We're saying no to empty buildings filled with mechanical voids simply to give the 1% better views while leaving the rest of us in their shadow. With the help of Manhattan Borough President and organizations like Friends of the Upper East Side Historic Districts and Landmarks West, City Planning has a proposal to close the zoning loophole that allows developers to create giant mechanical voids so that the ultra rich can enjoy better views while space in buildings sits empty. Over the next month please testify in favor at your Community Board.
With the help of parents and advocates, in January we passed legislation I introduced requiring the Department of Education to install GPS on all New York City school buses to finally end annual nightmare during the start of the school year, as school buses loaded with children get lost, often taking hours to get home.
This month we are joining with students at Eleanor Roosevelt High School who currently make due with a dance studio to petition for a new gym.
Please join us on February 13, we are teaming up with the world famous Sotheby's for our annual student art show. Before the show please join me at the Webster Library as we host Drag Queen Story Hour.
2/13, 4pm – 5pm
Drag Queen Story Hour
2/13, 5:30pm – 7:30pm
Public School Art Show
2/16, 9am – 4:30pm
(By Appointment Only)
2/26, 6am – 9pm
Special Election for Public Advocate
2/1, 8am – 10am
2/12, 5 – 6pm
(By Appointment Only)
TABLE OF CONTENTS
- Avoiding Voids to Stop Supertalls
- School Bus GPS Legislation Passes Council
- Petition for Gym at Eleanor Roosevelt
- Sotheby’s Art Show
- Drag Queen Story Hour
- Council Member For a Day
- Special Election for Public Advocate
- Nearly All Public Advocate Candidates Choose New Public Finance Law
- Retirement Security for All Backed by the Mayor
- Governor’s State of the State in District at Stanley Isaacs
- GENDA and a Ban on Conversion Therapy Signed into State Law
- City & State Forum on Public-Private Partnerships
- Inspect All Scaffolding to Keep Pedestrians Safe
- Affordable Housing Construction Shouldn’t Make the Crisis Worse
- “Deadly Skyline”: A New Report on Construction Fatalities
- Developers Should Disclose Conflicts Before Getting Subsidies
- Thank You for Attending the State of the District
- Remembering MLK at the National Action Network
- Holocaust Remembrance Week
- Hope Count: Working to End Homelessness
- Proclamations Honoring Rita Popper on CB8 and Lenox Hill Neighborhood House’s 125th Year
- Paid Internship Opportunity with City Agencies
- College Scholarship for 11th Grade Young Women
- Make The Road NYC: Free Health Job Training Program Now Open
- Help for Concerned Persons
- Cancer Care: Counseling Support Groups
- Free Legal Clinics
- Here to Help
- Mobile District Hours
- Ben in Your Building
- Community Boards
- NYPD Events
- Neighborhood and Tenant Associations
- Events for Adults
- Events for Kids
Avoiding Voids to Stop Supertalls
Every New Yorker should have a right to light and air without having to pay millions just to see the sky.
As reported by Crain's, after five years of my advocacy and support from the office of Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, the de Blasio administration has submitted a text amendment to the City Planning Commission to close the loophole that allows the construction of buildings with excessive mechanical voids.
This text amendment follows years of advocacy from my office and groups such as Friends of the Upper East Side Historic Districts and Landmark West! Since I was elected, my office has invested $283,675 in Friends of the Upper East Side Historic Districts with $75,750 earmarked for planning, research, and education around zoning and land use. In 2018 I organized a press conference with preservation groups from all over Manhattan calling on the Board of Standards and Appeals to prohibit developers from evading zoning regulations and abusing loopholes.
Now in 2019, it is great news that the City Planning Commission has begun the public process of eliminating this loophole in residential neighborhoods in Manhattan. For more on the issue, read coverage by Patch, City Limits and the New York Times. The zoning text amendment to limit the use of mechanical voids is being heard at your local Community Board in February, and we need you to testify:
- Community Board 6 Land Use and Waterfront (Midtown East): Wednesday, February 13 at 6pm, NYU School of Dentistry, Room 210, 433 1st Ave, New York, NY 10010
- Community Board 6 Full Board (Midtown East): Wednesday, February 13 at 7pm, NYU School of Dentistry, Room 220, 433 1st Ave, New York, NY 10010
- Community Board 8 Land Use and Full Board (Upper East Side): Wednesday, February 20 at 6:30pm, Ramaz School Auditorium, 125 E 85th St., New York, NY 10028
- Community Board 11 Land Use, Landmarks and Planning (East Harlem): Wednesday, February 6 at 6:30pm, Bonifacio Senior Center, 7 E 116th St., New York, NY 10029
- Community Board 11 Full Board (East Harlem): Tuesday, February 19 at 6pm
Henry J Carter Specialty Hospital and Nursing Facility, 1752 Park Ave, New York, NY 10035
School Bus GPS Legislation Passes Council
As reported by ABC 7, we kicked off 2018 by passing a package of legislation including two bills I authored to avoid the annual nightmare of school buses getting lost and parents frantically calling to find out where their children are. The legislation works twofold. The first bill gives parents the opportunity, prior to the school year beginning, to review and challenge routes and requires bus companies to test routes with dry runs. The second bill, co-sponsored by Council Member Chaim Deutsch, requires the Office of Pupil Transportation (OPT) to install GPS devices on buses so parents know where their children are.
This legislation got its inspiration from what parents describe as years of having the same exact problem around the beginning of the school year. The New York Times reported that the annual bus nightmares reached crisis levels on November 2018 when a winter storm left young children who receive special education on a bus in the snow for more than 10 hours. That snowstorm demonstrated how dangerous the situation can get when buses of students, including special education students, were stuck in traffic for hours with no additional information given to parents.
