New York CIty Council Member Ben Kallos

Nick Garber

Upper East Side Patch $80M Renovation Coming To East River Esplanade On Upper East Side by Nick Garber

$80M Renovation Coming To East River Esplanade On Upper East Side

The city provided no timeline for when work would begin, saying details would be determined during the design process. The Parks and Transportation departments will present the project Thursday night to Community Board 8.

"John Finley Walk is an incredible spot to take a stroll and enjoy the waterfront," Mayor Bill de Blasio said in a statement. "These infrastructure improvements will ensure New Yorkers will be able to enjoy this beautiful promenade for generations to come."

News of the repairs was hailed by local officials, including City Councilmember Ben Kallos, U.S. Rep. Carolyn Maloney and Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer.

Upper East Side Patch Upper East Side's Ruppert Park To Get Major Renovation by Nick Garber

Upper East Side's Ruppert Park To Get Major Renovation
  • https://patch.com/img/cdn20/users/23562214/20210505/092803/styles/patch_image/public/upper-east-side-ruppert-park-renovations___05212735918.jpgThe one-acre park, on Second Avenue between East 90th and 91st streets, was built in 1979 by the city's Housing Preservation Department before being transferred to the Parks Department in the 1990s. (Nick Garber/Patch)

A grassless area repurposed as a dog run could be rehabilitated through Ruppert Park's renovations, Councilmember Ben Kallos said. (Nick Garber/Patch)

The one-acre park, on Second Avenue between East 90th and 91st streets, was built in 1979 by the city's Housing Preservation Department before being transferred to the Parks Department in the 1990s.A grassless area repurposed as a dog run could be rehabilitated through Ruppert Park's renovations, Councilmember Ben Kallos said.

UPPER EAST SIDE, NY — Ruppert Park, one of the Upper East Side's small but treasured green spaces, is set for a major overhaul thanks to an infusion of new funding, City Councilmember Ben Kallos told Patch.

The one-acre park, on Second Avenue between East 90th and 91st streets, was built in 1979 by the city's Housing Preservation Department before being transferred to the Parks Department in the 1990s.

In that time, it has served countless families and hosted many an afternoon playtime — but Ruppert remains "an acquired taste," Kallos said.

 

"The park has a very '70s design," he said. "Walking by the park as a child, all I saw was a giant six-foot fence and overgrowth that just doesn't seem welcoming."

A fountain in the center of the park is rarely functional, its "four-leaf clover" design has led to two quadrants being under-used, including a grassless stretch that has been repurposed as a dog run. Overly dense trees create a lack of sunlight and excessive moisture in the summertime, attracting bugs, Kallos said.

Upper East Side Patch Affordable Upper East Side Apartments For Sale On Housing Lottery by Nick Garber

Affordable Upper East Side Apartments For Sale On Housing Lottery

Eligible New Yorkers can apply online before the June 29 deadline. Kallos's office will host informational sessions at 6 p.m. on May 19 and June 16. (More information below).

A deal with the city

This week's listing came nearly four months after the lottery was first announced by City Councilmember Ben Kallos, who initially said they would be open for applications by Christmas.

That delay was a result of pricing disagreements between the developer and the city's Housing Preservation Department, as well as fluctuations in the city's real estate market during the pandemic, according to a spokesperson for Kallos.

Upper East Side Patch Blood Center's Upper East Side Tower Takes Heat From New Angles by Nick Garber

Blood Center's Upper East Side Tower Takes Heat From New Angles

Also in attendance Tuesday was City Councilmember Ben Kallos, who said his chief concern remained the three to four hours of new afternoon shadows that the Blood Center tower would cast over St. Catherine's Park, which sits across the street.

Kallos, whose position could be influential once the City Council considers the proposal, has not taken a formal stance on the project but has strongly hinted that he opposes it.

Kallos said the Blood Center should move forward instead with an alternate proposal it has included in planning documents: a modest, five-story building that would achieve its stated goals of creating new lab space and replacing its current, 91-year-old home.

"It seems that the as-of-right development could accommodate the Blood Center's needs," Kallos said.

Upper East Side Patch These 2 Upper East Side Projects Won Ben Kallos's Budget Bucks by Nick Garber

These 2 Upper East Side Projects Won Ben Kallos's Budget Bucks

The two winning projects in this year's round of participatory budgeting in Ben Kallos's District 5 are: $750,00 for laptops and other STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) programs at 15 schools in the district; and $187,000 to plant 50 trees with guards on sidewalks.

"I am proud of the millions of dollars our community has voted on over the years. Our residents have prioritized education and beautifying our neighborhood this year," Kallos said Wednesday when his office announced the results.

