March News: Pre-K Deadline, Lawsuit Against Overdevelopment, Art Show, New Park Space, Chess Challenge, Back from Paternity Leave and More
For those who celebrate, Happy Purim, as the weather gets warmer and you may be preparing for the celebrations of Passover and Easter we wish you the best.
My wife and I were blessed this month with a baby girl. Thank you to everybody who has sent congratulations. Your support has meant a lot to me and my new family. I believe every New Yorker should have access to paid family leave, and I hope more men who often don't will start to take full advantage of their leave, which is why I joined with Brooklyn Council Member Antonio Reynoso, who is also on paternity leave, to publish an op-ed in City and State and lead by example. I look forward to returning from the first half of my family leave on March 12 and will complete my leave over the summer. Please remember our city’s conflicts of interest rules prohibit any gifts.
As our nation struggles with the scourge of gun violence in our schools, I continue to fight alongside our Congress Member Carolyn Maloney who has been fighting for common sense gun control for decades. I also encourage residents to join victims of gun violence and activists at the March for Our Lives scheduled for March 24th in Washington D.C.
- Fixing Democracy from the City Council
- Apply Now for Universal Pre-Kindergarten - 200+ New Seats
- Every New Yorker Deserves Paid Family Leave, and More Men Should Take It
MARCH EVENT INVITATIONS
- Sotheby’s Student Art Show
- Ben Kallos Chess Challenge
- Himan Brown Senior Program at the 92Y
- Finding Solutions to our Transportation Crisis
- Filed in Fight Against Overdevelopment
- Ribbon Cutting for 21 Units of 100% Affordable Housing on the Upper East Side
- Tenant Blacklist Bill Reintroduced
- East 86th Street & Lexington Station, Petition for ADA Access
- Pushing for Transportation Improvements
- Citibike Station Valet Hiring Event
PARKS and THE ENVIRONMENT
February News: Welcoming A New Constituent, More Pre-K, LinkNYC Expansion, A New Park Space for Seniors, and Join the Fight for Subway Accessibility
It is with great joy that I am able to share that my wife and I are expecting a child this week. As I fight to ensure every New Yorker have access to paid family leave, we must ensure those who can take leave particularly men who don't take their full leave, actually do take it. The best way to do so is for each of us to seek to erase the stigma, lead by example and take paternity leave. I look forward to seeing you in March.Last month, we announced 400 new pre-kindergarten seats, signed a law to turn down the volume on after hours construction noise, and passed a law to get thousands of affordable homes back on the market.
In February, you will have an opportunity to comment on the location of LinkNYC terminals, comment on the design for a new senior space I funded at John Jay Park, and fight cancer with the American Italian Cancer Association at our NO COST Mammogram Van. Please consider joining our advocacy to get Big Money Out of New York City Politics or to bring accessibility to the Lexington Avenue East 86th Street Subway Station.
Thank you to all the residents who helped make our first four years a success and joined me at this year’s State of the District where I was sworn in for a second term. Thank you also to hundreds of residents who joined us and asked questions at the Mayoral Town Hall.
As we observe Black History month this February I hope residents can take time to reflect on a quote from the great Martin Luther King Jr. that helps me keep things in perspective: “If you can't fly then run, if you can't run then walk, if you can't walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward.”
First Friday & Brainstorm with Ben
- Paternity Leave
- 400 New Pre-K Seat Seat Are Coming to the Upper East Side
- Noise Legislation Signed Into Law
- Affordable Housing Registration Bill Ages Into Law
- Chair of Planning Dispositions, and Concessions
6. New Senior Space for John Jay Park
7. East 86 Street & Lexington Station, Petition for ADA Access
8. Access-A-Ride Customer Complaint Audit
9. Commercial Bike Safety Training
10. Proposed New Locations for LinkNYC Kiosks
STARTING OUT 2018 CIVICALLY INVOLVED
11. State of the District, Thank you
12. Mayoral Town Hall, Thank you
13. Online Voter Registration
14. Get Big Money Out of NYC Politics
15. Women's March
16. Mammogram Van Invitation
IN THE COMMUNITY
17. Community Board Eight Retiring Chair, District Manager, Staff Honored
18. Congresswoman Maloney Holds Forum on the Effects of Republican Tax Law
19. Meeting the President on Madam Secretary’s Set
20. Tenants and Neighbors Annual Membership Meeting
21. Here to Help
22. Mobile District Hours
23. Ben in Your Building
24. District Office Events
25. Community Board Meetings
26. New York Police Department
27. Events For Adults
Join Congress Member Maloney, Borough President Brewer, and over a hundred neighbors warming up with a free cup of hot coffee, bagels with Ben, and learn what's going on in the neighborhood and how to get involved at our annual State of the District tomorrow.