No parent should have to wonder where their child is or when their child is finally getting home from a school bus ride gone off track. Parents now can rest assured knowing when and where their child’s school bus is coming using an app on their phone. Thank you to Council Member Chaim Deutsch who has spent 18 years working on this issue starting under then-Council Member Michael Nelson. Read coverage of these bills' passage at CBS 2, 1010 WINS, New York 1 and the New York Daily News.
Petition for Gym at Eleanor Roosevelt
Following Mayor Bill de Blasio announcing “Physical Education for All," students at Eleanor Roosevelt High School took the opportunity at a town hall with the Mayor early last year to request they too be included and receive a space for a gym. Many of the schools in my council district do not have an appropriate gymnasium and make due with dance studios, converted classrooms and using cafeterias or auditoriums for physical fitness. As reported by Our Town, I have brokered public-private partnerships such as with the Spence School to provide daytime access to public school students at their new field house.
Please join students at Eleanor Roosevelt High School to petition the Mayor, the Department of Education and the School Construction Authority to build a gymnasium at BenKallos.com/ELROgym
Sotheby’s Art show
As someone who loves and appreciates the arts, I am once again excited to invite residents to our annual public school art show at the world famous Sotheby’s, which will be on February 13 at 5:30pm. Every year, we feature work from hundreds of Upper East Side students of all ages. The show is organized in partnership with P.S. 183, the Department of Education and Sotheby's. To learn how to get your students involved, please contact ArtShow@benkallos.com. We hope to see you at the opening reception! RSVP at BenKallos.com/events
Sotheby’s Art Show
February 13, 5:30pm to 7:30pm
1334 York Avenue
Drag Queen Story Hour
Drag Queen Story Hour captures the imagination and play of gender fluidity in childhood and gives kids glamorous, positive, and unabashedly queer role models. In spaces like this, kids are able to see people who defy rigid gender restrictions and imagine a world where people can present as they wish, and where dress-up is real. For more information visit BenKallos.com/Events
Drag Queen Story Hour
February 13, 4pm to 5pm
1465 York Avenue
Council Member For A Day
What would you do as a member of the New York City Council? I will be holding a "Council Member for a Day" Essay Competition where students attending grades five through eight in the district are invited to submit an essay on the subject of “What I Would Do as a Member of the City Council” by March 29, 2019. Please submit the essay to BKallos@BenKallos.com with the subject line “Council Member for a Day.” Don’t forget to include your full name, address, phone number and school. Essays should be no longer than two pages, double spaced. The winner will join me at City Hall for an official meeting of the New York City Council. Learn more at BenKallos.com/EssayContest
Special Election for Public Advocate
Special Election for Public Advocate
Tuesday, February 26, 2019
6am to 9pm
Poll Site Locator:
This is a non-partisan election where every voter in New York City regardless of party may participate in voting for the next Public Advocate.
Nearly All Public Advocate Candidates Choose New Public Finance Law
More than one million New Yorkers voted to get big money out of City politics back in November of 2018. Legislation I authored brought the new rules to the Public Advocate’s election scheduled for February 26, 2019. Of the remaining ten candidates that qualify for the upcoming debate, nine of them have opted to use the system which I advocated for on the ballot and authored the law to implement now.
The old system matched contributions up to $175 at a 6-to-1 rate for only 55% of the money candidates needed and allowed contributions by individuals to be as high as $5,100. A system that led to nearly half the money coming in big contributions that were the maximum allowed under law.
The new system matches every dollar under $250 for citywide and $175 for others 8-to-1, providing matching funds to cover up to 75% of a campaign's spending limit. It also lowered the individual contribution limit to $2,000 for citywide campaigns, $1,500 for borough wide, and $1,000 for City Council.
If the next New York City Public Advocate is one who chose the new system, they will be the City’s first citywide elected officials whose campaign could be run on small dollars. For more information on the new system in effect this year, visit benkallos.com/press-releases
Retirement Security for All Backed by the Mayor
In New York City, two-thirds of workers, more than 2 million people in 2009, did not participate in employer-sponsored retirement plans, largely because their employer didn’t offer one. The National Institute on Retirement Security predicts a United States retirement saving deficit of as much as $14 trillion. As a former Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) Attorney, I have been working for years for “Retirement Security for All” to automatically enroll everyone working in the city whose employer doesn’t offer a retirement plan in a Roth IRA with a contribution rate of 3%, with the option to change rates or choose an IRA.
In 2017 I authored Int. 1580 and Int. 1574 with then-Public Advocate and now Attorney General Tish James. In 2017 with a Republican House and Senate the Trump administration passed House Joint Resolutions 66 and 67 rolling back regulations permitting states and municipalities to offer retirement savings plans. However, I am confident we can move forward here as other jurisdictions have done and have re-introduced the legislation with Civil Service and Labor Chair I. Daneek Miller. The new bills are Int. 901 of 2018 to establish a board and Int. 888 of 2018 to establish the retirement plan.
As part of his State of the City address, Mayor de Blasio announced his plan to move forward with “Retirement Security for All.” Learn more about the legislation at BenKallos.com/press-releases or read coverage in Gotham Gazette.
