New York CIty Council Member Ben Kallos

New York County Politics

New York County Politics Williams, Kallos Call for Full Funding of SYEP by Roman Wallfisch

Williams, Kallos Call for Full Funding of SYEP

Public Advocate Jumaane Williams (D) and Councilmember Ben Kallos (D-Yorkville, Lenox Hill) joined advocates, providers, and students in a virtual rally Wednesday morning to call for full funding of New York City’s Summer Youth Employment Program (SYEP). Williams and Kallos also called for the passing of their joint legislation establishing a universal youth employment program. 

Joining Williams and Kallos were Youth Services Chair Debi Rose (D-Staten Island); Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer (D); Councilmember Carlina Rivera (D-East Village, Gramercy Park); Councilmember Carlos Manchaca (D-Brooklyn); J.T. Falcone from United Neighborhood Housing; Chinese Planning Council (CPC) Chief Policy and Public Affairs Officer Carlyn Cowen; Global Kids School Director Diamond Butler; University of Rochester student Jorge Morales; and CUNY student Joseph Cobourne. 

New York County Politics Speaker Johnson Unveils 10-Year City Planning Legislation by Chaya Gurkov

Speaker Johnson Unveils 10-Year City Planning Legislation

Councilmember Ben Kallos (D-Yorkville, Lenox Hill) agreed that the most effective way is to start planning proactively. 

Council Member Ben Kallos (Photo credit: council.nyc.gov)

Council Member Ben Kallos

“Whether it is increasing and improving coordination in all our city agencies or streamlining long-term planning processes for better efficiency, creating a new ten-year comprehensive planning will be crucial to making New York City the best city it can possibly be over for every resident over the next decade,” he said. 

New York County Politics Kallos Attends Ribbon Cutting for New “Supermarket” – Style Food Pantry on UES by Roman Wallfisch

Kallos Attends Ribbon Cutting for New “Supermarket” – Style Food Pantry on UES

Councilmember Ben Kallos (D-Yorkville, Lenox Hill) spoke after Tarwater. He mentioned the 17,000 children an 12,000 families currently in homeless shelters. Rep. Kallos outlined how the project at 1745 1st Ave. came to be, recounting support that was expressed by State Senator Elizabeth Krueger and Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer. 

“I want to wake up in a city where everyone has a home,” said Kallos.

Kallos has been vocal about wanting to fill the City’s thousands of vacant apartments with people experiencing homelessness. You can read Kallos’ AMNY op-ed on the current housing crisis here

“Even today, there are people in this city that would go to court to try to tell the homeless they can’t come here. What we’re here to say today is, ‘if you’re homeless, if you’re hungry, you are welcome here on the Upper East Side.’” The Councilmember referenced recent legal battles involving the homeless and emergency pandemic housing

New York County Politics Kallos, Benjamin, Rajkumar’s Holiday Celebrations Highlight City’s Diversity by Michael Rock

Kallos, Benjamin, Rajkumar’s Holiday Celebrations Highlight City’s Diversity

Most Jewish New Yorkers celebrate the season by observing Chanukah, a minor eight-day festival commemorating the victory of the Maccabees, a group of Jewish rebels, over the Syrian Greek Seleucid Empire that tried to destroy their culture in the mid-second century BCE. After driving them out, they rededicated the Holy Temple in Jerusalem.

“We make potato pancakes, play dreidel [top game] with my daughter, and light the Chanukiah [menorah] as a family,” said Councilmember Ben Kallos (D-Upper East Side, Yorkville, Lenox Hill) of his family’s traditional Chanukah celebration.

New York County Politics Manhattan Electeds Respond to Lucerne Ruling by William Engel

Manhattan Electeds Respond to Lucerne Ruling

Meanwhile, Councilmember Ben Kallos (D-Yorkville, Lenox Hill) said that the Lucerne Hotel shelter shouldn’t have been a point of contention in the first place, calling the neighborhood backlash against the shelter unwarranted. Two weeks ago, he wrote an op-ed for amNY detailing how we can utilize the abundant housing space we have to accommodate our homeless, which is available here.

“I would like to see folks following the model we have on the Eastside, where we’ve opened hotels and beds for the homeless, and done so with little fanfare and without any community opposition,” said Kallos. “I co-founded the Eastside Taskforce for Homeless Outreach and Services (ETHOS), with Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer (D) and State Senator Liz Krueger (D-Upper East Side, Lenox Hill). And when we opened a hotel of the same size as Lucerne to the homeless, they found themselves welcomed. We had a dramatically different experience.”

Kallos also concurred with Levine’s point that, in light of the pandemic, now is not the time to move 240 men across the borough.

New York County Politics Verdant Displays Latest Turbines on Roosevelt Island by Michael Rock

Verdant Displays Latest Turbines on Roosevelt Island

Meanwhile, Councilmember Ben Kallos (D-Upper East Side, East Harlem, Roosevelt Island), celebrated the latest development in Verdant’s RITE Project, expressing hope that it will inspire greater production and use of green energy in the city. “Expanding the ways our City gets renewable energy is a must,” he said. 