You are cordially invited
State of the District
1:00PM Sunday, January 7, 2018
12:30PM Volunteer Fair, Musical Performance & Childcare
Memorial Sloan Kettering Auditorium
430 East 67th Street, New York, NY 10065
RSVP for your FREE Reusable Bag at BenKallos.com/event/state-district-2018
Free childcare upon request at RSVP@BenKallos.com
January News: January News: Quieter City, More Affordable Housing, State of the District and Townhall with Mayor de Blasio
State of the District
1/17, 7PM, Town Hall with
Mayor de Blasio
1/5, 8AM - 10AM
1/9, 6PM - 7PM
Brainstorm with Ben
Happy New Year!
Thank you to all those who voted for me for a second term as well as the residents and community leaders who partnered with my office over the past four years to accomplish the many victories we've won. Please join me Sunday at my State of the District address as we review the fights we've won and those to come.
As my first term came to a close we passed some of our most important legislation to: uncover thousands of affordable homes for you, turn down the volume on construction noise, show how many children are being turn away from seats in their neighborhood, and studying how we can provide automatic benefits to New Yorkers who need it most. Taken together, these bills will help make New York City with more affordable housing, improve quality of life, education, and helping those most in need.
I hope that residents are able to join me this Sunday:
Sunday, January 7, 2018 - 1:00pm - 3:00pm (Volunteer Fair at 12:30pm)
Memorial Sloan Kettering Auditorium
430 East 67th Street
On January 17th New York City Mayor will hold a Town Hall for our District:
Wednesday, January 17, 2018 - 7:00 pm
Julia Richman Education Complex
317 East 67th Street
TABLE OF CONTENTS
- Quieter After Hours Construction Passes Council
- Find Every Affordable Home Subsidized by the City Passes Council
- Providing the Government Benefits New Yorkers Need Automatically to Be Studied Passes Council
- Keeping Track of Every Child Turned Away from A Seat in the Neighborhood Passes Council
- Online Voter Registration Signed into Law
18. Opening the New Nisi Restaurant on Roosevelt Island
Thank You for Coming to Our Annual Holiday Party
20. Honoring Betty Cooper Wallerstein: President of the E 79th Street Neighborhood Association
21. Drupal NYC Meetup
22. Sutton Place Rezoning, More Coverage
28. CITY COUNCIL OFFICE EVENTS
29. SPECIAL EVENTS
30. DISTRICT OFFICE EVENTS
31. COMMUNITY BOARD MEETINGS
32. NEW YORK POLICE DEPARTMENT
33. NEIGHBORHOOD and TENANT ASSOCIATIONS
34. EVENTS FOR ADULTS
35. COMMUNITY EVENTS FOR CHILDREN
December News: Victory Against Overdevelopment, Online Voter Registration, New Parks and Gyms, Scaffolding and Town Hall with Mayor
I hope you had a great Thanksgiving, I remain most thankful for your support. With a new low in voter turnout I was able to pass legislation I authored to provide Online Voter Registration through the City Council to make it easier to register and vote.
On the last day of November the City Council voted to rezone the East Fifties and stop the march of super-tall buildings for billionaires from 57th Street into the Sutton Area. Within minutes of the vote and our rezoning becoming law, an order was issued and all work was stopped at one of the potential sites in the district for a super-tall building for billionaires at 58 Sutton. This was the culmination of a three year first of its kind grass-roots community rezoning. After years of out-of-control out-of-scale over-development I wanted to put residents over real estate, and we did.
With construction all around us, we are fighting to keep it safe, passing the Crane Modernization Act and continuing our advocacy to get unnecessary scaffolding down especially following a recent collapse injuring six.
We are fighting for more public spaces with the opening of Andrew Haswell Green Park Phase 2A at 60th Street on the Esplanade, passing new laws requiring building owners to open public plazas with signage detailing required amenities with steep fines for non-compliance, and working with Spence to share their new Field House during school hours with public schools that have no regulation physical education space like P.S. 151 and P.S. 527.
Our bike safety program has found new partners, brought 10% of all e-bike enforcement to our neighborhood, and continued to deliver results.
I hope to see you on Tuesday, December 5 at 5PM, for our annual office holiday party, and again on Thursday, December 7 at 8pm (note the time change), where you can ask Mayor Bill de Blasio questions at his Town Hall for the Upper East Side.
P.S. Happy holidays and have a happy New Year! If you’d like to pick up free Menorahs, you can do so at my office (donated by Chabad YP).
