New York CIty Council Member Ben Kallos

Press Coverage

Applicants also would be able to track the progress of their applications and see where they are on waiting lists to rent units, which are awarded by lottery. By 2021, residents also would be able to verify with the city that they are being charged a legal rent.

The legislation is meant to make the application and search process more transparent and efficient, said the bill’s lead sponsor, Council Member Benjamin Kallos.

“I want to make it more like StreetEasy or Zillow,” Mr. Kallos said, referring to the popular housing search websites.

The city already runs a website that helps tenants find income-restricted apartments, NYC Housing Connect, but Mr. Kallos said it is “incredibly broken” because it doesn’t do enough to match tenants with available units.


It’s no secret that New York is an obnoxious place—it’s known as the city that never sleeps for good reason. But any resident here will tell you that they absolutely cherish their beauty sleep. 

On Tuesday, the City Council passed a measure aimed at keeping Gothamites from being woken from their peaceful slumbers. The legislation, dubbed the Noise Complaint Response Act, proposes more strict standards and oversight on construction crews that operate after hours (between 6pm and 7am).

Introduced by Council Member Ben Kallos, the measure would require the city’s Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to more thoroughly inspect and respond to late-night noise complaints. Currently, crews working overnight are forbidden from creating noise that exceeds 85 decibels within 200 feet of a residential building. This legislation forces that figure to drop to 75 decibels in 2020 and removes some barriers that prevent the DEP from investigating noise complaints. 


Construction done at odd hours will have to turn down the volume under a bill passed by the City Council on Tuesday.

The legislation sponsored by Councilman Ben Kallos places stricter limits on construction within 200 feet of a home before 7 a.m. and after 6 p.m. on weekdays, and any time on weekends.

“New York City may be the city that never sleeps, but that shouldn’t be because of after-hours construction that wakes you up,” said Kallos (D-Manhattan). “Noise is the top complaint in New York City.”

The construction cacophony will be capped at 80 decibels next year, and dropped to 75 in 2020. The current limit is 85 decibels.


Large buildings across New York will have to post letter grades in their lobbies disclosing their energy efficiency, if a measure before the City Council passes.

The new rating system is modeled after the ubiquitous grades for sanitation posted in restaurant windows across New York.

The proposal is part of a package of quality-of-life measures due to be taken up by the City Council on Tuesday, at its final scheduled meeting of the year.

A second measure is designed to limit noisy after-hours construction that has led to complaints in residential neighborhoods, especially on Manhattan’s Upper East Side.

The report card bill was approved by the council’s environmental protection committee on Monday. It requires both commercial and residential buildings with more than 50,000 square feet to post a notice near each building entrance.

The notice would include the posting of a federal energy efficiency rating already required under existing law, and a simplified letter grade from A-D  (or F for some buildings that fail to file) beginning in 2020.

Council member Daniel Garodnick of Manhattan, the lead sponsor of the bill, said he expected it to pass the council easily. He said it would allow commercial tenants and residential renters and owners to pressure building owners for improvements.

“We think that a market-driven approach here will help encourage more efficient buildings,” said Mr. Garodnick, whose tenure on the council ends this month because of term limits. “We think it will foster a higher level of engagement.”



And if you’ve ever had the displeasure of being woken up by the shrill whine of a drill or other construction equipment, some good news: The City Council is expected to pass legislation today to keep things quieter.

“Our new law will turn down the volume on after-hours construction noise in residential neighborhoods,” said Councilman Ben Kallos, who wrote the bill with the support of the Department of Environmental Protection and who has made the dimming of noise one of his top priorities.



For reformers like Ben Kallos, City Council member for Manhattan’s District 5 and chair of the Council’s government operations committee, the problem is simple. “I don’t believe people should get jobs in government because of who they know,” he said in a phone interview.

He urged anyone with allegations of campaigns inserting supporters into poll sites to speak up, including through the city Department of Investigations. “We’re calling upon them to do their civic duty,” he exhorted.



A bill empowering the city’s Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to quell after-hours construction noise was voted out of a Council committee Monday. Councilman Ben Kallos, who sponsored the measure, expected his colleagues to approve the measure at a scheduled meeting on Tuesday.

“New Yorkers hate getting woken up early or kept up late at night with construction,” Kallos said, noting that noise concerns are the most common complaint logged in the city’s 3-1-1 system. “[The DEP] actually agreed and worked with us on this legislation that makes a huge update to the city’s noise code.”

Kallos noted that the legislation will task the DEP with crafting rules specifying how long inspectors have to respond to complaints about after-hours work and which grievances ought to be prioritized because the noises are expected to continue. A DEP spokesman said the rulemaking process typically takes six months to one year.



Officials, including Councilmember Ydanis Rodriguez, chair of the Council Committee on Transportation, and Councilmember Ben Kallos, said the move was all about equity for the outer boroughs.

"We have spent years working to get bike sharing in all five boroughs and although we have made a lot of progress some areas don't have it,” Kallos said in a statement.



The street, bisecting the site of the long-demolished Jacob Ruppert and Co. Knickerbocker Brewery, has been closed to vehicular traffic for 42 years and serves as an open-air community space.

