month and twenty four days since I began serving as your City Council Member. I am deeply proud of the work we have accomplished together and excited for the road ahead.

I want to thank all whom I have already had a chance to meet and look forward to meeting you or seeing you again at my District Office at 244 East 93rd Street for First Friday, Policy Night, or another event listed at Or I can come to you for Ben In Your Building.

If you would like to compare my goals with actions over the past two years, please have a look at my 2013 Policy Book as well as my Inauguration and two States of the District, where we looked to the past and prepared for a bright future. I am proud of these achievements, but I know we have much more to do together. Thank you for your support over the past two years. I am looking forward to the next two.


Thank you to everyone who was a part of my State of the District. Our numerous accomplishments are the result of collaboration with you and it was a nice opportunity to celebrate the great work we have done together fighting for our community and city. 

The big news this month was our rezoning proposal to stop superscrapers in residential neighborhoods. We also passed a law to improve health education, held two hearings on my legislation to fight children’s hunger and obesity, and introduced legislation to end the corrupting influence of stipends and outside income.

In February, we will hold an energy forum, where you can hear from experts on how to save on your bills and save the environment. The City Council will also hold two hearings on the Mayor’s housing and zoning plans. What do you want the East Side to look like fifty years from now?



Ben Kallos
Council Member

P.S. Join me in celebrating my 35th Birthday at First Friday on February 5, 8am - 10am. RSVP to reserve your slice of birthday cake.


  1. State of the District
  2. Limiting Corruption with a Full Time Legislature 
  3. We Filed to Stop the Superscrapers
  4. Bridging the Digital Divide
  5. Community Boards


  1. Health Education Co-Prime on Cumbo’s Law
  2. Fighting Hunger and Obesity
  3. Art Show


  1. Second Avenue Resurfacing
  2. Vision Zero Report Card
  3. Crosstown Bike Lanes Meeting Notice


  1. NYCHA Infill Plan
  2. Affordable Housing Legislation
  3. ZQA/MIH coming to the Council
  4. Hope Count, February 8
  5. Homelessness Forum
  6. MS 177 Homeless/Refugee Play


  1. Sutton Area Conservancy $6K Grant
  2. Beyond Coal Victory
  3. Top Scores from Environmental Group NYLCV
  4. Queensboro Oval


  1. Paid Family Leave & $15 Wages with VP Biden and Gov Cuomo
  2. Free Construction Training at Stanley Isaacs
  3. Grocery Worker Retention Act


  1. Office Hours at Civic Hall
  2. Free Law Founders on WashingTECH Podcast


  1. Asphalt Green Snowman Showdown
  2. Roosevelt Island Library Visioning Session


  1. Legislative Corner
  2. In the Neighborhood
  3. Volunteer
  4. New Legal Clinic Schedule
  5. Mobile District Hours
  6. Ben in Your Building
  1. City Council Events
  2. Events Funded by My Office
  3. Community Events


  1. Volunteers of Legal Serice (VOLS) Elderly Project Legal Clinic
  2. El Museo del Barrio Group Visits for Schools
  3. Metropolitan Coordinating Council on Jewish Poverty (Met Council) Hotline
  4. New York Cares Coat Drive
  5. DOROT

Yesterday, we filed the most sweeping residential re-zoning plan by a community group in New York City history. I was proud to lead the effort with East River Fifties Alliance, with co-applications to the Department of City Planning by Council Member Daniel Garodnick, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, and State Senator Liz Krueger.

The new zoning plan for the Manhattan area between 52nd Street and 59th Street, east of 1st Avenue, will restrict supertowers and over-development in the neighborhood with a contextual height cap of up to 260 feet, incentives for schools, and a requirement for mandatory inclusionary housing.

Happy New Year! I hope you had a happy holiday season with family and friends. I would like to send a special thank you to all who attended the holiday party at my office and made it so wonderful.

This past year I was most focused on fighting overdevelopment, maintaining quality of life, and improving access to affordable housing and government benefits to help New Yorkers that need it most. Please join me as we usher in the New Year at my annual State of the District on January 10th, as we reflect on our accomplishments and plan for 2016, please RSVP.

Please tell me about your 2015 and about your New Year's resolutions for 2016.
P.S. We are closed for the federal holiday on January 1, with no First Friday, but hope you will join me in celebrating my birthday as I turn 35 at the First Friday on February 5th, to secure your party favor and slice of birthday cake please RSVP


