New York CIty Council Member Ben Kallos

Press Releases

Ribbon Cut on $15 Million in Repairs to the East River Esplanade Resulting from Public/Private Partnership with Rockefeller University

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Ribbon Cut on $15 Million in Repairs to the East River Esplanade Resulting from Public/Private Partnership with Rockefeller University

(New York, NY) — Today the Rockefeller University cut the ribbon on a public/private partnership that repaired and refurbished, a crumbling seawall and dilapidated stretch of the East River Esplanade. The ribbon cutting ceremony took place near East 63rd Street and was led by East River Esplanade Taskforce Co-Chairs Congress Member Carolyn B. Maloney (NY-12) and New York City Council Member Ben Kallos, Manhattan Parks Borough Commissioner William Castro and Rockefeller University Executive Vice President Timothy O’Connor.

The first phase of the project began in 2015 with the rehabilitation of the seawall that supports the esplanade between 63rd and 68th Streets. Some of the work completed included repairing eroded joints between the blocks, replacing damaged, displaced, and missing blocks, and repairing eroded concrete. The renovations to the East River Esplanade that began in 2016 after the repair work included: improving landscaping, adding new seating and lighting, creating a designated bike lane, and constructing a noise barrier along the FDR Drive to reduce traffic sound. This section of the park will also have an endowment to fund landscaping for the park in perpetuity.
“We are thrilled to contribute this newly upgraded segment of the esplanade to the neighborhood,” said Rockefeller University President Richard Lifton. “Its design was truly a team effort, and included input from Council Member Kallos, members of Community Board 8, and many other stakeholders. I want to thank them for the collaborative and constructive way in which they approached this work. As Upper East Side neighbors ourselves, the Rockefeller community looks forward to many years of walking, jogging, and biking along this path, as well as just enjoying the view of the river.”
“I am so proud of the collaborative public/private partnership with Rockefeller University that has resulted in the completion of this newly repaired segment of the East Side Esplanade. As Co-Chair of the East River Esplanade Taskforce, I am thrilled with the gorgeous landscaping of this portion of the Esplanade. It gives us a glimpse of how the entire esplanade should look. I want to congratulate Councilman Ben Kallos for working with Rockefeller University to ensure that they made a real and ongoing commitment to the Esplanade, and to thank Rockefeller University for doing such a spectacular job,” said Congress MemberCarolyn B. Maloney, Co-Chair of the East River Esplanade Taskforce.
“When I got elected the waterfront was crumbling, which is why I set a goal of involving local institutions in public/private partnerships to rehabilitate the East River Esplanade. Rockefeller University set the precedent as the first investment of $15 million that has been joined by more than $200 million over the past five years,” said Council Member Ben Kallos, Co-Chair of the East River Esplanade. “Thank you also to Congress Member and Co-chair of the East River Esplanade Carolyn Maloney for her leadership. As we cut the ribbon on this multi-million dollar renovation and repair done by Rockefeller, we must thank University President Richard Lifton for his commitment and that of his great institution.”
“Thanks to Council Member Kallos’ persistent advocacy and Rockefeller University’s partnership, an important part of our infrastructure and recreational space has been significantly improved — making it much more welcoming for Upper East Siders and all who visit the East River Esplanade,” said Manhattan Parks Commissioner William Castro. “This work complements the commitment made by the City in recent years to restore and preserve the Esplanade between E. 60th and E. 125th Streets as an asset for this community and the city as a whole.”
The public/private partnership to improve the East River Esplanade emerged with Council Member Ben Kallos and Mayor Bill de Blasio during conversations around city approval for Rockefeller’s $500 million laboratory building, a construction project that is adding 160,000 square feet of modern, modular lab space to replace aging facilities. The building, named the Marie-Josée and Henry R. Kravis Research Building, will be the centerpiece of the new Stavros Niarchos Foundation–David Rockefeller River Campus. The University spent approximately $15 million on seawall repairs and esplanade improvements, and committed to maintain the landscaping of this section of the esplanade in perpetuity. At the request of Council Member Ben Kallos the investment by Rockefeller University was then matched by Mayor de Blasio with an initial $35 million dollar investment in 2014.
The Rockefeller University also made a $150,000 gift to Friends of the East River Esplanade, a grass-roots conservancy dedicated to the restoration and renovation of the esplanade from 60th to 120th Streets.
The Rockefeller University began the approval process to build the new laboratory building in 2012. The Community Board approved the project on January 9, 2014; Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer approved the project on February 12, 2014; and the City Planning Commission approved the project on April 2, 2014. Following these approvals, Council Member Kallos raised key community concerns leading to this public/private partnership memorialized in a letter to him from Rockefeller Universityapproval by the City Council, and improvements to the Esplanade that will serve the community in perpetuity.
Throughout the planning phases of the project, Rockefeller worked in conjunction with its neighbors and local government officials, including Council Member Ben Kallos, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, Community Board 8, and representatives from the Parks Department, in a collaborative process designed to ensure the public enhancements meet the needs of the community.
The ribbon cutting was also attended by Assembly Member Rebecca Seawright, a representative for Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, Community Board 8 Manhattan, Friends of the East River Esplanade, Green Park Gardeners, New Yorkers for Parks, and East Sixties Neighborhood Association. Actual completion of renovations to this section of the Esplanade were completed in the fall of 2018 but the ribbon cutting was delayed to scheduling conflicts.
“New Yorkers deserve an East River Esplanade that is as vibrant as it is accessible,” said Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer. “I thank Rockefeller University, Congresswoman Maloney, and Councilmember Kallos for their efforts in making the esplanade a more well-designed public space for all residents to enjoy. I’m happy to see the repairs begin and I look forward to engaging the community as these projects advance.”

