Press Coverage

Brian Conybeare
11/19/2017
 

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Strong, gusty winds were being blamed Sunday evening for a scaffolding collapse in SoHo that left six people injured.

As CBS2’s Brian Conybeare reported, one woman just walking down the street was buried under falling debris and had to be rescued.Witnesses posted photos to social media showing wooden planks and metal scaffolding strewn about at the corner of Prince Street and Broadway.

There were frantic moments after the 40-foot section of construction scaffolding suddenly crumpled to the ground at 11:30 a.m. in front of the Artists and Fleas Vendor Market. One woman was across the street inside a Dean & Deluca market.

“Everybody ran from the store to try to remove the rubble before anybody arrived and they got a lot of it off even before the fire department came,” one woman told WCBS 880’s Ethan Harp.

Will Alston works in the building where it happened.

“It was crazy! It was real crazy!” he said.

Alston rushed to help pull wooden plans and twisted metal off one injured woman who was bleeding from the head.

“First thing I did, I just ran outside to check on her — but she was basically like hurt really bad,” he said. “I was pulling some of the scaffold out.”

The FDNY took six people to the hospital – five civilians and a firefighter. All suffered minor injuries, with the most severely injured being a woman whose condition was stable at NYC Health + Hospitals/Bellevue late Sunday, the FDNY said.

 

 

NBC News 4 New York
Wale Aliyu
11/19/2017
 

Scaffolding collapsed in SoHo amid high winds Sunday, scattering debris across the street and injuring five people.

The scaffolding collapsed at Broadway and Prince Street, in the heart of SoHo. 

Video and photos showed large metal bars and pieces of wood scattered across the street as bystanders watched or ran to help. One video shows people frantically removing debris from a pile. 

At least one person was seen being taken away on a stretcher. Police said everyone who was hurt suffered minor, non-life-threatening injuries. 

 

Cefaan Kim
11/19/2017
 

SOHO, Manhattan (WABC) --

Six people were hurt after scaffolding collapsed into the street in Lower Manhattan Sunday morning.

The incident happened just after 11:30 a.m. near the intersection of Broadway and Prince in SoHo.

Pictures from the scene show wooden planks all over the street, and FDNY firefighters at the scene.

FDNY officials said "we're absolutely lucky" there aren't more injured in this busy neighborhood. There is a subway stop right at the intersection, and the area was packed with people out enjoying their Sunday morning.

Investigators said strong wind is to blame for the collapse. A piece of plywood "acted like a sail" and blew the whole rig down.

Cellphone video shot moments after the collapse shows bystanders running in to help people trapped:

Two people had to be rescued from under the rubble. They and three others were taken to the hospital to be treated for minor, non-life threatening injuries.

 

Emily Nonko
11/17/2017
 

One such violator is Donald Trump, who helped bring attention to the issue in 2015 after a black marble bench vanished from the pedestrian atrium of Trump Tower and was replaced with an unapproved sales counter. It has since reappeared, but the Trump Organization was still fined $10,000. In response to the bench drama, three new bills to protect POPS were introduced in the City Council this year, sponsored by Council Members Ben Kallos and Daniel Garodnick.

Other legislation from Council Members Kallos and Garodnick requires additional signage in all POPS detailing amenities and hours of operation, as well as a website for the public to find more information or to register complaints.

 

Andrew Rigie
11/17/2017
 

This is why we support Council Member Ben Kallos’ effort to pass legislation that would regulate the length of time in which scaffolding may stay constructed, helping to mitigate unnecessary scaffolding that stays up for many months or in some cases years beyond its intended purpose. 

 

Brooklyn Daily Eagle
11/17/2017
 

Brandon West, vice president for policy for the New Kings Democrats, praised the legislation proposed by Councilmember Ben Kallos (D-Upper East Side) to mandate the New York City Campaign Finance Board to create a secure website and mobile app for residents who want to register to vote online.