Governor’s State of the State in District at Stanley Isaacs
Thank you to more than fifty seniors who turned out at Stanley Isaacs Neighborhood Center as the Governor's office presented its State of the State address for our district. Commissioner Vincent Bradley of the State Liquor Authority gave the presentation on Governor Cuomo’s Justice Agenda, highlighting accomplishments and goals for 2019 and beyond. Bradley also took some time after the presentation for questions which ranged from the Federal Government shutdown to housing in Manhattan. The Governor's Justice Agenda seeks to improve tax reform, improve democracy and combat gun violence all within the first 100 days of 2019. One of the most important messages of the presentation was New York State's need to resist Trump's initiatives which seek to divide us. The governor is also promising to bring campaign finance reform to the state, something I have fought for on the City level for many years. Watch the entire address at facebook.com/benkallos
GENDA and a Ban on Conversion Therapy Signed into State Law
I had the privilege of joining Governor Andrew Cuomo as he signed into law the Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act (GENDA) along with an official ban on conversion therapy, making New York the 15th State to outlaw the practice. The new laws were carried by Assembly Members Deborah Glick and Dick Gottfried and Senator Brad Hoylman who succeed the previous sponsor Senator Thomas Duane and come just weeks after Democrats took control of the State Senate. Enacting these measures into law this year coincided with the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall civil uprising where the LGBTQ civil rights movement began. By getting these measures passed into law, Governor Cuomo and our State government have made it clear there is no room for hate or discrimination in New York State.
Inspect All Scaffolding to Keep Pedestrians Safe
ABC 7 reported, in January that I introduced a bill to regulate how our City is using scaffolding and to make sure that the nearly 350 miles of scaffolding covering New York City' sidewalks are safe. Under the current laws, scaffolding is self-certified for safety by the contractors who install it, without any independent inspection by the city’s Department of Buildings. Under my new legislation, scaffolding would be required to undergo safety inspections by the Buildings Department every six months at the expense of the building owner with fees escalating to incentivize the scaffolding to go down. Scaffolding is there to protect us from falling buildings, but what’s going to protect us from falling scaffolding? With scaffolding falling throughout our city, scaffolding companies have proven that they can’t be trusted to self-certify anymore. For more information read coverage in the New York Daily News and Gothamist.
Affordable Housing Construction Shouldn’t Make the Crisis Worse
As City and State reported, I re-introduced legislation (Int 1322) requiring developers to provide construction workers a prevailing wage and benefits on government subsidized projects. In 2018, a construction worker earning the minimum wage of $11.10 an hour, working full time for 35 hours a week for 52 weeks, could only bring home $20,202 a year. This year's increase to $15 an hour in New York City would increase this to $27,300 a year.
Paying construction workers a minimum wage to build affordable housing projects is only making our City’s housing crisis worse. Construction workers earning the minimum wage while building affordable housing would need access to units set at 30% of Area Median Income (AMI), deemed as extremely low-income, the lowest band possible. While construction workers on many affordable projects earn the minimum wage, many affordable housing projects do not offer affordable housing at the extremely low-income level. Introduction 1322 would require:
- Prevailing Wage & Benefits – the city comptroller would set wages and benefits annually based on area wage standards for the same trade or occupation in accordance with New York State Labor Law §220 (lower threshold of projects of 50,000 square feet or larger and no financial minimum through only covering city subsidies).
- Disclosure – all government subsidies, jobs created, contractors and their owners, along with proofs of insurance.
- Enforcement – monitoring by city agencies and the Comptroller with reporting, fines of $10,000 a day for non-compliance and the loss of benefits, along with whistleblower protections, and a right of private action for prevailing wages.
For more details, read the release at BenKallos.com/press-releases
“Deadly Skyline”: A New Report on Construction Worker Fatalities
The New York Committee for Occupational Safety and Health (NYCOSH) released a scathing report on construction safety in New York. The report was detailed at a press conference where I spoke about the continuing problem of the lack of safety, training and contractors who follow rules for construction workers in New York City. According to the report, worker deaths are decreasing within New York City but increasing in the state due to contractors routinely ignoring regulations. A majority of these deaths up to 92.9% in the city, were non-union workers who died on private sites.
As the author of the law forcing contractors to report injuries and deaths at building sites within New York City, I fully support the actions recommended by NYCOSH which include preserving the Scaffold Law, increasing penalties against criminal contractors statewide, revoking licenses and permits to criminal contractors, among other actions to preserve the safety of workers. For more information on the report visit NYCOSH.org or watch the press conference at BenKallos.com/videos
City & State Forum on Public-Private Partnerships
I joined City & State for a conference on Public Private Partnerships (P3) as a panelist with Assembly Member Amy Paulin (White Plains, Scarsdale) and Darren Bloch (Senior Advisor to Mayor Bill de Blasio). As an elected official, public-private partnerships have been crucial to improving areas such as parks and schools in my district. The best example is our partnership with local institutions like Rockefeller University, Hospital for Special Surgery and The Brearley School to repair and revitalize the East River Esplanade. I have also previously worked with Intuit/TurboTax, getting them to share their benefit assist code for screening users for eligible benefits. This would mean that New Yorkers would be possibly matched with SNAP, healthcare, and hundreds of other programs automatically after signing up for just one program. We've also partnered with Extell to build 90 Pre-Kindergarten seats as part of a new development. Watch this year's summit at BenKallos.com/Videos
Developers Should Disclose Conflicts Before Getting Subsidies
As the New York Post reported, I introduced a bill that requires real estate developers to disclose their connections in City government to the City Council when they apply to receive subsidies and tax credits for building affordable housing.
As Chair of the Subcommittee on Planning, Dispositions, and Concessions, I believe that New Yorkers have a right to know that they are getting the most affordable housing out of every subsidy given to real estate developers. Under the bill, the Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) would be required to share the findings of their Joint-Compliance Package or background check on potential developers with the City Council.
The document would disclose any current or former involvement with the public sector before real estate developers do any business with the city agencies. Well-connected developers should not be getting sweetheart deals that give them an unfair advantage when competing for a government contract to build housing projects. For more details on my proposed bill, see coverage by the New York Post.
