New York CIty Council Member Ben Kallos

Press Coverage

“By lowering the allowable after-hours noise limit in residential areas, allowing inspectors to take noise readings from the street, rather than from inside an apartment, and empowering inspectors with the ability to issue a stop-work order for noisy equipment, this legislation should bring some much-needed relief to New Yorkers,” Sapienza added.

In its Fiscal 2018 Statement of Community District Needs and Community Board Budget Requests, the number one budget expense item Community Board 1 requested was for DEP to “increase (the) monitoring of air and noise quality” in CB 1.

“Thank you to Mayor Bill de Blasio for signing this bill into law and to the Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Vincent Sapienza for his agency’s expertise and collaboration on this legislation,” said the bill’s author, Manhattan Council Member Ben Kallos, in the release.

Kallos also thanked “the countless residents who complained regularly about after-hours noise,” which he said, “led to this legislation to keep our city a little bit quieter.”

At the January 16 meeting of CB 1 held at the Astoria World Manor, board officers were re-elected to begin two-year terms from January 1, 2018 to December 31, 2020 as follows:


Council Member Kallos said: “Affordable housing remains out of reach for too many New Yorkers. As the Administration continues to announce progress on preserving and building new housing, we will watch every deal closely to ensure New Yorkers are actually getting the affordable housing we need. The IBO has questioned whether the city is overstating, or worse, overpaying for affordable housing. I look forward to continuing to fight for affordable housing alongside Speaker Corey Johnson as Chair of the Subcommittee on Planning, Dispositions, and Concessions by ensuring every hard-earned tax dollar is maximized to drive a hard bargain and generate significantly more affordable housing. I also plan to ensure this committee empowers communities in the planning process, creates opportunities for minority and women-owned small businesses, and produces a full return on any city land and resources we give up.”


Kallos was roundly praised for his leadership of the committee over the prior session, both as a reformer and for holding accountable relevant agencies, like the Board of Elections.


The story of Councilmatic actually goes back to 2009, when Moore was working on, a site that tracked bills and votes in Congress. New York City Councilman Ben Kallos, then still a private attorney, cold-called Moore and told him he should build something like it for New York City. He teamed up with Code for America’s Mjumbe Poe, who built Councilmatic at a hackathon in Philadelphia in 2011, and brought it up to New York to run it here.


Wall Street Journal Ben Kallos, a Democratic councilman who represents the Upper East Side and Roosevelt Island, has pushed for more pre-K seats there for years, often sending photos of empty storefronts that could serve as centers to the Department of Education. Mr. Kallos said private pre-K in that area typically starts at $24,000 per child yearly, and getting a free public seat lets parents keep working and stay in the city.

“My only concern is that this is an incredibly popular program and it will continue to be a victim of its own success as more and more parents apply,” and demand will keep outpacing supply, he said.





For City Council Member Ben Kallos, chair of the governmental operations committee, and City Council Member David Greenfield, a committee member, those delays in audits are just one reason that they believe the CFB’s system is flawed and in need of change. In December, Kallos, Greenfield, and other Council members ushered through nearly two dozen campaign finance related bills, some of them tweaks to how the Campaign Finance Board operates. Several of the measures were based on recommendations from the CFB, others were seen as addressing problems with the CFB identified by Council members and their consultants.

The Friday hearing did touch on the CFB’s budget needs for the next fiscal year, which begins July 1 and in which there will be a citywide election with a primary in September and a general election in November. These city elections account for a massive increase to $56.7 million for the 2018 fiscal year from last year’s CFB budget of $16.17 million.

About half of the proposed budget, $29 million, is allocated to the public matching funds program, which provides participating campaigns with 6-to-1 matches of small contributions up to $175. Another $11 million will go to printing and distributing a voter guide for the upcoming election.

