New York CIty Council Member Ben Kallos

Upper East Side Patch

Upper East Side Patch New UES Electric Vehicle Chargers Constantly Blocked By Gas Cars by Nick Garber

New UES Electric Vehicle Chargers Constantly Blocked By Gas Cars

When Patch stopped by on Tuesday, four gas-powered cars were occupying the spots, joined by a single electric car: a Tesla SUV. But that Tesla, the neighbor said, has hogged one of the power cords for at least two straight days — far longer than its necessary charging time, and raising its own enforcement issues.

Reached for comment, City Councilmember Ben Kallos suggested that the NYPD may need to begin issuing fines to drivers who disobey the rules.

"As a City, we need to ingrain the concept that charging stations must be respected and that they are not just parking spots for any car," Kallos said in a statement. "I plan to work with the NYPD and the Department of Transportation to get this fixed asap."

Upper East Side Patch UES Lawmaker Hosting First In-Person Forum Since Pandemic by Nick Garber

UES Lawmaker Hosting First In-Person Forum Since Pandemic

Ben Kallos attends a ribbon-cutting on the East River Esplanade in April 2019. His monthly First Friday event will be held in-person this week for the first time since the pandemic began. (Jeffrey WZ Reed/New York City Council)

UPPER EAST SIDE, NY — For the first time since the pandemic began, a local lawmaker's popular monthly forum will be held in-person again.

City Councilmember Ben Kallos's "First Friday" discussion — held, as the name suggests, at the start of each month — will return 8 a.m. Friday.

Rather than over Zoom, it will be held at Ruppert Park. (In case of rain, it will go virtual, but forecasts currently call for clear skies.)

To participate, residents must RSVP online. Questions can also be submitted in advance on the RSVP form, or by email to questions@benkallos.com.

Kallos has held the forums each month since he took office in 2014. Speaking to Patch earlier this winter, Kallos said he hoped whoever succeeds him — now likely to be Julie Menin — would continue the tradition.

 

Upper East Side Patch Garbage Trucks Keep Clogging This UES Avenue, Councilman Says by Nick Garber

Garbage Trucks Keep Clogging This UES Avenue, Councilman Says

"It smells putrid. It smells like trash here," said Kallos, whose district office is a few blocks away.

Kallos speculated that the trucks were heading to the East 91st Street Marine Transfer Station. But a spokesperson for the Department of Sanitation said this was not the case, and that the trucks were congregating for a different reason.

Upper East Side Patch Scaffolding Has Covered This UES Sidewalk For Over A Decade by Nick Garber

Scaffolding Has Covered This UES Sidewalk For Over A Decade

City Councilmember Ben Kallos called out the shed at 1772 Second Ave. on Twitter this week, part of a weeklong series in which he plans to draw attention to sidewalk sheds across the city that have overstayed their welcome.

It is a signature issue for Kallos, who since 2016 has been pushing for legislation that would require building owners to make repairs within 180 days of reporting an unsafe condition. The bill has stalled in the City Council, amid opposition from real estate groups.

"New Yorkers need to demand it at this point," Kallos said of his bill. "Landlords don't want to do the work, they don't want to take care of their buildings."

Kallos said he has tried to persuade the city to offer decent, temporary apartments to the residents of 1772 Second Ave., where they could stay while much-needed repairs are carried out.

Upper East Side Patch Ruppert Park's Big Renovation On UES Gets $8.9M Boost by Nick Garber

Ruppert Park's Big Renovation On UES Gets $8.9M Boost

The money means that work may begin as soon as Fall 2022 and wrap up the following year — once plans have been presented to Community Board 8 and the Public Design Commission later this year.

The park occupies the former site of the Jacob Ruppert & Company brewery, which closed in 1965 and was replaced by the Ruppert Towers apartment complex — as well as the park, which opened in 1979.

Though well-loved by East Side families, Ruppert has "a very '70s design," as Kallos described it. Its four-leaf clover shape divides the park into four quadrants, including a little-used grassless area that has been repurposed as a dog run.

Other problems include an excess of vegetation that blocks sunlight and attracts insects, as well as a dearth of sitting areas, rat infestations, outdated play equipment and hilly areas that pose accessibility challenges.

"Ruppert Park has needed an overhaul since I was kid and no one wanted to play there," Kallos said in a statement. "I can't believe it took my lifetime, but Ruppert Park is going to get a complete redesign to become a destination park in the neighborhood that everyone will want to go to."

Upper East Side Patch Upper East Side Sinkhole Latest: Repairs Continue, Sewer Eyed by Nick Garber

Upper East Side Sinkhole Latest: Repairs Continue, Sewer Eyed

The pavement on East 89th Street between York and East End avenues caved in around 8:30 a.m. Thursday. Initially measuring about 20 feet deep and 8 by 8 feet in diameter, workers later widened it by about 7 feet to perform repairs, City Councilmember Ben Kallos said on Monday.

"They went all the way to the sidewalk because that's how compromised it was," he said.

An investigation into the cause is ongoing and no conclusions have been reached yet, a spokesperson for the Department of Environmental Protection said Monday.

Kallos, though, said investigators told him that the five-foot-wide sewer line had likely been leaking, triggering the collapse.

Within 24 hours of Thursday's collapse, workers had rerouted a sewer line that had been affected by the sinkhole and covered up the site with dirt. Over the weekend, crews expanded the hole to expose more utilities nearby, the DEP spokesperson said.