Women’s March with Manhattan Borough President Brewer
On Saturday, January 19, I was proud to march with Borough President Gale Brewer where we ran into Congress Member Carolyn Maloney and newly elected Congress Member Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez at both Women's Marches here in New York City. In 2018 this march drew millions of people in attendance as part of the #MeToo movement. This year it continues to bring awareness to sexual harassment and assault cases nationally. Tens of thousands of women came together to focus on the victories of the #WomensWave that swept Congress with 131 women in the 116th Congress. I am one of only two male city council members on the Women Committee, where we are working to make the economic mobility, civic participation, and social inclusion of women in the workforce stronger. If you could not attend the march, we recorded some of the highlights for you at Facebook.com/benkallos/videos
No Cost Mammogram Van on Roosevelt Island
Do you need a Mammogram? The American Italian Cancer Foundation, my office and the office of Assembly Member Rebecca Seawright have joined forces to make these services available at no cost to you. Once you have booked your appointment from 9 am to 4:30 pm on Saturday, February 16 you will be able to visit the Mammogram Van at Good Shepherd Plaza at 543 Main Street on Roosevelt Island.
Your appointment must be scheduled ahead of time. You can do so by calling (877)638-9090. You must be a woman over the age of 40 to qualify for the No Cost Mammogram.
Good Shepherd Plaza (Roosevelt Island)
543 Main Street
Saturday, February 16, 9am – 4:30pm
RSVP @ 877-628-9090
Thank You for Attending the State of the District 2019
Thank you to all the residents and elected officials who joined us for the State of the District 2019. It was wonderful to see the community come together to celebrate another year of successes for District 5. Special thanks also goes to Representative Carolyn Maloney and Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer for their inspiring words, to Talent Unlimited High School for their incredible singing, to Jan Hus Presbyterian Church Reverend Beverly Dempsey for delivering a beautiful invocation, and to community board all-star who Rita Popper who read “If” by Rudyard Kipling. If you missed the event, you can read my remarks, download the presentation, and watch at BenKallos.com/StateOfTheDistrict/2019
Remembering MLK at the National Action Network
Thank you to Reverend Al Sharpton, Senator Charles Schumer, and all those who spoke at the National Action Network event in honor of Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. It was truly a privilege to speak alongside along many great leaders of our time remembering the great MLK.
MLK’s outlook on race relations and government is needed now more than ever. In today's politically tense environment, rife with racial socioeconomic inequality, it is important we take a moment to acknowledge the difference and impact MLK made. In the 1950s our nation was divided and Dr. King led the charge toward the Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act. He taught us that while injustice is all around us, good men and women cannot stand idly by and not do anything about it.
We can vote powers into the New York State Constitution that make the 1% and the bigoted unable to remove basic inalienable rights to healthy food and affordable housing. Laws like the Right To Know Act, which is meant to deter NYPD abuse, are needed now more than ever to protect the rights of New Yorkers living in communities that are usually targeted. As we observe Black history month, I encourage you to take a moment and watch the speeches given on MLK day, including mine, celebrating the great leader and remembering his mission. For video of the National Action Network event, visit BenKallos.com/videos
Holocaust Remembrance Week
Last month the City Council passed Resolution 673, which recognized January 27 as International Holocaust Day in our City. Thank you to Council Member Chaim Deutsch who faithfully worked on this resolution with the rest of the Jewish Caucus to make it a reality. Not only does the resolution declare January 27 International Holocaust Day in New York City, but it declares the entire following week a citywide Holocaust Education Week. The year 2018 saw antisemitism increase here in our City and around the country. For that reason, I believe it is incredibly important to continue to educate today's children and the next generations about what occurred during the Holocaust 73 years ago. For more information on Resolution 673, visit BenKallos.com/press-releases or the coverage in the Bklyner.
Hope Count: Working to End Homelessness
As PIX 11 News reported, Homelessness continues to be at crisis levels here in New York City. On one of the coldest nights of the year, for the 6th year in a row I took part in the City's Homeless Outreach Population Estimate or HOPE count. This citywide effort seeks to measure how many New Yorkers are homeless living on the street and avoiding the shelter system. On January 28 there were 61,115 men, women and children living in shelters plus an additional estimated 3,000 people living on the street.
As homelessness continues to rise with 22,368 children, 12,620 family members, 4,481 single women, and 11,993 single men in our shelters I felt our community had to do its part in helping. In 2016 I launched the Eastside Taskforce for Homeless Outreach and Services (ETHOS) with Borough President Brewer, Senator Krueger, Council Member Garodnick, Department of Social Services, community and faith leaders and service organizations. We hope to get unsheltered people living on the street the help they need. If you see one of our City’s most vulnerable on the street, please call 311 or use the NYC 311 App (Android/iPhone) to ask them to dispatch a “homeless outreach team.” They will ask where you saw the person, what they looked like, and offer to report on whether the person accepts our city’s offer of shelter, three meals a day, healthcare, rehabilitation, and job training. Learn more at BenKallos.com/homeless
Proclamations Honoring Rita Popper on CB8 and Lenox Hill Neighborhood House’s 125th Year
In January I recognized Rita Popper following a major birthday for decades of leadership in the community. As President of the Tenants Association at Knickerbocker Plaza, she protected her tenants from being forced out by privatization and successfully fought downsizing of families into small studios. Her time as a member of Community Board 8 made a major impact on the neighborhood with the founding of James Cagney Place.
I also recognized the Lenox Hill Neighborhood House for 125 years of human service dedicated to the most vulnerable residents of the Upper East Side. The House has since grown from its humble beginnings in 1894 as a free kindergarten for immigrant children. Now, it accommodates every age of resident with a variety of community programs, enriching educational resources, healthcare, and free meals for hundreds of thousands of residents. Their reach extends from 59th street to 143rd street with over five locations. Very few organizations have had such a consistent long-term mission dedicated to helping those in need and improving the community’s quality of life. It is my hope that Lenox Hill Neighborhood House will continue to serve residents in our neighborhood for at least another 125 years.
