New York CIty Council Member Ben Kallos

Upper East Side Patch

Upper East Side Patch Bill Aims To Tackle Empty Stores And 'Landlord Extortion' In NYC by Todd Maisel/

Bill Aims To Tackle Empty Stores And 'Landlord Extortion' In NYC

"We thought the problems in the building were dangerous, but the landlord ignored us and there is no mechanism to get them to fix the issues," Velkov said. "The city said that they couldn't do anything and the landlord could just revoke the lease – we just don't have any rights."

Sarah McNally, owner of McNally Jackson Book stores in Manhattan and Brooklyn, said she is being forced out of her store in Manhattan and will have to relocate.

"We are being replaced by chains," McNally said. It would've helped to have the non-binding arbitration and mediation."

Councilman Ben Kallos, (D-Manhattan) a co-sponsor of the bill, ­­decried the spread of chain stores.

"New York City doesn't need another Starbucks or a bank – it's the last thing we need," Kallos said. "Instead, we get empty storefronts and there are vacancies everywhere. We need to save small business in this city instead of having darkness."

Upper East Side Patch Council Reps Fund UES Community Board Meeting Live Streams by Brendan Krisel

Council Reps Fund UES Community Board Meeting Live Streams

"As the public media station for the New York metropolitan area, WNET is proud to partner with Council Members Kallos and Powers to provide this public service to the community" Neal Shapiro, president and CEO of WNET, said in a statement.

Funding will cover live streams for the community board's next 12 full board meetings. The full board makes the final vote on resolutions that have been passed by community board committees. Resolutions span a wide range of issues such as housing, public safety, business licenses and transportation.

WNET employees will attend the meetings and stream them using professional camera and sound equipment.

Kallos and Powers decided to fund the live streams at Community Board 8's request, a spokesman for Kallos said. The streams will be publicized by Kallos and Powers on social media, the spokesman said

Upper East Side Patch Renovated 2-Block Portion Of East River Esplanade Unveiled by Brendan Krisel

Renovated 2-Block Portion Of East River Esplanade Unveiled

The city partnered with the Hospital for Special Surgery to conduct a $1.8 million renovation of the esplanade between East 70th and 72nd streets when the hospital requested permission to expand its Upper East Side campus, City Councilman Ben Kallos said Thursday.

"When HHS wanted to make a small expansion to one of its buildings they asked how they could best give back to the community," Kallos said. "In addition to the great work they do healing New Yorkers and their existing commitment to be part of the conservancy we asked if they could do even more and they obliged."

The newly-renovated portion of the esplanade features new railings, benches, planters and a new water station where runners and bikers can fill up their water bottles, city Parks Commissioner Mitchell Silver said. The renovations also brought sound-resistant walls to the esplanade to reduce noise coming from the FDR Drive.

Upper East Side Patch Park-Replacing Development Sets 'Harmful Precedent': Opponents by Brendal Krisel

Park-Replacing Development Sets 'Harmful Precedent': Opponents

The advocates seem to have an ally on the council in local representative Ben Kallos, who advocated for the end to "baseless distinctions between parks in order to protect our playgrounds and green spaces from overdevelopment," Curbed reported.

Most city representatives refrained from answer questions regarding the Marx Brothers Playground development during Monday's hearing due to the pending lawsuit against the city, Curbed reported.

The Marx Brother's Playground is known as a Jointly Operated Playgrounds (JOP), of which there are currently about 267 in the city. The city started creating JOPs in the 1930s when the city Department of Education agreed to provide land next to school spaces to be maintained by the Department of Parks and Recreation for recreational purposes, according to City Council records. All JOPs are still maintained by the Department of Parks and recreation and most are located in low-income communities. Abot 116 of the remaining JOPs are located in Community Parks Initiative zones that are described as low-income and high-density.

Upper East Side Patch New Pre-K Facility Adds 90 Seats To Upper East Side by Brenden Krisel

New Pre-K Facility Adds 90 Seats To Upper East Side

UPPER EAST SIDE, NY — A new universal pre-k facility has added 90 seats to the Upper East Side, which means 90 families no longer have to trek down to Lower Manhattan to send their children to school, city officials announced Wednesday.

The new 11,500-square-foot facility on the corner of Third Avenue and East 95th Street opened on time for the 2018-2019 school year and is part of a push to add pre-k seats to the Upper East Side neighborhood, city officials said.

Upper East Side Patch Second Avenue Bike Lane Extension Backed By UES Community Board by Brendal Krisel

Second Avenue Bike Lane Extension Backed By UES Community Board

"Any pedestrian who has tried to cross under the Queensboro Bridge on Second Avenue knows it is not safe, and while the new subway runs in both directions, residents of the Upper East Side who travel above ground via bicycle have no safe route downtown,"

Upper East Side Patch Ferry Service Launches On Upper East Side by Brendal Krisel

Ferry Service Launches On Upper East Side

"The Upper East Side is thrilled to finally have our very own NYC Ferry stop along the Soundview route," City Councilman Ben Kallos said in a statement. "NYC Ferry continues to connect New Yorkers to our waterfront while reducing the burden on our City's public transportation system while helping New Yorkers get from A to B quicker, easier and more enjoyably."

Transit options for Upper East Siders have dramatically improved since the beginning of 2017 with the opening of the Second Avenue Subway and now with the launch of the East 90th Street ferry. Neighborhood residents living closer to the East River were previously forced to bet on the city's often-unreliable bus service or walk all the way to the Lexington Avenue line for the subway.

Upper East Side Patch NYPD Cameras To Be Installed At 7 Sutton Place Locations by Brendan Krisel

NYPD Cameras To Be Installed At 7 Sutton Place Locations

Starting in 2019, NYPD security cameras will be installed at seven locations in the mostly-residential neighborhoods, City Councilman Ben Kallos and Keith Powers said. Both council representatives pitched in to fund the cameras after a proposal gained broad support during the last participatory budgeting cycle, but not enough votes to secure funding.

"We're here to talk about quality of life and making sure that every park in our neighborhood has the best quality of life and is as safe as possible," Kallos said Friday.

Upper East Side Patch Councilman Funds Upper East Side Firehouse Renovations by Brendan Krisel

Councilman Funds Upper East Side Firehouse Renovations

UPPER EAST SIDE, NY — A fire house covering a large span of the Upper East Side is set to receive an investment of more than a half-million dollars for renovations.

City Councilman Ben Kallos is allocating $525,000 for fixes at the home of Engine Company 22, Ladder Tower 13 and Battalion 10 on East 85th Street between Lexington and Third Avenues, the councilman announced Tuesday.

"Our firefighters respond to every 911 call as if our lives depend on it, because they do, and they are always there for us, fighting fires, saving lives, and we must be there for them," Kallos said in a statement. "When we run from danger our firefighters run to it, they are our bravest, and we must do everything in our power to support them."