The New York City Council rallied alongside advocates on the steps of City Hall to mark the passage of the Climate Mobilization Act.

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

The New York City Council rallied alongside advocates on the steps of City Hall to mark the passage of the Climate Mobilization Act.

New York, NY — The New York City Council today passed legislation to mobilize the city around climate action. The New York City Climate Mobilization Act, which includes 10 bills and resolutions introduced by Council Members Costa Constantinides and Rafael Espinal and Progressive Caucus Members Donovan Richards, Andrew Cohen, and Steve Levin, is the largest single carbon reduction effort that any city, anywhere, has ever put forward. The Progressive Caucus endorsed the package as a part of its 2018-2021 legislative agenda, which includes combating climate change as one of its priorities.

“I am proud to be a co-sponsor of Introduction 1253 as it sets ambitious, comprehensive standards on New York City’s worst polluters, old buildings. By modernizing buildings to raise efficiency standards we will dramatically cut pollution long term,” said Council Member Ben Kallos, Co-Chair of the Progressive Caucus. “Retrofitting for efficiency and sustainability will reduce our City’s carbon footprint and create thousands of much-needed, good paying jobs. Thank you to Council Member Costa Constantinides for his dedication and work in the effort to get this bill and entire package passed.”   

Toxic Pesticides Ban in Parks Proposed by New York City Council Members Kallos and Rivera

Thursday, April 18, 2019

New York, NY— Toxic pesticides would be banned from city parks under a bill introduced today by Council Members Ben Kallos and Carlina Rivera. Introduction1524-2019 would ban all city agencies from spraying highly toxic pesticides, such as glyphosate, and be the most far-reaching legislation to regulate pesticide use in New York City. The World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer classifies glyphosate as a probable carcinogen, and the chemical is partially or fully banned in many countries throughout the world.

Toxic Pesticides Ban Letter to Mayor de Blasio

Thursday, April 18, 2019

April 18, 2019

Mayor Bill de Blasio
City Hall

New York, NY 10007

Dear Mayor de Blasio,

On behalf of our constituents, we are writing to convey our profound concerns relating to the use of glyphosate-based herbicides being sprayed within New York City.
Neighborhoods and parks throughout New York continue to be treated with the toxic pesticide RoundUp and other glyphosate- and surfactant-based products. The spraying of these products, done with the expressed goal of killing weeds, is raising serious alarm amongst residents and city workers who may be unknowingly exposing themselves and their families to harmful chemicals.