Officially named James Cagney Place, for the song-and-dance man who grew up on East 96th Street, it is the hill where a 5-year boy named Ben

Kallos once played in the puddles on a rainy day with other local kids.

Now, he’s the 36-year-old City Council member representing the area, and he’s never stopped coming to the block — a “staple of childhood on the Upper East Side,” he calls it — especially for sledding after a snow.

“This portion of East 91st Street has been a closed play street for longer than I have been alive,” Kallos added.

In recent years, that status appeared to be in doubt: A possible threat to the landscaped, red-brick pedestrian plaza-and-walkway suddenly loomed on the horizon — the city’s planned Marine Transfer Station.


Gamma Real Estate will challenge the decision in front of the city’s Board of Standards and Appeals, or BSA, a process Kalikow said he believes will be “very objective, very black and white” because of how much progress was made on the site prior to the zoning change.

If the BSA does not grant the appeal, the developer has already taken steps for a potential lawsuit, Kalikow said, including sending a letter to Councilman Ben Kallos, telling him not to delete any emails related to the case.

Kallos, who represents the Upper East Side, has championed the re-zoning effort at city hall since a group of his constituents raised the issue in 2015. He said had the proposed change not been stuck in the preapproval stage for more than a year, it would have passed through the council well before construction began on the site.


NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Construction on upscale condominiumshas been stopped in its tracks on Manhattan’s east side.

New zoning rules now say the controversial tower is too tall.

It’s known as Sutton 58 — the site of a 62-story condo building under construction.

Last Thursday, a City Council vote to limit the construction of tall towers on side streets in the area, led to a stop-work order.

“New Yorkers are sick and tired of out-of-control, out-of-scale overdevelopment, and for so very long, no one would stand up for real estate,” City Councilman Ben Kallos (D-5th) said.


“Access to reliable, high-speed internet is no longer a luxury. In 2017, it is a necessity,” said Ben Kallos, member of the New York City Council. “Whether you are a small business competing for customers or a high school student doing homework, access to broadband could make the difference between landing a big contract or not, or getting an A on a research paper. I applaud this administration's efforts as New York City works toward universal broadband access."



Mr. Kalikow put much of the blame for the shutdown on the local councilman, Ben Kallos, a Democrat. Mr. Kallos signed the application for the zoning change, along with the East River 50s Alliance, and pressed officials to expedite it.

Mr. Kallos’s support was crucial in the council as other members followed his lead on the issue, a courtesy usually extended on local land-use issues.

“I take full credit for it,” Mr. Kallos said, after hearing of Mr. Kalikow’s complaints. He said the developer is welcome to pursue his rights under the law, but that eventually he might find there already are too many super-tall buildings “intended for billionaires.”


The cobblestone-paved road has been a a vital open space in the neighborhood for nearly four decades, City Councilman Ben Kallos said Friday.

"When I got elected four years ago I promised I would protect as much open space as possible," Kallos said Friday. "Everyone here on the Upper East Side knows that we don't have enough open space and we rank among the last in the city for open space." Kallos said Friday.



City Councilman Ben Kallos hailed Thursday's City Council vote as a win for residents over billionaire developers.

"Today, the City Council voted to stop the march of supertall buildings from commercial districts on 57th Street into residential districts, where they would displace rent-regulated residents to build buildings for billionaires," Kallos said in a statement.

Since the East River Fifties Alliance's creation in 2015, the group has grown to include 45 Sutton Place buildings and 2,600 people from 500 buildings citywide, Kallos said.


In addition to serving the Spence School’s athletics programs, the new facility would provide gym space for physical education classes from P.S. 151 and P.S. 527 under the terms of a proposed, but yet-to-be-finalized agreement between the schools. The two schools are each located near the proposed site of the new Spence facility and have limited space for physical activities. Students at P.S. 151, located at 421 East 88th St., use two converted classrooms for recreational space, while those at P.S. 527, located at 323 East 91st St., use an auditorium with a sloped floor and low ceiling, said City Council Member Ben Kallos, who described the gym-sharing proposal last week at a public hearing on the project at the Board of Standards and Appeals.

According to Kallos, by the time the new building opens for the 2019-2020 school year, Spence and the Department of Education will enter into an agreement allowing the public schools to use the Spence gymnasium for physical education classes during school hours, at no cost to the schools.


Meanwhile, legislation that passed the New York City Council earlier this month aims to hold local landlords accountable for their POPS. The rules — part of a package authored by Council Member Ben Kallos — would require additional signage in all POPS areas detailing amenities and hours of operation, and include a website address where visitors could find out more information and register complaints. Landlords who don’t comply could face fines of between $4,000 and $10,000.


The DOB statement also puts it in accord with new legislation. Last week, City Councilmembers Ben Kallos and Daniel Garodnick sponsored bills that increase fines for POPS violations and require landlords and developers to post signs that clearly explain what POPS amenities are available in buildings that have them.

The bills passed in City Council, and are expected to be signed in to law by Mayor Bill De Blasio before the end of the year.