Updates

Press Coverage
CBSN
Sunday, November 19, 2017

"Scaffolding that is meant to protect residents should not be up long enough that it needs to be inspected over and over again year after year," City Councilman Ben Kallos, a Democrat representing the Upper East Side, said in a statement.

"We can do a better job at keeping New Yorkers safe, by making sure building repairs are done as soon as possible and scaffolding are up for no longer than they have to be."

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Press Coverage
PIX11
Monday, November 20, 2017

MANHATTAN — Before Sunday morning’s scaffolding collapse in SoHo, City Councilman Ben Kallos called for changes to the city’s scaffolding regulations.

“I don’t want to say the sky is falling, but literally, the scaffolding is now falling,” Councilman Kallos said in an interview with PIX11 News.

“I introduced legislation in the City Council that anytime you put up scaffolding, you have seven days to start the work, get the work done within 3-6 months, and then get the scaffolding down, otherwise the city steps in.”

Kallos says the legislation he introduced has been debated amongst City councilmembrs and now he’s in negotiations with the Mayor’s office to push for final approval.

“Every New Yorker is tired of scaffolding. It’s one of the top issues that people just hate about the city,” Kallos said.

Real estate industry executives say it's not cost effective to erect scaffolding, then take it down all while they continue to develop a property.

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Press Coverage
The Real Deal
Monday, November 20, 2017

Last week, the City Planning Commission approved a controversial rezoning of 10 blocks in Sutton Place but included a clause that would exempt Gamma’s project from the change. Local Council member Ben Kallos, who is a co-sponsor of the rezoning application, is pushing to have the grandfather clause removed before the full council votes on the measure. The rezoning will impose “tower on a base” standards in the area, which means that 45 to 50 percent of a building would need to be built below 150 feet.

Kallos said the grandfather clause might be a “red herring” for extending the rezoning process for another two weeks or so. A change to the application, like removing the clause, would send the measure back to City Planning for review, giving Gamma more time to complete the foundation.

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Press Coverage
NBC News 4 New York
Tuesday, November 21, 2017

City Council Member Ben Kallos said the city should do a better job of making sure scaffolding is taken down in a timely matter.

"Although it is still unclear what exactly caused today’s dangerous incident, we do know that if the structure were not there it would not have collapsed and injured pedestrians," he said in a statement.

 

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Press Coverage
ABC7
Sunday, November 19, 2017

SOHO, Manhattan (WABC) --

Six people were hurt after scaffolding collapsed into the street in Lower Manhattan Sunday morning.

The incident happened just after 11:30 a.m. near the intersection of Broadway and Prince in SoHo.

Pictures from the scene show wooden planks all over the street, and FDNY firefighters at the scene.

FDNY officials said "we're absolutely lucky" there aren't more injured in this busy neighborhood. There is a subway stop right at the intersection, and the area was packed with people out enjoying their Sunday morning.

Investigators said strong wind is to blame for the collapse. A piece of plywood "acted like a sail" and blew the whole rig down.

Cellphone video shot moments after the collapse shows bystanders running in to help people trapped:

Two people had to be rescued from under the rubble. They and three others were taken to the hospital to be treated for minor, non-life threatening injuries.

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Press Coverage
NY1

Five people were hurt Sunday afternoon after scaffolding collapsed in Manhattan, police officials said.

"I turn around and you just see scaffolding coming down, some steel beams on the floor," witness Jon Sgouros said. "I thought it was a bomb or something, it was so loud."

FDNY Deputy Chief Chris Boyle said the 40-foot sidewalk shed collapsed onto the corner of Broadway and Prince Street in SoHo around 11:36 a.m.

The high winds appeared to have caused the scaffolding to collapse, which trapped multiple pedestrians, the FDNY said.

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Press Coverage
NBC News 4 New York
Sunday, November 19, 2017

Scaffolding collapsed in SoHo amid high winds Sunday, scattering debris across the street and injuring five people.

The scaffolding collapsed at Broadway and Prince Street, in the heart of SoHo. 

Video and photos showed large metal bars and pieces of wood scattered across the street as bystanders watched or ran to help. One video shows people frantically removing debris from a pile. 

At least one person was seen being taken away on a stretcher. Police said everyone who was hurt suffered minor, non-life-threatening injuries. 

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Press Coverage
CBS New York
Sunday, November 19, 2017

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Strong, gusty winds were being blamed Sunday evening for a scaffolding collapse in SoHo that left six people injured.

As CBS2’s Brian Conybeare reported, one woman just walking down the street was buried under falling debris and had to be rescued.Witnesses posted photos to social media showing wooden planks and metal scaffolding strewn about at the corner of Prince Street and Broadway.

