New York CIty Council Member Ben Kallos

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Upper East Side Patch Submissions Open For Upper East Side Participatory Budgeting by Nick Garber

Submissions Open For Upper East Side Participatory Budgeting

UPPER EAST SIDE, NY — It is once again time for Upper East Siders to weigh in on how to spend more than $1 million to improve their neighborhood through the city's participatory budgeting process.

The process — which has residents brainstorm, pitch and vote on ideas for local funding — opened this month in District 5, which includes the eastern stretch of the Upper East Side as well as Roosevelt Island.

Councilmember Ben Kallos has $1 million for capital projects — brick-and-mortar, physical infrastructure work — to allot to his constituents. (City Councilmember Keith Powers, who also represents part of the Upper East Side, has not yet announced a budgeting program for this year.)

City and State SoHo rezoning not a safe bet with Manhattan BP candidates by Rebecca Lewis

SoHo rezoning not a safe bet with Manhattan BP candidates

When it comes to controversial issues politicians are looking to avoid, upzonings are probably high on the list. One needs to look no further than the proposed neighborhood rezonings in Inwood, Bushwick and Southern Boulevard in the Bronx during New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio’s tenure, and the intense backlash they elicited.

But recently mayoral contenders including New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer and Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams have come out in favor of changing the zoning in SoHo to allow more housing development. White, wealthy neighborhoods should help address the city’s shortage of affordable housing, they say. Some progressive tenants groups are getting behind the push as well, and de Blasio himself, after initial reticence, announced his intention to propose a rezoning that his administration said could create 800 units of affordable housing.

Wall Street Journal U.N. Gathering Will Be Virtual, Hampering Informal Diplomacy by William Maudin

U.N. Gathering Will Be Virtual, Hampering Informal Diplomacy

The pared-down event schedule also may affect climate-change demonstrations and other gatherings meant to catch the attention of top officials from around the world and the media.

The lack of a surge of diplomats will hurt New York economically in September, especially when the U.S. Open has no fans and New York Fashion Week will be reduced in size.

“A lot of restaurants, hotels and other venues are going to go unbooked, losing millions of dollars for the city,” said New York City Councilman Ben Kallos, who represents an area of Manhattan north of the U.N. “The only group of people I know who won’t be complaining is anyone who drives a car in Manhattan. That is the only silver lining.”

New York Times De Blasio and Council, Facing Fiscal Crisis Over Virus, Agree on Budget With Big Cuts by Dana Rubinstein, Jeffery C. Mays

De Blasio and Council, Facing Fiscal Crisis Over Virus, Agree on Budget With Big Cuts

The budget is expected to be passed on Tuesday by the full 51-member City Council, although it is expected to garner more than a dozen “no” votes, split between council members who oppose cutting police funding at a time when crime is rising and those who think the police cuts do not go far enough.

Councilman Ben Kallos, a Democrat who represents the Upper East Side, said he planned to vote no on the budget, in part because he said the police cuts were insufficient.

“It is worse than it was before,” Mr. Kallos said in an interview.

“We are not seeing a meaningful reduction in head count and the changes that people are literally marching in the streets for,” he said. “I don’t think anyone marching for Black Lives Matter is doing it to see school safety agents moved from the N.Y.P.D. budget to the schools budget.”

Upper East Side Patch Planters Installed At Upper East Side Intersections: Council Rep by Brendan Krisel

Planters Installed At Upper East Side Intersections: Council Rep

Kallos' office partnered with the Horticultural Society of New York to install planters on "bike islands" at the intersections of Second Avenue and East 91st, 92nd, 93rd and 95th streets, the local lawmaker announced this week. The $50,000 public-private partnership was approved by the city Department of Transportation.

"We're greening bike islands that were previously empty with planters to beautify our streets," said Council Member Ben Kallos. "Thank you to the Horticulture Society of New York for their partnership and help beautifying our streets.

New York Post More scaffolds won’t make NYC safer — we must fix Department of Buildings by Steve Cuozzo

More scaffolds won’t make NYC safer — we must fix Department of Buildings

Moreover, it is by no means clear that “sidewalk bridges” — which are really sidewalk tunnels — don’t cause more deaths and injuries than they prevent. Council Member Ben Kallos last January cited seven instances of people in the city injured by scaffold collapses since 2017.

In one case, Katherine Lefavre, then 34, was nearly killed when a “shed” collapsed at 568 Broadway in Soho in November 2018. The accident fractured the top model’s spine and required her to learn how to walk again.

Upper East Side Patch New UES Soup Kitchen To Distribute 200 Meals Per Day by Brendan Krisel

New UES Soup Kitchen To Distribute 200 Meals Per Day

Locals may be surprised that a soup kitchen is opening on the Upper East Side — generally considered one of Manhattan's more affluent neighborhoods — but food insecurity can afflict people in any area, City Councilmember Ben Kallos said.

"No community, including the Upper East Side, is immune to the sad reality of families facing hunger during this holiday season," Kallos said in a statement. "As a City, we must prepare for looming federal cuts to SNAP benefits and bolster outreach to the homeless whenever and wherever possible."

People interested in volunteering at the new soup kitchen can reach out to Bronx Parent Housing Network by emailing

AM New York Homeless who died in 2019 honored at memorial event in Manhattan by Gabe Herman

Homeless who died in 2019 honored at memorial event in Manhattan

The annual event, called Homeless Persons’ Memorial Day, was hosted by the nonprofits Care For the Homeless (CFH) and Urban Pathways (UP) at the Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church, at 7 West 55th St.

This year, 153 homeless people were honored, and each name was read aloud as a bell tolled and a candle was lit. Several elected officials spoke, including City Council Speaker Corey Johnson, Assembly Member Richard Gottfried, Assembly Member Andrew Hevesi and City Council Member Ben Kallos.

A eulogy was also given for the four Chinatown victims who were beaten to death one night in early October. There were six other eulogies given at the event, and 15 people read the names of all those who had died in 2019.

6sqft East Midtown Greenway, $100M link in a connected Manhattan waterfront loop, breaks ground by BY MICHELLE COHEN

East Midtown Greenway, $100M link in a connected Manhattan waterfront loop, breaks ground

The other spaces in the works along the East River waterfront include a $25 million project in East Harlem from 114th to East 117th Streets and a $35.5 million project on the Upper East Side from East 90th to East 94th Streets. Council Member Ben Kallos said, “We are ready to break ground on the East River Greenway, and what once was only a dream is getting closer to reality. Soon my constituents and I will finally be able to run, bike or walk the entire length of my district from Midtown East to East Harlem.”

Anime News Network Gundam Creator Yoshiyuki Tomino Celebrates 'Gundam Day' in New York by Kim Morrissy

Gundam Creator Yoshiyuki Tomino Celebrates 'Gundam Day' in New York

Mobile Suit Gundam creator Yoshiyuki Tomino declared November 15 "Gundam Day" in New York at the opening ceremony of the Anime NYC convention. Tomino attended the convention as a guest in order to commemorate the 40th Anniversary of the original Mobile Suit Gundam television anime.