New York CIty Council Member Ben Kallos

Upper East Side Patch

Upper East Side Patch East Side Electeds Hail Education Funding In Federal Stimulus by Nick Garber

East Side Electeds Hail Education Funding In Federal Stimulus

City Councilmember Ben Kallos, Assemblymember Rebecca Seawright and U.S. Rep. Carolyn Maloney spoke Tuesday outside Eleanor Roosevelt High School.

City Councilmember Ben Kallos, Assemblymember Rebecca Seawright and U.S. Rep. Carolyn Maloney spoke Tuesday outside Eleanor Roosevelt High School. (Office of City Councilmember Ben Kallos)

UPPER EAST SIDE, NY — A cohort of Upper East Side politicians and educators celebrated the billions of dollars heading to New York City as part of the federal stimulus package, highlighting the funding for schools in a news conference Tuesday.

The $1.9-trillion American Rescue Plan includes $5.2 billion for 3-K, pre-K and other education funding for New York, according to U.S. Rep. Carolyn Maloney, who spoke Tuesday morning outside Eleanor Roosevelt High School.

Maloney said the funding would help schools safely reopen during the pandemic and fund universal 3-K across the city's school districts

Upper East Side Patch These UES Projects Could Win Kallos's Participatory Budget Bucks by Nick Garber

These UES Projects Could Win Kallos's Participatory Budget Bucks

Ben Kallos attends a ribbon-cutting on the East River Esplanade in April 2019. Voting for this year's participatory budgeting projects opens April 5.

Ben Kallos attends a ribbon-cutting on the East River Esplanade in April 2019. Voting for this year's participatory budgeting projects opens April 5. (Jeffrey WZ Reed/New York City Council)

UPPER EAST SIDE, NY — For the eighth straight year, residents of the Upper East Side can vote to decide how $1 million of their City Council member's budget should be spent.

Nine different projects are in the running for this year's round of participatory budgeting in District 5, represented by Ben Kallos and covering the eastern stretch of the Upper East Side as well as Roosevelt Island.

Kallos has made about $1 million available for neighborhood projects — one of just four Council members who set aside money this year for participatory budgeting. (Plans for a citywide program have been delayed due to the pandemic.)

 

Online voting will run from April 5 to April 14. (More information below on how to vote.)

Here are the District 5 projects on the ballot for participatory budgeting this year:

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  • $750,000 to purchase laptop carts for 10 District 5 schools
  • $700,000 to purchase and install new play equipment at NYCHA Lexington Houses
  • $500,000 for an expansion of the children's play areas in Rupert Park
  • $450,000 to renovate, update and configure bathrooms at Talent Unlimited High School
  • $300,000 to replace the existing wheelchair lift at the New York Public Library at 328 East 67th Street with an improved design for accessibility
  • $285,000 to purchase and install public safety cameras to cover five high-traffic locations
  • $250,000 to repair and finish the flooring, upgrade the lighting and replace all safety wall padding at P.S./I.S. 217 gym
  • $250,000 to fund the purchase of telemetry machines at H+H Coler Hospital
  • $187,000 to plant 50 new trees with guards on sidewalks throughout the district

Upper East Side Patch NYC 3-K Will Go Free Citywide In September, De Blasio Says by Matt Troutman

NYC 3-K Will Go Free Citywide In September, De Blasio Says

A cavalcade of City Council members who've long pushed for universal 3-K joined de Blasio and Porter. Council Member Ben Kallos noted he has a 3-year-old daughter himself and said his family will be applying for the program.

"Mayor de Blasio, I've been asking for this for so many years, what will we talk about?" Kallos said.

De Blasio said the ultimate goal for the program is about 60,000 slots for children.

 

Upper East Side Patch Vaccine Site Opens On Upper East Side, Serving NYCHA Residents by Nick Garber

Vaccine Site Opens On Upper East Side, Serving NYCHA Residents

Virus rates on the Upper East Side have been far lower than in many neighborhoods, and the neighborhood has led Manhattan in vaccination rates since the rollout began.

But COVID-19 has devastated Black and Latino communities, who make up the vast majority of New York's public housing residents, including at the Isaacs Houses and Holmes Towers.

"When we start to focus in on areas like where we are standing here ... we have a very different story," City Councilmember Ben Kallos said.

Upper East Side Patch Upper East Side Barely Added Housing Since 2010, New Study Finds by Nick Garber

Upper East Side Barely Added Housing Since 2010, New Study Finds

Those minimal gains come as the city faces what many observers consider a critical housing shortage. City Councilmember Ben Kallos, who has pushed to build more affordable housing on the Upper East Side, said Tuesday he was "shocked by the numbers," which were first reported by THE CITY.

"Anyone who lives on the Upper East Side will tell you that there's been nonstop construction," he said.

But Kallos was unsurprised that demolitions have been a factor, citing the sparsely-populated luxury developments that have popped up around the neighborhood in recent years — often replacing cheaper, denser housing.