Paid Internship Opportunity with City Agencies
The New York City Department of Design and Construction, in partnership with the NYC Department of Youth and Community Development, is offering a six-week summer internship for high school students. This program is designed for students interested in pursuing careers in architecture, engineering, building trades, public administration, business information or information technology. The program is structured to enable students to gain exposure to the many careers in the built environment and to learn more about what it takes to build NYC. The program begins on Thursday, July 8 and ends Friday, August 16. The application is open now through March 4. For more information or to apply, visit: www1.nyc.gov/assets/ddc/downloads/steam/2019-%20HSSIP-Fact_Sheet.pdf
College Scholarship for 11th Grade Young Women
NYRR Run for the Future is a free, seven-week scholarship program that teaches 11th-grade high school girls how to run. The program highly encourages young women who have not previously participated in organized sports to apply. Those accepted into NYRR Run for the Future who fulfill the program requirements will receive a $2,000 college scholarship. Please visit nyrr.org to access the application and eligibility requirements. Spring season applications are due February 17, 2019. Summer season applications are due April 14, 2019.
Make The Road NYC: Free Health Job Training Program Now Open
Registration for Make the Road NY's Free Health Job Training Program is currently open and we're looking for dedicated students with health career goals. Our classes are exciting opportunities for immigrants and bilingual individuals that can lead to higher level healthcare job training and certification programs or employment in healthcare related jobs.
Do you know of students or members that may be interested in applying for our February 2019 courses? Contact us today to refer potential students at 718-418-7690 x 1271 or leave their information on this Google Doc: Health Job Training Referral List. Interested individuals can also start the process by filling out our online inquiry form: https://bit.ly/mrnyapplication.
Helpline for Concerned Persons
The Helpline for Concerned Persons is a program of Weill Cornell Medicine’s NYC Elder Abuse Center. It is a free, confidential service for the family members, friends, and neighbors of elder abuse victims who live in New York City’s five boroughs. Available Mon-Fri, 9–5 pm, a social worker provides supportive counseling; information about elder abuse, neglect, and exploitation; guidance for next steps; and referrals. Calls received during evenings, weekends, and holidays will be responded to by next business day. Phone: 212-746-6905 or E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. For more info visit: https://bit.ly/2ycJ2st Note: The Helpline is not an emergency service. For safety and health emergencies, call 911.
Cancer Care: Counseling Support Groups
A cancer diagnosis can turn a person's life upside down. The physical, emotional and financial impact of cancer affects not only the person but also their family and loved ones. For the last 75 years, CancerCare has been the leading organization providing free services and support to anyone affected by cancer.
Their comprehensive services include counseling and support groups over the phone, online and in-person, educational workshops, publications and financial and co-payment assistance. All CancerCare services are provided by oncology social workers and world-leading cancer experts.
To learn more, visit www.cancercare.org or call 800-813-HOPE (4673).
Free Legal Clinics
Need a lawyer? Every month I sponsor legal clinics where you can get free legal advice in my District Office at 244 East 93rd Street from 3pm-6pm:
- General Civil Law, 3rd Tuesday
- Life Planning Clinic, 3rd Wednesday
- Family Law and Domestic Violence, 1st Tuesday
- Housing Clinics, Every Monday and 1st Wednesday
Here to Help
We are here to help. My social work team can help you find out what services you are eligible for and assist you in your application. Some examples include:
- Seniors: Medicare savings, Meals-on-Wheels, Access-A-Ride
- Housing: searching for affordable units, free legal housing clinic at my office
- Job Resources: training resources and assistance, unemployment benefits
- Families: Universal Pre-K, Head Start, After-School programs
- Finances: cash assistance, tax credits, home energy assistance
- Nutrition: WIC, free meals for all ages
Mobile District Hours
Get assistance wherever in the district you are when we bring our office to you. Please join us at monthly mobile district hours from 11am–2pm:
- Stanley Isaacs Neighborhood Center, 415 East 93rd Street, 2nd Tuesday
- Roosevelt Island Senior Center, 546 Main Street, 4th Wednesday
Ben in Your Building
The "Ben in Your Building Program" is a chance to discuss issues of importance to you and your neighbors in person, in your home. Please consider inviting me to your cooperative or condominium annual meeting or tenants association meeting and I will be happy to join you. Over the past year, I have visited several buildings to discuss matters of importance in the neighborhood, including street furniture, road conditions, homeless outreach, sanitation issues and you name it. Please schedule a "Ben in Your Building" today by calling 212-860-1950 or email Scheduler@BenKallos.com.
