New York CIty Council Member Ben Kallos

New York Times

New York Times Developers Friendly With the Mayor Meet Their Match: Upper East Siders by Matthew Haag

Developers Friendly With the Mayor Meet Their Match: Upper East Siders

City Councilman Ben Kallos, who represents the Upper East Side, has led the opposition. “The overall narrative everyone is giving is like, ‘Oh, this is all about NIMBY, this is about a nonprofit and this is about shadows,’” he said. “At the end of the day, this is about an 11-story tower that is somehow 233 feet tall that is a glorified office space for wealthy people.”

Mr. Kallos noted that the Blood Center, under current zoning, could construct a building on the site exceeding 200,000 square feet without additional city approval, more than the amount of space the center plans to occupy in the proposed tower.

New York Times N.Y.P.D. Robot Dog’s Run Is Cut Short After Fierce Backlash by Mihir Zaveri

N.Y.P.D. Robot Dog’s Run Is Cut Short After Fierce Backlash

Mr. Kallos, a Democrat who represents the Upper East Side, took a different position, saying the device’s presence in New York underscored what he called the “militarization of the police.” He said the robotic dogs resembled those featured in the 2017 “Metalhead” episode of the television show “Black Mirror.”

“At a time where we should be having more beat cops on the street, building relationships with residents, they’re actually headed in another direction in trying to replace them with robots,” he said.

New York Times N.Y.C. Bans Pesticides in Parks With Push From Unlikely Force: Children by Anna Barnard

N.Y.C. Bans Pesticides in Parks With Push From Unlikely Force: Children

The bill’s passage came on Earth Day amid a flurry of environmental initiatives. But Ben Kallos, the district’s council member, said “a bunch of kindergartners” persuaded him to propose a city ban on pesticides in 2014. “It went nowhere,” he said.

Mr. Kallos said he tried everything as climate change pushed environmental issues higher on the agenda. He recalled holding “the best, cutest hearing ever” in 2017. Children mobbed the floor of the council chambers singing “This Land Is Your Land.”

Still, he said, City Hall and the Parks Department were resistant. But as word of the bill spread, public-housing residents and environmental groups teamed up with Ms. Rogovin’s students and their parents in a widening circle — and eventually signed up enough Council sponsors for a veto-proof majority.

Ms. Rogovin, 73, stuck with the mission even after she retired in 2018 after 44 years of teaching, and as her original kindergarten activists were entering puberty.

New York Times Am I in Manhattan? Or Another Sequel to ‘Blade Runner’ by Ben Ryder Howe

Am I in Manhattan? Or Another Sequel to ‘Blade Runner’

“There is advertising everywhere, and it’s a bit of sensory overload,” said Ben Kallos, a City Council member who represents Manhattan’s East Side. Mr. Kallos said LinkNYC, the network of 1,800 sidewalk kiosks around the city providing free Wi-Fi as well as block after block of eye-level digital content, “is pushing the boundary” when it comes to “the amount of advertising people are willing to take.”

That said, for all its complexity and clutter, New York’s visual environment is carefully calibrated by zoning codes and the desire of advertisers not to trigger associations with images such as the “Blade Runner” signature motif of a geisha’s face beaming down from a hovering blimp, let alone the monolithic Big Brother figure in Apple’s infamous “1984” commercial (also directed by Mr. Scott).

New York Times Car Lanes to Become Bike Lanes on 2 Major New York City Bridges by Emma G. Fitzsimmons, Winnie Hu

Car Lanes to Become Bike Lanes on 2 Major New York City Bridges

City Councilmen Ben Kallos and Jimmy Van Bramer, whose districts include either end of the Queensboro Bridge, have fought for years for a separate bike lane. They have held several rallies and recently marched across the bridge during the pandemic.

“This news couldn’t have come sooner as more people rely on bikes during the pandemic,” Mr. Kallos said. “The single shared lane on the Queensboro Bridge has gotten more crowded and dangerous.”

New York Times Make the Queensboro Bridge Car-Free by Ben Kallos, Danny Harris, Ken Podziba

Make the Queensboro Bridge Car-Free

To the Editor:

Re “A Proposed Link for Manhattan and Queens, for Bikes and Pedestrians Only” (news article, June 25):

As much as we appreciate big-picture thinking about bike infrastructure, we favor more immediate action to make the Queens-Manhattan bike trip safer and less crowded.

