New York CIty Council Member Ben Kallos

Community

As a&nbsp;<a href="/about/biography"><strong>third generation Upper East Sider</strong></a>, I am committed to maintaining our neighborhood's quality of life. I will support and work with our community centers such as cultural and religious institutions as well as neighborhood associations to ensure our neighborhood remains safe, clean and a wonderful place to live.

Upper East Side Patch New 'Safe Haven' Shelter On Upper East Side Welcomed By Board by Nick Garber

New 'Safe Haven' Shelter On Upper East Side Welcomed By Board

UPPER EAST SIDE, NY — A proposed shelter on the Upper East Side won the unanimous backing of a community board committee on Wednesday, as members expressed hope that the new facility could help the neighborhood's street homeless population find more permanent housing.

The 88-bed shelter is set to open in January 2022 on East 91st Street between First and York avenues. It will be run by Goddard Riverside, the housing-focused nonprofit that is headquartered on the Upper West Side and operates nearly two dozen locations around Manhattan.

An existing building at the current site will be torn down to make way for the new seven-story structure, which will be purpose-built as a shelter serving single adult men and women.

The facility will be a Safe Haven — a type of shelter with a low threshold for admission, whose primary goal is to get people off the streets and into a safe bed. The site will offer social and meal services, counseling, and a rooftop recreational area.

A number of elected officials joined Wednesday's Community Board 8 meeting to speak out in favor of the shelter. City Councilmember Ben Kallos, whose office had advocated for the facility, said it would serve the neighborhood's street homeless residents who are already visible in places like subway stations.

A number of elected officials joined Wednesday's Community Board 8 meeting to speak out in favor of the shelter. City Councilmember Ben Kallos, whose office had advocated for the facility, said it would serve the neighborhood's street homeless residents who are already visible in places like subway stations.

"There's one person on 86th Street on the downtown entrance, there's one person on the northbound entrance ... we all know who they are, we know what they look like," he said.

State Sen. Liz Krueger, whose East Side district includes two other Safe Havens, said neighbors have welcomed the facilities.

"The communities are very glad that they opened and they're actually seeing a difference in people on their streets or not on their streets," Krueger said.

Some residents said the apparent support for the shelter contrasted with the Upper East Side's reputation as a less-than-welcoming neighborhood for the homeless. Resident Ben Wetzler said he hoped the shelter's move-in would be conflict-free, unlike the recent battles on the Upper West Side.

"I'm really hopeful that our neighborhood will be more welcoming and do a better job of working with you," he said.

No one at Wednesday's meeting said they opposed the shelter, although two neighbors expressed concerns about safety. In response, representatives from Goddard Riverside said the shelter would have 24/7 security, as well as psychiatry services for any seriously mentally ill people admitted there.

Among the shelter's supporters were two students at East Side Middle School, located down the block from the future facility.

"I feel that it is very important to help people feel welcome so that they can accept these services," said seventh-grader Ahana. "It's also important to empathize with others to try to understand how you would feel if you were in their situation."

The shelter, and the supporting resolution passed on Wednesday, will be discussed again at CB8's full board meeting on Jan. 20.

 

Upper East Side Patch New Supermarket-Style Food Pantry Open On Upper East Side by Gillian Smith

New Supermarket-Style Food Pantry Open On Upper East Side

UPPER EAST SIDE, NY – A new Urban Outreach Center location opened in the Upper East Side Thursday, offering food and assistance to those in need.

The new site includes a supermarket-style food pantry that allows visitors the comfort of being able to choose from available foods, adding dignity and a sense of normalcy for people receiving fresh produce and healthy staples from the pantry.

The location also includes community dinners on Tuesday evenings, offering hot, restaurant-quality meals to food-insecure families senior citizens and low-income New Yorkers.

There are also clothing rooms, mail distribution services and a job center.

"The Urban Outreach Center is committed to ending the hunger gap in East Harlem and the Upper East Side – providing our low-income neighbors with the healthy food they need, with the dignity they deserve," said The Rev. Jordan Tarwater, Executive Director of the Urban Outreach Center of NYC, in a prepared statement. "We are so grateful for the warm reception from the neighborhood and the outpouring of support from those who share our vision that no parent, child, or senior citizen in NYC should struggle because they lack access to food or other basic resources."