Last year, a California jury found that RoundUp contributed to toxic and carcinogenic effects and awarded $78 million to a sole plaintiff who was exposed to the pesticide while working as a groundskeeper. While the case is on appeal, the jury in the original trial held the producer of RoundUp, Monsanto, was responsible for the worker’s terminal cancer. A federal jury in a separate case reached the same conclusion just last month, and hundreds of cases have yet to be heard involving plaintiffs seeking damages for adverse health effects caused by contact with and exposure to Roundup. Significantly, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), a part of the
World Health Organization, classified glysophate as "Probably Carcinogenic to Humans" in 2015.

The IARC concluded that the chemical likely causes a range of cancers, including non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, renal cancers, skin cancers and pancreatic cancer. These concerns regarding Roundup's long-term safety should give us serious pause.

City Council Must Make Mechanical Voids Rules Stronger After City Planning Vote Says Council Member Kallos

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

“We need more affordable housing for low-income New Yorkers, not more super tall towers for billionaires propped up on empty mechanical voids.

“I am deeply disappointed that after every Community Board and nearly a dozen elected officials in Manhattan spoke out for fewer and shorter mechanical voids, that the City Planning Commission would disregard the community, evidence from their own experts at the Department of City Planning, and vote in favor of taller buildings for billionaires.

“The City Council must overturn what the City Planning Commission has proposed by reducing the heights of mechanical voids. I've done it before and I will do it again.

“Thank you to Department of City Planning for proposing a solution to stop super tall towers for billionaires propped up on empty mechanical voids. It is a step in the right direction and should have been made stronger instead of weaker by the City Planning Commission.

“I will continue working with Department of City Planning Chair Lago on a follow up actions to protect more of our city and close more loopholes.

How Much Money Politicians Took from Real Estate Industry Would Be Mailed to Voters Ahead of Elections Under Proposal by Council Member Ben Kallos

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

New York, NY – Voters would finally know where politicians get their campaign money from under a new proposal to publicize the sources of contributions from major industries such as real estate right before elections. Under the legislation authored by Council Member Kallos, donors would be required to disclose where they get their money from. Displaying the percentage of a candidate’s funds that come from industries such as finance, insurance, lobbying, labor, real estate and government, the disclosures would be shared with the public via official New York City voter guides available online and mailed to every voter in New York City.

Arts Organization Chashama and NY City Council Member Kallos To Celebrate Immigrant Artists and their works of Art

Monday, April 1, 2019

Arts Organization Chashama and NY City Council Member Kallos To Celebrate Immigrant Artists and their works of Art


New York, NY - Chashama and New York City Council Member Ben Kallos will celebrate the opening of the art nonprofit’s new gallery featuring four shows by immigrant artists on April 1, 2019 at 12 p.m. at 340 East 64th Street. Ecuadorian and Mexican artists and DACA recipients Francisco Donoso and Maria De Los Angeles will exhibit Esperanza de Otro Mundo Posible/Hope of Another Possible World; John Rivas and Raelis Vasquez will exhibit Stories of our Ancestors; and an international collective from the 2019 NYFA Immigrant Artist mentoring program will present WhereElse?, a multidisciplinary show meant to spark dialogue about immigration and otherness.

“To me, art is simple, it is filling a space with something beautiful. And that is exactly what ChaShama has once again managed to do here; display great artwork for people to see. I am proud to have partnered with ChaShaMa to cut the ribbon at this location. The Upper East Side welcomes the installation and appreciates the dedication it took for the artists to complete it. The community and I are grateful for the art and are looking forward to many more works of art that will be displayed at this space as time goes on, said Council Member Ben Kallos.

Cooling Tower Inspections to See New Disclosure and Enforcement to Prevent Spread of Legionnaires’ Disease

Thursday, March 28, 2019

Cooling Tower Inspections to See New Disclosure and Enforcement to Prevent Spread of Legionnaires’ Disease

Legislation Authored by Council Members Kallos and Yeger Passes City Council

New York, NY - New Yorkers can breathe easier as the heat season approaches. Cooling towers that are a breeding ground for Legionnaires’ Disease will finally have to report on their compliance with 90-day inspections meant to thwart the spread of the deadly disease.

