“There are so many vacant spaces,” Councilman Ben Kallos said at the unveiling. “Hopefully we can turn those spaces into art spaces, as well. This is just the beginning.”
The island already has its share of public art with six sculptures and a few galleries, including the stunning white marble columns at the FDR Four Freedoms Park, the climbable “Blue Dragon,” Cornell Tech’s WPA murals on its campus, Gallery RIVAA, Motorgate Gallery murals inside the parking garage, among others — all of which will be included on the art trail, officials say.
UPPER EAST SIDE — Commuters will begin seeing new countdown clocks at more than a dozen bus stops in the neighborhood, as well as the area's final Citi Bike station, city officials said.
On Thursday, Councilman Ben Kallos and DOT Borough Commissioner Luis Sanchez announced 15 countdown clocks have been installed or will be at stops along the M15, M31, M57, M66 and M72 lines.
The clocks will appear at 70th, 72nd and 75th streets along First Avenue; on Second Avenue at 94th Street; on York Avenue at 72nd, 74th, 76th, 77th, 79th, 84th, 86th and 88th streets; on First Avenue at 57th Street; and on First Avenue at 67th and 72nd streets.
MTA spokesman Kevin Ortiz noted that the authority "reviews and evaluates bus schedules on a regular basis to ensure that they accurately match current rider demand and operating conditions, as well as to ensure there are resources available where needed to provide customers with the most efficient and effective bus service possible.
"Schedule revisions also address the need to more accurately reflect changing traffic conditions which have generally slowed in recent years," he continued, without saying whether the agency is considering the community's requests.
Councilman Kallos said he and the other elected officials are pressing the MTA to release its swipe data to get the hard facts on how many people are using on the crosstown buses.
"They are not considering the Americans with Disabilities Act — this neighborhood has seniors almost more than anywhere else," he said. "We just have to keep making our voices heard."
With their school’s support, Neil and his schoolmate Katerina Corr, who are leaders in the MSLC, testified in support of GSAs during the city’s Committee on Education on Oct. 19, 2016.
After that hearing, the MSLC met with Councilmen Danny Dromm, who is the chair of the council’s education committee, and Ben Kallos to work on the new legislation.
“The rise of hate crimes nationally and in the city means it is more important than ever that the City supports our LGBTQ youth through these student-run clubs,” Kallos said. New York City has always been a leader on LGBTQ issues and that includes supporting our students.”
Dromm said GSAs are vital to the physical and mental-well being of LGBTQ students.
The East River 50s Alliance is proposing to cap building heights at 260 feet.
East River 50s Alliance
SUTTON PLACE — Locals' bid for a zoning change to block super-tall skyscrapers in Sutton Place is undergoing formal public review after a year-and-a-half of planning — but city officials are concerned it could discourage affordable housing in the area.
On Monday, the City Planning Commission began its review of the zoning proposal, which would ban any commercial development between East 52nd and 59th streets east of First Avenue, except for “community uses” such as medical offices and day care centers. It would also impose a height cap limiting any new development to 260 feet, and mandate that 13 percent of any new development be dedicated to below-market-rate housing in exchange for bonus Floor Area Ratio (FAR).
The proposal comes after plans were filed by the Bauhouse Group for a 900-foot skyscraper at 430 E. 58th St. in 2015, though the proposal later fell through.
Residents of 45 buildings totaling more than 2,000 individuals have supported the zoning plan, elected officials said.
"The community has won a major victory with the certification of our rezoning proposal to stop the march of super-scrapers and build more affordable housing in residential neighborhoods," said Councilman Ben Kallos, who supports the proposal with other local elected officials. "While I am disappointed with how long it took to certify, it is better late than never."
Robert Shepler, co-chairman of the The East River 50s Alliance Leadership Committee, which is behind the effort, said that developers in Sutton Place are not required to contribute to the city’s affordable housing goals.
"Nor do supertalls do much to address the City’s need for additional market rate units because they produce fewer apartments — often for absentee owners — than more modestly scaled buildings with comparable square footage," he said.
"I attended these meetings and we weren't allowed to say 'no,'" Holmes resident and Community Voices Heard member Lakesha Taylor said. "We were given choices with no answers. What is this really for? You're not even fulfilling your deficit. We're getting darkness, we're getting dust...for a building [that] will be 50/50."
Roughly $40 million in repairs are needed at Holmes Towers alone, officials said.
"The city is losing money on this deal," Kallos said, explaining that the city will only rake in $25 million from the development, while it plans to give Fetner $13 million toward the building's construction and lose millions of dollars in unpaid taxes as part of the building's 99-year lease.
The new tower will rise 47 stories and feature a recreation center and playgrounds, according to city officials.
YORKVILLE — The city finally released renderings of a mixed-income tower set to rise on top of an existing playground at the Holmes Towers public housing complex — and while the city is celebrating, some locals see the news as "salt in the wound."
The images released Wednesday are the first to come out of a year-and-a-half long debate between current Holmes Towers residents and the New York City Housing Authority about the logistics of the plan, which falls under the city's new NextGen program meant to raise capital funds for its existing developments across the city.
The renderings show a 47-story, off-white building rising among the red-brick Holmes Towers buildings on East 93rd Street, as well as a new 18,000-square-foot recreation and community center run by Asphalt Green and new playgrounds.
run its recreation center, which will include an indoor basketball court, a rooftop turf field and low-cost programming.
"If you own a piece of land where the zoning says you can't build a skyscraper in this part of the district, you don’t get to draw an imaginary line in the sand," said City Councilman Ben Kallos, who filed the appeal with other elected officials and the Carnegie Hill Neighbors group this month.
More than 900 4-year-olds and their families applied for pre-K this year, but there were only 596 seats available on the Upper East Side, meaning that 300 students and their parents must travel outside the neighborhood to get to school, according to City Councilman Ben Kallos.
"She's been brought to the hospital on numerous occasions and assessed by a psychiatrist," he told DNAinfo New York on Tuesday. "If anyone has been spat on, touched without consent, chased, or threatened, I will go with them personally to the 19th Precinct to swear out a complaint so that the city has additional resources to help her."
Kallos said he's successfully helped connect homeless New Yorkers with services in the past, and even sat down with the Department of Homeless Services last October to go through a list of local homeless people one by one to see what kind of services they needed.
"We've had success in some places, but there are some folks we haven't seen recently because people have accepted help, or found help on their own," he said. "The worst case is that they just disappear and we don't know what happened to them."
Kallos noted that the Upper East Side is very dense, so when there is one person singing or screaming, it's bound to impact thousands of people and amplify the the problem.
"We have been putting immense pressure on this administration to address the homeless concerns in this community and we have asked them to use every tool [they have]," he said.