New York CIty Council Member Ben Kallos

Upper East Side Patch

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.

Upper East Side Patch Advocates Rally For Congestion Pricing On Upper East Side by Brendal Krisel

Advocates Rally For Congestion Pricing On Upper East Side

UPPER EAST SIDE, NY — The debate around congestion pricing in New York City is often focused on bustling areas such as Midtown Manhattan and the Financial District, but neighborhoods such as the Upper East Side stand to benefit from the policy as well, safe streets advocates said during a Thursday morning rally in the neighborhood.

Upper East Side Patch UES Council Rep Proposes Equipping School Buses With Cameras by Brendal Krisel

UES Council Rep Proposes Equipping School Buses With Cameras

"I would love to see New York City and New York State catch up to other jurisdictions to keep children and parents safe, but I would also like us to become a leader," Kallos told the Post.

School buses are currently equipped with stop arm devices that display a stop sign when the bus is stopped for pickups and dropoffs. Drivers are supposed to yield so that kids can get to the curb safely, but nearly 50,000 drivers ignore the signals each year in New York State, the Post reported.

Upper East Side Patch City Invests $75M More In East River Esplanade Fixes by Brendan Krisel

City Invests $75M More In East River Esplanade Fixes

MANHATTAN, NY — New York City is dedicating an addition $75 million to complete and repair sections of the East River Esplanade in Harlem, the Upper East Side and Midtown, parks officials announced Thursday.