“This long overdue reform is a great first step to making it finally easier to participate in our democracy,” West said.

 

New York Daily News
Erin Durkin
11/17/2017
 

New Yorkers will soon be able to register to vote online after the City Council passed legislation to allow it Thursday.

The city Campaign Finance Board will set up a website and create an app to allow would-be voters to register.

“It seems like every election in New York City, it’s a new low for voter turnout,” said Councilman Ben Kallos (D-Manhattan), noting the dismal turnout in last week’s mayoral election.

 

Kathryn Brenzel
11/16/2017
 

The application now heads to the City Council, where chances don’t look great for Gamma to escape the zoning change. Local Council member Ben Kallos, who backed the a local community group’s efforts to rezone the area, indicated that he plans to remove the grandfathering clause from the application. The City Council tends to defer to the local council member when it comes to land use applications. The council is expected to vote on the zoning change by the end of the month.

 

Paula Katinas
11/16/2017
 

The council’s Committee on Governmental Operations voted to pass legislation sponsored by Councilmember Ben Kallos (D-Upper East Side) that would require the New York City Campaign Finance Board (CFB) to create a secure website and mobile app for residents who want to register to vote online.

“Democracy should be a click away. We are used to filling out forms online with the click of a mouse and voter registration should be no different. You should be registered and receive a confirmation by email, just as with any other website,” Kallos said in a statement. 

 

Sarina Trangle
Lisa L. Colangel
11/16/2017
 

The area’s councilman, Ben Kallos, said he fields complaints daily about overdevelopment and is worried the city is not ready to absorb the population boom it is experiencing.

“They don’t have the school seats we need for the people living here and moving here,” he said. “The Second Avenue Subway is already surpassing ridership goals and they are adding more and more trains.”

 

Erin Durkin
11/16/2017
 

“It seems like every election in New York City, it’s a new low for voter turnout,” said Councilman Ben Kallos (D-Manhattan), noting the dismal turnout in last week’s mayoral election.

“Facebook could register people to vote,” Kallos said.

 

Sarina Trangle
11/16/2017
 

The area’s councilman, Ben Kallos, said he fields complaints daily about overdevelopment and is worried the city is not ready to absorb the population boom it is experiencing.

“They don’t have the school seats we need for the people living here and moving here,” he said. “The Second Avenue Subway is already surpassing ridership goals and they are adding more and more trains.”

 

Gotham Gazette
Ben Max
11/15/2017
 

Before introducing democracy voucher legislation or the CFB post-election report, however, Kallos is looking to see one of his currently-pending campaign finance reform bills passed in the waning days of this legislative session. Co-sponsored by 29 members in the 51-seat Council, the Kallos bill would increase the public matching threshold for how much candidates can receive relative to the spending limit in their races (there are lower thresholds for City Council races than borough-wide and city-wide races).

The bill had a hearing in April and Kallos said he is pushing to see it passed this term. The Manhattan Democrat saw his online voter registration bill passed on Tuesday by the governmental operations committee he chairs. The full Council is expected to pass it on Thursday and de Blasio has indicated he will sign it into law.

The de Blasio administration has indicated support for Kallos’ bill to increase the public matching threshold, which would allow candidates to run their campaigns based more on smaller, matchable donations (eligible donations up to $175 are matched six-to-one, to a certain percentage of the spending threshold, which Kallos’ bill would increase).

 

Oshrat Carmiel
11/15/2017
 

The pleasure may be fleeting though. Councilman Ben Kallos, one of the applicants on the rezoning proposal, said he’ll attempt to remove the grandfathering clause when the full city council considers the matter later this month -- the final step in a long bureaucratic process.

“This is a citywide push against overdevelopment,” Kallos said in an interview. “It has to do with a Billionaires’ Row tower that has no place in residential neighborhoods.”

 

Joe Anuta
11/15/2017
 

Gamma's victory was short lived, however, as Ben Kallos, the Upper East Side's city council member, vowed to snip the newly created lifeline once the proposal lands on his desk.