  1. Better Management for New York City
  2. Improving Quality of Life
  3. Superscrapers and Zoning
  4. Affordable Housing
  5. Automatic Benefits Don’t Miss Out
  6. Help the Homeless
  7. Discretionary Funding 
  9. Citizen Preparedness Corps Training 
  10. Rockefeller Ground Breaking
  11. Carl Schurz Park Playground
  12. Senior Fitness Class a Success
  13. Climate Works for All
  15. 86th Street Subway Station Wi-Fi
  16. Second Avenue Resurfacing
  18. Cornell Tech, P.S/I.S Computer Science Program
  19. Trevor Day New School Opening
  20. DOE Universal Pre-K
  21. Bronx Science Launch Labs 
  22. Roosevelt Island Library Community Meeting 
  24. Reforming Campaign Finance ahead of 2017 Elections
  25. City Council 2.0 New Website
  26. Hack for Heat
  27. Office Hours at Civic Hall
  29. Construction Safety
  30. NYCHA Sandy Recovery Jobs Available
  31. Out of This World Job Opportunity: Become an Astronaut 
  32. NYCHA Tech Job Training
  33. Emergency Snow Laborers Needed
  35. Would You Like to Be My Neighbor? Affordable Housing on 93rd Street
  36. Community Board 
  38. Legislative Corner 
  39. In the Neighborhood
  40. Volunteer 
  41. Here to Help
  42. Legal Clinics
  43. Mobile District Hours
  44. Ben in Your Building 
  45. City Council Events
  46. Community Resources
  47. Community Events

Read Whole Issue of Newsletter


I hope you had a healthy and happy Thanksgiving, as we did. We celebrated a very special holiday with our NYCHA residents, with Lexington Houses residents receiving new stoves from my office's funding (and an untimely gas outage was fixed ahead of Thanksgiving) and free turkeys from the New York Common Pantry for the residents of Robins Plaza and Stanley Isaacs and Holmes Towers.

As the holiday season continues, we are partnering with Chabad Upper East Side to provide free menorahs that you can pick up from our office. And of course, I invite you to join us at our holiday party on Thursday, December 17, 5pm-7pm, in our District Office at 244 E 93rd Street. I hope you can attend, and please remember to RSVP.

This month we kept up the campaign against superscrapers, including in testimony on the Mayor’s zoning proposals, held a public hearing on legislation to recover $1.6 billion in outstanding debt to the city, and passed a law I introduced.

Here on the East Side, we continued the battle against the East 91st Street Marine Transfer Station with a bill requiring air quality monitoring, announced a master plan for the East River Esplanade from 62nd Street to 78th Street and are giving you a chance to decide how we spend over $1 million in City Council District 5 funding at Carl Schurz Park at a visioning session on December 15.

I hope to see you at my office for First Friday or Policy Night or at our rent freeze screening on Roosevelt Island on Monday, December 7. And as we approach the new year, please save January 10 at 1pm on your calendar for our annual State of the District event.

I am thankful to have this amazing job as your council member. What are you most thankful for this holiday season?


Ben Kallos


  1. Building and Preserving Neighborhoods for All New Yorkers
  2. Recovering $1.6 Billion in Debt to the City
  3. Marine Transfer Station Air Quality
  4. Getting "Dark Money" Out of Our Elections
  5. A Happy Thanksgiving at NYCHA


  1. Do You Qualify to Have Your Rent Frozen?
  2. $2.6 Billion for Supportive Housing
  3. Identifying Affordable Housing Hidden by Bad Landlords
  4. Worst Landlords
  5. Preserving an Historic House at 412 E 85th Street


  1. New Playground for Carl Schurz Park
  2. East River Esplanade Visioning
  3. FDR Renovations Completed
  4. Funding for the Second Avenue Subway
  5. Beyond Coal


  1. Passing a Law to Make Standardize Locations
  2. Fight for $15
  3. Clean Slate


  1. Medicare Update and Enrollment
  2. Cooking with Kallos
  3. American-Italian Cancer Dinner
  4. LGBT Center


  1. 86th Street Business Improvement District
  2. Community Board Applications
  3. Free Menorahs in My District Office
  4. Papal Appeal
  5. Big Apple Circus
  6. Gifford Miller’s Portrait at City Hall


  1. Legislative Corner
  2. In the Neighborhood
  3. Volunteer
  4. Here to Help
  5. Legal Clinics
  6. Mobile District Hours
  7. Ben in Your Building
  8. City Council Events


  1. Free Storage Bins for E-Waste Recycling
  2. Organics Collection
  3. Emergency Snow Laborers Needed
  4. Lenox Hill Neighborhood House, Advance Directives Project
  5. Citizen's Committee Neighborhood Grants
  6. Bike New York
  7. Jewish Association Serving the Aging
  8. Community Events

Fall has come, and things are moving fast again. In October we continued our fight against superscrapers in residential neighborhoods, stepped up efforts to clean up 86th Street, and held an info session for Domestic Violence Awareness Month where we launched a new family law clinic. We also entered next phase of Participatory Budgeting, where you help us spend $1 million in our community, and it's not too late to get involved!

November is busy too, and perhaps most importantly, I want to bring to your attention the Mayor's Zoning for Quality and Affordability proposal, which would change zoning citywide. How do you think our zoning should change? I believe, among other issues, we need to cap building heights in residential neighborhoods and protect historic districts.

I encourage you to testify on this issue at the Borough President's hearing on November 16, 6:00pm-8:00pm at Clinton School at 10 East 15th Street.
 Happy Halloween, and have a great Thanksgiving!