More than 1,000 cooling towers (representing 20 percent) were out of compliance with 90-day inspections that must be conducted while towers are in operation, according to WNYC in June of 2018. In response, as reported by WNYC, Council Member Kallos authored Int. 1149-B of 2018, co-sponsored by Council Member Kalman Yeger, mandating that building owners receive electronic reminders and inspectors to file results within 5 business days of the inspection so that the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene DOHMH can engage in immediate enforcement and ensure that inspections are actually occurring.

Analysis of New York State DOH Registered Cooling Towers beginning August 2015 found 2,268 cooling towers that were last inspected in 2017 or prior, putting 44% of all towers out of compliance.

Healthy Happy Meals Passes New York City Council

Thursday, March 28, 2019

Water, Low-fat Milk and 100% Fruit Juice to Become "New Normal" for All Kids Meals

New York, NY - Kids meals are in for a change. From the iconic McDonald’s Happy Meal to a kids’ meal at your local diner, water, low-fat milk and 100% fruit juice will be the default instead of sodas that are high in sugar. Int. 1064-B authored by Council Member Ben Kallos.

Obesity is an epidemic in New York City where more than half of adults are overweight or obese, according to the NYC Health. Obesity is starting early in life: nearly half of all elementary school children are not at a healthy weight and 1 in 5 kindergarten students enters school already obese.

How Far an 8 Year-Old Must Walk to Burn Calories from a 12-oz SodaThe American Heart Association recommends that children limit consumption to one or fewer 8-oz sugar sweetened beverage per week. The New York Academy of Medicine testified that according to their scientific research a “12-oz serving of regular soda [in a kids meal can contain] more than 9 teaspoons of sugar. An average 8-year old would need to walk 70 minutes, or the distance between City Hall and Time Square, to ‘walk the calories off.’”

Families now spend more on dining-out than on home cooked meals and children consume over 30 gallons of sugary drinks every year on average, which is enough to fill a bathtub.

McDonald’s provided testimony that its Happy Meal was already compliant with the proposed legislation stating, “soda was removed from the Happy Meal section of U.S. menu boards in 2013.” The testimony continued sharing empirical evidence that changing the default beverages as McDonald’s had already produced results. “[W]e subsequently saw positive shifts in consumer behavior, and the number of Happy Meals served with water, milk, or juice has since increased by 14 percentage points. As of November 2017, and for the first time, more than half of Happy Meals served in the U.S. included water, milk or juice as the beverage of choice rather than soda and other beverages.”

Scientific research confirmed that the original “Healthy Happy Mealslegislation restricting calorie counts would have a positive impact on reducing caloric intake and obesity in children, according to research by Dr. Brian Elbel of the NYU School of Medicine published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine. The study is applicable to the current legislation, which would have a similar impact.

A 2017 Global Strategy Group survey commissioned by the American Heart Association found that New Yorkers expressed nearly universal support (94 percent) for making the food and beverage options on children's menus healthier. The survey concluded that NYC voters are strongly in favor (87 percent) of making healthy drinks like water and low-fat milk the default drink option on children's menus.

Testimony to the Landmarks Preservation Commission Supporting the Designation as an Individual Landmark: First Hungarian Reformed Church aka 346-348 East 69th Street

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

It is vital that structures like this church, which physically mark the relationship of Yorkville to its history as an enclave for European immigrants, be landmarked to preserve this cultural history. This church was, and remains, a cultural gathering spot and place of familiarity for the Hungarian community. Designed by prominent Hungarian architect Emory Roth in the Hungarian vernacular style, the church is a symbol of the Hungarian community and their efforts to establish a Reformed congregation in the city, free from the religious persecution they faced in their homeland. It instilled a sense of pride in their culture, while also providing a sense of security for the Hungarian immigrant community.

That history is my family’s history. My grandparents came to New York City in the wake of Kristallnacht prior to the start of World War II joining the existing community of Hungarians, moving to an apartment on East 71st Street between 1st and 2nd Avenues with a ground floor dermatology practice.