- Victory on Sutton Area Rezoning at City Council (Without Grandfather Clause)
- Scaffolding Collapse Renews Outcry for Bill to Get Them Down
- More Public Spaces to Be Opened to Public Under New Bill Passed by Council
- Online Voter Registration is Passed By the Council
PARKS & ENVIRONMENT
- Bike Safety Program Gets Results
- Straphangers Campaign Recognized for 40 Years of Service
- Ben in Your Building Discussing Ed Koch Bridge On-Ramp
JOBS & ECONOMY
- Crane Safety Legisaltion Passes
- The Fight Against Hunger With Brian Lehrer
- API Access Available to the Public on City Council Website
- Open Camps
- Kicking Off Anime NYC Inaugural Weekend
- Protesting the DNAInfo and Gothamist Shutdown
- Phipps Neighborhood Building Service Worker Protest
- Fourth Annual Turkey Giveaway
- Roosevelt Island Community Coalition Awards
- East Side Taskforce on Homeless Outreach and Services Prompts Partnerships
Yesterday, the New York City Council voted to rezone the East Fifties and stop the march of super-tall buildings for billionaires from 57th Street into the Sutton Area. Within minutes of the vote and our rezoning becoming law, an order was issued and all work was stopped at one of the potential sites in the district for a super-tall building for billionaires at 58 Sutton.
This was the culmination of a three year first of its kind grass-roots community rezoning. After years of out-of-control out-of-scale over-development I wanted to put residents over real estate, and we did.
In 2015, we founded the East River Fifties Alliance, which has grown to 45 buildings in the area, and 2,600 individuals from 500 buildings all over the city with support from Friends of the Upper East Side Historic Districts, CIVITAS, and citywide organizations like the Municipal Arts Society. Council Member Dan Garodnick, Senator Liz Krueger, and Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer joined me as co-applicants, and Congress Member Carolyn Maloney joined in support.
This happened thanks to the support of residents like you. Heroes like Herndon Werth and Charles Fernandez stood up to buyouts and threats from billionaires. Leaders like Dieter Seelig, former President of the Sutton Area Community got us started and Alan Kersh, Robert Shepler, Jessica Osborn, and Lisa Mercurio put countless volunteer hours into ERFA.
We did something no one thought could be done. They kept saying we would never rezone before they finished their foundation. We did just that yesterday and the work stopped just before they could finish their foundation or any other potential site in the neighborhood.
The rezoning removed the grandfather clause and will protect the Sutton Area East of First Avenue from 52nd to 59th st from supertall towers by limiting zoning lot mergers, limiting the width of towers, and forcing most of the air rights to be used in the base of a building.
The new developer had previously made thinly veiled threats to retaliate with inspiration from “The Count of Monte Cristo” and has promised to appeal, but we will continue to fight for you and to protect our community.
If you haven’t already, please share your support on our petition at BenKallos.com/petition/StopSuperScrapers
Please also consider financially supporting the East River Fifties Alliance at ERFA.nyc/donate
The newsletter is back! We send the newsletter once a month so we don't clutter your mailbox and keep you up to date on everything going on in the community, as well as opportunities to influence government decisions by making your voice heard.
Thank you to all the residents who came out to the polls in the Primary and General Elections, where we won with 7,847 votes at 75% and 22,514 votes at 81% respectively. This is a testament to our partnership and shows that empowering residents helps to govern honestly and inclusively—and it's the best way to get things done.
During the blackout period when we could not send government newsletters because of our pending elections, we won Universal School Lunch, launched ferry service and opened Cornell Tech on Roosevelt Island, rolled out bus countdown clocks, broke ground on $35 million in improvements to the East River Esplanade, signed tenant safety legislation I authored into law, and I was even recognized as one of the best Council Members by City and State.
Last month we broke ground on $1 million in renovations to the East River Esplanade in partnership with the Hospital for Special Surgery, cut the ribbon on a new laboratory building with Memorial Sloan Kettering, made progress on rezoning Sutton to stop supertall skyscrapers, passed two bills so that schools ensure no child goes hungry and train teachers to support GSAs, passed legislation to open the city's $85 billion budget and welcomed the Technion Israel Institute of Technology world tour.