2/4: Community Board 6 Transportation Committee Meeting
7:00pm, 433 1st Avenue (NYU School of Dentistry), Room 210
2/5: Community Board 11 Housing Committee
6:30pm, CB11 Board Office 1664 Park Avenue Ground Floor
2/5: Community Board 11 Public Safety & Transportation Committee
6:30pm, Bonifacio Senior Center 7 E. 116th Street
2/6: Community Board 11 Land Use, Landmarks & Planning Committee
6:30pm, Bonifacio Senior Center 7 E. 116th Street
2/7: Community Board 6 Housing, Homeless, & Human Rights Committee Meeting
6:30pm, CB6 Board Office - 211 E. 43rd Street, Suite 1404
2/13: Community Board 6 Full Board Meeting
7:00pm, 433 1st Avenue (NYU School of Dentistry), Room 220
2/19: Community Board 11 Full Board Meeting
6:30pm, Henry J. Carter Specialty Hospital & Nursing Facility 1752 Park Avenue
2/20: Community Board 8 Land Use Committee and Full Board Meeting
6:30pm-9:30pm, Ramaz School – Heyman Auditorium 125 East 85th Street
2/27: Community Board 8 Housing Committee
6:30pm Stanley Isaacs Neighborhood Center 415 East 93rd Street, Dining Room A & B
2/4: 19th Precinct Community Council
7:00pm-8:00pm, 19th Precinct Station House, 153 E. 67th Street
2/26: 17th Precinct Community Council
6:00pm-7:00pm, Sutton Place Synagogue, 224 E. 51st Street
2/27: 23rd Precinct Community Council
6:00pm-7:00pm, 23rd Precinct Station House, 164 E. 102nd Street
Neighborhood and Tenant Associations Meetings
Second Wednesday, 2/13: Lexington Houses Tenant Association
6:00pm, 1539 Lexington Avenue
First Wednesday, 2/6: Roosevelt Island Residents Association Common Council Meeting
8:00 pm-10:00 pm, Good Shepherd (Downstairs), 543 Main Street
Second Tuesday, 2/11: Stanley Isaacs Tenant Associations
7:00 pm, Stanley Isaacs Neighborhood Center, 415 East 93rd Street
Third Tuesday, 2/18: Holmes Towers Tenant Association
7:00 pm, Stanley Isaacs Neighborhood Center, 415 East 93rd Street
Events for Adults
2/1, 2/8, 2/15, 2/22: Tax Prep with AARP
10:00am-2:00pm, 67th Street Library
It’s tax time! Get your refund. From now through April 12 at our branch. We're hosting tax prep with AARP who can help you prepare and file your tax return electronically—all for free. To participate in this program, you must have a valid e-mail address and basic computer skills and bring all necessary documents and information (review the relevant PDF to see what information you will need to bring with you to file your taxes).
2/1, 2/8, 2/22: Strengthen and Tone
10:30am-11:30am, Church of the Holy Trinity, 316 E 88th St.
2/1, 2/8, 2/22: Italian Speaking
11:30am-12:30pm, Church of the Holy Trinity, 341 E 87th St.
2/1, 2/8, 2/22: Bridge
12:00pm-4:00pm, Church of the Holy Trinity, 316 E 88th St.
2/1, 2/8, 2/15, 2/22: Movement Speaks with Dances for a Variable Population
12:00pm Webster Library Auditorium
Join us celebrating moving in strong and creative ways! From January 2019-March 2019, Naomi and company will lead seniors on the Upper East Side in a series of dance fitness classes for older adults of all ages and abilities.
2/1, 2/8, 2/15, 2/22: Learn To Play Chess at Webster
3:00pm, Webster Library Auditorium
You want to show off your best moves against other chess fans? Whether you're a chess master or just starting out, come join us for some board time. All materials will be provided, and an experienced instructor Timothy Mobley will lead the group.
2/1: Friday Lecture Series
3:45pm, 1230 York Ave
The Joshua Lederberg Distinguished Lecture in Molecular Genetics. Rachel Green, Ph.D., investigator, Howard Hughes Medical Institute; Bloomberg Distinguished Professor, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.
2/2, 2/9, 2/23: Chair Yoga
11:00am-12:00pm, St. Joseph’s Church, 404 E 87th St.
2/2, 2/3, 2/9, 2/10, 2/16, 2/17, 2/23, 2/24: Valentine’s Tour: 19th Century Romance in New York
11:00am-4:00pm, 421 E 61st St.
This special tour explores the surprising myths and mores of 19th-century mating rituals. Learn the secret language of fans, intimate letter writing, and romantic hideouts for couples in the early part of the new Republic. Free with admission. Reservations requested.
2/2, 2/9: Matinee Movie
12:30pm, Church of the Holy Trinity, 341 E 87th St.
2/2: Workshop: Electrifying Mapmaking
2:00pm, 421 E 61st St.
Join us for a hands-on mash-up of 19th century sewing and early science! Embroider a map of New York and sew circuits to light it up with points of special interest. All materials provided and no experience necessary. Recommended for adults and children ages 10+. $15 Adults, $10 Members, Children under 12, Students with ID.
2/3, 2/10: Introduction to Mindfulness Meditation Online
7:00pm-8:30pm, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Center Distant Education Learning Website
In this class, we learn a wide variety of practices and tools to build a personal relaxation routine which works best for you. And by joining this evening group from home, your mind and body will naturally wind down before bed.
2/4: Dance Expressions: A new group therapy program for women with cancer
8:15am, Evelyn H. Lauder Breast Center, 300 East 66th Street, 2nd floor fitness room
Sessions are taught by an expert dance and movement therapist. Explore new movement skills and connect with other survivors in this shared experience. Prior dance or athletic skill is not required.
2/4: Military Mondays
1:00pm-3:30pm Manhattan Campus of the VA NY Harbor Healthcare system, 423 East, 23rd St.
Begun in 2016 with an aim to provide U.S. Military veterans with free legal help completing Social Security Disability application which later expanded to include advice about claims denials, appeals, and other challenges. Now the scope of the clinic has expanded to provide veterans with housing concerns. To date, we have assisted 208 clients at 26 clinics.
1:30pm-2:30pm, St. Catherine’s
2/4: Mind- body Approaches to Pain and Stress Management
2.30pm- 4.00pm, Hospital for Special Surgery, New York
In this program, you will learn coping strategies such as meditation, guided imagery, and deep relaxation techniques.This class will be offered on Monday, February 4 and Monday, April 1st from 2:30 to 4:00 pm. Please select only one date when registering. Space is limited to 15 participants.
2/4, 2/25: Cell Phone Class
3:15pm-4:00pm, Church of the Holy Trinity, 341 E 87th St.