By 1940, New York City had the largest Hungarian community in America, with a population of about 123,000. The First Hungarian Church, designed in the Hungarian Vernacular and Secessionist style, became a cultural enclave for the Hungarian community. The church recalls churches located in small Central European villages, thus creating a “little Hungary” within Yorkville. Moreover, this provided and still provides a sense of security giving immigrants, like my family, a sense of place within their new country.

This is the neighborhood I grew up in, which had so many cultural touchstones from restaurants to bakeries and cultural institutions, many of which have since been displaced. That is why I cherish any buildings that connect us to our past and stand in living testimony to the rich cultural immigrant heritage of the area that might otherwise be denied.

As a child, I walked past the First Hungarian Reformed Church every day on my way to yeshiva at Rabbi Arthur Schneier Park East Day School. The church continues to this day as a part of a waning group of religious institutions devoted to and with services in their mother tongue, connecting us to that immigrant heritage we share. It continues to serve the Hungarian community and the neighborhood at large, frequently hosting block association, cooperative and condominium meetings.

Tourist Attractions Like Hudson Yards Vessel Could Not Take Ownership of Your Social Media or Identity Under Proposed Legislation by Council Member Ben Kallos

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

"I will be introducing legislation in the City Council to ensure that when 60 million tourists visit our city their photos, videos and identities are not taken and sold to the highest bidder.

"You don't own me, you don’t own my identity, and you can't own the photos in my smartphone just because I took them at your tourist attraction.

 "We've all been to museums where you can't take a photo or to a sports game where you might end up on TV, and that's usually a good thing, especially if you caught a home-run in the bleachers.

Expanding Bus Lane Camera Automated Enforcement on the Upper East Side and Calling on Albany for Authorization to Expand

Friday, March 15, 2019

Pass A Budget For Bus Riders: Advocates, Electeds Rally To Demand Expanded Bus Lane Camera Authorization To Speed Bus Service In Upcoming State Budget


New York, NY-Transit advocates and elected officials and the New York City Department of Transportation gathered today to call on state lawmakers to authorize bus lane enforcement cameras citywide in the upcoming state budget due at the beginning of next month. 

Today, Congress Member Maloney, State Senator Kreuger and Assembly Member Seawright joined Council Member Ben Kallos, DOT Manhattan Commission Ed Pincar and advocates from NYPIRG Straphanger’s Campaign, Transit Center, Riders Alliance, and the Tri-State Transportation Campaign, to call on Albany to expand hours and equip at least 50 SBS buses with cameras to enforce bus lanes in Governor Andrew Cuomo’s budget.

Rezoning Effort to Stop Supertall Towers Earns Support from Manhattan Elected Officials and Community Boards During Public Review

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Rezoning Effort to Stop Supertall Towers Earns Support from Manhattan Elected Officials and Community Boards During Public Review

New York, NY – An effort to limit excessive empty spaces such as mechanical voids to prop up buildings to give billionaires better views received widespread support from elected official and community boards in Manhattan during the public review period that ends March 8. Eight of ten of community boards along with over a dozen elected officials in Manhattan that would be impacted have placed their support behind a zoning text amendment limiting the use of excessive mechanical voids in buildings with suggestions for improvements. The two community boards that disapproved did so conditionally only if improvements requested are not made. The Department of City Planning has publicly noticed the next step in the process a public hearing for members of the public to testify on March 13, 2019.

 Recent advances in construction technology combined with a real estate market incentivizing apartments for billionaires led to buildings like 432 Park, which got 25% of its supertall height by exploiting the mechanical voids loophole. Voids are large spaces in a building meant to house mechanicals, but when abused are mostly empty and used to add height to the building because they currently do not count as zoning floor area. Rafael Viñoly, who designed 432 Park, also proposed 249 East 62nd, which has a base of 12 stories and 150-foot mechanical void to raise up 11 stories above. 50 West 66th Street proposed a 161-foot mechanical void to reach a height of 775 feet.

