New York CIty Council Member Ben Kallos

Editorial Board

Habitat Co-ops and Condos Join Fight to Block New Supertall by Editorial Board

Co-ops and Condos Join Fight to Block New Supertall

“New Yorkers are exhausted by overdevelopment,” city councilman Ben Kallos, a leading opponent of the tall tower, tells the New York Times. “This is about standing up and showing the city that there’s another way to do things.”

Jon Kalikow, the president of Gamma Real Estate, says it would be a “disastrous outcome” if the city were to adopt the rezoning proposal.

“This building could dramatically change the character of our neighborhood,” says Alan Kersh, founding president of the East River Fifties Alliance, which opposes Gamma’s proposed tower and has more than 2,000 supporters, including 45 nearby co-ops and condominiums. Kersh lives across the street from the construction site in a 47-story building called the Sovereign.

New York Times New York, a City Encased in Scaffolding by Editorial Board

New York, a City Encased in Scaffolding

While responsible apartment managers adhere promptly to the spirit of the building safety law, recalcitrant owners leave the sheds up for years as a cheap way to avoid making building repairs. There are no deadlines set to force the work to be done or the sheds to come down.

The pole-and-metal roofed structures, designed to catch debris, attract it instead, along with idlers and loners, according to the complaints of nearby residents who are urging the city to take action. City Councilman Ben Kallos has proposed legislation to force a timetable of three to six months on building owners, but some insist that they don’t have the money to finish jobs. Thus sheds stay perpetually, as much a protection for scofflaw owners as pedestrians.

City Land Landmarks Leaves Only One Backlog Item Remaining After Last Meeting of 2016 by Editorial Board

Landmarks Leaves Only One Backlog Item Remaining After Last Meeting of 2016

Occupying a prominent site that formerly hosted the Vanderbilt mansion at the south end of Grand Army Plaza, the building was designed Ely Jacques Kahn in a Modern Classical style. Bergdorf Goodman was among the original tenants, and grew to become one of the City’s iconic department stores, ultimately purchasing the entire building.

The vernacular Italianate 412 East 85th Street House was built circa 1860, and is a rare surviving wood-framed house on Manhattan’s Upper East Side. The house has had a series of owners, and undergone some minor alterations, but remains largely intact. The house’s owners, Catherine De Vido and Susan Jordan, supported landmark designation. Council Member Ben Kallos, Gale Brewer, and preservationist organizations also urged Landmarks to designate the property.

The Harlem Branch of the YMCA, now the Jackie Robinson YMCA Youth Center, was completed in 1919 to designs by architect John Jackson. At the time of its construction, YMCAs were racially segregated, and the Harlem Branch was built for the use of African Americans. The building served as a center for Harlem intellectual and social life, and Harlem Renaissance luminaries such as Langston Hughes, Richard Wright and Paul Robeson are associated with the YMCA. There was no opposition to designation on the November 12thhearing. Chair Srinivasan said the cultural and social history associated with the building made it “a standout.”

BOSS MAGAZINE New York May Begin Fines for Inactive Construction by Editorial Board

New York May Begin Fines for Inactive Construction

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.”

Habitat Limiting the Lifespan of Sidewalk Sheds by Editorial Board

Limiting the Lifespan of Sidewalk Sheds

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.

AM New York Cyclists must get on board with NYC safety by Editorial Board

Cyclists must get on board with NYC safety

[Council Member Ben Kallos has] announced plans to add bike patrols across the Upper East Side in a pilot program that's an outgrowth of Mayor Bill de Blasio's Vision Zero initiative -- a move to reduce preventable traffic deaths. They'll combine that enforcement with educational programming and incentives, like free Citi Bike day memberships for those who take safety classes. And they'll even throw in free vests, lights and bells for commercial cyclists who complete the training.

It's an effort many -- from the City Council and the NYPD to nonprofits like Bike New York and the privately funded Citi Bike -- are getting behind. Now, local businesses and individual cyclists have to do their parts. City restaurants should take care of their bicycle delivery staffs by providing vests, bells and other gear. Individuals have to educate themselves, slow down and travel safely.

New York Post Hail, Hail, the Cab's All Here by Post Editorial Board

Hail, Hail, the Cab's All Here

Note the latest proposal from freshman City Councilmember Ben Kallos. The Upper East Side Democrat wants the Taxi and Limousine Commission to approve a city-branded e-hail app. This would give yellow cabs the technology to take on Uber and others on their own turf.

Yellow cabs wouldn’t be required to use the app, but considering the impact Uber’s app has had on the traditional yellow-cab model, they would be foolish not to.

Kallos’ idea is good as far as it goes and contrasts favorably with how other municipalities have reacted to an industry disrupter like Uber. In India, for example, New Delhi has just banned Uber.

The Real Deal ​Proposed downzoning could affect price at auction for Bauhouse's 3 Sutton Place by Editorial Board

​Proposed downzoning could affect price at auction for Bauhouse's 3 Sutton Place

The community group’s new zoning plan would curb building height in the East 50s along the East River at 260 feet, and the members are hoping to delay the Sutton Place project until their new zoning plan takes affect. That could affect the price at auction.

Ben Kallos, a Manhattan Council member who supports the proposal, which was spearheaded by Alan Kersh, a resident of the 47-story Sovereign across the street from for-sale site, told the Wall Street Journal that he wants “to stop the march of 1,000-foot towers into residential neighborhoods.”

Kersh’s apartment, at 425 East 58th Street, is 250 feet above ground, and his view would be blocked by Beninati’s tower.

Kallos has also helped block the demolition of the site. After an audit requested by Kallos, the DOB didn’t approve permits for work on the neighboring building, 426 East 58th Street, which is necessary for the demolition to proceed.

New York Observer The Insurgents of 2010 by Editorial Board

The Insurgents of 2010

Mr. Kallos has kept himself busy, putting his knowledge of technology and geeky insights to use in local government. The result is a series of Web sites that take local political info out of dusty file cabinets and up online. One site lets people see if they’re registered to vote. Another lets users check the attendance records of state lawmakers. His latest creation: a crowd-sourced calendar for political events around New York City and the state.