But Kallos seemed more concerned that the board was spending more money, and time, on auditing campaigns than the money they received from resolutions of those audits. When Loprest told the committee that the CFB’s candidate services unit has seven full-time employees and the audit unit has 26, Kallos insisted that the CFB should dedicate more resources to candidate services and campaign liaisons, so campaigns can preemptively steer clear of missteps in navigating a complex campaign finance system, and avoid fines and penalties down the line.


Los residentes de El Barrio ahora podrán beneficiarse de los programas educativos y servicios comunitarios de la exclusiva escuela Marymount School, situada en el número 20 de la lista de las mejores escuelas privadas de la ciudad de Nueva York de 2018, según el ranking del sitio web Niche.

La educación de un solo estudiante en algunas de las escuelas de ese listado puede costar hasta $50,000 al año; sin embargo, en East Harlem, muchos padres trabajadores no superan los $40, 000 en ingresos anuales, como el mexicano Marcelo Suárez, un empleado de restaurante y residente del vecindario por más de una década.

“Trabajo duro para darles a mis tres hijos educación de calidad. He tenido hasta dos trabajos para comprarles útiles escolares y todo lo que necesitan. Quisiera hacer más por ellos, ayudarlos a que logren sus sueños, aprovechar cualquier oportunidad que los ayude a mejorar”, dijo Suárez, de 43 años.


coming to the rescue is Council Member Ben Kallos, whose bill has just been passed. The bill seeks to turn down the volume during the off hours that construction sites aren't taking off, whether it be on the Upper East Side or across the East River in Queens or back across to Manhattan's West Side where construction seems never-ending.


The goal of the legislation is to make the housing lottery application and search process more efficient and transparent for renters. Applicants would be able to track their application’s progress online and see their place on the waiting lists. By 2021, residents will be able to verify if the rent landlords are charging is legal.

Council Member Benjamin Kallos, who was a lead sponsor on the bill, called Housing Connect “incredibly broken” because it doesn’t match renters with available units. Following the passage of Kallos’ bill, the HPD said it will upgrade and expand the capabilities of their website.

The final version of the bill does help the city enforce rent limits for apartments that are not income-restricted, although Kallos originally hoped to apply it to other rent-regulated units. Aaron Carr of the nonprofit Housing Rights Initiative told the WSJ that renters in rent-stabilized suffer the most under the new bill. “Tens of thousands of units in the buildings receiving those 


On Tuesday, the Council approved Intro 1015-A, a bill sponsored by Councilmembers Ben Kallos and Jumaane Williams, with input from Manhattan Borough President Gail Brewer, to hold building owners who receive tax abatements accountable to the city.

Starting in 2020, landlords who aren’t providing affordable apartments after they have received financial windfalls in the form of city financing or tax breaks will be required to register their units with the city.


The bill also cuts in half the amount of noise allowed to come from a construction site when work is being done before 7 a.m. or after 6 p.m.

"New York City may be the city that never sleeps, but that shouldn't be because of after-hours construction noise waking you up," City Councilman Ben Kallos (D-Manhattan) said in a statement. "Our new law will turn down the volume on after hours construction noise in residential neighborhoods."


Applicants also would be able to track the progress of their applications and see where they are on waiting lists to rent units, which are awarded by lottery. By 2021, residents also would be able to verify with the city that they are being charged a legal rent.

The legislation is meant to make the application and search process more transparent and efficient, said the bill’s lead sponsor, Council Member Benjamin Kallos.

“I want to make it more like StreetEasy or Zillow,” Mr. Kallos said, referring to the popular housing search websites.

The city already runs a website that helps tenants find income-restricted apartments, NYC Housing Connect, but Mr. Kallos said it is “incredibly broken” because it doesn’t do enough to match tenants with available units.


It’s no secret that New York is an obnoxious place—it’s known as the city that never sleeps for good reason. But any resident here will tell you that they absolutely cherish their beauty sleep. 

On Tuesday, the City Council passed a measure aimed at keeping Gothamites from being woken from their peaceful slumbers. The legislation, dubbed the Noise Complaint Response Act, proposes more strict standards and oversight on construction crews that operate after hours (between 6pm and 7am).