There were frantic moments after the 40-foot section of construction scaffolding suddenly crumpled to the ground at 11:30 a.m. in front of the Artists and Fleas Vendor Market. One woman was across the street inside a Dean & Deluca market.

“Everybody ran from the store to try to remove the rubble before anybody arrived and they got a lot of it off even before the fire department came,” one woman told WCBS 880’s Ethan Harp.

Will Alston works in the building where it happened.

“It was crazy! It was real crazy!” he said.

Alston rushed to help pull wooden plans and twisted metal off one injured woman who was bleeding from the head.

“First thing I did, I just ran outside to check on her — but she was basically like hurt really bad,” he said. “I was pulling some of the scaffold out.”

The FDNY took six people to the hospital – five civilians and a firefighter. All suffered minor injuries, with the most severely injured being a woman whose condition was stable at NYC Health + Hospitals/Bellevue late Sunday, the FDNY said.

 

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Press Release
Monday, November 20, 2017

NYC Parks Commissioner Mitchell J. Silver, FAICP, joined State Senator Liz Krueger, Council Member Ben Kallos, Manhattan Community Board 8 197A Task Force Co-Chair Barry Schneider,Manhattan Borough Historian Michael Miscione, and community members to celebrate the completion of Andrew Haswell Green Park Phase 2A construction.

“Thanks to the many city and state funding partners of Andrew Haswell Green Park, New Yorkers will be able to enjoy the views of the East River and the Roosevelt Island tram while in the shadow of Alice Aycock’s monumental sculpture, the “East River Roundabout,”  said Commissioner Silver. “A unique location, this latest addition to the greenery on the Upper East Side, will draw visitors looking for a place to relax and appreciate the city scene from a new vantage point.”

"We are rebuilding the East River Esplanade block by block, street by street and park by park," said Council Member Ben Kallos. "The completion of Andrew Haswell Green Park phase 2A represents more open green space for the residents of the East Sixties. Thank you to the New York City Parks Department for their dedication and commitment to getting this park open. East Siders will now be able to enjoy it and its wonderful views of the river"

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Press Release
Friday, November 17, 2017

Int. No. 1701-2017 (Vacca) upgrades the NYC Open Data Law and most importantly requires the City to publish on the Open Data Portal information the status of data sets and makes it much easier for the public to track how well the City is complying with the Open Data Law.

1528-A-2017 (Vacca) requires agencies to list the names of data sets that have been requested via FOIL request. This will make it much easier for the public and the City to understand what data the public is requesting and should be published as open data.

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Press Coverage
AM New York
Thursday, November 16, 2017

The area’s councilman, Ben Kallos, said he fields complaints daily about overdevelopment and is worried the city is not ready to absorb the population boom it is experiencing.

“They don’t have the school seats we need for the people living here and moving here,” he said. “The Second Avenue Subway is already surpassing ridership goals and they are adding more and more trains.”

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Press Coverage
New York Daily News
Friday, November 17, 2017

New Yorkers will soon be able to register to vote online after the City Council passed legislation to allow it Thursday.

The city Campaign Finance Board will set up a website and create an app to allow would-be voters to register.

“It seems like every election in New York City, it’s a new low for voter turnout,” said Councilman Ben Kallos (D-Manhattan), noting the dismal turnout in last week’s mayoral election.

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Press Coverage
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Friday, November 17, 2017

Brandon West, vice president for policy for the New Kings Democrats, praised the legislation proposed by Councilmember Ben Kallos (D-Upper East Side) to mandate the New York City Campaign Finance Board to create a secure website and mobile app for residents who want to register to vote online.

“This long overdue reform is a great first step to making it finally easier to participate in our democracy,” West said.

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Press Coverage
Daily News*
Thursday, November 16, 2017

“It seems like every election in New York City, it’s a new low for voter turnout,” said Councilman Ben Kallos (D-Manhattan), noting the dismal turnout in last week’s mayoral election.

“Facebook could register people to vote,” Kallos said.

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Press Coverage
AM New York
Wednesday, November 15, 2017

But the local City Councilman, Ben Kallos, says he plans to remove the grandfathering clause and promptly pass the prior plan.

“This took more than three years to bring it from a community concern about billionaire’s row extending into a residential neighborhood,” Kallos said, referencing several luxury residential skyscrapers in the works just south of Central Park. “New Yorkers are frustrated with overdevelopment, regardless of what neighborhood that they’re in.”

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Press Coverage
Curbed
Friday, November 17, 2017

One such violator is Donald Trump, who helped bring attention to the issue in 2015 after a black marble bench vanished from the pedestrian atrium of Trump Tower and was replaced with an unapproved sales counter. It has since reappeared, but the Trump Organization was still fined $10,000. In response to the bench drama, three new bills to protect POPS were introduced in the City Council this year, sponsored by Council Members Ben Kallos and Daniel Garodnick.