As November starts I would like to wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving and take this opportunity to invite everyone to my annual holiday party on Tuesday, December 5th, 5-7pm. RSVP
DISTRICT OFFICE EVENTS
- Sutton Rezoning at City Planning Commission
- Scaffolding Bill Gets Hearing
- Marijuana Smoking at 180 East 88th Street
- Height Protections for Upper East Side
- Ensuring No Child Goes Hungry (Bill Passed)
- Support GSAs in Public Schools (Bill Passed)
- Silicon Island: Technion Israel Institute of Technology World Tour
- Fighting to Fund Hunter Science Campus Construction
PARKS & ENVIRONMENT
- Breaking Ground on East River Esplanade Construction at HSS
- It's My Park Day
- Banning Toxic Pesticides from Parks
- Climate Works for All Building Retrofits
- New MSK Center for Laboratory Medicine Ribbon Cutting
- Senior Health Fair Success
- American Academy Committee on Nutrition and Obesity
- Asphalt Green Swim Meet
- Plan to Fight Double Parking and Move Deliveries Off-Hours
- Bike Safety Helmet Fitting
- Bernie, Bill and Ben
- Protesting Gun Violence with Congress Member Maloney
- Know Your Rights for Immigrants at Islamic Cultural Center
- Eastside Taskforce for Homeless Outreach
- Youth Action March
- Building Service Worker Helping Hand Award
- Honoring former Community Board Chair David Liston
- Halloween Neighborhood Celebrations
As we welcome the autumn temperatures of October for those of you who celebrate Shannah Tova as I reflect during these days of awe, if I or my team have disappointed you, please let me know so that we may seek your forgiveness as we try to do better in the coming year.
It is deeply sad that October started out with the tragic and horrifically violent events in Las Vegas that took the lives of at least 59 people. I hope that this nation can finally adopt gun control and that this coming year be a blessed one filled with peace, health and joy.
September was a month with many timely hearings surrounding several pieces of legislation my office is trying to turn into law. Whether it is taking on construction noise, making Zero Waste by 2030 a law, banning toxic pesticides in our City’s parks or even supporting students with Gender-Sexuality Alliances in our schools, I have been working to improve our great City.
Now that flu season is just around the corner I want to invite residents to our October Annual Senior Health Fair on Thursday, October 19 from 11am to 2pm at Lenox Hill Neighborhood House where No-Cost flu shots will be available to residents who RSVP.
If you are interested in the Participatory Budgeting process and being a key part of deciding how the community spends $1 million, now is the time to get involved and submit your ideas. On Tuesday, October 17 at 6pm join us for a Participatory Budgeting Assembly at my District Office at 244 East 93rd Street RSVP. If you can’t make it that day make sure to submit your ideas online.
P.S. If you’d like to meet with me this month keep in mind that First Friday is canceled in observance of Sukkot but you can still meet with me on specific policy ideas during Brain Storming with Ben on Tuesday, October 10, at 6pm RSVP.
October 19, 11am-2pm
October 14, 11am-2:30pm
October 17, 6pm-7pm
October 19, 11am-2pm
DISTRICT OFFICE EVENTS
October 7, 8am-10am
October 5, 12, 19 & 26
October 17, 6pm
No First Friday in Observance Due to Religious Observance
5. Free Childcare for Government Meetings
6. P.S 290 Students Lobby to Ban Pesticides in City Parks
7. Gender Sexuality Alliance Legislation Hearing
8. Environmental Committee Hearing on Noise in New York City
9. Hearing on Agencies Not Enforcing Quality of Life Violations
10.Zero Waste Hearing Codifying 1573 into Law
11. East River Greenway Construction on Esplanade Announced
12. $959.00 Trash Cans
13. My Scaffolding Bill Would Help Businesses
14. Labor Day Parade
15. Asphalt Green Gets New Pool Filters
16. Annual Town Hall Recap and Thank You
Happy Labor Day, welcome back to school and, for those who celebrate, Happy Jewish New Year.
New York City is the first city in the country to guarantee legal representation to tenants facing eviction with a new “Right to Counsel.” We also enacted laws I authored to protect tenant safety from landlords who fail to make repairs or never finish.
Commutes are getting better. We launched a ferry service on Roosevelt Island, after years of advocacy, travel is now available by air (by tram), land (by car, bus, and train) and now water (by ferry), all offering improved commutes. Ferry service will be coming to the Upper East Side next year. You may have noticed new bus countdown clocks throughout the neighborhood. I also proposed solutions for the MTA to improve subway service and hope you will join our fight to cuts to crosstown bus service.
P.S. Brain Storm with Ben is canceled in September so it does not conflict with the Primary Election.
September 19, 6PM
September 27, 6PM
DISTRICT OFFICE EVETS
September 1, 8AM-10AM
September 7, 14, 21, 28,
Septmber 12, 20, 27, 11AM - 2PM
September 4, 5, 11, 18, 20, 25,
September 28, 6:30PM
FIGHTING FOR TENANTS
INVESTING IN OUR ECONOMY
- Cornell Tech Roosevelt Island Community Day
- 7 Open Source Myths Debunked Gov Loop
- Bridging the Digital Divide Personal Democracy Forum 2017
- Legislation to Respond to Noise
- Chasing News on Scaffolding
- National Night Out Against Crime
- Protecting the East 91st Street Plaza
- Protecting and Strengthening the Affordable Care Act with Congress Member Maloney