“I am proud to represent an area harnessing the power of the East River for energy,” said Kallos. “It is a brilliant idea that perhaps the rest of New York City can consider when deciding how to power our neighborhoods. If we are going to reach all of our environmental goals this is one way we can get there faster.” 

New York County Politics MANH Lawmakers on the Move, Oct. 6, 2020 by New York County Politics

MANH Lawmakers on the Move, Oct. 6, 2020

Kallos Cuts Ribbon Celebrating New French Dual Language Programs on UES

Council Member Ben Kallos (Photo credit: council.nyc.gov)

Council Member Ben Kallos

Last Friday, Councilmember Ben Kallos (D-Yorkville, Lenox Hill) attended a ribbon-cutting ceremony to celebrate the opening of two new French dual language classes at the District 2 Pre-K Center.

Kallos first proposed the idea for the classes last December; he hosted a petition urging the New York City Department of Education (DOE) to establish a French dual language program for School District 2. His petition accumulated 200 signatures, and the programs were greenlit three months later.

“I am incredibly proud of the people who did the work in order to make this program a reality,” said Kallos. “Knowledge is power so any opportunity we get to expand and improve education in my district I will be supportive of. We all know the benefits of dual language education and I am proud that we were able to bring them to this district. Thank you to Deputy Chancellor Josh Wallack for his ongoing partnership in expanding early education opportunities, the French Consulate for supporting the Francophone community, and especially to Stephane Lautner and Catherine Remy who worked closely with my office to put meetings together and organize hundreds of other parents.”

New York County Politics MANH Lawmakers on the Move, Aug. 28, 2020 by New York County Politics

MANH Lawmakers on the Move, Aug. 28, 2020

Kallos, Van Bramer: It’s Time to Open the Queensboro Bridge to Pedestrians

Council Member Ben Kallos (Photo credit: council.nyc.gov)

Council Member Ben Kallos

Yesterday, Councilmembers Ben Kallos (D-Yorkville, Lenox Hill) and Jimmy Van Bramer (D-Queens) wrote an op-ed for amNY calling on the City to open more pedestrian paths on the Queensboro Bridge.

As of now, the Queensboro Bridge has nine lanes open to car traffic, but only one narrow path open to cyclists and pedestrians. This is particularly problematic in the era of COVID-19, since it impedes social distancing. The Department of Transportation currently has plans to open the South Outer Roadway to pedestrians in 2022; however, Kallos and Van Bramer insist that New Yorkers can’t wait that long.

“The conditions on the bridge are dangerous, plain and simple,” they wrote. “As cyclists and pedestrians jockey for space on a path as narrow as nine feet, there have been frequent crashes, including some serious injuries. We have both heard from seniors and parents of young children in our districts who avoid the bridge entirely. And we know that New Yorkers who don’t feel safe crossing the East River by subway, bike, or foot will turn to cars. Many already have. This is leading to gridlocked streets, polluted air, and crashes. 

“We know the South Outer Roadway could be opened to foot traffic because it already was, during the 1980s and 1990s, before it was returned to cars. We know its reopening will require some immediate safety improvements, and we’re here to advocate for them. In fact, we’ve pledged to use some of our discretionary capital funding to help install fencing along a new South Outer Sidewalk. All we need is for the City to respond to our determination with their own.”

Read the full article here.

New York County Politics MANH Lawmakers on the Move, June 18, 2020 by New York County Politics

MANH Lawmakers on the Move, June 18, 2020

Johnson, Kallos to Host COVID-19 Town Hall

Council Member Corey Johnson (Credit: Jeff Reed)

Council Member Corey Johnson

Today, Council Speaker Corey Johnson (D-Chelsea, Hell’s Kitchen) and Councilmember Ben Kallos (D-Yorkville, Lenox Hill) will be hosting a virtual discussion on the current state of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The electeds will take questions on several related topics, including the city budget, resources for seniors, and unemployment relief.

The event will take place tonight at 6 p.m. on Zoom. To RSVP and submit your questions, click here.

New York County Politics MANH Lawmakers on the Move, June 2, 2020 by New York County Politics

MANH Lawmakers on the Move, June 2, 2020

Kallos Calls for Resiliency Investment at Outset of Hurricane Season

Council Member Ben Kallos (Photo credit: council.nyc.gov)

Council Member Ben Kallos

Yesterday, Councilmember Ben Kallos (D-Yorkville, Lenox Hill) was one of several electeds calling for action to strengthen New York’s infrastructure ahead of hurricane season.

Kallos, who represents a coastal district, said that the City can’t afford to cut corners on disaster preparation.

“Right now is not the time for the federal government to cut back on funding that may protect New York City from the next hurricane headed our way,” said Kallos. “Every New Yorker remembers superstorm Sandy; the lives we lost, the destruction to our City, and the financial costs. The threat that climate change poses has only increased with time, and with a busier than usual hurricane season expected we need to take every precaution possible.”