Other legislation from Council Members Kallos and Garodnick requires additional signage in all POPS detailing amenities and hours of operation, as well as a website for the public to find more information or to register complaints.

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Press Coverage
Total Food Service
Friday, November 17, 2017

This is why we support Council Member Ben Kallos’ effort to pass legislation that would regulate the length of time in which scaffolding may stay constructed, helping to mitigate unnecessary scaffolding that stays up for many months or in some cases years beyond its intended purpose. 

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Press Release
Thursday, November 16, 2017

New York, NY – Over 538 privately owned public spaces (POPS) attached to 329 buildings that received additional area to build will be required to provide the amenities promised or face steep fines for bad landlords, under legislation that passed the Council today. The legislation is part of package authored by Land Use Chair David Greenfield and Council Member Ben Kallos.
 
In August 2016, Trump Tower Commercial, LLC, was fined $10,000 in violation of their POPS agreement for having an unapproved sales counter in a space designated for the public. The New York Times has highlighted the shortcomings and non-compliance of POPS in 19771987, and 1998 followed by the publication of “Privately Owned Public Space: The New York City Experience,” authored by Jerold Kayden and the Municipal Art Society in 2000. Comptroller Scott Stringer audited 333 POPS finding 275 had not been inspected by Department of Buildings in four years with more than half failing to provide all required amenities in April of 2017.

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Press Coverage
Bloomberg Business
Wednesday, November 15, 2017

The pleasure may be fleeting though. Councilman Ben Kallos, one of the applicants on the rezoning proposal, said he’ll attempt to remove the grandfathering clause when the full city council considers the matter later this month -- the final step in a long bureaucratic process.

“This is a citywide push against overdevelopment,” Kallos said in an interview. “It has to do with a Billionaires’ Row tower that has no place in residential neighborhoods.”

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Press Coverage
Crain's New York
Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Gamma's victory was short lived, however, as Ben Kallos, the Upper East Side's city council member, vowed to snip the newly created lifeline once the proposal lands on his desk.

"I disagree with the grandfathering clause, and I plan to remove it from this application and move forward," he told Crain's.

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Press Coverage
Curbed
Wednesday, November 15, 2017

The neighborhood rezoning already has the backing of several elected officials, most notably City Council member Ben Kallos, who represents the area. He has vowed to remove the City Planning-proposed clause when the project comes before the Council next month, so this tussle is far from over.

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Press Coverage
The Real Deal
Thursday, November 16, 2017

The application now heads to the City Council, where chances don’t look great for Gamma to escape the zoning change. Local Council member Ben Kallos, who backed the a local community group’s efforts to rezone the area, indicated that he plans to remove the grandfathering clause from the application. The City Council tends to defer to the local council member when it comes to land use applications. The council is expected to vote on the zoning change by the end of the month.

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Press Coverage
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Thursday, November 16, 2017

The council’s Committee on Governmental Operations voted to pass legislation sponsored by Councilmember Ben Kallos (D-Upper East Side) that would require the New York City Campaign Finance Board (CFB) to create a secure website and mobile app for residents who want to register to vote online.

“Democracy should be a click away. We are used to filling out forms online with the click of a mouse and voter registration should be no different. You should be registered and receive a confirmation by email, just as with any other website,” Kallos said in a statement. 

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Press Coverage
AM New York
Thursday, November 16, 2017

The area’s councilman, Ben Kallos, said he fields complaints daily about overdevelopment and is worried the city is not ready to absorb the population boom it is experiencing.

“They don’t have the school seats we need for the people living here and moving here,” he said. “The Second Avenue Subway is already surpassing ridership goals and they are adding more and more trains.”

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Press Coverage
Gotham Gazette
Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Before introducing democracy voucher legislation or the CFB post-election report, however, Kallos is looking to see one of his currently-pending campaign finance reform bills passed in the waning days of this legislative session. Co-sponsored by 29 members in the 51-seat Council, the Kallos bill would increase the public matching threshold for how much candidates can receive relative to the spending limit in their races (there are lower thresholds for City Council races than borough-wide and city-wide races).

The bill had a hearing in April and Kallos said he is pushing to see it passed this term. The Manhattan Democrat saw his online voter registration bill passed on Tuesday by the governmental operations committee he chairs. The full Council is expected to pass it on Thursday and de Blasio has indicated he will sign it into law.

The de Blasio administration has indicated support for Kallos’ bill to increase the public matching threshold, which would allow candidates to run their campaigns based more on smaller, matchable donations (eligible donations up to $175 are matched six-to-one, to a certain percentage of the spending threshold, which Kallos’ bill would increase).

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