Upper East Side Patch Crumbling East Harlem Esplanade To Get $284M In Repairs by Nick Garber

Crumbling East Harlem Esplanade To Get $284M In Repairs

Several past rounds of Esplanade repairs were supposed to be split between the Upper East Side and East Harlem, including a $35 million commitment from the city in 2014 and $75 million in 2019. But those repairs have been carried out unevenly, said City Councilmember Ben Kallos, who represents the Upper East Side.

"I'm troubled by the fact that the work that was funded on the [Upper] East Side has already been completed, and much of the work that was funded over the last seven years for East Harlem still hasn't started," Kallos said Thursday.

Upper East Side Patch Upper East Side Bike Lane Snowplows Blocked By City, Pols Say by Nick Garber

Upper East Side Bike Lane Snowplows Blocked By City, Pols Say

UPPER EAST SIDE, NY — Two Upper East Side officeholders said the city has blocked them from buying snow plows to clear the neighborhood's bike lanes, even though residents asked for them and the money is already allocated.

"It's incredibly stupid to put the health and safety of people riding bikes in jeopardy because the city doesn't want to spend $30,000," said City Councilmember Ben Kallos, referring to the cost of the six-foot plow attachment in question.

New Yorkers have long complained that intersections and bike lanes remain slush-covered for days after snowstorms, posing a hazard to cyclists and pedestrians alike.

Upper East Side Patch Upper East Side Bike Lane Snowplows Blocked By City, Pols Say by Nick Garber

Upper East Side Bike Lane Snowplows Blocked By City, Pols Say

UPPER EAST SIDE, NY — Two Upper East Side officeholders said the city has blocked them from buying snow plows to clear the neighborhood's bike lanes, even though residents asked for them and the money is already allocated.

"It's incredibly stupid to put the health and safety of people riding bikes in jeopardy because the city doesn't want to spend $30,000," said City Councilmember Ben Kallos, referring to the cost of the six-foot plow attachment in question.

Upper East Side Patch Roosevelt Island Public Library Opens After Years Of Work by Nick Garber

Roosevelt Island Public Library Opens After Years Of Work

Funds for the project were allocated by Mayor Bill de Blasio, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, City Councilmember Ben Kallos and former Councilmember Jessica Lappin.

"Roosevelt Islanders have always loved their public library and now they are going to love it even more," Kallos said in a statement.

To start, the library will be open for grab-and-go service from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Saturday.

Upper East Side Patch UES University To Build New Biotech Hub With $9M City Grant by Nick Garber

UES University To Build New Biotech Hub With $9M City Grant

Rockefeller University will build a life-sciences hub on its Upper East Side campus, part of the mayor's push for new public health spaces.

UPPER EAST SIDE, NY — Rockefeller University will build a new life-sciences hub on its Upper East Side campus as part of a citywide push to make New York the "public health capital of the world," Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Thursday.

The $9 million grant to Rockefeller will help it convert some of its existing academic research labs into a new incubator for life-science companies, dubbed the Tri-Institutional Translational Center for Therapeutics.

The $9 million grant to Rockefeller University will help it convert existing research labs on its Upper East Side campus into a new incubator for life-science companies.

City officials said the 26,000-square-foot facility will be the first of its kind among the Upper East Side's collection of biomedical institutions, and will link up with Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center and Weil Cornell Medicine to conduct research.

The facility has been years in the making, according to City Councilmember Ben Kallos, who began meeting with Rockefeller University to discuss the incubator space shortly after taking office in 2014.

""Biotech will own the future and if we learned any lesson in 2020, it is that New York City needs to become a hub for this industry as soon as possible," Kallos said in a statement. "These biotech centers will create thousands of good-paying jobs and have the potential to be crucial in discovering life-saving cures and treatments for diseases right here on the Upper East Side"

The city funding will cover only part of the cost of the new labs and Rockefeller will need to raise the rest, Kallos's office said.

The combined $38 million in grants announced Thursday are part of LifeSciNYC, a $500 million initiative launched by the de Blasio administration in 2016 to grow the city's life-sciences industry over the next 10 years.

De Blasio's administration has also backed a controversial proposal to greatly expand the New York Blood Center on East 67th Street, which officials said would help the city recover from the coronavirus pandemic by adding thousands of square feet of new lab space. Some neighbors, however, have opposed the plan due to its size and impact on the surrounding blocks.

Rockefeller University, whose York Avenue campus stretches between 63rd and 68th streets, opened four new buildings on a platform above the FDR Drive in 2019.

One of the nation's most prestigious research institutions, Rockefeller's faculty have won 26 Nobel Prizes.

"The combined research strengths of three world-leading biomedical institutions provides an unparalleled foundation to ensure the success of the new Tri-Institutional Translational Center for Therapeutics," Rockefeller President Richard P. Lifton said in a statement.

"By consolidating existing collaborations and providing much-needed biotech incubator space into the bargain, this new center will focus the boldest biomedical science in the world on solving today's most challenging medical problems – while also growing the fast-emerging biotech sector in New York City."