New York CIty Council Member Ben Kallos

CBS New York

CBS New York NYC Council Looks To Close Loophole Allowing Buildings To Be Extra Tall For Little Reason by Andrea Grymes

NYC Council Looks To Close Loophole Allowing Buildings To Be Extra Tall For Little Reason

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – It’s the tallest residential building in the western hemisphere – the luxurious 432 Park rises more than 1,300 feet into the Manhattan skyline.

City councilman Ben Kallos says architect Rafael Vinoly got a quarter of this super-tall height by exploiting what’s known as the “mechanical voids loophole” and it was totally legal.

The overly tall residential building at 432 Park. (Credit: CBS2)

“They’re building these mechanical voids to prop up real estate so these billionaires can have multi-million dollar helicopter views, and that’s not why we should be building buildings,” Kallos said.

The councilman added the firm is trying to do the same thing with an empty lot on East 62nd Street – to offer better and more expensive views – and they’re not alone.

CBS New York Vessel’s Photo Policy Claims The Pictures You Take At Hudson Yards Don’t Belong To You by Alice Gainer

Vessel’s Photo Policy Claims The Pictures You Take At Hudson Yards Don’t Belong To You

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – “Vessel,” the eye catching landmark at Hudson Yards officially opened to the public Friday and is now already embroiled in a social media controversy.

“There’s so many different angles it’s an instagrammable paradise,” photographer Rene Clement said.

“Amazing… just going up and down and seeing the view from up there, beautiful,” one visitor told CBS2’s Alice Gainer.

Despite all the fanfare surrounding the attraction, there’s already backlash over its photo policy. In the age of social media, the new rules are catching many people clicking away off guard.

There aren’t any signs posted around Vessel, but if you read your ticket it directs you to the Terms & Conditions page online.

A ticket (with very controversial fine print) to see Vessel at Hudson Yards. (Credit: CBS2)

All those videos and pictures visitors just posted to social media can be used for free by Vessel’s operator – ERY Vessel LLC.

“I hereby grant to company and its affiliates the right to re-post, share, publish, promote and distribute the Vessel Media,” the terms state.

That’s not all. Upon entering the structure, you can be photographed, filmed, or recorded however…

The “Company has the unconditional, irrevocable right to reproduce, display and use the Recordings, including for advertising, marketing and promotional purposes, in all media and formats, whether now known or later developed.”

The terms & conditions when entering Hudson Yards and Vessel in Manhattan. (Credit: CBS2)

“Yeah, I mean that’s kinda crazy because you’d think you’d have to sign a release to be able to do that,” Lizzie Goodman of Brooklyn said.

“That’s how social media is. If you’re putting it out there for the world to see then I feel like it’s their piece they have the right to take it,” Harlem resident Crawford Horton argued.

“It’s disgusting,” Rene Clement charged.

One attorney says that the Vessel has gone too far.

“I would say it’s overreaching,” entertainment and media attorney Craig Delsack declared.

Delsack added normally you’d see a big physical sign warning people that they’re walking into an area where filming could be taking place. As for their social media policy, that also bothers the lawyer.

“That’s not fair because if you are the Annie Leibovitz of instagrammable photos you’re going to want to be paid for that commercial use by someone else.”

City councilman Ben Kallos says he’s taking action to try and change this policy.

“I don’t think that Hudson Yards should be allowed to take someone’s identity or their photos and sell them and that’s why i’m introducing legislation in New York City to make it illegal,” Kallos explained.

 

(Credit: CBS2)

A spokesperson for Hudson Yards told CBS2 they wanted to over-communicate and be transparent.

So is there anyway to protect your selfie at Vessel from being used by someone else? All the social media sites have their own terms and conditions and – even in their terms and conditions – if you post a picture of something, we Twitter, Facebook, Instagram get to use that image as well,” Delsack warns.

So if you’re truly concerned about where your images will end up, the only surefire way to protect your rights (at the moment) is to keep them off the internet.

 

CBS New York NYC Lawmaker Proposing ‘Stop Arm’ Law That Would Fine Drivers Who Pass School Buses Illegally by CBS New York News Staff

NYC Lawmaker Proposing ‘Stop Arm’ Law That Would Fine Drivers Who Pass School Buses Illegally

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — One New York City lawmaker wants to make it easier to fine drivers who don’t hit the brakes around stopped school buses.

CBS New York NYC Expected To Approve GPS Tracking For School Buses by Lisa Rozner

NYC Expected To Approve GPS Tracking For School Buses

Councilman Ben Kallos introduced legislation back in 2014 to get GPS tracking installed on every school bus, so parents can monitor when the bus is coming, or see why it’s late. Councilman Chaim Deutsch and Councilman Mark Treyger, who chairs the Education Committee, confirmed that the bill will advance out of the committee on Wednesday. Council Speaker Corey Johnson is expected to bring it up for a full vote in the afternoon.

“I’m confident we will pass this with a veto-proof majority tomorrow,” Kallos said.

MORECity Councilman Says Proposed GPS Tracking Systems For School Buses Could Have Prevented Snowstorm Nightmare

The Department of Education will be required to implement it by September for the 2019-20 school year. The effort dates back almost 20 years, when former Councilman Michael Nelson introduced a bill to require two-way radio communication. Since then, GPS tracking has been been successfully implemented in major school districts like Denver, Boston and Houston, the district where Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza last worked.

