New York CIty Council Member Ben Kallos

Upper East Side Patch

Upper East Side Patch Give Roosevelt Island A Bank, UES Community Board Says by Nick Garber

Give Roosevelt Island A Bank, UES Community Board Says

Beyond the island's permanent residents, board members also expressed concern that students and employees at the island's Cornell Tech campus, as well as patients at the city-run Coler nursing home and rehabilitation center, might be inconvenienced by the absence of services.

City Councilmember Ben Kallos, who represents the island, told Patch on Thursday that he has been in touch with state and federal officials about restoring banking services.

The developer Hudson Related, which has built up parts of the island, has also "reached out to a laundry list of banks" to inquire about setting up a new branch there, Kallos said.

Upper East Side Patch UES Trader Joe's Set For 2021 Opening After Yearslong Move-In by Nick Garber

UES Trader Joe's Set For 2021 Opening After Yearslong Move-In

After presenting the two options to neighborhood groups including the East River 50s Alliance and Sutton Area Community, Kallos said that residents' preference was clear.

"What I will say is, people love Trader Joe's," Kallos said.

Trader Joe's will be committing to the space through June 2026, with an option to renew until 2036, according to a copy of the lease which was shared with Patch.

Upper East Side Patch Vacancy Crisis: Empty Storefronts Blanket Upper East Side by Nick Garber

Vacancy Crisis: Empty Storefronts Blanket Upper East Side

UPPER EAST SIDE, NY — For years, Upper East Siders have observed growing numbers of vacant storefronts in the neighborhood. Then the pandemic hit.

The coronavirus threatens to unleash a retail apocalypse on New York City, having already shuttered scores of beloved neighborhood eateries and other businesses facing unfulfillable rent payments and a lack of aid from the federal government.

Before the crisis, vacancies were already mounting — a trend that Upper East Side City Councilmember Ben Kallos blames partly on landlords "demanding rents that only national chains and banks could pay."

Upper East Side Patch Submissions Open For Upper East Side Participatory Budgeting by Nick Garber

Submissions Open For Upper East Side Participatory Budgeting

UPPER EAST SIDE, NY — It is once again time for Upper East Siders to weigh in on how to spend more than $1 million to improve their neighborhood through the city's participatory budgeting process.

The process — which has residents brainstorm, pitch and vote on ideas for local funding — opened this month in District 5, which includes the eastern stretch of the Upper East Side as well as Roosevelt Island.

Councilmember Ben Kallos has $1 million for capital projects — brick-and-mortar, physical infrastructure work — to allot to his constituents. (City Councilmember Keith Powers, who also represents part of the Upper East Side, has not yet announced a budgeting program for this year.)

Upper East Side Patch UES School Celebrates New Dual-Language French Program by Nick Garber

UES School Celebrates New Dual-Language French Program

UPPER EAST SIDE, NY — Officials and families cut a ceremonial ribbon at an Upper East Side pre-K center Friday, marking the start of a new French dual language program nearly a year in the making.

The program's origins date back to a December 2019 meeting with City Councilmember Ben Kallos and local school leaders and parents at the Stanley Isaacs Center.

That meeting gave rise to a petition signed by more than 200 parents pledging to send their children to a French dual language program if such a program was created, Kallos's office said.

Upper East Side Patch 'No Protesting Allowed': Sign Baffles Upper East Side BLM Group by Nick Garber

'No Protesting Allowed': Sign Baffles Upper East Side BLM Group

UPPER EAST SIDE, NY — When Rebecca Lamorte arrived at Carl Schurz Park on Wednesday, she almost missed the official-looking, red-and-white sign affixed to a post near the park's East 86th Street entrance.

"It didn't dawn on me right away until I stopped to read it," said Lamorte, one of the co-founders of the group Upper East Side for Black Lives Matter (UES4BLM), which has held nightly demonstrations against racism in the park since June.

When she examined it more closely, she realized it bore a startling message: "ABSOLUTELY NO PROTESTING ALLOWED."

"I was like, oh, this is an encroachment on our First Amendment right," she said. "So I immediately took a photo — I did what millennials do, I put it out on social."

Lamorte's tweet triggered a quick response from city agencies, who said the sign was not official, and from City Councilmember Ben Kallos, who represents the neighborhood.

Upper East Side Patch Giant Sinkhole Opens Up On East River Esplanade by Brendan Krisel

Giant Sinkhole Opens Up On East River Esplanade

The Upper East Side's elected officials have done a good job advocating for esplanade repairs, but Shimamura believes that the city needs to direct more resources to preserving the river walk given the limited green space available to Upper East Side residents. The city Parks Department should conduct inspections along the esplanade, including portions outside the Upper East Side, to identify sections that may be vulnerable, the community board member said.

City Councilman Ben Kallos told Patch that his East River Esplanade Taskforce — which he co-chairs with Congressmember Carolyn Maloney — has secured more than $278 million for esplanade repairs. The funds will help fast track repair efforts at the site of the East 76th Street collapse.

"Where previous repairs have taken years or months, the Parks Department will be using funds we've already secured to mobilize and promised to begin repairs in the coming weeks. Our task force will work to keep this repair on track and restore this vital park space," Kallos said in a statement.

Upper East Side Patch UES Lawmaker Proposes Empty Shops, Schools For Child Care: Report by Brendan Krisel

UES Lawmaker Proposes Empty Shops, Schools For Child Care: Report

UPPER EAST SIDE, NY — New York City should explore utilizing storefronts and schools that have gone vacant during the coronavirus pandemic as emergency child care centers when public schools reopen in the fall, an Upper East Side City Councilman proposed this week.

Using vacant retail space and buildings of independent schools that have closed or won't offer in-person learning next year will help public school parents maintain their full-time jobs when schools reopen in the fall, City Councilmember Ben Kallos wrote in a letter to Mayor Bill de Blasio and School Chancellor Richard Carranza. The New York Daily News first reported on Kallos' proposal.

Upper East Side Patch Council Rep To Hold Info Session On Roosevelt Island Apt Lottery by Brendan Krisel

Council Rep To Hold Info Session On Roosevelt Island Apt Lottery

ROOSEVELT ISLAND, NY — Roosevelt Island's representative in the City Council is hosting an information session with the developers of a new development on the island about a lottery for more than 300 below-market units in the building.

Councilman Ben Kallos, who also represents the Upper East Side, will educate residents on how to apply for apartments at the new Hudson Related development River Walk Park. The Roosevelt Island development is offering units to people earning 40, 50, 80, 130 and 165 percent of the area median income. The city Department of Housing Preservation and Development classifies these income levels as ranging from "very-low income to middle income."

The info session will be held Tuesday, June 30 at 6 p.m., just about one week before the housing lottery's July 6 application deadline, according to Kallos' office. Those interested in attending can sign up for the virtual event on the councilmember's website.

Upper East Side Patch Caravan Thanking School Workers To Drive Through Manhattan by Anna Quinn

Caravan Thanking School Workers To Drive Through Manhattan

UPTOWN, MANHATTAN — A caravan of cars will drive through uptown Manhattan on Friday to thank the thousands of public school maintenance workers who have been keeping school buildings clean and safe during the coronavirus pandemic.

The caravan, set up by union 32BJ SEIU, will start in the Upper East Side and make its way through Morningside Heights and Inwood, stopping off at six Manhattan public schools, meal distribution sites and essential resource centers.

Elected officials, including City Council members Mark Levine and Ben Kallos, will be on hand to speak about their appreciation for the cleaners and maintenance staff at some of the stops.