"I disagree with the grandfathering clause, and I plan to remove it from this application and move forward," he told Crain's.

 

Tanay Warekar
11/15/2017
 

The neighborhood rezoning already has the backing of several elected officials, most notably City Council member Ben Kallos, who represents the area. He has vowed to remove the City Planning-proposed clause when the project comes before the Council next month, so this tussle is far from over.

 

Sarina Trangle
11/15/2017
 

But the local City Councilman, Ben Kallos, says he plans to remove the grandfathering clause and promptly pass the prior plan.

“This took more than three years to bring it from a community concern about billionaire’s row extending into a residential neighborhood,” Kallos said, referencing several luxury residential skyscrapers in the works just south of Central Park. “New Yorkers are frustrated with overdevelopment, regardless of what neighborhood that they’re in.”

 

Brigid Bergin
11/14/2017
 

Currently, the only way to register to vote online in New York is through the Department of Motor Vehicles. The catch is you need to have a driver's license or a non-driver id card to use that system — a system that has experienced some hiccups.

City Councilman Ben Kallos said voter registration should be as easy as calling for an Uber. He sponsored a bill to create an online portal through the website of the city's Campaign Finance Board.

"New York City residents would be able to go online, put in all of their information and they could sign on a piece of paper and take a picture, or just sign with their finger or with a stylus," said Kallos.

The key here: the voter registration forms would rely on digital signatures. State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman issued an opinion last year saying they're legal, paving the way for online voter registration.

"The bill sponsored by Councilman Kallos marks a key step forward in the fight for more accessible elections, allowing New York City to begin to bring our electoral process into the 21st century," Schneiderman said in a statement.

 

Anna Heyward
11/14/2017
 

Since the shutdown of Gothamist and DNAinfo, there has been talk among laid-off staff members of seeking funding to start a new local-news outlet to replace what’s gone. Their experience with Ricketts, several said, has only confirmed their belief in the importance of unions in protecting the rights of workers. On a recent afternoon, former staffers held a rally at City Hall, at which politicians, union leaders, and reporters from other publications showed up in solidarity. It was a muggy, overcast day. Peterson, the Guild director, told the crowd, “We come not to mourn but to organize.” Whitford, wearing a black T-shirt and black jeans, spoke later. “Anyone out there thinking of unionizing, don’t be scared by what happened to us, because this is the worst that can happen,” she said. Later, Ben Kallos, a city-council member from the Upper East Side, told the crowd, “Head over to Broadway, see a little show called ‘Newsies.’ I don’t want to give the end away, but the workers always win.”

 

Our Town
Mike Garofalo
11/14/2017
 

On Manhattan’s East Side, the number of traffic collisions involving cyclists is on pace to continue on a downward trend: to date, there have been 228 collisions involving cyclists in 2017, down from 350 in 2016 and 373 in 2015, according to NYPD data. The number of motorists, cyclists and pedestrians injured in collisions on the East Side dropped over the same period.

Since 2012, 1,194 cyclists have been injured in collisions with motor vehicle on the East Side, but none have been killed, according to an analysis of NYPD data covering East Side zip codes from 26th to 96th Streets performed by the office of Council Member Ben Kallos. Thirty-nine pedestrians were killed by motor vehicles over the same period, along with 2,722 injured. Since 2012, no pedestrians have been killed in collisions with bicycles in the East Side zip codes covered in the analysis.

Police in the 17th and 19th precincts have issued 1,557 summonses to bicyclists so far this year, mostly for running red lights and failing to give pedestrians the right of way. Motor vehicle operators received nearly 16,000 summonses in the two precincts over the same period, including 1,541 to drivers for not giving the right of way to pedestrians.