CBS New York City Councilman Says Proposed GPS Tracking Systems For School Buses Could Have Prevented Snowstorm Nightmare by Lisa Rozner

City Councilman Says Proposed GPS Tracking Systems For School Buses Could Have Prevented Snowstorm Nightmare

“We actually spent from 2014 until 2017 working with the Office of Pupil Transportation to do it,” City Councilman Ben Kallos (D-5th) said. “Last year they said they were going to do it and last year they said it was going to be in the contracts and they were going to do it, and it was going to be on every single bus in the city.”

Kallos introduced legislation in September to require GPS devices be installed on all school buses contracted with the Department of Education. It would also require the city to provide real-time GPS location data to parents and school administrators.

Mayor Bill de Blasio was asked about tracking the city’s school buses on Friday.

“We need anything that’s not working with GPS and every conceivable form of communication and then linked back to a center that parents can call and get updated information,” the mayor said.

Kallos says that just won’t cut it.

“I’m really concerned about the idea of a call center,” he said. “This is 2018. I want to be able to see it on my phone. I can see where my Uber is on my phone, I can see where a bus is and the MTA is not one of the better agencies in our city, why can’t I still see where a yellow bus is?”

It’s a concern echoed by schools Chancellor Richard Carranza, who said this week the DOE is working on having tracking system on all their buses.

“During our hearing in October we had Chancellor Carranza at the City Council,” Kallos said. “He refused to answer questions about the GPS system.”

Kallos’ proposal will come up for a vote later this month. If it passes, the city must institute the program in the next 180 days. Meantime, the DOE says there is GPS tracking on all special education buses, and they’re currently assessing a small pilot program that’s in place which allows parents to see their bus’ arrival time through an app.

CBS New York NYC Embarks On New Vetting Process For School Bus Drivers by Marcia Kramer

NYC Embarks On New Vetting Process For School Bus Drivers

When asked if he wonders why it took the city so long to do it, parent Edward Finkil said, “Yeah, I thought they did it. I thought that was something you do with the job.”

“I think there’s a lot of those things that you take for granted. You assume that your children are in the care of background-checked people, but I think sometimes that’s a false assumption,” added Chelsea parent Corynne Razos.

The city is also moving the unit which investigates bus driver complaints into its Office of Special Investigations, CBS2’s Kramer reported.

This also comes as City Councilman Ben Kallos has introduced a bill to outfit all school buses with GPS systems to help track buses and pupils who don’t show up.

CBS New York Mayor De Blasio Details Plan To Diversify New York City’s Elite High Schools by Marcia Kramer

Mayor De Blasio Details Plan To Diversify New York City’s Elite High Schools

Manhattan Councilman Ben Kallos, an alum of Bronx Science, is against the changes.

“The fact that fewer black and Hispanic kids is getting into these schools is not the failure of the schools. It’s the failure of the public education system that has been failing them since day one,” Kallos said.

The mayor admits getting Albany to eliminate the tests may be difficult and that he may have to wait until next year.

A statement from the Brooklyn Tech Alumni Foundation and the Stuyvesant High School Alumni Association pointed out that the mayor’s admissions formula is “exceedingly complicated.” It also says the plan does not address “educational disparities across New York City middle schools.”

CBS New York Councilman: Accidents Are Proof New York Needs Tougher Scaffolding Laws by Mike Smeltz

Councilman: Accidents Are Proof New York Needs Tougher Scaffolding Laws

One lawmaker said it's just proof that tougher regulations need to be put in place.

Web Extra: Scaffolding In New York | Active Sidewalk Sheds

Bricks from a 20 story building on the Upper East Side crashed through scaffolding Friday, injuring a 72-year-old man.

"Scaffolding is supposed to be there to protect us from falling debris, now it's actually not stopping items from hitting people," Councilman Ben Kallos said.

Kallos started battling for tougher scaffolding rules after November's accident in SoHo, when a so-called sidewalk shed colapsed, hurting nearly half-a-dozen people.

Kallos said his bill is running into some walls of its own.

CBS New York City Council Considering Ban On Sale Of Single Use Plastic Bottles At Parks, Beaches by Marcia Kramer

City Council Considering Ban On Sale Of Single Use Plastic Bottles At Parks, Beaches

People would still be allowed to bring their own plastic bottles to those places, but wouldn’t be allowed to buy them there.

The measure would also provide for filling stations at parks and beaches, so people could fill up reusable bottles at those locations.

The measure is backed by Council members Ben Kallos and Rafael Espinal.

As CBS2’s Political Reporter Marcia Kramer reported, Kallos wants to start by stopping the sale of bottled water at city parks, beaches, golf courses, skating rinks, etc. Espinal would like to extend it to anything in a plastic bottle, like juice, soda, tea, etc.

“It would actually help and make a dent in the one billion plastic bottles that New York City throws away every year,” Kallos said.

“There are studies that show that if we don’t stop the current trend of the amount of plastic we’re using, we’re going to have more plastic than fish in our ocean,” said Espinal.

It’s a controversial proposal, Kramer reported. The International Bottled Water Association worries about dehydration.