Ben Kallos


  1. Fighting Superscrapers and Rallying Against Sutton 58
  2. Cleaning up 86th Street with a Business Improvement District
  3. "Talking Truth" on the Marine Transfer Station
  4. Become a Participatory Budgeting Delegate

Housing and Zoning

  1. Zoning for Quality and Affordability
  2. FRIENDS of the Upper East Side Historic Districts Report on Zoning
  3. NYCHA “Infill” at Holmes Towers

Health and Education

  1. Comprehensive Health Education Bill
  2. Domestic Violence Event and Clinic
  3. Senior Health Fair
  4. Ensuring Our Schools Have the Resources They Need
  5. New Computer Center at Stanley Isaacs Neighborhood Center


  1. John Jay Park Improvements
  2. Capital Improvements for Carl Schurz Park Playground

Good Government

  1. Preparing for Elections
  2. Where’s my FiOS
  3. The Commission on Public Information and Communication
  4. Cities/Law Schools Consortium
  5. Councilmatic Launch

Public Safety

  1. Remembering Police Officer Holder and Recognizing Our Police
  2. Carolyn Maloney meeting to Stop Gun Violence
  3. Mapping Traffic Violations


  1. Safe Staffing Levels for Nurses
  2. PSC CUNY Contract
  3. Progressive Caucus Advancement Conference
  4. 4th Annual Heroes of Labor Awards
  5. Sarah Kim


  1. The Latest on Cornell Tech
  2. JSA Fall Conference
  3. Fall Festivals
  4. Farewell to Matthew Washington
  5. Homelessness
  6. AEPi Breakfast

Office Updates

  1. Legislative Corner
  2. In the Neighborhood
  3. Volunteer
  4. Here to Help
  5. Legal Clinics
  6. Mobile District Hours
  7. Ben in Your Building
  8. City Council Events

Community Resources

  1. Emergency Snow Laborers Needed
  2. Lenox Hill Neighborhood House, Advance Directives Project
  3. Citizen's Committee's Neighborhood Grants
  4. Bike New York
  5. Jewish Association Serving the Aging
  6. Department of Sanitation: E-Waste Recycling and Organics
  7. Community Events

September was a month of celebration from Labor Day to Rosh HaShannah to Eid. Following Labor Day, I joined principals and teachers of PS 290 and PS 158 to greet parents and kids as they started a new year of learning and growing. On September 24, New York City schools closed for the first time ever for the Muslim holiday of Eid, truly making this a month of Religious inclusion, along with the Jewish High Holidays and the visit from Pope Francis who stayed right here on the Upper East Side.

The Pope's visit was about more than local significance, as he brought a message of inclusion, equality, and stewardship over the environment. I hope you will find that message throughout this newsletter, as I update you on what we've achieved over the past month, and what we can do together in October to make the world a better place. Before you read more, you might want to RSVP for our Senior Health Fair, sign up for a Participatory Budgeting Neighborhood Assembly, mark First Friday and Policy Night on your calendar, or reserve a spot at our Housing Legal Clinic.

Please also be aware of the oncoming Hurricane Joaquin. You can find information about Joaquin and hurricane preparedness at the website of the NYC Office of Emergency Preparedness.

I hope you enjoyed your September. How were your holidays?


Ben Kallos


  1. Fighting Superscrapers and Celebrating Mr. Herndon Werth
  2. Holmes Towers: “Infill Housing”
  3. DEC Considers Impact on Air Quality of MTS
  4. Decide How to Spend $1 Million in the Community


  1. Bike Safety Program Continues as Citi Bike Comes to Upper East Side
  2. Ferrying Progress for Roosevelt Island
  3. Hail a Yellow or Green Cab with Your Smartphone

Affordable Housing and Preserving Our Neighborhoods

  1. Rent Freeze Takes Effect
  2. Supporting Landmarks by Opposing Introduction 775
  3. Legislation to Protect Tenants


  1. Opening a New School on the Upper East Side
  2. UPK on Roosevelt Island
  3. Cornell Tech Town Hall, Tonight 10/1
  4. First Day of School
  5. Ramaz Rededication

Equality and Transparent Government

  1. Calling for Low-Cost Internet and Free Computers in Proposed Charter-Time Warner Merger
  2. Fighting for $15 with Vice President Joe Biden and Governor Andrew Cuomo
  3. Talking Election Reforms and More on City Watch
  4. Getting Your Ideas: Crowdsourcing the Law
  5. How to Become a New York City Council Member
  6. Nextdoor


  1. Getting Prepared for Hurricane Joaquin and the Next Emergency
  2. Celebrating the Holidays and Honoring Survivors
  3. Town Hall
  4. The WIRE in the Wall Street Journal
  5. Street Fairs
  6. Parades
  7. Welcoming Commanding Officer Delgado

Office Updates

  1. Legislative Corner
  2. In the Neighborhood
  3. Volunteer
  4. Here to Help
  5. Mobile District Hours
  6. Ben in Your Building
  7. City Council Events

Community Resources

  1. Bike New York
  2. Jewish Association Serving the Aging
  3. Department of Sanitation: E-Waste Recycling and Organics
  4. Community Events

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