New York CIty Council Member Ben Kallos

Parks

The Villager Rev. Billy ratchets up pressure to ban RoundUp by ALEJANDRA O’CONNELL-DOMENECH

Rev. Billy ratchets up pressure to ban RoundUp

Reverend Billy and the Church of Stop Shopping want the City Council to “cast out” Monsanto’s demonic spawn by passing Councilmember Ben Kallos’s bill banning chemical pesticides and herbicides in the city.

Upper East Side Patch New Stretch Of East River Esplanade Opens After $15M Renovation by Brendan Krisel

New Stretch Of East River Esplanade Opens After $15M Renovation

In addition to financing the $15 million renovation, Rockefeller University is creating an endowment to maintain the esplanade section and contributed $150,000 to the conservancy group Friends of the East River Esplanade, Kallos said.

"When I got elected the waterfront was crumbling, which is why I set a goal of involving local institutions in public-private partnerships to rehabilitate the East River Esplanade," Kallos said.

Upper East Side Patch UES Councilman Proposes Pesticide Ban In City Parks by Brendan Krisel

UES Councilman Proposes Pesticide Ban In City Parks

"Parks should be for playing not pesticides," Kallos said in a statement. "All families should be able to enjoy our city parks without having to worry that they are being exposed to toxic pesticides that could give them and their families cancer."

Kallos added that he doesn't allow his newborn daughter to play on the grass in city parks out of fear that she may be sickened by pesticides.

The legislation would force city agencies to switch from synthetic pesticides to biological pesticides made from naturally occurring chemicals. These natural pesticides are generally accepted as less toxic and break down more rapidly, the bill's sponsors said. In addition to banning pesticides in city parks, the bill would also prohibit spraying pesticides within 75 feet of a body of wate

Crain's New York Hospital for Special Surgery to revive FDR Drive project by JONATHAN LAMANTIA

Hospital for Special Surgery to revive FDR Drive project

Hospital for Special Surgery is moving ahead with a $300 million project to add patient rooms and physician offices by building above the FDR Drive. The plan is more than 10 years in the making and has been saddled with lawsuits from neighbors opposing it.

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.

Our Town Safe space on Sutton Place by Douglas Feiden

Safe space on Sutton Place

Kallos tapped his discretionary funds to buy five security cameras for the northern blocks — each with a live 24/7 feed to the 17th Precinct — and Powers dipped into his Council funds to purchase two more for the culs-de-sac as far south as Beekman Place and 50th Street.

They don’t come cheap: Each camera will cost $35,000 for an overall tab of $245,000. It wasn’t immediately clear when they will be installed.

“Soon, the 17th Precinct will have eyes on the park — and it will be able to respond instantaneously and even proactively,” Kallos said in an Aug. 3 press conference at the river-facing dead end on East 54th Street.

New York Post Upper East Siders are sick of this expensive tennis bubble by Lorena Mongelli and Sara Dorn

Upper East Siders are sick of this expensive tennis bubble

“While the Upper East Side has among the lowest amount of public park space in the city, Sutton East Tennis sits on City park land but is not accessible to most community members, because it charges rates as high as $225 an hour,” Councilman Ben Kallos, who represents the district encompassing the courts, wrote in a letter to the Parks Department arguing against any private control over the Queensboro Oval Tennis Courts.

The Parks Department is set to award a contract for a new operator of the courts, according to Parks’ request for new operators issued in March.

Sutton East charges up to $225 per hour for doubles on weekends, but prices are as low as $15 an hour during the summer months. Those with a seasonal tennis pass from the Parks Department do not have to pay an added fee during summer months.

Upper East Side Patch UES Private School Pledges $1M To Esplanade Renovation by Brendan Krisel

UES Private School Pledges $1M To Esplanade Renovation

UPPER EAST SIDE, NY — An Upper East Side private school has pledged to complete a $1 million renovation project on part of the East River Esplanade in an agreement to lease the space, city officials announced this week.

The Brearley School will lease "The Pier" — an 3,720-square-foot elevated platform above the John Finley Walk between East 82nd and 83rd streets — for the next 20 years with the option for two 10 year renewals, City Councilman Ben Kallos announced.

The school will be required to make $1 million in capital improvements to the space, which has fallen into disrepair and often leaks water onto the John Finley Walk, and will be responsible for maintenance and upkeep for the duration of the lease, Kallos said.

Our Town Redeeming an Upper East Side eyesore by Douglas Feiden

Redeeming an Upper East Side eyesore

t was 1939, construction was wrapping up on the East River Drive, the waterfront was being reinvented and dozens of property holders were cutting deals as their riverside rights began to vanish.

Case in point: The Brearley School. It limited its claim for the loss of air and light and the surrender of riparian rights to a symbolic $1 when the city obtained an easement for its playground and pier.

It did not, however, walk away empty-handed: In return for getting out of the way of the highway, Brearley got the city to build a new elevated structure above the promenade deck for its use as a play space.

And for the past 79 years, the private all-girls school has been leasing the 3,720-square-foot, steel-and-concrete platform that rises above the East River Esplanade’s John Finley Walk between 82nd and 83rd Street.

Unfortunately, for the past half-century, the city-owned hulk — called “The Pier,” for the jetty it replaced, and “The Overhang,” because it juts out over the Esplanade — has become one of the most detested and unsightly visual objects on the Upper East Side.

“I have spent my entire life walking up and down the Esplanade, passing under this overhang — and watching it fall apart,” said 37-year-old City Council Member Ben Kallos, who represents the area.

CBS New York City Council Considering Ban On Sale Of Single Use Plastic Bottles At Parks, Beaches by Marcia Kramer

City Council Considering Ban On Sale Of Single Use Plastic Bottles At Parks, Beaches

People would still be allowed to bring their own plastic bottles to those places, but wouldn’t be allowed to buy them there.

The measure would also provide for filling stations at parks and beaches, so people could fill up reusable bottles at those locations.

The measure is backed by Council members Ben Kallos and Rafael Espinal.

As CBS2’s Political Reporter Marcia Kramer reported, Kallos wants to start by stopping the sale of bottled water at city parks, beaches, golf courses, skating rinks, etc. Espinal would like to extend it to anything in a plastic bottle, like juice, soda, tea, etc.

“It would actually help and make a dent in the one billion plastic bottles that New York City throws away every year,” Kallos said.

“There are studies that show that if we don’t stop the current trend of the amount of plastic we’re using, we’re going to have more plastic than fish in our ocean,” said Espinal.

It’s a controversial proposal, Kramer reported. The International Bottled Water Association worries about dehydration.