New York CIty Council Member Ben Kallos

AM New York

AM New York City construction hits record high with midtown leading the charge, data show by Sarina Trangle

City construction hits record high with midtown leading the charge, data show

The area’s councilman, Ben Kallos, said he fields complaints daily about overdevelopment and is worried the city is not ready to absorb the population boom it is experiencing.

“They don’t have the school seats we need for the people living here and moving here,” he said. “The Second Avenue Subway is already surpassing ridership goals and they are adding more and more trains.”

AM New York Sutton Place Skyscraper Allowed by City Planning Commission, Despite New Zoning Restrictions by Sarina Trangle

Sutton Place Skyscraper Allowed by City Planning Commission, Despite New Zoning Restrictions

But the local City Councilman, Ben Kallos, says he plans to remove the grandfathering clause and promptly pass the prior plan.

“This took more than three years to bring it from a community concern about billionaire’s row extending into a residential neighborhood,” Kallos said, referencing several luxury residential skyscrapers in the works just south of Central Park. “New Yorkers are frustrated with overdevelopment, regardless of what neighborhood that they’re in.”

AM New York City Construction Hits Record High with Midtown Leading the Charge, Data Shows by Sarina Trangle

City Construction Hits Record High with Midtown Leading the Charge, Data Shows

The area’s councilman, Ben Kallos, said he fields complaints daily about overdevelopment and is worried the city is not ready to absorb the population boom it is experiencing.

“They don’t have the school seats we need for the people living here and moving here,” he said. “The Second Avenue Subway is already surpassing ridership goals and they are adding more and more trains.”

AM New York Students call for ban on toxic pesticides in city parks by Allison Fox

Students call for ban on toxic pesticides in city parks

Dozens of young students learned a real-life civics lesson Tuesday, performing a skit in front of the City Council’s Committee on Health and advocating for a bill that would ban more pesticides from being used in city parks and public spaces.

The children, from PS 290 on the Upper East Side, got to see firsthand how grassroots legislation can come to be — the bill, Intro 0800, started in 2014 when they were learning about pesticides in school and were visited by a local City Council member.

“To me, this is the essence of education,” Paula Rogovin, a kindergarten teacher at PS 290, said. “This started with a study about tomatoes and watermelon in our school ... the only thing we can do is to get them to be proactive, to get them to do something about it.

AM New York MTA’s subway plan needs more details before city will cough up more money, City Council says by Vincent Barone

MTA’s subway plan needs more details before city will cough up more money, City Council says

The lawmakers also demanded answers for why capital construction costs so much. At $4.5 billion for three new stations, the Second Avenue subway’s first phase was the most expensive subway project in the world, according to transit experts.

“In other parts of the globe, when subway systems are being built or expanded, they do not remotely come close to the challenges we are facing here in New York City,” Hakim said. “You see it when you go by an open utility construction pit and you look in at the maze, the spaghetti of utilities.”

Still, several council members felt that New York was falling behind other cities.

“What does Russia know that we don’t?” asked Manhattan Councilman Ben Kallos, who wondered why Moscow runs more trains per hour than the MTA.

Hakim pointed out that Moscow doesn’t run a 24-hour subway system. “Try to get the subway in Moscow at 2 o’clock in the morning; they’re closed,” she said.

AM New York Sutton Place rezoning plan may force de Blasio to address affordable housing program by Sarina Trangle

Sutton Place rezoning plan may force de Blasio to address affordable housing program

A zoning debate in Manhattan's Sutton Place may seem like just another posh neighborhood telling a developer its project is not welcome.

But City Hall is listening for a bellwether in the bickering.

A zoning proposal put forward by residents of the neighborhood may force Mayor Bill de Blasio to finally have to reckon with a much-criticized affordable housing program he pledged to examine 15 months ago, experts said.

Near the beginning of 2017, Gamma Real Estate filed plans for a co-op on Sutton Place. Some nearby residents said the project, which is now slated to be nearly 800 feet high, would tower over the neighborhood and change its character.

AM New York Trump Tower has public space. Go visit, since you’re paying for it by Mark Chiusano

Trump Tower has public space. Go visit, since you’re paying for it

If you work in Manhattan and have the gift/luxury of a lunch break, you’ve probably used a POPS without knowing it.

POPS, or privately owned public spaces, can be sunny or shaded plazas or sitting areas in indoor atriums, where you can enjoy your sandwich away from the desk.

At worst, these POPS are barren, vacant lobbies, or simply (and illegally) inaccessible.

Why does that matter beyond the fact that you can’t find a place to nibble your sandwich? Because there’s no such thing as a free POPS: each one was set aside for the public by property owners or developers in exchange for building bigger or taller towers and thus renting out more commercial space.

A new City Council effort aiming to get developers to stick to their end of the bargain has a particularly juicy case study: Trump Tower on Fifth Avenue, which was able to build taller in exchange for setting aside public spaces.

The public part of Trump Tower has received significant attention since Trump descended the escalator in June 2015 to announce his presidential run.

AM New York Second Avenue subway will hike rents: Streeteasy by Vincent Barone

Second Avenue subway will hike rents: Streeteasy

Private developments are popping up right alongside the construction of MTA contractors. Councilman Ben Kallos (D-Manhattan), whose district encompasses the new Upper East Side subway line, has watched two new developments rise from across the street of his district office.

Kallos said the line brings concerns, like the scale of new buildings, pricing out of residents and potential overcrowding at schools if the greater accessibility attracts more residents—“Not only are our trains crowded, but so are our schools,” he said.

“A concern is protecting my residents and making sure that those residing in rent-regulated housing are protected,” Kallos said, noting that his office will be open to all constituents with lease questions.

“For the businesses that survive the construction, they’ll have the benefit of increased foot traffic,” he added. “Sadly, for those who didn’t, we hope to see many of the empty storefronts revitalized.”

Commute times of Second Avenue residents could increase between 10 and 15 minutes, Streeteasy estimates show. Transit experts fear that villainizing mass transit as a driver of rent hikes or gentrification is counterproductive to building a more equitable city.

AM New York Upper East Side: Enjoy the Met, Carl Schurz Park and more between 80-89th streets by Alison Fox

Upper East Side: Enjoy the Met, Carl Schurz Park and more between 80-89th streets

Councilman Ben Kallos, whose district includes the East 80s, said he would have preferred the subway to open years ago, as it's been planned since the 1920s, but now is better than never.

But Kallos said he thinks while "100 years is a long time to wait for a subway," when the line finally opens it will be a welcome sight.

"The Second Avenue Subway will [lure] a lot of the riders from Lexington over to," said Kallos. "Businesses that are now here will have the benefit of more traffic, both foot traffic and subway traffic. The neighborhood will get Second Avenue back."

AM New York The secret to making money on NYC real estate by Mark Chiusano

The secret to making money on NYC real estate

DCAS is in the process of revamping the review process to include more public review. Right now, the main notification is a brief appearance in the City Record, which you can view here for some light reading.

A fix is necessary to stop those looking to make a killing on land, that most precious NYC quantity. Besides profits there are a few other things we need in NYC — truly plentiful and affordable housing, schools and homeless shelters, as Councilmember Ben Kallos noted at Friday’s hearing.

It would be a shame for none of those needs to be addressed on plots that were intended to be preserved.

But those are the current rules of the game.