During the month of February, Council Member Kallos toured nearly every Community Board in Manhattan to share the importance of a proposed zoning text amendment from the Department of City Planning to stop supertall buildings that abuse empty voids to gain height solely to build apartments for billionaires. Council Member Kallos developed a map of areas that were already protected, would be protected, and remained in jeopardy that he revised with the City Council Land Use Division complete with a one pager that was distributed throughout the borough of Manhattan complete with petition.

Elected officials throughout Manhattan have joined together in support of the zoning text resolution. The proposed solution to discourage developers from abusing mechanical voids has also gained the support of Congress Member Carolyn Maloney, State Senators Liz Krueger, Jose Serrano, Robert Jackson, Assembly Members Richard Gottfried, Harvey Epstein, Daniel O'Donnell, Dan Quart, Robert Rodriguez, and Rebecca Seawright, and City Council Members Diana Ayala, Keith Powers, and Carlina Rivera.

Testimony in Support of the Residential Tower Mechanical Voids Text Amendment Application by Department of City Planning (N190230ZRY)

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Testimony in Support of the Residential Tower Mechanical Voids Text Amendment Application by Department of City Planning (N190230ZRY)


Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Thank you to City Planning Chair Lago and the members of the City Planning Commission for hearing the Residential Tower Mechanical Voids Text Amendment immediately following review by Community Boards, Borough Board, and the Borough President. We hope the Commission will speedily amend this proposal to reflect community concerns and vote perhaps at the next meeting, on March 27, 2019, so that the City Council may act quickly.

 The Residential Tower Mechanical Voids Text Amendment with requested improvements is supported by Representative Carolyn Maloney, State Senators Liz Krueger, Jose Serrano and Robert Jackson, Assembly Members Richard Gottfried, Harvey Epstein, Robert Rodriguez, and Rebecca Seawright, and City Council Members Diana Ayala, and Keith Powers.

As elected officials in state and city government representing the borough of Manhattan, we stand united in support of this Residential Tower Mechanical Voids Text Amendment, but believe it must be amended to reflect community concerns. We also call upon the Department of City Planning to return to this Commission this summer with a plan to protect commercial districts in Midtown, Hudson Yards, and the Financial District as well as to close remaining loopholes in the Residential text if those loopholes are determined out of the scope of this proposal.

 Eight of ten community boards and nearly a dozen elected officials in Manhattan whose districts would be impacted have placed their support behind a zoning text amendment limiting the use of excessive mechanical voids in buildings, while providing suggestions for improvements. The two community boards that disapproved did so conditionally, asking City Planning to go further in its proposal toward the goal of closing zoning loopholes.

The After-“math” of the Public Advocate Special Election: How Campaigns Are Financed Just Got Flipped Upside Down Under New Campaign Finance Law Authored by Council Member Ben Kallos

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Money in New York City politics got flipped on its head in the recent Special Election for Public Advocate. For the first time small dollars made up almost two-thirds of all the money candidates raised when in the last competitive public advocate election small dollars only made up a quarter. The dramatic change was the result of Local Law 1 of 2019 authored by Council Member Ben Kallos. The law applies Campaign Finance Question 1 from the November 2018 ballot that won by 80% with 1.1 million votes as an option to the Special Election for Public Advocate and the elections that follow through 2021. Of the 17 candidates who appeared on the ballot, 11 qualified to receive a public matching grants, all but one of which chose the new system, receiving $7,178,120 accounting for more than 73% percent of the funds available to candidates.

Homeless New Yorkers and Advocates Demand Construction of More Housing for Homeless New Yorkers at Town Hall

Friday, March 8, 2019

Groups Call on Elected Officials and Mayor to Include 30,000 Units for Homeless Households, with 24,000 to be Created Through New Construction in Housing New York 2.0 Plan

 Homelessness in NYC Remains at Record Levels, with more than 63,000 people – including 23,000 Children and All-Time High 17,700 Single Adults – Sleeping in Shelters Each Night

NEW YORK, NY – Advocates and homeless New Yorkers hosted a town hall meeting with elected officials to call on Mayor de Blasio to increase the number of apartments set aside for homeless New Yorkers in his Housing New York 2.0affordable housing plan to 30,000 units, with 24,000 of those units to be created through new construction.