Subscribe

The Urban Outreach Center is a new nonprofit created from the historic homeless services mission of Avenue Church NY

TAPinto UES Residents Voice Opposition to Proposed New York Blood Center Campus by Marc Bussanich

UES Residents Voice Opposition to Proposed New York Blood Center Campus

New York, NY—The New York Blood Center has big ambitions to build a brand-new campus with a 16-story building to replace its current home on East 67th Street. But some long-time residents are opposed to the project, with one of them saying that the massive redevelopment poses an existential threat to the quality of life on the Upper East Side.

The residents had a chance to weigh in on the issue during a recent Zoom meeting with Councilman Ben Kallos (D-Manhattan), who represents the district. The Councilman heard from approximately 10 residents, who each expressed different reasons why they are opposed to the proposed 600,000-square foot campus.

For example, Adam Kaye lives at 301 East 66th Street on the 14th Floor facing east, and he expressed astonishment that his open-air views will be compromised.

“I’m an owner, this is something that we extensively looked into what the zoning was, what the maximum height was in the area before we bought, and never in a million years did we think that someone would build such an egregious monstrosity on a block on the Upper East Side,” said Kaye.

He also expressed concern about the obstruction of sunlight to nearby St. Catherine’s Park, saying that part of the reason why he and his wife purchased their property was so that his two children could have access to an open-air park with plenty of sunlight.

“I can’t understand how any council member or any zoning person will allow something like that to happen in a playground that is so vital to the neighborhood; it’s the only open-air park space that we have. The core question is, what can be done to stop it,” Kaye said.

Paul Graziano was just hired by the co-op board at 301 East 66th Street to be its planning, zoning and land use consultant in response to the Blood Center’s proposal. He noted that there has never been a violation or a request for a rezoning within any R8B zone (a high-density residential zoning district found mostly in Manhattan on the Upper West Side and Upper East Side) since the adoption of the R8B zone on the UES in 1985.

In fact, he said, the adoption of additional R8B zones in Manhattan seemed to indicate that it was a long-standing position by the city and elected officials to protect mid-block areas. 

“This precedent would open the door not just for creating a disaster on this block, which is clear from the proposal, but I think it opens the door to this happening everywhere else. And, unlike the statement [by the city] that this is an exception, that this is the only site where this could happen, that is not true,” said Graziano.

Perhaps the most vociferous opposition came from Marty Bell, who lives at 315 East 68th Street. While saying that the project represents an existential crisis to the quality of life on the UES, he channeled his frustration towards Councilman Ben Kallos, whom Bell said isn’t doing enough to stop the project.

“The way all you ever talked about was sort of wishy-washy about St. Catherine’s [Park]…this building, you should be screaming from the ramparts to stop this building,” said Bell.

Bell continued by saying that he felt that the Blood Center wouldn’t be going ahead with the project unless “they felt they had you in their pocket.”

That prompted Kallos to calmly reply that he appreciated Bell’s remarks, but they weren’t accurate.

“I understand why you could come to the conclusions you have come to, but I will say that nothing could be further from the truth,” said Kallos.

Kallos then noted that the New York Blood Center isn’t even seeking input from elected leaders.

“This is not something that I can just simply come out and say I am against and the project [stops]. They are choosing to move forward without support from any local elected officials,” said Kallos.

“At this point, whether you support or oppose, or you have changes to the proposal, it’s going to be something that you are going to have to fight for.”

The city is in favor of the project because, as reported by The Wall Street Journal, Mayor Bill de Blasio’s administration views public health and the life-science industry as the cornerstone of the city’s economic recovery from the pandemic.

In addition, the New York Blood Center says it needs the new campus to add more space for its research and to expand the number of companies it incubates in its offices.

New York County Politics Brewer Appoints Five New Manhattan CB Members by New York County Politics

Brewer Appoints Five New Manhattan CB Members

Five new neighborhood leaders have joined Manhattan’s Community Boards, after being nominated by Council Member Ben Kallos (D-Yorkville, Lenox Hill) and appointed by Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer (D).

Manhattan’s Community Boards serve the role of being the independent voices of the communities they represent. As Community Board members, the five appointees will play a pivotal role in shaping their communities and preserving the character of their unique neighborhoods.

...

