New York CIty Council Member Ben Kallos

Brendal Krisel

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 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 UES High Schoolers Petition City For New Gym, Get 3K Signatures by Brendal Krisel

UES High Schoolers Petition City For New Gym, Get 3K Signatures

City Councilman Ben Kallos — who says he's been in talks with the city Department of Education and School Construction Authority to get more physical education spaces in district since he's been elected — helped students facilitate their petition and included it in his monthly newsletter for constituents.

"It's amazing that Eleanor Roosevelt High School has championed athletics given that they don't actually have a gym. Hopefully this can help their sports program grow to the next level," Kallos told Patch.

Kallos noted that while of the Upper East Side's private schools are building or already have field houses for athletics, public schools are left without adequate space.

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 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 Work Begins On New Upper East Side Pre-K Facility by Brendal Krisel

Work Begins On New Upper East Side Pre-K Facility

City Councilman Ben Kallos said years of advocacy from neighborhood parents and elected officials for more pre-k seats in the neighborhood is beginning to pay off.

"Seat by seat, class by class, and now building by building we are making sure the City opens up more pre-kindergarten seats so every four-year-old in my district can participate without commuting for an hour each way," Kallos said in a statement. "Thank you the School Construction Authority for starting the work on this much needed new facility."

Upper East Side Patch Queensboro Oval Will Not Become A Park, City Says by Brendal Krisel

Queensboro Oval Will Not Become A Park, City Says

UPPER EAST SIDE, NY — The Queensboro Oval will remain home to a sports facility — not a park — for at least another 10 years, according to the city Parks Department.

The Parks Department released a request for proposals in February seeking a partner to develop, operate and maintain a sports facility at the space located underneath the Queensboro Bridge on East 59th Street between First and York avenues. Community boards and elected officials representing the Upper East Side and East Midtown had advocated converting the space into a public park.

"For many months last year, NYC Parks engaged in an extensive dialogue with elected officials, community board members, local residents and those who have enjoyed tennis at the Queensboro Oval for the past 40 years, and determined that open to the public sports recreational use of this kind of space is the best, safest, and most accessible," Parks Department Spokeswoman Crystal Howard said in a statement. "We look forward to continued engagement with the public as we move forward."

The Queensboro Oval site is owned by the city Department of Transportation, which will not allow the construction of any permanent structures on the property, according to a Parks Department spokesperson. The inability to create permanent structures such as tree and shrub plantings or play equipment makes the site unfit for a traditional park space, the spokesperson said.