New York CIty Council Member Ben Kallos

Brendan Krisel

Upper East Side Patch New Stretch Of East River Esplanade Opens After $15M Renovation by Brendan Krisel

New Stretch Of East River Esplanade Opens After $15M Renovation

In addition to financing the $15 million renovation, Rockefeller University is creating an endowment to maintain the esplanade section and contributed $150,000 to the conservancy group Friends of the East River Esplanade, Kallos said.

"When I got elected the waterfront was crumbling, which is why I set a goal of involving local institutions in public-private partnerships to rehabilitate the East River Esplanade," Kallos said.

Upper East Side Patch UES Councilman Proposes Pesticide Ban In City Parks by Brendan Krisel

UES Councilman Proposes Pesticide Ban In City Parks

"Parks should be for playing not pesticides," Kallos said in a statement. "All families should be able to enjoy our city parks without having to worry that they are being exposed to toxic pesticides that could give them and their families cancer."

Kallos added that he doesn't allow his newborn daughter to play on the grass in city parks out of fear that she may be sickened by pesticides.

The legislation would force city agencies to switch from synthetic pesticides to biological pesticides made from naturally occurring chemicals. These natural pesticides are generally accepted as less toxic and break down more rapidly, the bill's sponsors said. In addition to banning pesticides in city parks, the bill would also prohibit spraying pesticides within 75 feet of a body of wate

Upper East Side Patch UES Tower On 'Stilts' Halted By City Department Of Buildings by Brendan Krisel

UES Tower On 'Stilts' Halted By City Department Of Buildings

City Councilman Ben Kallos, who represents the Upper East Side, took it upon himself to act as a crusader for the zoning resolution's amendment by visiting 10 of Manhattan's 12 community boards to discuss the proposal. Of those 10 community boards visited by Kallos, eight voted on resolutions to support the city's amendment and two voted to oppose the amendment but said they would switch their position if improvements were made.

Upper East Side Patch City Invests $75M More In East River Esplanade Fixes by Brendan Krisel

City Invests $75M More In East River Esplanade Fixes

MANHATTAN, NY — New York City is dedicating an addition $75 million to complete and repair sections of the East River Esplanade in Harlem, the Upper East Side and Midtown, parks officials announced Thursday.

Upper East Side Patch Residents, Pols Rip NYCHA For UES Private Development Project by Brendan Krisel

Residents, Pols Rip NYCHA For UES Private Development Project

Board members also questioned whether NYCHA could have gotten more than $25 million for the land. When asked by the board, Charney said a NYCHA appraisal put the value of the land closer to $60 million. City Councilman Ben Kallos, who pressed Fetner and NYCHA a number of times throughout the meeting, asked if NYCHA could have made more money by just selling air rights at the development to other sites within the neighborhood.

A NYCHA spokesperson did not immediately respond to Patch's request for comment.

In May 2017, the New York City Housing Authority announced that real estate developer Fetner Properties was selected to develop a plot of land currently occupied by a playground between the two Holmes Towers buildings on East 92nd Street between First and York avenues. Fetner bid on the project through a request for proposals launched by NYCHA as part of its NextGen NYCHA initiative to allow private development on public lands to fund capital repairs.

Upper East Side Patch City Moves To Cut Excessive Mechanical Void Space In High-Rises by Brendan Krisel

City Moves To Cut Excessive Mechanical Void Space In High-Rises

NEW YORK, NY — Mayor Bill de Blasio's administration is taking steps to cut down on the development trend of building large mechanical voids in high-rise towers after neighborhood preservation groups and elected officials sounded the alarm on the practice.

Upper East Side Patch Street Cleaning Pilot Program Sparks UES Turf War by Brendan Krisel

Street Cleaning Pilot Program Sparks UES Turf War

Wildcat Services will cover two-miles of "problem areas" on the Upper East Side on Second Avenue between East 57th and 72nd streets and East 79th, 86th and 96th streets between East End and Lexington Avenues, Kallos announced. The Bronx-based nonprofit was one of two organizations that bid for the NYC Clean Up contract and currently work with 25 other members of the City Council in every borough except Staten Island through the initiative, Kallos said.

"We're cleaning up the neighborhood block by block, from a new covered trashcan on every corner, to launching and supporting community groups, to partnering with Wildcat to dedicating a crew to keep the Upper East Side clean four days a week," Kallos said in a statement.

A four-person team from Wildcat is expected to begin servicing the new routes as soon as next week, the organization's Manager of Operations Mario La Rosa said.

Kallos balked at The Doe Fund's claim that the organization was unaware of the pilot program funding, telling Patch that the organization's founder George McDonald helped create the NYC Clean Up initiative.

 

Upper East Side Patch City Begins Work On New Roosevelt Island Library by Brendan Krisel

City Begins Work On New Roosevelt Island Library

The new $7.8 million library will be fully ADA accessible and feature computer work stations, a reading area, a teen area, a children's room and a multi-use community room for events. The project will also result in exterior improvements such as new plantings, a book drop and a bench area that will double as a bus stop.

Funds for the project were allocated by Mayor Bill de Blasio, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, City Council Member Ben Kallos and former City Council Member Jessica Lappin.

Upper East Side Patch Council Reps Fund UES Community Board Meeting Live Streams by Brendan Krisel

Council Reps Fund UES Community Board Meeting Live Streams

"As the public media station for the New York metropolitan area, WNET is proud to partner with Council Members Kallos and Powers to provide this public service to the community" Neal Shapiro, president and CEO of WNET, said in a statement.

Funding will cover live streams for the community board's next 12 full board meetings. The full board makes the final vote on resolutions that have been passed by community board committees. Resolutions span a wide range of issues such as housing, public safety, business licenses and transportation.

WNET employees will attend the meetings and stream them using professional camera and sound equipment.

Kallos and Powers decided to fund the live streams at Community Board 8's request, a spokesman for Kallos said. The streams will be publicized by Kallos and Powers on social media, the spokesman said

Upper East Side Patch Renovated 2-Block Portion Of East River Esplanade Unveiled by Brendan Krisel

Renovated 2-Block Portion Of East River Esplanade Unveiled

The city partnered with the Hospital for Special Surgery to conduct a $1.8 million renovation of the esplanade between East 70th and 72nd streets when the hospital requested permission to expand its Upper East Side campus, City Councilman Ben Kallos said Thursday.

"When HHS wanted to make a small expansion to one of its buildings they asked how they could best give back to the community," Kallos said. "In addition to the great work they do healing New Yorkers and their existing commitment to be part of the conservancy we asked if they could do even more and they obliged."

The newly-renovated portion of the esplanade features new railings, benches, planters and a new water station where runners and bikers can fill up their water bottles, city Parks Commissioner Mitchell Silver said. The renovations also brought sound-resistant walls to the esplanade to reduce noise coming from the FDR Drive.