2/4, 2/25: Dance With Alex
4:00pm-5:00pm, Church of the Holy Trinity, 341 E 87th St.
2/4: Mystery Mondays
4:00pm, 67th Street Library
Snap by Belinda Bauer Book Discussion Group Book groups are hosted at libraries throughout the city and facilitated by The New York Public Library staff. Our book groups are open to everyone. Learn more and browse all of our book groups online.
2/5: HOPP Research Seminar
1:30pm- 2:30pm, Zuckerman Research Center, 417 East 68th Street
This program is for the research community.
2/5, 2/19, 2/26: Tai Chi
3:00pm-4:00pm, Church of the Holy Trinity, 316 E 88th St.
2/5: Shaped by Immigrants: A History of Yorkville Book Talk
5:30pm, Webster Library
Join Rachel Levy and Sara Kamillatos from Friends of the Upper East Side Historic Districts for an early-evening book talk and screening of our companion mini-documentary, both of which explore the heritage of this neighborhood and its beloved buildings. Free and open to the public, advance registration is required.
2/5, 2/12: Yoga for Sleep
6:00pm- 7:00pm, Bendheim Integrative Medicine Center, 1429 First Avenue, 1st floor fitness studio
Yoga for Sleep teaches you tools to enjoy refreshing sleep, while releasing stress and muscle tension. This workshop is open to everyone affected by cancer — patients, caregivers, and survivors.
2/6, 2/20: Adult One-on-One Computer Help Workshop
11:30pm-1:00pm, Yorkville Library
Work one-on-one with a volunteer tutor. Improve Internet skills, create, and use e-mail, cell phone help, Microsoft Office (Excel, Word, Power Point).
2/6, 2/20, 2/27: Basic Exercise
1:15pm-2:15pm, Park Avenue United Methodist Church, 106 E 86th St.
2/6, 2/13, 2/20, 2/27: Tea + Creativity
1:30pm-3:00pm Wednesdays, 1844 Second Avenue (95th/96th Sts.)
Come and get crafty at this 60+ weekly group. Generously sponsored by The Brick Presbyterian Church. Co-sponsored by NYS Assembly Member Rebecca A. Seabright and NYS Assembly Member Robert J. Rodriguez.
2/6, 2/11, 2/20: Yorkville Writer’s Circle
4:30pm-6:30pm, Yorkville Library
Want to meet local writers? Commit to a writing schedule? Practice your craft
through writing prompts? Writers of all genres and styles, at all levels, are welcome to participate. No sign-ups required.g
2/7, 2/21, 2/28: Alexander Technique
10:00am-11:00am, Church of the Holy Trinity, 341 E 87 St.
2/8: Lunchtime Lecture: Courtship in the 19th Century
12:30pm-1:00pm, 421 E 61st St.
Dig deep into our past for a casual talk with our lunch bunch. Find out all about courtship and romance in the early 19th century. Bring your own lunch, we serve refreshments. Free with admission.
2/9: Year-Round Volunteering Gardening
9:30am-12:30pm, 86th St at East End Ave.
The Carl Schurz Park Volunteer Gardeners are an adult group that meets monthly to work in the park.
2/9: A New Way to Look at Aging
1:30 pm- 4:00 pm, Lenox hill Neighbourhood House, 331 East 70th Street
Join This Chair Rocks author Ashton Applewhite, New York Times reporter John Leland and Professor Ruth Finkelstein for a conversation about attitudes on aging, what it means to grow older and strategies for fighting ageism.
Light refreshments will be served. Doors open at 1:30 p.m. Program begins at 2:00 p.m.
No RSVP necessary.
2/10: Second Sundays: Annabella Gonzalez
2:00 pm, Lenox Hill Neighborhood House, 331 East 70th Street
Accompanied by energizing taiko drums, colorful dances and Japanese flutes, Taikoza will take you on a musical journey through the rich festival traditions of Japan. Suggested donation is $5; children 12 and under are free. Complimentary admission for members of Lenox Hill Neighborhood House programs.
2/12: Book Discussion Group
5:30pm, Yorkville Library
Get the neighborhood read. Join our lively discussion! We've got the books, now we need you to talk! Born a Crime- Trevor Noah
2/13: A Taste of Wellbeing: Making Vegetables Super Delicious!
6:00pm-7:30pm, 1283 York Ave 2nd Floor Cafe
In the class, participants will learn how to make: cauliflower “fried” rice, quinoa and kale salad with dried cranberries and almonds, and curried carrot soup. $20 per person.
2/15-2/23: Muslim Volunteer’s for New York’s Sweet Dreams Pajama and Book Drive 2019
Details info about volunteering at: https://www.facebook.com/mv4ny/
The Muslim Volunteers for New York (MV4NY) is conducting its 2nd annual nationwide "Sweet Dreams" Pajama Book Drive to benefit underserved babies and children (ranging in ages from 0-16) served by two outstanding programs; "The Pajama Program" and "Room to Grow." Too many kids in our communities are steeped in poverty, abandonment, hunger and other unspeakable conditions. The simple comfort that a pair of new pajamas provides and the escape that lovely book offers are priceless in a world that seems uncertain and insecure. Donations are made easy as you can contribute online using MV4NY's wish list for this drive at : fs27.formsite.com.
2/17: Washington’s Birthday Ball
1:00pm-3:00pm, 421 E 61st St.
Celebrate the birthday of our Nation’s First President in true 19th-century fashion. Costumed dancers will perform and teach traditional country dances. Festivities include toasts to George Washington and historic refreshments. $15 Adults, $10 Members and Students.
2/19: “Happiness with Neil”
1:30pm-3:30pm, Church of the Holy Trinity, 341 E 87 St.
2/20, 2/27: Poker
2:15pm-4:15pm, Church of the Holy Trinity, 316 E 88th St.
