New York CIty Council Member Ben Kallos

Upper East Side Patch

Upper East Side Patch UES City Council Rep Announces Run For Borough President: Ben Kallos announced his campaign Wednesday with a series of endorsements from local labor unions. by Brendan Krisel

UES City Council Rep Announces Run For Borough President: Ben Kallos announced his campaign Wednesday with a series of endorsements from local labor unions.

City Councilmember Ben Kallos announced his bid Wednesday to replace the term-limited Borough President Gale Brewer, touting a record as a reformer in the City Council and several labor union endorsements. Kallos also cited the fact that he was one of the first members of the City Council to refuse campaign contributions from the real estate industry.

"Without the corrupting influence of big money from real estate I've been free to stand up for residents alongside our Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, and win. We've made so much progress and the stakes have never been higher, we can't afford to lose momentum. Manhattan's next Borough President must continue the work of Gale Brewer, standing up to the Mayor and real estate, in favor of communities," Kallos said in his announcement.

Kallos has represented the City Council's Fifth District — which spans much of the Upper East side, Roosevelt Island and small portions of East Harlem and Midtown East — since 2014. Since taking office, Kallos has fought for improvements in his district such as the installation of new trash cans on every corner and the addition of more than 1,000 Pre-K seats. Kallos has also fought for reforms in the City Council, authoring laws to limit outside income for councilmembers and eliminate compensation for leadership and committee posts...

Seven labor unions endorsed Kallos on the day of his campaign launch, including: Communications Workers of America Local 1101, Heat and Frost Insulators Local 12, New York Professional Nurses Union, Organization of Staff Analysts (OSA), Steamfitters Local 638, Sheet Metal Workers Local 28, and Utility Workers Union of America Local 1-2.

Upper East Side Patch High Tech Cameras Set To Protect East 86th Street, Esplanade by Andrew Fine

High Tech Cameras Set To Protect East 86th Street, Esplanade

Council Member Ben Kallos, NYPD 19th Precinct Commander Kathleen Walsh, and representatives from the community gathered this breezy, but gorgeous morning alongside the East River at 63rd Street to announce the installation of high tech "ARGUS" security cameras on the East River Esplanade, and along East 86th Street. The cameras, which cost $35,000 each, utilize several cameras usually housed in a white metal box generally attached to light poles, are high definition, can see 360 degrees, and can be accessed by the NYPD on any type of device real-time. The installation of the ARGUS cameras is intended to deter crime, and to provide more far reaching and clearer imaging to help identify perps when a crime has been committed.

Upper East Side Patch City Begins Work On New Roosevelt Island Library by Brendan Krisel

City Begins Work On New Roosevelt Island Library

The new $7.8 million library will be fully ADA accessible and feature computer work stations, a reading area, a teen area, a children's room and a multi-use community room for events. The project will also result in exterior improvements such as new plantings, a book drop and a bench area that will double as a bus stop.

Funds for the project were allocated by Mayor Bill de Blasio, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, City Council Member Ben Kallos and former City Council Member Jessica Lappin.

Upper East Side Patch Bill Aims To Tackle Empty Stores And 'Landlord Extortion' In NYC by Todd Maisel/

Bill Aims To Tackle Empty Stores And 'Landlord Extortion' In NYC

"We thought the problems in the building were dangerous, but the landlord ignored us and there is no mechanism to get them to fix the issues," Velkov said. "The city said that they couldn't do anything and the landlord could just revoke the lease – we just don't have any rights."

Sarah McNally, owner of McNally Jackson Book stores in Manhattan and Brooklyn, said she is being forced out of her store in Manhattan and will have to relocate.

"We are being replaced by chains," McNally said. It would've helped to have the non-binding arbitration and mediation."

Councilman Ben Kallos, (D-Manhattan) a co-sponsor of the bill, ­­decried the spread of chain stores.

"New York City doesn't need another Starbucks or a bank – it's the last thing we need," Kallos said. "Instead, we get empty storefronts and there are vacancies everywhere. We need to save small business in this city instead of having darkness."

Upper East Side Patch Council Reps Fund UES Community Board Meeting Live Streams by Brendan Krisel

Council Reps Fund UES Community Board Meeting Live Streams

"As the public media station for the New York metropolitan area, WNET is proud to partner with Council Members Kallos and Powers to provide this public service to the community" Neal Shapiro, president and CEO of WNET, said in a statement.

Funding will cover live streams for the community board's next 12 full board meetings. The full board makes the final vote on resolutions that have been passed by community board committees. Resolutions span a wide range of issues such as housing, public safety, business licenses and transportation.

WNET employees will attend the meetings and stream them using professional camera and sound equipment.

Kallos and Powers decided to fund the live streams at Community Board 8's request, a spokesman for Kallos said. The streams will be publicized by Kallos and Powers on social media, the spokesman said

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.

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 New Pre-K Facility Adds 90 Seats To Upper East Side by Brenden Krisel

New Pre-K Facility Adds 90 Seats To Upper East Side

UPPER EAST SIDE, NY — A new universal pre-k facility has added 90 seats to the Upper East Side, which means 90 families no longer have to trek down to Lower Manhattan to send their children to school, city officials announced Wednesday.

The new 11,500-square-foot facility on the corner of Third Avenue and East 95th Street opened on time for the 2018-2019 school year and is part of a push to add pre-k seats to the Upper East Side neighborhood, city officials said.

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,"