New York CIty Council Member Ben Kallos

Nick Garber

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.