Upper East Side Patch East Side Electeds Hail Education Funding In Federal Stimulus by Nick Garber

East Side Electeds Hail Education Funding In Federal Stimulus

City Councilmember Ben Kallos, Assemblymember Rebecca Seawright and U.S. Rep. Carolyn Maloney spoke Tuesday outside Eleanor Roosevelt High School.

City Councilmember Ben Kallos, Assemblymember Rebecca Seawright and U.S. Rep. Carolyn Maloney spoke Tuesday outside Eleanor Roosevelt High School. (Office of City Councilmember Ben Kallos)

UPPER EAST SIDE, NY — A cohort of Upper East Side politicians and educators celebrated the billions of dollars heading to New York City as part of the federal stimulus package, highlighting the funding for schools in a news conference Tuesday.

The $1.9-trillion American Rescue Plan includes $5.2 billion for 3-K, pre-K and other education funding for New York, according to U.S. Rep. Carolyn Maloney, who spoke Tuesday morning outside Eleanor Roosevelt High School.

Maloney said the funding would help schools safely reopen during the pandemic and fund universal 3-K across the city's school districts

Upper East Side Patch These UES Projects Could Win Kallos's Participatory Budget Bucks by Nick Garber

These UES Projects Could Win Kallos's Participatory Budget Bucks

Ben Kallos attends a ribbon-cutting on the East River Esplanade in April 2019. Voting for this year's participatory budgeting projects opens April 5.

Ben Kallos attends a ribbon-cutting on the East River Esplanade in April 2019. Voting for this year's participatory budgeting projects opens April 5. (Jeffrey WZ Reed/New York City Council)

UPPER EAST SIDE, NY — For the eighth straight year, residents of the Upper East Side can vote to decide how $1 million of their City Council member's budget should be spent.

Nine different projects are in the running for this year's round of participatory budgeting in District 5, represented by Ben Kallos and covering the eastern stretch of the Upper East Side as well as Roosevelt Island.

Kallos has made about $1 million available for neighborhood projects — one of just four Council members who set aside money this year for participatory budgeting. (Plans for a citywide program have been delayed due to the pandemic.)

 

Online voting will run from April 5 to April 14. (More information below on how to vote.)

Here are the District 5 projects on the ballot for participatory budgeting this year:

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  • $750,000 to purchase laptop carts for 10 District 5 schools
  • $700,000 to purchase and install new play equipment at NYCHA Lexington Houses
  • $500,000 for an expansion of the children's play areas in Rupert Park
  • $450,000 to renovate, update and configure bathrooms at Talent Unlimited High School
  • $300,000 to replace the existing wheelchair lift at the New York Public Library at 328 East 67th Street with an improved design for accessibility
  • $285,000 to purchase and install public safety cameras to cover five high-traffic locations
  • $250,000 to repair and finish the flooring, upgrade the lighting and replace all safety wall padding at P.S./I.S. 217 gym
  • $250,000 to fund the purchase of telemetry machines at H+H Coler Hospital
  • $187,000 to plant 50 new trees with guards on sidewalks throughout the district

Upper East Side Patch Vaccine Site Opens On Upper East Side, Serving NYCHA Residents by Nick Garber

Vaccine Site Opens On Upper East Side, Serving NYCHA Residents

Virus rates on the Upper East Side have been far lower than in many neighborhoods, and the neighborhood has led Manhattan in vaccination rates since the rollout began.

But COVID-19 has devastated Black and Latino communities, who make up the vast majority of New York's public housing residents, including at the Isaacs Houses and Holmes Towers.

"When we start to focus in on areas like where we are standing here ... we have a very different story," City Councilmember Ben Kallos said.

Upper East Side Patch Upper East Side Barely Added Housing Since 2010, New Study Finds by Nick Garber

Upper East Side Barely Added Housing Since 2010, New Study Finds

Those minimal gains come as the city faces what many observers consider a critical housing shortage. City Councilmember Ben Kallos, who has pushed to build more affordable housing on the Upper East Side, said Tuesday he was "shocked by the numbers," which were first reported by THE CITY.

"Anyone who lives on the Upper East Side will tell you that there's been nonstop construction," he said.

But Kallos was unsurprised that demolitions have been a factor, citing the sparsely-populated luxury developments that have popped up around the neighborhood in recent years — often replacing cheaper, denser housing.

Upper East Side Patch Crumbling East Harlem Esplanade To Get $284M In Repairs by Nick Garber

Crumbling East Harlem Esplanade To Get $284M In Repairs

Several past rounds of Esplanade repairs were supposed to be split between the Upper East Side and East Harlem, including a $35 million commitment from the city in 2014 and $75 million in 2019. But those repairs have been carried out unevenly, said City Councilmember Ben Kallos, who represents the Upper East Side.

"I'm troubled by the fact that the work that was funded on the [Upper] East Side has already been completed, and much of the work that was funded over the last seven years for East Harlem still hasn't started," Kallos said Thursday.