New York CIty Council Member Ben Kallos

Upper East Side Patch

Upper East Side Patch Developer Claims No Clear Plan For Replacing Demolished UES Block by Brendan Krisel

Developer Claims No Clear Plan For Replacing Demolished UES Block

UPPER EAST SIDE, NY — Extell Development's Gary Barnett revealed few details Tuesday night during a Community Board meeting to discuss his firm's planned full-block developments on First Avenue between East 79th and 80th streets and East 85th and 86th streets.

Upper East Side Patch Development Brings 28 Below-Market Units, Preschool To UES by Brendan Krisel

Development Brings 28 Below-Market Units, Preschool To UES

City Councilman Ben Kallos praised the project as a win for the neighborhood because it proves that below-market housing can be built on the Upper East Side despite the expensive cost of real estate. Extell bought the site for $14 million in 2014, according to city Department of Finance records.

Extell Development is using 421A and Mandatory Inclusionary Hosing subsidies at the building, developers said.

Upper East Side Patch New Stretch Of East River Esplanade Opens After $15M Renovation by Brendan Krisel

New Stretch Of East River Esplanade Opens After $15M Renovation

In addition to financing the $15 million renovation, Rockefeller University is creating an endowment to maintain the esplanade section and contributed $150,000 to the conservancy group Friends of the East River Esplanade, Kallos said.

"When I got elected the waterfront was crumbling, which is why I set a goal of involving local institutions in public-private partnerships to rehabilitate the East River Esplanade," Kallos said.

Upper East Side Patch UES Councilman Proposes Pesticide Ban In City Parks by Brendan Krisel

UES Councilman Proposes Pesticide Ban In City Parks

"Parks should be for playing not pesticides," Kallos said in a statement. "All families should be able to enjoy our city parks without having to worry that they are being exposed to toxic pesticides that could give them and their families cancer."

Kallos added that he doesn't allow his newborn daughter to play on the grass in city parks out of fear that she may be sickened by pesticides.

The legislation would force city agencies to switch from synthetic pesticides to biological pesticides made from naturally occurring chemicals. These natural pesticides are generally accepted as less toxic and break down more rapidly, the bill's sponsors said. In addition to banning pesticides in city parks, the bill would also prohibit spraying pesticides within 75 feet of a body of wate

Upper East Side Patch Nonprofit Gallery Featuring Immigrant Artists Opens On UES by Brendal Krisel

Nonprofit Gallery Featuring Immigrant Artists Opens On UES

UPPER EAST SIDE, NY — A nonprofit that turns under-utilized real estate into spaces where artists can create and present their artworks opened a new studio on Monday that will feature the work of immigrant artists for its debut exhibit, the nonprofit and local elected officials announced.

The organization Chashama renovated an empty space in the St. Tropez condo complex on East 64th Street near First Avenue into an art gallery following the building's donation of the space. City Councilman Ben Kallos, the nonprofit and artists celebrated the opening of the space Monday with a ribbon cutting ceremony.

Upper East Side Patch Help UES Council Members Spend $1M On Neighborhood by Brandon Krisel

Help UES Council Members Spend $1M On Neighborhood

Voting opens on March 30 and end April 7 for New York City's eighth participatory budgeting cycle, city officials said. Residents of the Upper East Side will vote on whether to fund projects selected as finalists by City Council members Keith Powers or Ben Kallos, depending on whether they live within the council's fourth or fifth district.

Projects selected as finalists for participatory budgeting address community needs such as housing and school improvements, park upgrades, public safety and senior services. Most projects don't carry a funding value of $1 million, so multiple projects can win funding. If certain projects prove popular, city council members may chose to allocate even more funds.

Upper East Side Patch NYC Votes To Ban Restaurants From Offering Kids Sugary Drinks by Noah Manskar

NYC Votes To Ban Restaurants From Offering Kids Sugary Drinks

NEW YORK — Sorry, kids — now you'll have to ask for that Coke. New York City restaurants will likely be banned from offering kids sugary drinks under legislation the City Council approved Thursday.

The bill restricts the beverages that eateries can offer with children's meals to water, juice and low- or non-fat milk. Restaurants could still give kids soda or another drink if they ask for one, but those that get caught offering heavily sweetened sippables could be fined up to $200.

"Healthy drinks with kid's meals will be the new normal in New York City no matter where they are eating," Councilman Ben Kallos, a Manhattan Democrat who sponsored the bill, said in a statement. "While parents can still order whatever they want the default will be healthy."

Upper East Side Patch Use More Cameras To Keep NYC Buses Moving, Pols Say by Noah Manskar

Use More Cameras To Keep NYC Buses Moving, Pols Say

UPPER EAST SIDE — Cameras have deterred drivers from running red lights and speeding past schools — and they could help keep New York City's bus lanes clear too, lawmakers and advocates say.

State law limits the number of routes where cameras can be used to ticket drivers who block bus lanes. Legislators and transit advocates say they want to change that through the state budget so cameras can be used across the city.

Upper East Side Patch UES Tower On 'Stilts' Halted By City Department Of Buildings by Brendan Krisel

UES Tower On 'Stilts' Halted By City Department Of Buildings

City Councilman Ben Kallos, who represents the Upper East Side, took it upon himself to act as a crusader for the zoning resolution's amendment by visiting 10 of Manhattan's 12 community boards to discuss the proposal. Of those 10 community boards visited by Kallos, eight voted on resolutions to support the city's amendment and two voted to oppose the amendment but said they would switch their position if improvements were made.

Upper East Side Patch NYC Bus Routes Graded: Just 1 Of 248 Gets An 'A' by Noah Manskar

NYC Bus Routes Graded: Just 1 Of 248 Gets An 'A'

The buses are also a priority for New York City Transit President Andy Byford. His transit overhaul plan released last year called for redesigning the city's bus route network and rolling out 2,800 new buses within five years. His agency also wants to speed up boarding by using all doors.

But officials should move faster to make changes that can help commuters, said City Councilman Ben Kallos, whose Upper East Side district got a failing grade.

"What do we say to all the commuters who had a rough commute this morning, who didn't get to work on time, who lost money or may have lost their jobs because of the bus that never showed up, the bus that showed up bunched or the bus that got caught in traffic because there was no bus lane?" Kallos, a Democrat, said.

The MTA says its redesign of Staten Island's express bus network has made average bus speeds 12 percent faster, and a redesign is now underway for The Bronx. But Max Young, the agency's chief external affairs officer, acknowledged that there is still "an enormous amount of work to do on this issue" despite recent progress.