 

Our Town
Mike Garofalo
11/14/2017
 

On Manhattan’s East Side, the number of traffic collisions involving cyclists is on pace to continue on a downward trend: to date, there have been 228 collisions involving cyclists in 2017, down from 350 in 2016 and 373 in 2015, according to NYPD data. The number of motorists, cyclists and pedestrians injured in collisions on the East Side dropped over the same period.

Since 2012, 1,194 cyclists have been injured in collisions with motor vehicle on the East Side, but none have been killed, according to an analysis of NYPD data covering East Side zip codes from 26th to 96th Streets performed by the office of Council Member Ben Kallos. Thirty-nine pedestrians were killed by motor vehicles over the same period, along with 2,722 injured. Since 2012, no pedestrians have been killed in collisions with bicycles in the East Side zip codes covered in the analysis.

Police in the 17th and 19th precincts have issued 1,557 summonses to bicyclists so far this year, mostly for running red lights and failing to give pedestrians the right of way. Motor vehicle operators received nearly 16,000 summonses in the two precincts over the same period, including 1,541 to drivers for not giving the right of way to pedestrians.

 

Gotham Gazette
Samar Khurshid
11/10/2017
 

As New York State’s archaic election and voting laws continue to dampen voter turnout, the New York City Council is about to take a step to encourage participation. The City Council’s governmental operations committee will vote on Tuesday, November 14 to approve a bill allowing online voter registration for city residents, Council Member Ben Kallos, chair of the committee, told Gotham Gazette on Thursday. The bill is then expected to pass the full City Council on Thursday.

“With the historic low in turnout on Tuesday, online voter registration will be an essential tool to help more residents become voters,” Kallos said in a phone interview, referring to the 22 percent of registered voters who showed up to the polls to vote for mayor. Following the committee vote, the bill will head to the Council floor for a vote at its next stated meeting, he said.

 

Brenden Krisel
11/07/2017
 

UPPER EAST SIDE, NY — Two Democrats will represent the Upper East Side in the New York City council for the next four years.

Ben Kallos and Keith Powers won elections for the third and fourth districts in the city's legislative body. The New York Times called both elections for the Democrats a little more than an hour after polls closed Tuesday night.

Kallos defeated Republican Frank Spotorno to win his second term in the council's fifth district.

Powers, who will represent most of central and east Midtown, defeated Republican Rebecca Harary, the Times reported. Powers, a longtime political aide, will take over the seat vacated by the term-limited Daniel Garodnick.

Mayor Bill de Blasio easily defeated his little-known challengers to earn a second term Tuesday night, capping a sleepy campaign season with an easy win. NY1 declared victory for the Democratic incumbent at 9:26 p.m., less than a half hour after the polls closed.

 

Aaron Elstein
11/04/2017
 

Since August 2008, the front of the Department of Buildings' headquarters in lower Manhattan has been covered by a sidewalk shed. The unsightly steel-and-wood structure outside 280 Broadway stood because for years the city had set aside no money to pay to fix the crumbling facade.

"Thankfully, work has commenced as of a few months ago," Patrick Wehle, an assistant buildings commissioner, said at a City Council hearing last week. But the point had been made: Because it's much costlier to fix a façade than to maintain a shed that devours sidewalk space, blocks sunlight and hurts businesses, and no deadline to remove it, sheds have spread across the city. There are now 8,843—about 200 miles worth—and they pop up any time a building is built or repaired, as Crain's documented in a cover story last year.

Late last year City Councilman Ben Kallos sponsored a bill to stop the scourge and last week a hearing was finally held to discuss it.

 

Robert Knakal
11/02/2017
 

The application grows out of Gamma Real Estate’s 3 Sutton Place (now called Sutton 58). The project was previously enmeshed in squabbles between its original developer and lender. Now the project has been hit with the ERFA zoning application co-signed by Councilmen Ben Kallos and Dan Garodnick, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer and State Senator Liz Krueger and proposing capping the height of the building. Why? A recent article in Commercial Observer suggests that Gamma officials believe the zoning application stems from the tower’s neighbors complaining that they would lose their views.