Introduced by Council Member Ben Kallos, the measure would require the city’s Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to more thoroughly inspect and respond to late-night noise complaints. Currently, crews working overnight are forbidden from creating noise that exceeds 85 decibels within 200 feet of a residential building. This legislation forces that figure to drop to 75 decibels in 2020 and removes some barriers that prevent the DEP from investigating noise complaints. 


Construction done at odd hours will have to turn down the volume under a bill passed by the City Council on Tuesday.

The legislation sponsored by Councilman Ben Kallos places stricter limits on construction within 200 feet of a home before 7 a.m. and after 6 p.m. on weekdays, and any time on weekends.

“New York City may be the city that never sleeps, but that shouldn’t be because of after-hours construction that wakes you up,” said Kallos (D-Manhattan). “Noise is the top complaint in New York City.”

The construction cacophony will be capped at 80 decibels next year, and dropped to 75 in 2020. The current limit is 85 decibels.


Large buildings across New York will have to post letter grades in their lobbies disclosing their energy efficiency, if a measure before the City Council passes.

The new rating system is modeled after the ubiquitous grades for sanitation posted in restaurant windows across New York.

The proposal is part of a package of quality-of-life measures due to be taken up by the City Council on Tuesday, at its final scheduled meeting of the year.

A second measure is designed to limit noisy after-hours construction that has led to complaints in residential neighborhoods, especially on Manhattan’s Upper East Side.

The report card bill was approved by the council’s environmental protection committee on Monday. It requires both commercial and residential buildings with more than 50,000 square feet to post a notice near each building entrance.

The notice would include the posting of a federal energy efficiency rating already required under existing law, and a simplified letter grade from A-D  (or F for some buildings that fail to file) beginning in 2020.

Council member Daniel Garodnick of Manhattan, the lead sponsor of the bill, said he expected it to pass the council easily. He said it would allow commercial tenants and residential renters and owners to pressure building owners for improvements.

“We think that a market-driven approach here will help encourage more efficient buildings,” said Mr. Garodnick, whose tenure on the council ends this month because of term limits. “We think it will foster a higher level of engagement.”



And if you’ve ever had the displeasure of being woken up by the shrill whine of a drill or other construction equipment, some good news: The City Council is expected to pass legislation today to keep things quieter.

“Our new law will turn down the volume on after-hours construction noise in residential neighborhoods,” said Councilman Ben Kallos, who wrote the bill with the support of the Department of Environmental Protection and who has made the dimming of noise one of his top priorities.



For reformers like Ben Kallos, City Council member for Manhattan’s District 5 and chair of the Council’s government operations committee, the problem is simple. “I don’t believe people should get jobs in government because of who they know,” he said in a phone interview.

He urged anyone with allegations of campaigns inserting supporters into poll sites to speak up, including through the city Department of Investigations. “We’re calling upon them to do their civic duty,” he exhorted.



A bill empowering the city’s Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to quell after-hours construction noise was voted out of a Council committee Monday. Councilman Ben Kallos, who sponsored the measure, expected his colleagues to approve the measure at a scheduled meeting on Tuesday.

“New Yorkers hate getting woken up early or kept up late at night with construction,” Kallos said, noting that noise concerns are the most common complaint logged in the city’s 3-1-1 system. “[The DEP] actually agreed and worked with us on this legislation that makes a huge update to the city’s noise code.”

Kallos noted that the legislation will task the DEP with crafting rules specifying how long inspectors have to respond to complaints about after-hours work and which grievances ought to be prioritized because the noises are expected to continue. A DEP spokesman said the rulemaking process typically takes six months to one year.



Officials, including Councilmember Ydanis Rodriguez, chair of the Council Committee on Transportation, and Councilmember Ben Kallos, said the move was all about equity for the outer boroughs.

"We have spent years working to get bike sharing in all five boroughs and although we have made a lot of progress some areas don't have it,” Kallos said in a statement.