St. Joseph’s Orphan Asylum to Be Commemorated by The Spence School in Partnership with St. Joseph’s Church, Council Member Kallos and Community Board 8

Monday, February 25, 2019

Yorkville, NY – A new athletics and academic facility currently under construction at 412 East 90th Street by The Spence School will honor the former chapel of the St. Joseph’s Orphan Asylum, in response to a request by Father Boniface Ramsey on behalf of St. Joseph’s Church of Yorkville and in partnership with Community Board 8 Manhattan and Council Member Ben Kallos.


The collaboration between Spence and St. Joseph’s will cover a range of projects, including the installation of a permanent commemorative plaque on the exterior of the new building in proximity to the location of the former chapel and the joint curation of an educational display to be located in the new lobby that will celebrate the rich history of St. Joseph’s Orphan Asylum. In addition, the School will work with Father Ramsey on incorporating the role of St. Joseph’s into its rich curriculum on New York City history.

The partnership was formed in a meeting on Friday, February 15, 2019, convened and moderated by Council Member Ben Kallos, with Father Boniface Ramsey of St. Joseph’s Church Yorkville representatives of the School and Community Board 8 Manhattan Chair Alida Camp to discuss appropriate measures to preserve an important aspect of Yorkville neighborhood history.


Nyc Parks Announces $75 Million In Mayoral Funding For Ongoing Reconstruction Of East River Esplanade Projects

Thursday, February 21, 2019


State of good repair projects include Harlem, E. 90s and Midtown East sections of esplanade

Today, NYC Parks Commissioner Mitchell J. Silver, FAICP, joined Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney; Manhattan Deputy Borough President Matthew Washington; Council Member Ben Kallos; Mili Bonilla, Chief of Staff for Council Member Diana Ayala; Nilsa Orama, Manhattan Community Board 11 Chair; Cynthia Rodriguez, District Director for Congressman Adriano Espaillat; Terell Brock, Community Liaison for State Senator Jose M. Serrano; Barry Schneider, Manhattan Community Board 8 Parks and Waterfront Committee Co-Chair, and East Sixties Neighborhood Association President; and Judy Schneider, East Sixties Neighborhood Association to announce that Mayor Bill de Blasio has allocated additional funding, $75 million, to further East River Esplanade reconstruction projects spanning from East Midtown through East Harlem.

“Thanks to Mayor de Blasio’s continued commitment to addressing waterfront needs, we are able to continue the extensive work of bringing our beloved East River Esplanade into a state of good repair,” said Commissioner Silver. “New York City is hundreds of years old and much of the work we are doing here fixes vital infrastructure so that for decades to come we can enjoy our esplanade, greenway, and public piers.”

Monies from the $75 million funding have been allocated, in part, to three East River Esplanade projects:

The Proposed Temporary Co-Location of a Portion of East Harlem Scholars Academy with Life Sciences Secondary School in Building M645 for Two Years Beginning in the 2019 - 2020 School Year

Thursday, January 31, 2019

To the Panel on Education Policy,


We oppose the proposed two-year co-location of a charter school, East Harlem Scholars Academy, in the Life Sciences Secondary School building at 320 East 96th Street.


We are concerned that Life Sciences’ existing facilities are insufficient not only for this co-location but for the school’s current needs. We challenge the validity and accuracy of the Educational Impact Statement, which must be corrected prior to approval. The notice for this co-location was defective, leaving our office and the community unaware of the proposal. Finally, we are concerned that the Department of Education is setting up Life Sciences’ for failure by truncating the school last year, only to use the vacancies created as grounds for a co-location within months.

Historic Holocaust Remembrance Bill Passes NYC Council

Sunday, January 27, 2019

 "I am proud of my Jewish heritage and I am beyond appreciative of the sacrifices made by my grandparents who fled Anti-Semitism in Europe. It is up to us to speak out against Holocaust deniers in the era of fake news.  It is up to us to point out and teach the lessons of this genocide,” said Council Member Ben Kallos. “Resolution 673 makes January 27 an opportunity to remember the over 6 million souls that were taken, and the culture that was lost so that it never happens again to any group of people.”