Monday and Tuesday, the city planned to bring in materials from out of state to continue cleaning out and replacing the damaged sewer line, Kallos said.

Two buildings that lost running water for a few hours had it restored later on Thursday.

Sinkholes often appear after heavy rainfall, like the storms that swept the city in recent weeks, and are not necessarily a sign of infrastructure problems, a city official told the New York Times on Friday.

Still, it triggered fears that the city is unprepared for extreme weather triggered by climate change, having come on the heels of another sinkhole on the Upper West Side and a thunderstorm that flooded subway stations. Kallos told Patch last week that "I don't want to see a Miami building collapse happen in New York City."

Upper East Side Patch Upper East Side Sinkhole: 20-Foot Crater Startles Neighborhood by Nick Garber

Upper East Side Sinkhole: 20-Foot Crater Startles Neighborhood

The sinkhole, on East 89th Street between York and East End avenues, was first reported at 8:32 a.m. in a city alert.

The hole measures 20 feet deep and about 15 by 15 feet in diameter, a spokesperson for the city's Emergency Management department said. A 12-inch water main and a six-inch sewer pipe are being eyed as possible causes, investigators told City Councilmember Ben Kallos.

Photos and videos showed the sinkhole stretching across the middle of the road as crews from the Department of Environmental Protection jackhammered into the asphalt. The city asked neighbors to avoid the area.

Two buildings have had their utilities shut off: an empty building under construction, as well as 504 East 89th Street, where 10 apartments were temporarily without water, Kallos said.

Upper East Side Patch $80M Renovation Coming To East River Esplanade On Upper East Side by Nick Garber

$80M Renovation Coming To East River Esplanade On Upper East Side

The city provided no timeline for when work would begin, saying details would be determined during the design process. The Parks and Transportation departments will present the project Thursday night to Community Board 8.

"John Finley Walk is an incredible spot to take a stroll and enjoy the waterfront," Mayor Bill de Blasio said in a statement. "These infrastructure improvements will ensure New Yorkers will be able to enjoy this beautiful promenade for generations to come."

News of the repairs was hailed by local officials, including City Councilmember Ben Kallos, U.S. Rep. Carolyn Maloney and Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer.

Upper East Side Patch Scaffold Covers West Village Block For 22 Years, Residents Say by Gus Saltonstall

Scaffold Covers West Village Block For 22 Years, Residents Say

WEST VILLAGE, NY — The day a sidewalk scaffolding shed first went up over part of a West 9th Street block, Rudy Giuliani was mayor of New York City, "Shakespeare In Love" had recently won Best Picture at the Academy Awards and Britney Spears had just earned her first No. 1 hit.

It's still there.

The shed of wood and metal first went up outside 24-26 West 9th St. on Nov. 7, 1999. Though official records show it came down briefly in 2004 and again in 2007, it quickly returned both times, making it a 22-year blight, frustrated local residents said.

 

"Manhattanites are so sick of this nonsense: sidewalk sheds go up and decades later they are still up. It is frankly embarrassing for us as a City that we cannot get these repairs done and get the sheds down," Kallos told Patch.

"My legislation would force the building owner here to make the necessary repairs for the facade to be safe and then take the scaffolding down all within 90 days. If they don't want to, the city would get it done, and the landlord would have to deal with the bill. With over 300 miles of scaffolding crowding City sidewalks, hurting local businesses, and ruining quality of life, the time is now to enact this reform."

Upper East Side Patch Upper East Side's Ruppert Park To Get Major Renovation by Nick Garber

Upper East Side's Ruppert Park To Get Major Renovation
  • https://patch.com/img/cdn20/users/23562214/20210505/092803/styles/patch_image/public/upper-east-side-ruppert-park-renovations___05212735918.jpgThe one-acre park, on Second Avenue between East 90th and 91st streets, was built in 1979 by the city's Housing Preservation Department before being transferred to the Parks Department in the 1990s. (Nick Garber/Patch)

A grassless area repurposed as a dog run could be rehabilitated through Ruppert Park's renovations, Councilmember Ben Kallos said. (Nick Garber/Patch)

The one-acre park, on Second Avenue between East 90th and 91st streets, was built in 1979 by the city's Housing Preservation Department before being transferred to the Parks Department in the 1990s.A grassless area repurposed as a dog run could be rehabilitated through Ruppert Park's renovations, Councilmember Ben Kallos said.

UPPER EAST SIDE, NY — Ruppert Park, one of the Upper East Side's small but treasured green spaces, is set for a major overhaul thanks to an infusion of new funding, City Councilmember Ben Kallos told Patch.

The one-acre park, on Second Avenue between East 90th and 91st streets, was built in 1979 by the city's Housing Preservation Department before being transferred to the Parks Department in the 1990s.

In that time, it has served countless families and hosted many an afternoon playtime — but Ruppert remains "an acquired taste," Kallos said.

 

"The park has a very '70s design," he said. "Walking by the park as a child, all I saw was a giant six-foot fence and overgrowth that just doesn't seem welcoming."

A fountain in the center of the park is rarely functional, its "four-leaf clover" design has led to two quadrants being under-used, including a grassless stretch that has been repurposed as a dog run. Overly dense trees create a lack of sunlight and excessive moisture in the summertime, attracting bugs, Kallos said.