“I am proud to nominate residents that have different areas of focus and expertise and that come from different walks of life to serve on our Community Boards,” said Kallos, a former member of Community Board 8. “There are a myriad of complex issues before the board that we will need help with. Thank you to Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer for an open process that has encouraged hundreds to apply with an impressive group interview process as well as all the applicants and appointees for their service to the community.”

Chinese-American Planning Council Stronger Than Ever: CPC Raises Over $575,000 for Community Services by Chinese-American Planning Council

Stronger Than Ever: CPC Raises Over $575,000 for Community Services

Despite the recent focus on the coronavirus and the terrible Mulberry Street fire which affected CPC's Chinatown Senior Center, CPC's Lunar New Year Celebration was stronger than ever and highlighted the courage and resilience of our community.

Raising over $575,000, a host of celebrated and prominent New York figures joined the stage with CPC's President & CEO Wayne Ho, members of the Board and the staff at the time-honored Jing Fong Restaurant on February 27, 2020.

The Jewish Voice New ExpressCare Clinic Opens at NYC Health + Hospitals/Metropolitan by Editorial

New ExpressCare Clinic Opens at NYC Health + Hospitals/Metropolitan

ExpressCare will provide patients with fast access to walk-in, urgent care seven days a week

NYC Health + Hospitals recently announced the opening of an ExpressCare Clinic at NYC Health + Hospitals/Metropolitan. The clinic will be the public health system’s first location in Manhattan, building on the system’s vision to transform care for New Yorkers in all five boroughs. Providing faster access to medical care for patients with non-life-threatening conditions, the new clinic will be open seven days a week operating from 6pm to midnight on weekdays, and from 10am to midnight on weekends and holidays. The clinic will offer walk-in services for conditions — such as colds, flu, sprains, skin rashes, minor cuts and lacerations, and certain types of infections. Patients who typically use the emergency department for these conditions will find shorter wait times and faster service at the ExpressCare clinic.

NYC Council Member Diana Ayala helped to secure $1.6M in mayoral funds for the construction of the new urgent care center at NYC Health + Hospitals/Metropolitan. In the meantime, the ExpressCare clinic will temporarily share space with the hospital’s Geriatric Outpatient Services until the new, permanent space is built.

“We are excited to add a new health care option for the community we serve in East Harlem and upper Manhattan,” said Alina Moran, CEO, NYC Health + Hospitals/Metropolitan. “ExpressCare will help reduce wait times in our emergency department and provide immediate medical attention for patients in need of urgent care. The new service expands our ability to connect patients to high-quality care when they need it.”

“The new ExpressCare Clinic at Metropolitan Hospital will help ensure patients are receiving high-quality medical care promptly and close to home,” said Council Member Diana Ayala. “I am proud to have worked with the Mayor’s Office to secure additional funding for the clinic’s future space, and in the interim, I look forward to welcoming this vital resource to the community.”

AM New York First ExpressCare clinic opens for patients in Manhattan by BETH DEDMAN

First ExpressCare clinic opens for patients in Manhattan

NYC Health + Hospitals opened an ExpressCare clinic at their Metropolitan location Feb. 3, the first of the chain of clinics to open in Manhattan, according to a press release. 

The clinic will treat non-life-threatening conditions such as colds, flu, sprains, rashes, minor cuts and lacerations and certain types of infections, according to the press release. It will operate seven days a week from 6 p.m. to midnight on weekdays and 10 a.m. to midnight on weekends and holidays. 

The clinic will provide faster treatment for these conditions than would be available in the emergency department, according to the press release. The physicians employed at the clinic will also help connect patients to primary care doctors in the NYC Health + Hospitals system for follow-up care. 

Redirecting non-life-threatening treatment from the emergency department will help reduce wait times for patients in need of immediate emergency care, said Alina Moran, CEO of NYC Health + Hospitals/Metropolitan, in the press release.

“We are excited to add a new health care option for the community we serve in East Harlem and upper Manhattan,” Moran said in the press release. 

This is the fourth ExpressCare clinic in the NYC Health + Hospital system, with other locations in Elmhurst, Lincoln and Queens, according to the press release. 

The clinic will operate in a shared space with the Geriatric Outpatient Services until construction on the permanent location is complete in several months, said Noel Alicea, the public relations representative for NYC Health + Hospitals/Metropolitan.

NYC Council Member Diana Ayala, the representative for District 8, helped secure the $1.6 million for the construction of the clinic.