The Ed Koch Queensboro Bridge’s south roadway should be made into a walkway, with the north roadway converted to a two-way, bicycle-only path. This approach is supported by Manhattan and Queens elected officials and community boards and could be executed with minimal cost and put into effect immediately.

In the best circumstances, a new bridge could take more than a decade to build. It would face input from parties ranging from the U.S. Coast Guard and state environmental regulators to Roosevelt Island residents rightly concerned about being passed over by yet another structure.

New York Times De Blasio and Council, Facing Fiscal Crisis Over Virus, Agree on Budget With Big Cuts by Dana Rubinstein, Jeffery C. Mays

De Blasio and Council, Facing Fiscal Crisis Over Virus, Agree on Budget With Big Cuts

The budget is expected to be passed on Tuesday by the full 51-member City Council, although it is expected to garner more than a dozen “no” votes, split between council members who oppose cutting police funding at a time when crime is rising and those who think the police cuts do not go far enough.

Councilman Ben Kallos, a Democrat who represents the Upper East Side, said he planned to vote no on the budget, in part because he said the police cuts were insufficient.

“It is worse than it was before,” Mr. Kallos said in an interview.

“We are not seeing a meaningful reduction in head count and the changes that people are literally marching in the streets for,” he said. “I don’t think anyone marching for Black Lives Matter is doing it to see school safety agents moved from the N.Y.P.D. budget to the schools budget.”

New York Times Public Spaces Weren’t Designed for Pandemics. N.Y.C. Is Trying to Adapt. by Matthew Haag

Public Spaces Weren’t Designed for Pandemics. N.Y.C. Is Trying to Adapt.

Some Upper East Side residents have called for one-way sidewalks. “The stressful part of going anywhere is getting there, because the sidewalks are so narrow,” said City Councilman Ben Kallos, who represents parts of the neighborhood and Roosevelt Island. “There’s no room for distancing, especially when people are walking toward you.”

New York Times 25 Million Applications: The Scramble for N.Y.C. Affordable Housing by Matthew Haag

25 Million Applications: The Scramble for N.Y.C. Affordable Housing

[F]or many New Yorkers, the most desirable jackpot is not the New York Lotto, but to be selected in the city’s extraordinarily competitive affordable-housing lottery. Tens of thousands of people, and sometimes many more, vie for the handful of units available at a time. Since 2013, there have been more than 25 million applications submitted for roughly 40,000 units....

While the lottery website’s user interface will have an entirely new design, the most significant changes are under the hood. After applicants create profiles stating their household size and household income, which together determine a person’s eligibility, they will be shown apartments that they are most likely to qualify for.

That is a significant change from the old system, in which applicants typically applied to every building on the lottery site without knowing if they were even eligible. That process led some units to receive more than 100,000 applicants, most of whom would never find out that they were ineligible from the beginning.

There were other major problems too, like the site randomly crashing and freezing. City officials said the entire lottery system has been upgraded to improve its usability and stability.

“One of the biggest frustrations was people not hearing if you were accepted and not hearing if you were rejected,” said Luis Daniel Caridad, an assistant director at GOLES, an organization on the Lower East Side of Manhattan that helps people apply for affordable housing. “We’ve been told that it has been fundamentally changed, and we are hopeful.”

For years, the housing lottery only included newly constructed units. When someone moved into one and then left, the vacated apartments did not return to the lottery. Buildings kept their own waiting lists, leading to allegations to those with political connections or who paid bribes could cut in line.

Some of those vacant units will now be entered in the lottery, allowing everyone to be made aware when they become available. Councilman Ben Kallos, who wrote the legislation that requires past rentals to return to the lottery, said the change would eventually bring thousands of units back into the lottery every month.

“Before this, you had waiting lists and you had folks who might be politically connected with an official who knew buildings that had affordable housing,” said Mr. Kallos, a Democrat who represents the Upper East Side of Manhattan. “This means that all the vacant units in the system will be re-rented quickly.” ...

New York Times Facades on 1,400 Buildings in New York Are a Threat to Pedestrians by Mattew Haag

Facades on 1,400 Buildings in New York Are a Threat to Pedestrians

The warning from the New York City building inspector was blunt. The facade of the apartment building in the Bronx was crumbling and a corner was separating. The playground outside a day care center in the building had to close immediately.

That was in 2001. Nineteen years later there is still a three-foot gap in the brick facade and the playground, for the center’s 50 children between 2 and 4 years old, is still off limits.