2/21: Free Documentary Screening of Mr. Soul! at the Apollo Theater
6:30pm, 253 W. 125th Street
Sponsored by Firelight Media: From 1968 to 1973, the public-television variety show SOUL!, guided by the enigmatic producer and host Ellis Haizlip, offered an unfiltered, uncompromising celebration of black literature, poetry, music, and politics.
For more information please contact: email@example.com and for information about Films by Firelight: http://www.firelightmedia.tv/films-by-firelight/
2/23: Jr. League Seminar, Pain Management
10:15am-10:55am, St Joseph’s Church, 404 E 87 St.
2/25: Mah Jong
1:30pm-3:30pm, Church of the Holy Trinity, 316 E 88 St.
2:00pm-3:00pm, Church of the Holy Trinity, 341 E 87 St.
03/11: Open Doors Art Program: Wheeling and Healing
7:00 pm- 8:30 pm, Housing Works Bookstore Cafe, 126 Crosby St, New York, NY 10012
Open Doors supports the creativity and leadership of people who have been harmed by gun violence. Through storytelling, poetry, hip-hop, and more, Open Doors members inspire action for safer, more just communities.
On March 11 the Open Doors Reality Poets will be hosting a book launch party for their first book, "Wheeling & Healing: A Poetry Anthology Edited by The Open Doors Reality Poets."
NYPLI Clinics For DRIE at Lenox Hill Neighborhood House
331 East 70th Street, 10021;
Public servants from NYPLI are offering help applying or recertifying for DRIE, Disability Rent Income Exemption, at Lenox Hill Neighborhood House. Come in and determine whether you qualify at the free clinic at. For an appointment or more information, contact: DRIE@lenoxhill.org or call 212-218-0503, option 0. Van transportation to East 70th Street is available on request if you call or email.
Events for Kids
2/1, 2/8,2/22: Puzzle Fun For Kids
3:00pm-4:00pm, Yorkville Library
Come to the library for some puzzles and fun! This program is great for all ages.
2/2, 2/9, 2/16, 2/23: Kids Coloring Club
10:00am-12:00pm, Yorkville Library
Join us for our Kids' Coloring Club -- children of all ages are invited to color coloring sheets featuring their favorite characters, seasonal designs, and more. Feel free to bring your favorite coloring book.
2/2, 2/9, 2/16, 2/23: Read to our New York Therapy Dog!
10:30am, Webster Library
Come read to our therapy dog Tugboat! These licensed therapy dogs and their owners can't wait for you to come read them a story. Enjoy one-on-one, no-pressure reading time with a furry friend! Pre-registration is required for each 15-minute slot and opens 1 week in advance.
2/2: Mount Vernon Hotel & Museum Workshop: Electrifying Mapmaking
2:00pm, The Mount Vernon Hotel Museum & Garden, 421 East 61st Street
To go along with our new exhibit, “Schooldays,” about education in the 19th century, join us for a hands-on mash-up of 19th century sewing and early science! Recommended for adults and children ages 10+. $15 Adults, $10 Members and Students with ID. For tickets and info: https://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/4026231
2/5, 2/12, 2/19, 2/26: Read Aloud
5:00pm, 67th Street Library
Continue the practice of storytime for older children. Participants will both listen to fluid reading and participate in the reading themselves through guided reading. Every week, children will read from a new book and have the opportunity to check out that book to finish reading at home.
2/13: Graphic Novel Book Club
4:15pm, 67th Street Library
Join us to discuss graphic novels! We will take the first half of the program to discuss the book and the second half will be an open comics-creating studio. The title for February is El Deafo by Cece Bell.
2/19: Mount Vernon Hotel & Museum Winter History Week, Day One
9:00am-3:00pm, 421 E 61st St.
Follow Mr. Rikers, music store owner, as he admires the musical instruments at the Mount Vernon Hotel. Hear what they sounded like, and design and play your very own harp. Snacks included! Bring your own lunch! $60 per day, or $200 for all four days.
2/20: Winter History Week, Day Two
9:00am-3:00pm, 421 E 61st St.
Accompany Mr. and Mrs. Stuart, travelers from Scotland, on their visit to New York City and the Mount Vernon Hotel. Help them navigate New York with a city directory and collaborate with others to make your own mini 1829 guide book! Snacks included! Bring your own lunch! $60 per day, or $200 for all four days.
2/21: Winter History Week, Day Three
9:00am-3:00pm, 421 E 61st St.
Meet J. C. Hart, owner of the Hotel, and learn what planets Mr. Hart knew about when he built his solar system model. Then, build one yourself! Snacks included! Bring your own lunch! $60 per day, or $200 for all four days.
2/22: Winter History Week, Day Four
9:00am-3:00pm, 421 E 61st St.
Join the children of the proprietor as they learn from hotel cook, Flora Miller, planting herbs in the winter and making a period recipe! Bring your own lunch! $60 per day, or $200 for all four days.
2/23:A Timeless Tale: The Sleeping Beauty
11:00am, 20 Lincoln Center Plaza
For Family and children ages 5 and up, New York City Ballet presents “A Timeless Tale: The Sleeping Beauty” as performed by Company dancers and members of the NYCB Orchestra. Tickets (usually between $22-$32) will be offered for $5 to members of the community by using promo code GOVFAM19 at nycballet.com/Educate/Public-Programs. An American Sign Language interpreter will be present at this performance for those who are hearing impaired.
2/25: Kid Flicks
4:00pm, Yorkville Library
Watch short films based on popular picture books. The perfect way to meet up with friends and end a busy day. All films subject to last minute substitutions. Showing: Sylvester and The Magic Pebble, The Pigs Wedding, and Wonder Dog.